WEDNESDAY 11TH MAY, 2011
HOPE TO PORTNANCON – 17 MILES 8 HOURS
MORRIS, DEREK, KEITH, GARRY, JAMES, PHIL, ALAN AND STEWART
TOTAL DISTANCE WALKED SO FAR 788 MILES
After breakfast we loaded our vehicle and said our goodbyes to Angela and Jimmy, ever helpful proprietors of the guesthouse which we can only describe as superb and would recommend to everyone. . Today we would meet up with James, Phil, Alan and Stewart who were travelling up from Edinburgh. For the next three nights we would be staying in Durness. We left the minibus at Hope to be collected by James and set off in sunshine walking along the west side of the River Hope and made our way to the small beach at Rhub’ a’ Mhuilt. Like yesterday the shoreline cliffs and rocks appeared to be white and pink quartz which was quite striking in the bright sunlight. Underfoot conditions varied from grass to thick heather or bracken and as we gained height round the point passed the lighthouse into Loch Eriboll we were again grateful to use sheep tracks to find our way along some particularly steep sections. On reaching Ard Neakie we made our way down to the road to view the harbour and old lime kilns. Leaving Ard Neakie we had to walk on the grass at the side of the road for almost a mile before we could return to the sea edge. Walking through Kempie we stopped at the point at An t-Sron and enjoyed a tea break in the warm sunshine watching the feeding activity at the salmon farm in the bay beneath us. As we sat in the sunshine looking back up the loch it was hard to imagine the sight in May 1945 when 31 German U-boats surrendered in Loch Eriboll at the end of WW2. Suitably refreshed we walked on and a short distance ahead at Eriboll we were joined by the rest of our group. We continued down the loch side making our way across the gravel at the mouth of Lochan Havurn before crossing the river at the road bridge. We made our way back to the loch edge which we followed for the last five miles passed Eilean Choraidh island to the end of the days walk at Portnancon. On arrival in Durness we enjoyed our end of walk pint in the welcoming Smoo Cave Hotel where some of our group were accommodated for the next three nights.
Summary; Excellent days walking which proved challenging at parts particularly the steep hillsides above the cliffs. Great weather.
Highs; Fantastic coastal scenery.
Lows; Two 8 foot high deer fences near Eriboll.
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