Knoydart: A Virgin’s Tale

Ladhar Bheinn – 1020m
Meall Buidhe – 946m
Luinne Bheinn – 939m
Date: 21st & 22nd April 2012
Distance: 14 miles & 17 ½ miles
Ascent: 1800m & 1780m
Time taken: 10 hours (both days)
Weather: Glorious
Two Feet Four Paws: Anne, Bill and Molly

Despite Molly and I visiting Knoydart several times on our Munro and Corbett rounds, Bill had never visited before so was keen to see what he had been missing. We were staying at the dog friendly B&B at Knoydart Lodge and unusually our trip coincided with some fantastic dry weather.

Mallaig was teeming with tourists, the pile of luggage on the quay next to MV Western Isles looked like it was about to gain Munro status before it was all loaded onto the boat and the voyage to Inverie begun. After a few minutes we rounded the headland and Inverie came into view nestling below Sgurr Coire Choinnichean. On arrival at Inverie we were greeted by our host Morag and driven to Knoydart Lodge where we strolled down to the beach, luxuriated in our comfy room and enjoyed the sunset over Inverie Bay from the conservatory.

Molly enjoyed the beach,

Ahead of us lay a whole weekend to indulge in our favourite activities…………..hill walking, eating and drinking. No internet, no mobile phone reception and a real sense of getting away from it all.

On Saturday we warmed up with a circuit of Ladhar Bheinn, enjoying the contrasts of its northern slopes dusted with snow and the greeny browns of winter grass and mosses on the southern side. We left Inverie and walked up Gleann na Guiserein, to emerge onto the open hillside by the ruins at Folach. It was a long slog onto the ridge with tantalizing glimpses north and across to Skye as the cloud swirled around us. The day got better as we walked around the rim of Corrie Dhorrcail and completed the circuit over the knobbly ridge of Aonach Sgoilte.

The ruins at Folach.
The endless pull up onto the Ladhar Bheinn ridge.

Barrisdale Bay.

Above Corrie Dhorrcail.
The Aonach Sgoilthe ridge.

That evening we ambled down to the Old Forge for drinks and a meal and walked back along the shore by headtorch.

An early start on Sunday saw us walking up Gleann Meadhail through a carpet of primroses and a surprising number of daffodils. There was also a herd of highland cows with several very inquisitive calves who seemed far less bothered by our presence than their mothers. The feeling of spring in the air was overwhelming with the flowers, calves, warm sunshine, blue skies and a glance up at the tops showed that the previous day’s snow had almost completely vanished.

The Brockett Memorial in Gleann an Dubh-lochan.

On my first visit to Meall Buidhe, Andy and I had walked up Gleann Meadail to the high point of the path and made a direct ascent north onto the ridge and then over the SE top to the summit. Today we decided to repeat this route and half way up the never-ending slog up the steep grassy slopes above the Mam Meadail I remembered why I had chosen to avoid this route ever since! Once we reached the summit the views and a rather massive packed lunch, courtesy of the B & B, managed to cheer Bill up a bit and he forgave me for my poor route choice.

The ridge between Meall Buidhe and Luinne Bheinn is convoluted to the extreme and must be how the ‘Rough Bounds’ of Knoydart got their name. The ridge now has a clear path over it and even in clag, route finding wouldn’t be too complicated. Today however we were able to savour the ridge, which we seemed to sharing with a huge number of red deer.

We were lucky enough to arrive at the summit of Luinne Bheinn five minutes before a bank of cloud rolled in from the north, obscuring our views. A lasting memory of previous visits to Luinne Bheinn was the three hour walk out back to Inverie, a fact I conveniently chose not to share with Bill!

Sadly, the Mam Barrisdale track is in now a very poor state of repair, waterlogged and heavily eroded but even so we had to marvel at the fortitude of the cyclists whose tyre tracks we followed down the glen. We had never seen such a carpet of primroses like the one that lined either side of the path and in places the whole hillside was a vivid yellow, but sadly it was at this point we remembered that we had forgotten to re-charge the camera batteries.

It was two very footsore walkers who staggered back to the pub that evening, on the way home Bill commented that he had found his first visit to Knoydart rather agreeable, so much so, that he wouldn’t mind coming back again next year.





























The Brocket Memorial from Gleann Meadail
























Luinne Bheinn from Meall Bhuidhe
























Luinne Bheinn from the long walk out down Gleann an Dubh-Lochain














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