So here I am a day behind again, which is mainly because I have to let todays pictures upload overnight; the internet is, unsurprisingly, not the fastest here but actually still quicker than the Virgin media we had in central Birmingham. Kudos to you Virgin.
We thought, as there are so many walks to do and we’ve only got a week, we’d try and cram a few in in one day. Several of them only take around 2-3 hours so we should be able to do at least two. Everyone here has been going on about the amazing beaches at Red Point so we thought that should get a look in. Lee wants to visit the Fairy Lochs (a WW2 crash memorial site), and Loch Claire and Loch Coulin would also make a nice jaunt into the foothills. Driving out of Gairloch the weather looks, in a word, changeable. Loch Claire is the furthest so we thought we should do that first, bad, bad strategical error!
Here’s the view when we arrive. Now as I have said, I don’t mind getting a bit soggy but as we pulled up to the parking and saw the swathes of rain sweeping through the valley, I don’t think either of us were sold. These lochs are a nice, fairly gentle walk with fantastic picturesque views which I can only imagine would be slightly ruined by complete mist and a steady downpour. We went back to Gairloch.
On the way stopping at Loch Maree, which I should add is only about a 10 minute drive away. This probably gives you a good idea of why we went back…
And if that doesn’t, further down the road it looks like this.
For the Fairy Lochs you turn off the road from Loch Maree to Gairloch signposted to Badachro and park shortly after turning wherever you can dump the car opposite the Sheildag Hotel Lodge Thing.
From there a track climbs a short way and the signposted footpath to the lochs climbs up off to the left.
Despite wasting about 45 minutes driving back to where we originally started, I’m glad we did as the weather here is spectacular.
Onwards and upwards, the green signs point the way to the lochs.
Towards the top of the mountain and the first lochs come into view, heading round the side of these to go up and over the ridge you come to the actual crash site.
First view down to the loch, over the ridge on the left hand side is a memorial plaque and some of the wreckage of the plane.
A tragedy, the people listed below were returning from the war to the USA after it had been won. Their plane became lost and they hit the top of Slioch, a particularly ominous munro nearby, damaging the aircraft. Supposedly looking to make a crash landing over water they finally ended up crashed into the Fairy Lochs where all members on board died, nearly all of them were in their 20’s including the pilot.
The site is now a war memorial and has many parts of the plane still scattered around. The propeller which you can see part of in the water and also the two engines, one of which is to the left of the small island below.
More evident here.
Part of the aircrafts landing gear lies on the bank nearby.
Having now been on a mechanics course I get a whole new level of appreciation for whats happened to that engine. It doesn’t matter how sunny it is – there is a certain feel to this place.
Passing on past the lochs it is possible to do a circular loop back round to the beginning, visiting another loch on the way. To anyone planning to do this – wear wellies! The walk up to the first lochs themselves is boggy enough, but if you plan to continue the path disappears into a pool of mud and reappears somewhat later, in more water. Paddling through this in walking boots can be done, but probably not while keeping totally dry (neither of us managed) and therefore is not personally recommended.
Once you’ve danced your way from bog to bog the path turns back up and leads its way down to a rather dubious bridge.
I wouldn’t cross it too enthusiastically, it has a nice bounce to it and a few wobbly planks.
But once you get down to the loch it’s a nice view.
From here, retrace your steps back up the bridge and onto the path that runs back down the valley. From here’s it’s only about 45 minutes walk back down to the track you initially came in on and to the car.
Once reunited, we continued down the road to Red Point. It having been impressed upon us in the pub last night that we must go and it must be sunny, today seems like the day.
It’s a dead end road going through a number of small villages until it ends on the top of a headland. Park here, obviously as otherwise you’ll be in the sea/sheep, and walk a short way down to the first beach.
It is nearly tropical, apart from the freezing wind.
And I’m glad the lady in the pub told us to go! While we were about to settle down for a nice puzzle, nice before we actually started trying to do it, the power went out. The house is freezing with no log burner and relies on central heating which isn’t turned on much at the best of times, so we went to the pub. Sipping our whiskey at the bar with the locals who were trying to work out how much power had gone out. It turns out that it’s the entire of the highlands including Inverness, so we stay a bit longer and get chatting to a nice women while her husbands removes several piñatas from the piano and gets a tinkling on the ivories. She says, ‘You must go to Red Point..”
And here we are.
The walk we intended to do goes to two beaches from Red Point, we’ve accidentally done it backwards but I only realised that after we’d started. Not that it really matters, we went a bit freestyle anyway. According to the walking book there is no path between the two beaches anyway, may as well attempt to walk around the rocks then.
Some fairly big waves coming in and breaking on the rocks.
I’ve done this one extra big so that hopefully you can see that if you walk down to the end of the rocks and a big wave comes you will get fairly wet, Lee.
If not, this may illustrate the point. Ahaha..haha.. My trousers? Yes they’re quite dry thank you.
I fiddle around with the burst setting on my camera.
And we refuse to go a normal route.
Eventually though, we end up on to of the cliffs and the second beach comes into sight.
Quite a lot bigger than the first one, but covered in rubbish that must have been swept in of passing ships. It’s got a load of driftwood, buckets and buoys all over it. We wander down the shoreline which has quite a lot of shells that I need to take home.
Then at the end we cut back up over the headland by a hut on the beach.
Our final view back down to the beach.
Walking back we have no idea where the path is, as usual, but eventually come out near Red Point farmhouse and a rather unimpressed cow with only a short walk back to the car.