After our little warm up yesterday we decided to do something a little longer today. The book describes this one as ‘dramatic and challenging’, it’s about 10 miles long and starts in Gruinard beach. From here you walk up the Inverianvie river and then cut across to the Gruinard river and up to its main mountain loch, Loch na Sealga.
The starting point in Gruinard bay, the bridge you can see to the left if crosses the Inverianvie river. Behind it, ominous weather approaches.
Starting up the valley beside the river
It starts snowing/hailing enthusiastically, but look set to blow over pretty soon. At least hail doesn’t get you as wet as rain does.
Onwards and upwards, the river is fed by lots of tumbling tributaries, as it’s rained a lot the river’s pretty full too.
Two deer watch us go past from a nearby ridge, you wouldn’t think this photo was taken the same day! We’ve certainly got early April showers going on.
Pretty soon you get to the first main waterfall of the walk, Eas Dubh a’Ghlinne Ghairbh (translation: The black falls of the rough glen). Quite chuffed that my camera is still working as I just dropped it into a massive muddy, sandy puddle.
Just above the waterfall.
A view upstream.
We found a newt, named it Nigel.
Here the path leaves the river and carries on straight ahead. The river curves off the right and disappears into another mountain loch.
Around here is where we inevitably got it wrong. Most walks we get it wrong to some degree, especially those ones that tell you to bring a compass and starts handing out grid reference like it’s supposed to help me. This time however, I blame the directions although it is probably quite hard to give specific directions when all around you is bleak moorland.
This is pretty much where the path stops.
From here we vaguely started walking towards the Gruinard river, safe in the knowledge that if you go straight on ish, you’re going to have to hit it eventually. It should also be noted at this point that it’s rained a lot and the path was slippery enough. The lack of path was even slipperier. I fell over twice and got a very soggy bum. At the best of times I don’t enjoy cutting across unmarked moorland because a) you tend to falls in down unexpected holes and b) I get heather in my shoes which makes me irrationally angry. We got to a random loch, and then finally after much sliding, to the edge of a craggy bit of rock where the next river was visible.
After sliding down here, we hit a proper path again which runs parallel to the second river. From here you can go left or right. Right leading further up into the mountains to Loch na Sealga and left returning down the river to the main road where we initially parked. We thought we may as well go see the loch, thinking it was only about a mile away.
Turns out to be more like 3 miles away as we cut across earlier than we were meant to. Along the way there’s several river crossing including this ford like one here.
I found a tree root that I liked… Decided to throw it in the river on the off-chance that it floated conveniently down to the car.
Someone threw it in upside down so it got stuck a few feet away from us almost instantly.. and then spent a good half and hour throwing rocks at it to try and move it, failing miserably.
We moved on, and finally found the loch! Including obligatory picturesque boat.
After that we started retracing our step down the track back towards the car. An hour later I had soggy feet and was starting to get grumpy, and then we spotted this…
Dubious photo on full zoom I know, but made the last bit totally worth it.
Now nearly back down the valley, a finally look back at the snow-covered mountains.
Pretty much the end now, after this house the track rejoins the road and it’s about a miles walk back to the car. Like this house though, what a lovely place to live, mountains, river, forests…