Dingwall to Bonar Bridge
I may have spoken too soon about the last 8 miles being “easily doable”, but more about that later.
When I checked into the hotel last night I was sure they’d said ‘breakfast starts at 7:30’. – As usual, on a long day, I was keen to get an early start and went down to breakfast at about 7:20… The breakfast room was full !! (Everyone must have had the same idea as me :-/ )
I was quite looking forward to today. An easy morning road section, then I’d be able to gain some height and test my ‘moorland legs’ ready for the next few days in the Highlands.
The walk this morning was very similar to yesterday afternoon’s. Quiet country roads (although not as quiet, I had to play ‘chicken’ with the traffic on the B9176). After that my route turned north west up ‘Strath Rusdale’ this road is a dead end – it was still pretty busy – after walking to it’s end the last 8-10 miles began…
My objective was to climb through the trees up onto the moor, cross the moor to a bridge into more trees, then up and over Church Hill, descend to a road, walk along then arrive in Bonar Bridge. (Sounds simple)
Now there is definitely a path marked on the OS Landranger through the trees. I consider myself to be a moderately experienced walker and can testify that there is definitely NO path on the ground. (Slightly annoying)
Then the moor….what an ordeal. I’ve crossed Bleaklow in Derbyshire a number of times using different taxing routes, but nothing compares to this. All your favourite moorland nightmares in one place; indistinct path, tussocky grass, heather & lots of bog.
I managed to find the bridge with no problems, then my route (described by my guidebook author) took me ‘through’ the pine plantation. Now these trees are planted pretty close together… what an ordeal (another one). To get out of the wood I had to climb the deer fencing, a first for me, that stuff is pretty high.
Whilst tackling the moorland between the plantation and Church hill I started to feel like I wanted to be somewhere else. Up & over the hill and down to the road. I’ve never felt so relieved to be on a road. That was the worst 8 miles of my life…
A note to anyone considering LEJOG in future. DO NOT use the route I used today 😉
In Bonar Bridge the B&B is great, the pub does great food; steak & ale pie followed by cranachan & a choice of 80 malt whiskies. (no cask ale again though)… I’ll sleep well tonight x
Mileage count: 1,141.6
Pint count: 243
Malt Whisky count: 22