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.
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