Monday, January 01, 2007

Walking Into A New Life.(Scourie To Sheigra).

I left Scourie early the next morning. I’d got more than twenty miles to walk today, and it looked like being hot. Again the day’s walk was to be along public roads to either Oldshoremore or Sheigra, depending on whether or not I liked what I found at Oldshoremore. When I talk about walking along public roads, don’t get the impression that I was forever dodging cars or whatever because there were no cars — well not many anyway. A lot of the way the road was nothing more than a single track road with passing places. My first port of call today was Laxford Bridge seven miles from Scourie, which I reached after passing Loch na Claise Fearna, and Badnabay.

The views I had over Laxford Bay were stunning, the sky was almost totally clear and blue, the water was crystal clear and invitingly cool.

Shortly after Laxford Bridge I came to the multi-coloured rock face Pearl had told me about the night before - it was truly marvelous, although I was to see some even better the next day.

Five miles on from Laxford Bridge I arrived at a place called Rhiconich,which is situated at the south eastern end of Loch Inchard.
After Rhiconich I stopped for lunch, I sat under a blazing sun, to the northwest I could look out over the dark blue waters of Loch Inchard.

To the southeast I had an excellent view of the mountains, Foinaven, Arkle and Ben Stack, So clear was the day it was hard to imagine Ben Stack was seven miles away.
The following four miles to Kinlochbervie which is situated at the other end of Loch Inchard could be classed as a built-up area in these parts. I must have passed nearly thirty dwellings which made up the three villages of Achriesgill, Inshegra, and Badcall.

No matter how benevolent one is you would be hard pressed to say that Kinlochbervie was anything but a mess when I passed through it. The road into and through the village was being considerably upgraded. Then there was extensive re-development going on around the docks area. All in all I was pleased to put the fishing port of Kinlochbervie behind me.
I was also just as pleased to reach Oldshoremore two miles further on.

The heat of the day was beginning to take its toll. The sun was still beating down from a cloudless sky. Apart from making me hot, it was also making me very weary — and sunburnt!

Leaning against a fence post, just before reaching my intended camp site at Oldshoremore was a sign that read, "Camping", And an arrow pointing down a narrow, steeply descending road that led to the sea. Mmm! I thought, it would be nice to spend another night camped by the sea. So, I decided to check it out. On the way down the hill I passed a bungalow, in the garden an old man sat in a deck chair, looking out over the beautiful sun drenched bay. Ah! thats the life, I thought to myself. Sadly it’s the sort of life that was not a part of mine. Instead I had to press on down the ever steeper hill, past a large caravan that was home for a lot of brown hens.

"Enjoying your holidays, ladies?" I asked, very softly, just in case someone was listening. The sun had addled my brain but I didn't want everyone to know it!

The camp site at the bottom of the hill was heavenly. I could quite happily have spent the night there had it not meant sharing the field with four cows. Sure there was already a tent and three caravans in the field and the cows weren't paying them the slightest bit of attention. However, knowing how inquisitive cows can be I decided not to chance my luck, besides there were two more sites close by, and even if neither of those were satisfactory there was no shortage of moorland to choose from. I reckoned it was better to spend another night sleeping on a tussock than have a cow spend the night sleeping on me!
So, with reluctance I retraced my footsteps back up the hill, past the hens who cocked a head calmly, and on past the old man who must have thought me barmy, to the second camp site at Oldshoremore. This one was as ugly as the last one had been beautiful. The site was small, surrounded on three sides by tall conifers, the fourth side being occupied by a large house. If it was part of your garden, it’s the sort of place where you would keep the dust bins, or make the compost heap. The day and my mood were much too bright to have to stay at such a gloomy site. I put my rucksack down, then sat on the warm, soft grass drinking water and looking at the map ‑ it was so hot! Perhaps the cool shade of those trees wouldn't be such a bad thing after all. But even more tempting was the sight that greeted my eyes as I gazed at the map. The impression it gave was of the camp site at Sheigra being really close to the sea and a sandy beach. If only Sheigra wasn't a further three miles along this narrow, twisting, melting road. But, even so the temptation was too great, and so off I set once more, first of all cursing my leg for being so stiff, then after a while the glorious scenery once again started acting like a pain killer and I started to thank my lucky stars that I had two legs thus enabling me to enjoy such a wonderful pastime.
The walk past Oldshore Beg, Blairmore, Balchrick, and on to Sheigra was an absolute delight. To the right was endless sun drenched, rugged moorland, to the left, the dark blue sea. After Balchrick I descended a hill, rounded a corner, and came face to face with paradise.
Paradise of course means different things to different people. If you like busy streets, bright lights, amusement arcades, and noisy nights, then Sheigra is not for you. Sheigra is situated in a sheltered hollow, one end of which opens out to the sea. It had an air of peace and tranquillity about it that appealed to me immensely.
The campsite was situated just behind the little sandy beach. I pitched my tent and promptly set about preparing a shepherds pie, which I demolished with no problem. This was followed by a fruit cocktail and a cup of tea. After which I went exploring. First the beach, followed by a scramble up some rocks to survey my surroundings. Once again I found myself wonderstruck by the beauty before my eyes. The view to the south being particularly grand.
In amongst the rocks were lots of delightful little plants.
The view to the north west wasn't too bad either, especially when the sun was setting.
So captivated was I by this enchanting place I had to force myself to go to bed that night. One of the advantages of being so far north in the summer are the exceptionally long days. I never once saw it really dark, even at Shiegra when I closed my eyes for the last time at 11.45 p.m.
To Be Continued below...


Blogger Imma (a.k.a. ... Alice) said...

Exquisite beauty! What an incredible walk this has turned out to be. For ever so long I've wanted to travel to Scotland and have a look... thank you so much, Bob, for giving me the opportunity to do this.

2:46 AM  
Blogger HORIZON said...

"Enjoying your holidays, ladies?"- LOL
All this walking in the days really before mobile phone acclaim! Bet your mum and dad worried though.
Love the scenery and am blessed to live in such. l should go walking more often. Truth is that most of us who live in areas like this don't appreciate what we have, a place that has still not been overpopulated and blasted with sign posts etc.

12:23 PM  
Blogger Jeanette said...

Gday Bob.
What can I say, all that walking."Oh my aching feet" the Scenery just beautiful.You make me want to come back for another holiday in Scotland. Take care keep the kettle boiling.

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having holidayed in Sheigra this made me very wistful. I long to return.

7:51 PM  

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