Landranger 15 – just about as far North as you can go on the West coast of Scotland. The land is rugged – generally keeping to below 200m – and sprinkled with hundreds of lochs, and this allows the mighty peaks of the region to stand proudly above this landscape; Suilvan most notably in the environs of Lochinver.
A few twisty miles south of Lochinver sits Inverkirkaig with its curving pebble beach and idyllic views. My daughter’s family live there and this year we rented a cottage just down the hill from them. From the sun lounge of the cottage you can see across Loch Kirkaig to the Southern peninsula of the bay and trace the skyline and wooded banks with endless pleasure.
Inevitably you wonder what it would be like to traverse that skyline all the way to the trig point at 062192 and start to study the maps, which at first glance give no indication of the nature of the terrain. Logically it must be like that immediately surrounding the cottage – rock, boggy ground and endless bracken with few – if any – paths.
My son-in-law, a local, advises me that on the shores of Loch Rubha na Breige are the remains of a still from days long gone and that a path leads to it from a broken gate on the road, slightly south of the 74 spot height – and so it does, thin and boggy and with a tendency to disappear. All that remains of the still is a pile of rocks in a sea of bracken – just beyond the stepping stones that take you over the outflow of Loch an Arbhair.
But seeking this route has taken me below the skyline and I need to press on West towards my destination of the trig point. The ground is rough and running rarely possible. The land also plunges into minor valleys quite frequently and you need to choose your line carefully.
Once gained the trig point – on its pink-tinged plinth of rock – offers a marvellous panorama of unpronounceable lochs, bays and islands together with the distant peaks of Suilvan, Stac Pollaidh and others.
After the roller-coaster route so far I surveyed the land to the East more carefully and picked a line heading more SE. Easier going until the later stages I did manage to pick up another track and this took me down to the unnamed loch at 072182, from where I could scramble up to the road and make my way back to Inverkirkaig.
In 7.5 miles of ground all below 100m I still managed to accumulate 650m ascent! An enjoyable romp which made you survey the land constantly as you progressed, but not one I would suggest to anyone but those who enjoy a bit of rough off-road running.