by Innes Doig
Innes is a good friend of Thistle Trekking and a long time hiking partner of our director, David. Indeed they have known each other since the first year of primary school. Both grew up not far from the Cairngorms and developed a love for the Mountains. Innes is heavily involved with Edinburgh Young Walkers and is closing in on “compleat” round of Scotland’s Munros.
Day 4: Mam Barrisdale to Inverie
We woke the next day to a stunning morning with barely a breath of wind. After taking in the scenery from our sleeping bags we had breakfast and then set off our up the ridge to the final peak of the trip, Ladhar Bheinn (The mountain of the hoof). After an airy scramble we finally made it to the impressive horseshoe, or rather hoof like, corrie Dhorrcail on the Eastern flank of Ladhar Bheinn. I realised how very lucky we were to be getting the weather we were having for our trip – friends of ours from Edinburgh Young Walkers had visited Knoydart the same weekend in May a year ago and had been climbing this very mountain in blizzards! It goes to show how changeable the weather can be in the Scottish Highlands.
From the summit of Ladhar Bheinn we were again rewarded with fine views. Our legs were very tired at this point and grateful indeed for not having to climb the mountain all the way from sea level. From the peak we started to descend down the gentler grassy slopes of Ladhar Bheinn’s western flank, our eyes catching the constant darting movements of lizards beneath our feet as we disturbed them from their sunbathing. It was incredible to think that cold blooded creatures could survive and even thrive at this height in such a harsh environment.
We then reached the floor of Gleann na Guiserein where we started to follow a river and came across areas of regenerating natural forest. The local community at Inverie have fenced off large areas of the hillsides and glen from red deer, and the regeneration of young birch, rowan, alder and oak was fantastic to see. A visual reminder of how damaging uncontrolled numbers of red deer are to the Scottish landscape. After coming across an inviting pool we went for a swim and had lunch in the sun.
It was then the final leg of our journey to Inverie along a flat land rover track. Just on the edge of the forest which surrounds Inverie, we spotted a Golden Eagle riding the thermals in front of us. A great way to end our journey. As we walked through the forest we then started to come across the first signs of civilisation as we passed cottages, crofts and even came to a tarmacked road, which led us through to the sea front and finally to the ‘Old Forge Inn’, the most isolated pub in Scotland. Here we enjoyed well deserved pints and fine fresh seafood.
After a pint or two at the pub we stayed in the local youth hostel which we had booked before setting off. For the next day I had assumed that we could just jump on the first ferry to Mallaig to catch our train to Glenfinnan. However, the ferry was a lot smaller than I had anticipated, and the pier that Monday morning was full of children waiting to go to school in Mallaig. We were informed there was no more space on the ferry for us and we would have to wait for the next one in three hours’ time. An oversight on my part, but thankfully as it was such a lovely day, Ben and Richard were very forgiving, and happy to be stranded for a few extra hours longer in this remote and beautiful corner of Scotland.
If you are interested in a guided walk on this or any other walks, hikes and treks in our ‘Favourite Walks’ series just get in touch with us by email, phone or through our social media pages. We also travel through the Knoydart mountains on the Knoydart Expedition section of our Cape Wrath Trail.