...continued from this thread...
Day 4: Strathcarron - Opinan
So... slightly demoralised after a tiring day of very little riding the day before I set off along the road to meet Robgarrioch at Achnashellach, planning to then climb from Coulags and take in the famous descent to Annat. As I had chickened out of my longer route the day before (via Bearneas bothy) I had time to kill so sat and read my book in the station for an hour or two until rob appeared having descended from the Coulin pass.
We set off and very soon the challenge was met on the climb up from Coulags
The Coulags climb was great fun, and I found myself attacking stuff that I wouldn't have bothered trying the day before. It was also good to have someone to chase up the trail.
After a (relatively) short push we started down the other side, I wasn't sure what to expect and was hoping just to make it down in one piece.
What a descent! long sections of rock and slab, interspersed with perfect corners and the occasional waterbar for variety. Both me and the bike were beginning to feel a bit 'tenderised' by the bottom though, so we stopped at the beach and had lunch with Liathach looming over us.
There was then a longish stretch of tarmac to Diabaig, before the final section of off-road to Redpoint and Opinan. Never before have I been reduced to twiddling my granniest gear on tarmac, but the roads around Torridon don't take any prisoners!
This was turning into a slightly epic day, and I had originally planned to stay in the Torridon hostel. However we had the hospitality of Rob's parents to look forward to, so continued to the end of the road and took the coastal path from Diabaig to Craig's Bothy and then Redpoint.
This path started brilliantly, and although we were tiring neither of us could resist tackling the trialsesque slab and rock sections on the well groomed track to Craig's.
McMoab eat your heart out!
Craig's itself was pretty unique as bothies go! Lots of wee murals inside and out, plus a hand-drawn map of local caves, pools and, um, rocks. No suggestion what-so-ever that people had spent a lot of time getting stoned here.
None at all.
Nice view out of the window too!
All good things must come to an end though, and the path further north of Craig's quickly deteriorated. The goats and views of the Cuillins kept us entertained though
eventually though the end was in sight, and after a glorious roll along the tarmac with views to die for, we made it to rob's parents, where we had a fine dinner and a few drams with rob's folks, until i detected my chat was descending into 'mumbled bollocks' and went to bed.
Day 5. Nothing.
Well, not strictly true, i got a guided tour of the Gairloch area, ate one of the most expensive bagels i have ever bought, did a fantastic walk above loch Maree, and walked a large number of hyper-energetic dogs. We also paid a visit to the Badacro inn, which easily competes with the Old Forge for excellent location and pints, I'll be back!
For better pics of the area see Rob's Loch Maree thread.
Day 6: Poolewe to Carnmore and An Tealach
Back on the bike, and with a growing sense of optimism about the trails, we set off for Fionn Loch and Carnmore.
The first mistake was to take the more interesting path around the north shore of loch Kernsary. A good enough path to entertain the unladen rider (perhaps) but not the best start to a potentially big day!
The trails got a lot better after that, with a noticeable abscence of my old friend the waterbar...
It was at this point Rob turned back, to return another day, so you can be spared any more nauseating bro-mance (and the good photos...)
The path to Carnmore continued well, getting a little rockier and wetter but still good riding, and the scenery got better and better as the cloud lifted.
Spot the bike below...
Carnmore wasn't quite a bothy, more a barn with some old beds in it, looked watertight though and there were no complaints from the climbers staying in it (especially not the under-provisioned guy I gave my spare oatcakes too...)
The climb out from Carnmore had occupied much of my attention since it had loomed into view, but thankfully the surface was pretty good, and to the unladen rider it might even have been entirely rideable. I wasn't suffering from any such delusions though..
In theory the hard work for the day was now done. It was all flat or downhill to Shenavall bothy beneath An Teallach.
The upcoming descent to Gleann na Muice Beag had been weighing on my mind though, after seeing this photo on Geograph. The traverse across the top of the bealach was a good trail threading in between the usual bogs and pools, with new mountaintops popping up over the horizon all the time (I actually confused Beinn Dearg Mor for An Teallach and stopped for a celebratory rollie and dram, only to round the corner and realise my mistake).
The descent was mad, but a great trail that got better and faster as it went.
Not An Teallach
From this point on it was only an hour pushing across Strath na Sealga, fording about four rivers (or the same one repeatedly) before finally making it to Shenavall bothy after a truly epic couple of days. The trip was coming alive.