Walking 1004.9 miles from John O'Groats to Lands end in aid of Accommodation Concern! (starts august 3rd 2014)

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Day 2 17/6/2013– Evacuation!

Cape Wrath Light house
Waking to a clearing sky we get the nasty surprise of being told that everyone is being evacuated from Kearvaig as an Raf bombing practice is going to take place within the hour, no more than half a mile from the bothie!
Quickly packed this works to our advantage as the evacuation sees us getting a free lift to Cape wrath light house taking a chunk out of the route! Even better there's a cafe at the light house so tea and sandwiches are consumed as we watch a Typhoon circle kearvaig stack a small granite island the Raf have been bombing since 1927, tho this has allegedly caused no damage in all this time! Disappearing above the clouds the the Typhoon repeatedly hits the island with small and largely unimpressive bombs..... Could explain why the island still exists!

Distant explosion on An Garbh-eilean




With the bombing over and full belies (cunning easy to trap the tourist pound!) we leave the farthest north West point and head south along the wild and deeply undulating coastline in quickly improving weather, past a small group of dear we leave the track and start off across the unusually dry boggy landscape passing many cluster of insectivorous sundew plants (more obviously needed for midge control!), occasionally dodging inland or down and up we pass a variety of gulleys,  as lunch time arrives and with the sun now a regular thing we find a suntrap by steam to make tea and fill up on food.

As we progress south the cliff's become more broken and at one point look remarkably like abandoned building works! Or the building blocks of the gods ;-)
Heading steeply down to the bay of Keisgaig we sit to catch our breath and get the treat of watching two sea Otters playing and bathing by rocks in the bay, and briefly a seal showed it's head and then swam off, a great day for wildlife!.
As we get within reach of today's destination the river Strath Chailleach blocked our way and some fording was required. Boggy land beyond it before we climbed the last Hill and get presented with an impressive view of Sandwood bay which due to the appearance of two scout(?) groups wasn't the solitary beach experience expected, but beautiful none the less, setting up camp on the shore of the fresh water Sandwood loch we dine then settle in for the night with a view of the mountains east over the loch.


Sand wood bay in all its glory!!!



Day one 16/6/2013

Still sleepy after a good night at the Sangomore camp site in Durness and with a quick breakfast inside, we leave town on an impressively small  A Road that wouldn't even warrant a B classification back home and being Sunday morning no one was about but us tourists.
Reaching the kyle of Durness we turn right for the ferry at Keoldale, which left us with a wait till 11 am when the first ferry departure took the form of a small motor boat, squeezing in with a group of assorted tourists and college girls studying the local geology, we soon cross the quarter mile to the ramp on the opposing shore, uphill away from the vans our fellow tourists are taking to Cape wrath we gain a high view of the kyle and out to the north Sea.
Around a headland and down to an old rickety bailey bridge where a view past a tiny Dail farm entertained us while we had lunch.
Once more uphill on the only track to the lighthouse at cape wrath we pass into the military bombing danger area, passing an old bothie at loch inshore we walk between the peaks of Maovally and  Sgribhis-bheinn we reach the turn off to kearvaig bay and it's immaculate bothie.




 upon entering the bothie Alfie comes face to face with a double! Another border terrier also named Alfie! Belonging to one of three chaps who have the pleasure of maintaining Scotlands bothies, we later discovered that Alfie 2's dad looks after a bothie we passed when we walked to John O'groats... Small world!.
With the tents up on the grass overlooking bay we went of to explore the cliff's , so glad we did as just out of sight from the beach but visible from the cliff's were a small group of puffins! The first I've seen in the wild!



Back to the bothie to chat with our neighbours and the whisky Old  Poultney started to flow, way to soon this evening ended and we returned to the tents, but oh what what a beautifull sunset!!!!




A selection of the flora we got used to walking amongst.....


Sundew



Pyramid Orchid