Photo of some rain crossing a glen

Cape Wrath Trail: Day 7 –Ullapool to Loch Ailsch

The B&B didn’t serve breakfast until 8am, so I didn’t get moving out of Ullapool until after 9am. Powered by cereal, toast and fried breakfast, and with good weather above my head, I yomped along.

Today was going to provide relatively little elevation change, and with good path I was confident that I could make up some distance. In fact, the hardest part of the day was motivation to keep moving. Not every glen in the Scotland is jaw-droppingly beautiful, not every day of an adventure has an exciting story. Today had started pleasantly enough, and for the most part would continue along a similar vein.

I had a quick chat with an elderly couple staying at East Rhidorroch Lodge. They were enjoying little walks here and there whilst on holiday. I sat and ate some Tooty Frooties as I watched the rain slowly cross the glen and come to meet me at Loch an Daimh. I was surprised that Tooty Frooties still existed. I was not surprised that I was getting rained on again.

I found some fishermen along the river who were concentrating on the work of having another beer before their next fishing break. They invited me to join them, but I declined. I was keen to keep moving, and they seemed disappointed, although I was having difficulty explaining to them just how far I was walking each day. To them the bothy that was twenty minutes down the road was a long walk away.

I pushed on towards Oykel Bridge, looking forward to stopping in the hotel bar for a cup of tea. I stomped along to get there quickly and so arrived at precisely the wrong time. The bar was closed, presumably it would open up closer to teatime. No tea for me, instead I shoved some cheese and some crisps into a tortilla wrap, shoved the tortilla wrap into my mouth and carried on walking.

I followed more long, flat path with no turnings to think about or decisions to make. This made this section a different kind of difficult. Time passed slowly until eventually my path disappeared and I was trudging along the fishing beats getting closer to Loch Ailsch.

The forestry commission had felled a chunk of the forest up here, and had kindly marked a “Cape Wrath Trail” section that took me along a more direct route to the loch. It saved me about half a kilometre of hike, and led to a flat bit on my map next to the loch which I hoped would present itself as a good spot for my camp.

It was early evening, and I had been looking for a place to park my tent for the last hour, each time I found somewhere that looked alright I would check where the sun was and decide that I could go a bit further.

As I walked along the forestry track I noticed a distinct lack of flat, debris free places to put my tent up. Luck was on my side though, as I reached the loch I discovered that someone had even mown a few patches out of the long grass, presumably for wild campers looking for somewhere to pitch up for the night.

I had a nice spot, with nobody else around, where the river met the loch and beyond the loch was the hill, Sgonnan Mor. I didn’t really know much about the ground that I was stomping on but I knew this was a place that tends to attract geologists, it was also a place which attracted midges. Once I had put tent up and I had climbed inside I was captive there for the evening. Looking out across the loch, even with the midges, I couldn’t help but feel there were worse places to be stuck.

Depending on getting lost and small route changes, I was now 100 km, plus or minus 5 km, away from Cape Wrath.

Photo of some rain crossing a glen
If it rains, let it rain, if the wind blows, let it blow.

Today I learnt: That it is possible to quite comfortably sit and watch the rain cross a glen and come towards you, while you eat sweets and leisurely put on your waterproofs, totally accepting that once again you are going to get very wet.

Similar Posts