TGOC2011 – Day 1 – Torridon to Craig (and a bit further)

The plan, today, was to walk back along the road to Annat then (more or less) follow Scottish Hill Tracks route 287 to Achnashellach Station then walk along the A890 to Gerry’s Hostel at Craig.   I’d seen the Scottish Rights of Way Society signposts on my walk from Shieldaig, so I knew I could find the start of the off-road part of the walk.

There was also this more rustic sign – although it took me about ten minutes of dithering before I could find “Coulags” on the map to be certain that I was going the right way.  The weather was drizzly but not too unpleasant yet.

The climb from Annat was quite steep so I was grateful to have the excuse of taking a few photos whilst catching my breath.

At first, the paths were much better than I had been expecting but everywhere was wet underfoot and the sky was dark and cloudy.  I had my hood up and sleeves rolled down nearly all day due to the cold wind and heavy showers.

Despite the weather, I was really enjoying being out in the wilds.  The wind made it difficult to stand still while taking photos, and I had to keep my camera in a plastic bag to protect it from the driving rain, but this was fun!

It was bound to happen at sometime, but somewhere in the forest above Achnashellach I got lost.  I think I know what I did; I should have gone further South before going East, but the forestry works confused me and by the time I realised I’d missed Achnashellach Station (and the tea rooms, oh woe!) I couldn’t be bothered turning back.  I walked though the forest and joined the road where it crosses the railway.

I intended to stay at Gerry’s Hostel but I hadn’t booked and, when I got there, it was all shut up and there was no response to my knocking on the door.  Not to worry; I sat on a log and ate my lunch.  After a while I decided to phone the hostel number I’d jotted down before I left home – but no reply.  It was still only early evening so I made up my mind to walk a little further and find somewhere to camp.  After another 3 or 4km I camped by the Allt a Chonais and spent a quiet but windy night in my tent.

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