NEW : See my campaign to establish a National Coastal Path here
I knew before I even started this walk that I would need to do a bit of jiggerey-pokerey just to get myself to the start of the walk. Without boring you with the details, I hitched a lift from the Dundonnell hotel (see above) to Braemore junction where I had left my bike the previous evening. A long freewheel down the hill parallel to the Corrieshalloch gorge saw me coasting into Letters. I tied my bike up, gave it a bucket of hay and I was off.
The walk from Letters to the end of the road at Blarnlearoch was pleasant but after the road ran out I had a a couple of miles where there was no path to get to the Altnaharrie hotel, which lay directly opposite Ullapool. I knew from the map that I probably couldnt manage to walk along the beach the whole way as there were some steep sections that came straight down to the water. So I elected to follow a very muddy sheep track instead. Because of the amount of rain that had fallen over the summer, and the fact that I weigh considerably more than an average sheep, I found myself squelching continously through black stinking peat which I sank into over the tops of my shoes on numerous occasions. It didnt take long for me to abandon the idea that I could keep my feet dry and slithered and plodded my way over the quagmire. There was a couple of mountain streams that carved their way almost vertically through steep ravines, and I plodded on gaining height along the sheep path. Sheep are also much smaller in height than me and soon found myself bending double to avoid the swinging branches of rowan and birch which threatened to decapitate me on more that on occasion. As I carefully picked my way down the other side of the gorge through a jungle of waist high ferns I realised I was getting thoroughly fed up with the slow progress I was making. However all good things must come to an end, and after walking down through the middle of a stream I came to a small cove where the remains of three fishing boats lay on the shore. It seemed tragic that they had been hauled up here just to rot – and I felt they looked like whale carcasses – as if they had once been organic with past lives, but now lay abandoned and forgotten.
I left the boats and gained the path behind Altnaharrie house, and climbed up the hill to get a great view of Ullapool and the Coigach hills behind. From the high point it was a simple descent down towards the Dundonnell hotel that lay below the foothills of An Teallach, a formidable Munro with serrated ridges that towered high above it.