What a weekend we had in Wester Ross! Peter was down to his last three Munros, and two were in the remote Fisherfield Forest – an 11-mile trek to the start of the climb from the nearest village, Poolewe.
We had planned to get a boat over to Letterewe and start the walk from there but unfortunately the chap who was going to take us over was away in Skye at the weekend. So the plan changed to a cycle and walk in to Carnmore, where there is a bothy (of sorts). Having seen a photo of it on the web, I opted to take the tent instead!
It meant a couple of kilogrammes of extra weight in the rucksack, but it was going to be heavy anyway! At first, the bike trailer took the strain – though I did have Peter’s bag in there too so it was a bit unbalanced. After nearly five miles, the best of the bikeable track was finished at the edge of the forest beyond Kernsary, so we dropped the bikes in the trees and put the sacks on our backs.
From there, it was a long walk out into the wilderness. And it was raining. We finally reached the causeway between Fionn Loch and Dubh Loch and by now the weather was improving. Failing to see a suitable camping spot this side of the causeway, we crossed and had a look near Carnmore Lodge – where we also looked inside the barn to see what it was like. It actually wasn’t as bad as I’d imagined, but having dragged my tent all that way I was determined to use it!
We pitched the tent before nightfall and got stuck into making brews and dinner then had a very early night, setting the alarm on my phone for a 4am start the next day.
It was a cold, dark morning so it was tough to get out of my cosy down sleeping bag, but we had two Munros to bag for Peter so we got breakfast going and set off for the hills by 5am. Peter wondered off in the wrong direction at first, despite us being about 10 yards from the clear track we needed to be on! Oh well, I suppose it was early.
The darkness only eased by the time we approached the bealach two-and-a-half hours later, then we saw the awkward route up Ruadh Stac Mor which we had imagined would be a relatively easy if steep slope to the summit. We eventually discovered a path of sorts winding its way up through the red sandstone, boulders and eroded grass to the summit trig point – leaving Peter with just two Munros to become a compleater.
Returning to the bealach, I left my sack while we went up the more straightforward A’ Mhaighdean. The summit has a spectacular view out west to Loch Ewe and beyond, with Dubh Loch and Fionn Loch mapped out below. We could just make out the red dot which was my tent a long way below. By the time we got back to the bealach, it was only 10.30am, and we were back at ‘base camp’ by lunch time.
Still, it was a long way to Poolewe. We packed up and headed off – now fully laden again – taking in the impressive views as the weather improved with the day heading to a close. It was a tough 6 miles or so back to the forest, where I was happy to be able to get the sack off my shoulders and into the bike trailer again.
It was starting to get dark now, so the lights went on. Soon it was pitch black as we headed through Kernsary and ultimately along the tarmac track to the car at Poolewe.