The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Sunday 29 June 2008

Day 75 - Kinlochewe to After Loch An Nid

28 June
Distance: 14.75 miles
Number of people seen out walking in last 7 days: 0*

In many of the places that we're walking at the moment we get a real sense of remoteness. We can walk for a day without seeing a road or house and we've gone a week without seeing another person other than in cars or in villages. Standing on a high pass, with towering mountains around us (when we have the visibility to see that they are towering) it feels like we're a very long way from anyone else and from anything man-made (except of course all of the things we're wearing and carrying!).

Coming from a crowded area of the country and being familiar with the much smaller spaces of the Southern Snowdonian hills and the Lake District it's good to feel the big open spaces up here.

Alas today we didn't get the vistas to go with the feeling.

I know that we were jolly lucky with the weather for the first couple of months of this walk, and that all the rain now is just averaging things out, but really, I've had enough of rain!

Again our walk had the same pattern as previous days. With showers falling on us, we walked up a valley, alongside a loch and then climbed up a pathless hillside to a pass then down the other side to another loch. The ingredients may be repetitive, but the terrain and scenery are always different and the views are usually something more than stunning.

We felt sure that the views today would have been absolutely first class, but we'll not know that for sure unless we return in better weather. In particular, from what we could see of the single huge sloping slab of mountainside on the opposite side of Loch An Nid, I would very much have liked to have seen it better.

But the wetness. Oh my, it was wet underfoot to an amusing degree today. It was pretty wet from above too, with the drizzle and rain being far more sustained than the dry spells. The bonus of the wetness was that the many waterfalls that we passed were being shown off in all their glory.

In spite of the wetness underfoot the pathless bits of the pass seemed much easier than similar passages in recent days.

We needn't actually have been pathless as much as we were. We could have followed a trodden line from the top of the pass down to Loch An Nid, except that to do so would have required a river crossing at the bottom that we thought may be ill-advised in the conditions. So we yomped down the other side of the stream, thinking as we went that our feet were so wet that wading across the river at the bottom couldn't have got them wetter, and of course, when we got to the bottom we found the river to be far more fordable than the streams we had encountered earlier.

We completed our walk quickly (or perhaps it was more that it was a shorter walk and we didn't stop for lunch) and by just gone 2.30 we were pitching the tent. After last night's campsite interlude we're back in our proper position tonight: on the edge of a babbling stream with towering hills around us.

(*The number of people seen still stands at zero but we did walk past a tent today. And we saw fresh footprints somewhere else. It's amazing how excited one can get about seeing fresh footprints!)


  1. You are walking through God's Country indeed! I hope the weather cleared for your next day's walk as the views of An Teallach are absolutley stunning.

    Those huge slabs were on the side of Sgurr Ban - an awsome sight.

    Enjoy the hotel at Oykel Bridge - its a little oasis of genteel charm - the City of London at play, but more importantly, it has an excellent wine list and super large sizzling hot radiators for your washing and deep, deep baths! no awful electronic freezing showers tonight!

    I hope the weather for your walk down the River Douchary was fine - its a fabulous place.

    A fantastic blog Gayle (& Mick). Keep up the great work!

  2. A majestic day in the hills indeed! I'd been looking forward to walking through Letterewe for so long and it didn't dissapoint! Our day improved as it went weatherwise from gloomy views down Lochan Fada to sun shining on those huge rocky slabs across Loch an Nid. We made good time and climbed above the strath and pitched at the summit of the path to successfully aviod the midgies. As the evening progressed, the clouds came in like tendrels and gradually filled the glens and eventually enveloped us.