I had spotted a weather window which offered a three-day dry spell with light winds and looking reasonably warm for the Gairloch area. I then decided to try my luck with local accommodation in and around Gairloch, as being stuck in the back of a car or in a tent for three nights was not very appealing. I searched on the AirBnB site and was surprised to find a number of reasonably priced accommodation. I selected “Bob’s Place” which was newly listed on AirBnB and based in the centre of Gairloch. Bob is a keen and avid walker, and enjoys both high and low-level walks; so much so that he recently relocated to Gairloch from his Bristol home. Bob has accumulated an amazing volume of walking kit and equipment which is well on a par with any reasonably stocked Tiso Store! I had my own room at Bob’s Place for two nights at a fantastic rate.
The Gairloch area unfortunately does not have the best transport links, but with my bicycle, a school bus and a lift from Bob I could make a serious stab at getting to Poolewe after three days of walking.
I drove up the day before and reached the car park at Incheril, Kinlochewe , where I slept in the car for the night. The place was empty again and I had a quiet night. I set my alarm for 08:00, but it was still quite dark when I looked out of the window, so I drove very slowly down Loch Maree waiting for it to get lighter. I arrived in Gairloch and parked at the Community Hall.
As soon as it was just about light to begin walking safely, I set off. I popped into the local McColls shop to get a coffee and continued along the A832 pushing my bike. Because no public transport runs out to Red Point I was going to have to do an out-and-back, using my bicycle for the return leg.
Gairloch is quite a strung-out community and merges into another local settlement of Charlestown. I enjoyed walking on a good footpath alongside the main road to the far edge of Charlestown, although the road was not particularly busy at 8:45 in the morning. After Charlestown I was walking along the verge for a few miles until the turn off for the B8056 which pointed me across a bridge over the River Kerry and on to Red Point.
I soon arrived at the small hamlet of Shieldaig, confusingly spelt the same as the Torridon Sheildaig and with its own Loch. I got superb views over Loch Shieldaig back towards Gairloch. I climbed out of Shieldaig and followed Loch Bad a’Chrotha, which had originally been dammed, but was now breached at its western end to allow outfall from the Loch. I descended into another village, Badachro with its own popular Inn and jetties offering shelter to yachts and boats. I climbed out of Badachro and followed the shoreline of the freshwater loch of Loch Bad na h-Achlaise. I then passed through a series of widespread settlements with a range of white houses scattered either side of the small single tracked road. I passed through Port Henderson, Opinan and South Erradale.
The road rose again for the final time before dropping down to Red Point. I had excellent views looking east towards the Flowerdale mountains, south-west across to Rona and Skye. Although I had occasional patches of blue sky, the sun did not make an appearance all day. At Red Point I simply turned around and began cycling back to Gairloch, where I arrived back at 14:45 with the light disappearing fast.
NB: I also publish all my Scottish Blog entries on the excellent Scottish Hills website, I use the same narrative, but larger photos and a few extra ones. They can be found here:
Distance today = 13 miles
Total distance = 4,472 miles
One thought on “248. Gairloch to Red Point”
I did a shorter route from Shieldaig to Red Point and then walked back. I followed the road mostly on the outward route but took the dead-end road out to Uamh an Fhreiceadain (don’t ask me to say that) just west of Port Henderson (which I can say!). From here I was able to make my way around the coast to the beach at Opinan, to give me a break from the road (there was more traffic than I had expected). On the way back I had planned to take the path from Redpoint back to South Erradale but could not find the start of it so gave up with it and returned to the road.
However I did then take the second path from just north of South Erradale to Badachro because it was shorter and would make a break from the road but that was a mistake! It might have been shorter distance but it was much much harder so took much longer than it would have to returned back on the road. It was very beautiful though. The path was quite well signed but quite a few bits were over boggy moorland with no obvious path on the ground, so needed to be careful with the navigation.