Thursday, 22 August 2019

Polnish to Peanmeanach, Ardnish Penisula - Highlands 15 Aug 2019

Polnish to Peanmeanach
Ardnish Penisula
Distance 11km Climb 550m
Thursday 15 August 2019

We were staying at The Goirtean, which is on the West coast of Scotland at Smirisary near Glenuig. We have been coming here for a few years now and enjoy the peace and wonderfulness of the area. On our way to The Goirtean, Danny had asked if we could visit the abandoned village. It took me some time to remember but he reminded me it was shown on a map at the Arisaig Land, Sea and Islands Centre. I am sure I had read that the area had been cleared during WWII so that the SOE could train people to return to occupied Europe. 

Today we were going on an adventure. Information from previous visitors to The Goirtean say it is a two hour hard walk there and a two hour hard walk back. With lunch, water, pop, crisps and waterproofs we set off. From The Goirtean there is a good half mile walk to the car park and this is a mini adventure in itself.

I drove us to the layby at Polnish on the A830, a few km west, north west of Lochhailort. Where there is a footpath sign showing it is 2 1/2 miles to Peanmeanach but someone has scratched it out and changed it to 3 1/2 mile. 

The footpath took us westward by what looks like a quarry or at least an area where gravel and stone is kept. To our right between the tree tops we had glimpses of the Skurr on Eigg.

It was a well marked path and we followed it down hill between the trees. As it first turned right then left taking us round a high feature, it soon narrowed. We crossed an area that was very wet and muddy. There had been a lot of rain over the last few days mainly at night which made the ground wet but the weather so far today was dry and sunny.

Through the trees to our right we could see the railway line, and on our left as we passed the high feature, Loch Dubh.

Crossing over the railway bridge, Anne said this would be a good spot to take a picture of the Harry Potter train that runs from Fort William to Mallaig.

The bridge has a sign not suitable to vehicular traffic. I cannot think of what vehicular traffic you could take over the bridge? Anyway once over the bridge it was a short distance between the trees then we reached a narrow shaky wooden bridge to cross over the stream. After walking between a few high bushes we reached open country and started a gentle climb.

After a couple of rises and falls we started climbing again and passed a group of people who must have been camping at Peanmeanach. We could see our path as it climbed ahead of us. Looking down to our right we could see Loch Nan Uamh opening up.

A short stop at a waterfall for a quick drink before we continued up. The path was now a lot steeper and we took another short stop, we could see across the Loch to where The Prince's Cairn stands.

A further steeper climb and we passed more people who must have camped at Peanmeanach. We were seeing as many people out here than we saw the other day when visiting Fort William High Street. In places the path was also a stream, so we were walking in water.

As the ground levelled slightly we turned southwards and could see the islands of Eigg and Rum to our right. On our left at the top, was a large boulder that Callum and Declan said looked like a space ship. We skipped and jumped across areas of muddy path, trying to keep our feet dry as you do.

Continuing southwards Loch Doir a' Ghearrain came into view on our left, east. There were people down by the Loch and more people sitting on the hills enjoying the sunshine.

We had a short break and a drink, enjoying the view. Moving a little further south Loch Ailort came into view.

After climbing up with a little more up and downy we now had a steep decent. Across Loch Ailort we could see the A861the road we drove on from Glenuig. Also the beach at Peanmeanach.

We could see a waterfall to our left, that fell into a stream. After a few hundred meters the stream and our path crossed. Stepping stones took us over the stream and our path continued around the side of the hill before dropping down under the shade of some trees. Large moss covered boulders stood to our left, from a distance we thought some of the boulders looked like houses.

The path was not as steep as we continued through more trees.

At the bottom the path came out onto a very large wet looking area, full of tall grasses and reeds. We could see the remains of the houses to our front. After a little look about it was decided to head straight across. As it turned out this was the path.

At Peanmeanach we met a lovely couple who were staying in the bothy. They were travelling and camping around the islands and beaches by sea kayak. Looking around the bothy it would be a nice place to stay.

After our lunch and a rest we set off on our return trip following the same path back to the car.

Crossing the stepping stones over the stream from the waterfall.

Then a climb.

A short stop on our way back.

Midges came out to hamper our return walk, even a little rain did not deter them. Neither a lot of rain as it turned heavier. There was no finesse now in crossing the muddy patches it was just get straight through.

Below we could see a bridge on the Fort William to Mallaig railway line. It was a quick photo as the midges were biting.

Then we had the steep climb down through the stream, wet stones and large steps.

Passed the waterfall and up and down to the shaky wooden footbridge

Then the railway bridge.

The muddy patch of ground was nothing now after some of the patches we had crossed so it was straight over then the climb through the trees back to the footpath sign.

I thought was a great adventure. It was hard to say how long it took us as we had plenty of stops. We had covered approx. 11km which fits in roughly with the amended sign, and approx. 550m climb. It had been a good day. Now it was time to visit the Lochailort Inn for a well deserved meal and drinks. Followed by the return walk to The Goirtean.

More to Follow

Boz North

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Dufton to High Cup Nick via High Cup Gill - Northern Pennines 31 July 2019

Dufton to High Cup Nick via High Cup Gill
Northern Pennines
Distance 15km Climb 525m
Wednesday 31 July 2019

I had been looking forward to today, this was our second ramble. I had last walked up High Cup Gill some time ago and was keen to show Les and Steve the beauty of the North Pennines.

Travelling to Dufton the weather was very similar to our first ramble, Seaham to Easington Colliery, very wet. The BBC weather forecast showed a weather warning, showers with the possibility of thunder and lightening later in the day. Some areas had seen some severe flooding. However approaching Dufton, Les checked a forecast which showed that we had a window of fair weather, which came just as we arrived and it lasted nearly all of our walk.

Steve parked up at the free Dufton car park and before setting off we took a few steps to have a quick look into the village. We saw the fountain which I believe was supplied by the London Lead Company and the footless statue of William Shakespeare at Wesley House. 

Walking back towards and passing the car park, we walked south east along the road we had driven in on from Appleby. As it was very warm we had a short stop where The Pennine Way joins the road, at the red warning flag, to remove our coats. 

Continuing south east, at the main road junction we turned left, east, towards Keisley and Murton. It was almost perfect walking weather but the hint of rain was not very far away.

There was a lot of surface water on the road, as the road rose and fell, rain water, ran either down the road to meet us or away from us as we crested the rises.

The countryside was opening up, fields and distant views to the right, hills to the left. As we walked the road directly to our front we could see Murton Pike. 

After just over 3km we reached Keisley Bridge which crosses over High Cupgill Beck, we would cross High Cupgill Beck a little later on, on our walk.

Just passed the bridge around the bend and after a short climb we reached the style that would take us on a footpath across a field to Harbour Flatt. 

From Harbour Flatt a footpath took us north east. The footpath runs next to a farm track. After dropping down to pass through a gate and cross Trundale Gill there is a little climb beside a gorge. We followed the path up and round to the left beside a fence then turned round the right hand edge of a deep pond. This took us across another short rise. 

Looking to our front we could see the length of High Cup Gill stretched out before us. From the rise we followed around to our right before it drops gently to the valley floor.  

The ground was soft and boggy in places, there had been a lot of rain over the last few days. 

The path levels and the bottom of the valley rises up to meet it near a wall. A herd of cows showed a little interest in us but not too much. We followed the wall, you can see how full and fast flowing High Cupgill Beck is. This was the beck we crossed at Keisley Bridge earlier on our walk.

Crossing the wall we could see how full of water the waterfall coming from Strands Beck was to our front, the Narrowgate Beacon was to the right. After crossing the wall we had a short stop for a quick snack and a warm drink. 

Continuing up the valley bottom, Les had a closer look at High Cupgill Beck, the water was very cold. The path now starts to climb along with the valley bottom. 

When we reached the boulder field, there was no distinctive path across, so we just found our own way. Somewhere on the boulder field we crossed the High Cupgill Beck which flows below the boulder field.

We were in an area where water was bubbling like springs, probably due to the amount of rain that had recently fell. The path now climbed steeply up the side of High Cup Nick. 

At the top we found a small dip which provided a little shelter from the wind. Where we had a short rest and I had a cheese and plastic ham sandwich with a cup of hot chocolate. Enjoying the views back down the valley. 

There were a few wild horses in the area.

After our snack we followed The Pennine Way round what the map shows as Narrow Gate Path.

Looking down to our left we could see Nichol Chair.

A little further down The Pennine Way, looking down High Cup Gill we could see the route we had walked.

We crossed Strands Beck, which was flowing fast.

As we descended in height, the rain returned very showery, it was time to put our coats back on. 

We reached the old quarry on the side of Dod Hill.

Before passing through a gate and following the footpath west.

A little way down and the rain had stopped enough for us to remove our coats again.

The Pennine Way led us to the road and the junction we had passed earlier in the day, with the red flag.

A right turn and we were back in Dufton.

Then a little climb with a twist left then right and we were back at the carpark. We had walked 15km with 525m climb. It had been a great day out, Thanks Les and Steve, I am already looking forward to our next ramble.

I have just had another look through all the photos and I feel I should add it was a brilliant day with Les and Steve.

More to follow

Boz North
Follow links to some of my previous walks to High Cup Nick not linked above, 
Dufton to High Cup Nick Sept 2017