NEW : See my campaign to establish a National Coastal Path here
I set off from Redpoint towards Torridon after spending the night getting buffetted by a strong northerly wind. In fact it was probably the windiest night spent in the van since I spent a rather scary night at Dunnet Head Lighthouse. This wasnt quite as windy, but windy enough for me to calculate in my head which way I’d be facing if the van blew over. That kind of preoccupation doesnt help getting a good night’s sleep.
I had Audrey’s help, who agreed to come up and drive the van around the road past Loch Maree, Kinlochewe and to meet me at the end of the walk which we agree would be at Inveralligin, a small collection of cottages at the foot of Ben Alligin and on the northern shore of Loch Torridon. I set off along the footpath and headed for the bothy at Craig which used to be a youth hostel. There are no roads to Craig and it was probably one of the most remote youth hostels as it was a 6 mile walk to get to it from Redpoint. Presumambly it’s isolation led to its demise. It started to rain on the way there and the path was poor – but more or less what I expected – slippy, sucking black peat, well churned-up in places.
The bothy itself was in good nick and had a well stocked supply of firewood next to the hearth. There was a large Celtic Mural drawn on the wall, which certainly grabbed your attention as you walked in. I signed the visitor book, had a quick bite to eat and took off my fleece and jacket in a futile attempt to dry them out a little. I didnt hang about long and took to the path that led away to the south – this path was much better, and had a lot of work put into it. It led over higher ground and because most of it was over rock, the going was much better and allowed me to enjoy the view. When I reached Lower Diabaig I elected to climb the very steep hill out of the village along the road rather than follow what may or may not have been a path around the small headland into Loch Torridon. I was aware that Audrey would probably be on her way to meet me and I didnt want to miss her. As it happens, I did miss her and walked all the way into Torridon to meet her as I couldnt see her at Inver Alligin. When I reached Torridon after 17 miles I was seriously worried that something had happened. I had arranged to meet her around about 4.30 and it was now 6.30. As I skirted the path around Torridon House, i resolved to call the police in case there had been an accident. I did call them and explained my predicament; they agreed to send a patrol car to the youth hostel at Torridon to take my details. Just as I ended my call, I got a call from Audrey who asked where I was. I was so relieved but bit annoyed as I knew that there was a phone box at Inveralligin and wondered why she hadnt tried calling me if she couldnt get a signal on her mobile. I was tired and irritable as I had also walked an extra 5 miles that I hadnt intended to. However my sense of relief that she and the van were in one piece countered that feeling. I called the police back and told them that everything was sorted and to call back the patrol car. They were very understanding although I did feel a bit of a wally 😉