Walk from Loch an Loin

Jude’s friend Kate had been away since we arrived in Lochcarron, so today was a day for the two of them to catch up on things.  I decided to do what I thought would be a short 10k/6 mile walk from Loch an Loin (on the Shieldaig A896 road) back to Lochcarron…

So Jude dropped me off at the start and navigation for the first few miles, around the loch and along river, was quite simple.  The path then seemed to disappear.  According to the map, I needed to be going east, but the river bent 90 degrees to the south.  So off I went across the open moorland, keeping the sun and the high mountains to my right.  I hadn’t studied the map too closely, but I was looking for a gap in the mountains to bring me back to Lochcarron.

It’s  a funny thing when you look at the terrain and then the map, how you make things fit, even though, in your heart of hearts, you know there’s something wrong.  Like the wide river which was running along the valley and that loch.  My map only showed a small trickle of a stream and no loch.  Also, you often think that you’ve walked further than you have, particularly along difficult terrain, so I wasn’t too worried that I hadn’t reached the gap yet.  Also, since the sun was shining brightly, I had plenty of time to get to my destination, or maybe go back the way I came…

After what must have been 2 hours of trudging over the moorland, a gap opened up to the right.  ‘At last!’ I thought, and made my way up to the col, fully expecting to see Lochcarron below.  However, my heart sank when all I saw was a loch with steep sides on the far side…

I was lost!  Well, at least I thought I was, until I checked the shape of the loch against my map.  It had two pieces of land sticking in from the sides, one large and one small.  Piecing everything together, it then became clear; instead of heading east, I’d been going north east and was now back at the same loch I’d seen 2 days before – Loch Coire an Ruadh-staic.   To position myself back on the map,  was a huge relief I can tell you.  And I was glad to have done that route before to know the quickest way ‘home’.

So it was that I again did the steep descent from the col below Maol Chean-dearg.   But just when you think you’ve seen it all before, a ptarmigan popped out from the side of the path and I nearly trod on a lizard sunbathing on a rock.  I haven’t measured it accurately but my short walk was probably nearer 16k or 10 miles.

2 thoughts on “Walk from Loch an Loin

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