Well what a week that was!
We booked a week on Knoydart to coincide with Elaina’s birthday on the 8th. Unfortunately Elaina has had a knee operation and wasn’t going to be able much in the way of hillwaking but we still had a fantastic time as we were staying at the fabulous Knoydart House.
It really is a superb house that sleeps ten and includes the best view you could possibly want from a hot tub! And it’s also only a two minute walk from the Old Forge pub, the remotest on mainland Britain.
We arrived on Friday 4th after meeting our friends Jamie & Nicky, Maria, Kirstin and Zoe in Mallaig, some of whom were staying for the whole week and some for a long weekend.
After a lovely Toad in the Hole made by Elaina we headed for a quick pint at the pub. But of course there’s no such thing as a quick pint at the Old Forge! Several pints later, a game of Killer Pool involving everyone in the pub and an incident involving a paddle (!) we finally headed back to the house…and despite the very short distance some of us still managed to take the wrong path!
On Saturday most of the gang decided to do the Corbett behind the village, Sgurr Coire Choinnichean, a hill Elaina and I had done the last time we were on Knoydart. We had an easy day with a walk to the beach and then on to Kilchoan followed by an excellent meal in the pub.
On Sunday we had a short bike ride to Gaschoille House a couple of miles to the west of Inverie. Monday saw Jamie, Nicky and Zoe depart and in the afternoon I went for a wander along the beach in between the showers, the hut at the campsite came in very useful for shelter after one particularly heavy shower!
On Tuesday afternoon we headed out to Inverguseran Farm in the northwest, a lovely relatively flat walk made more interesting by the Golden Eagles soaring above us.
A wet day on Wednesday gave us a chance of a rest which is just as well as Thursday saw us wake to glorious sunshine. Maria had set off early to do Ladhar Bheinn, the highest Munro on Knoydart via Sgorr Coire Choinnichean – an impressively long route! I knew that a) I wouldn’t be able to get up early enough and b) my hill fitness was not what it was having not been out on a proper hill since October so I decided that I would do the same mountain but in a clockwise direction giving me the option to either do a simple “up and down” or if time/fitness permitted go for some sort of circuit.
I left the house at just after nine and made good progress to reach the ruin at Folach at about 10.30am. From there I plodded up the slopes to the beallach between An Diolaid and Ladhar Bheinn. This was the point Elaina and I had got to a few years ago in very deep snow before turning back. This time however the snowline was much higher up but very impressive, no words needed I think the photos say it all…
Having got to the summit and with no sign of Maria I sent a text letting her know where I was and decided to carry on with the intention of going along the ridge then along Aonach Sgoilte before dropping down to Gleann an Dubh Lochain. Again some fantastic views looking back…
I met Maria on the south east ridge and after a quick chat we set off in opposite directions. It was clear by now that my plan, whilst doable, was clearly going to see me finish in the dark. Not really a problem as the last few miles are along a good track but we had booked a table at the pub for a last night meal and I really did not want to miss that! The easiest route out was to head south west into the Coire Torr an Asgaill, a glorious coire of grassy slopes that were easy to descend. I eventually picked up a path alongside the stream and enjoyed the walk out with a couple of deer for company making it back to the house at about 5.30pm.
And so on Friday we headed home, sad that we had to leave but happy that we had enjoyed a week of great company with friends and locals alike and knowing that we will be back!