324. Kylesku to Scourie

July 2018

Today promised to be a rather lazier day than usual largely because I was not starting my walk until gone midday. This is because there was only a single daily bus between Scourie and Kylesku (and even then only in the school summer holidays) and it does not depart until nearly midday. The alternative was to take the bus back in the evening but that was also later than I’d like and suggested a lot of waiting about. So I decide to go for the morning bus to Kylesku and walk back to Scourie. (Note that the bus now runs for more of the year).

I left Durness, where I was staying, later than usual and drove to Scourie where I parked near the shop, from which I bought my lunch from the day. I spent much of the morning sitting on the beach or the sea wall at the back of the beach. It was a pleasant enough beach, mostly pebbles, but with a bit of sand too.

Scourie

Scourie

When it was near time for the bus I headed to the bus stop. The timetable at the bus stop hadn’t been updated in at least 10 years (from the date on it) and it was a shame to see how much better the bus service used to be compared with now. However at least there was a service at all, as the alternative would be that I’d have to walk there and back.

The bus arrived on time and the driver was very chatty, telling me about the area. It would be the same driver I had to take me from Durness to Eriboll later in the week (but which I’ve already written up) so we knew that we would meet again. He dropped me off at the south side of the Kylesku bridge.

Kylesku

Kylesku is a tiny place really. The village, such as it is, is along a single road which has a shop, toilet and hotel along it. The hotel looked pretty nice and there were also boat trips operating from the slipway in front of it, taking you around Loch Glendhu, which the sign suggested has a number of pretty waterfalls.

Having reached the end of the road I was pleased to find there was a footpath from here back up to the Kylesku bridge, to save me doubling back along the road. The bridge is an impressive structure.

The Kylesku Bridge

Made of concrete it is flat but still manages to look quite good I think. I’m certainly glad of it’s existence because it crosses a narrowing in Loch Glendhu and without it, it would be a very long walk around.

The bridge has a pavement which means I can relax as I cross the bridge and enjoy the views, rather than dodge the traffic (as this is an A-road). I took a number of pictures from the bridge.

The Kylesku Bridge

The Kylesku Bridge

View from the Kylesku Bridge

View from the Kylesku Bridge

A plaque on the bridge informed me that it was opened by Her Majesty The Queen on the 8th August 1984 and replaced a ferry service that previously operated. In fact at the base of the cliffs I could see what could well be the remains of the old ferry slipway.

The Kylesku Bridge

Having crossed I’m now on a piece of land called Garbh Eilean. I might be terrible at Scottish Gaelic, but I’ve learnt enough to know that Eilean means island. Well it isn’t anymore, but it presumably once was.

The road sweeps left, on this once island giving a good view back at the impressive bridge.

The Kylesku Bridge

I can also see some lovely mountains, with the tops going in and out of the clouds. After the corner, the road climbs up through a cutting, presumably cut into the rock and offers lovely views back over Loch Glendhu.

The A894 near Kylesku

As soon as it has climbed it begins to descend again now to the “causeway” which presumably once separated Garb Eilean from the mainland. Again, it offers lovely views of the loch.

Near Kylesku

Near Kylesku

Near Kylesku

Near Kylesku

Near Kylesku

Near Kylesku

Once on the “mainland” the road begins to climb again, away from the loch but I get some final glimpses of the loch as I climb up, the extra height meaning I can now see much further up the loch.

Near Kylesku

Near Kylesku

I soon pass the road the leads down to the slipway, presumably where the ferry once ran. There are a few buildings down there too, perhaps another part of the village of Kylesku.

Near Kylesku

Now it’s a bit of a plod along the main road. Mostly this is better than I expected since for much of the time there is short-ish grass or gravel beside the road so I can get out of the way of there is a lot of traffic.

The road soon levels out a bit at a view point. A footpath leads from here to a place called Galascaig. However the path is a dead-end and ends just before the shore so I decide to keep to the main road as I don’t think there is much to see.

The road takes me past Loch Creag an Eich on the right, a little loch with lots of plants (lily of some sort, I think), suggesting the water is shallow.

Near Kylesku

Climbing some more the road soon reaches some woodland with glimpses down to a loch which has two names (according to the map). Loch Allt na h-Airbhe or Loch Yucal. I’ll go with Loch Yucal as I stand a slightly better chance of saying it correctly.

Near Kylesku

Near Kylesku

The woodland is part of Duartmore Forest and soon is on both sides of the road. However it looks to be smaller than it once was judging by the amount of it that has been felled beside the road.

I stop for a drink beside the road and am surprised when something very nearby moves. It turns out to be a toad. Not something I expected to find here.

Toad beside the A894

Through the woodland the road descends again down to Loch Duartmore. Here I have a choice. I can stick to the A894. Or I can follow the old A894. At some point the road here has been improved (perhaps when the Kylesku bridge opened) but the old road is at least partly in place. Although actually a little further inland than the main road it’s safer on a traffic free-route than an A-road and I am hoping for a break from the traffic.

In fact the old road goes through a small industrial area (a fish farm, I think) and then splits. To the right it’s a private road into the fish farm but the route of the old public road is off to the left. It’s clearly a route little travelled as it now has grass growing down the middle.

This soon reaches the old bridge over Loch Duartmore, fortunately still in place. Despite the noise from the fish farm, it’s an idyllic spot with a beautiful view.

Duartmore

I can see the more recent bridge on what is now the A894 across the loch. In fact the bridge crosses a stream that flows between Loch Yucal and Loch Duartmore. From Loch Duartmore it becomes the Duartmore Burn which soon reaches the sea.

A bit up from the bridge and away from the fish farm I stop for lunch, as I’ve been going over an hour and want somewhere away from the traffic (another reason I opted for this route).

Near Duartmore

After lunch I continue on the old road, which becomes increasingly rough and climbs before descending and soon heads back to Loch a Mhinidh and just beyond, the A894 again.

Near Duartmore

A gate across the old road prevents traffic using it now but I can get past it on foot and back onto the A894. Half a mile further up the road I have my eye on another diversion. Over to the left (this time nearer the coast) I can see a track leaves the A894 and follows the north side of a stream and turns north to meet a public road at Duartbeg which continues north back to the A894. I am hoping to take this loop instead, as it’s closer to the coast and again gets me away from the traffic. I suspect it is another old part of the A894, largely abandoned after re-alignment of that road.

Once again as I reach it there is a gate across the old road but I am pleased to see a prominent sign “Walkers Welcome. No unauthorised vehicles”. This is good news as it suggests I will be able to get through (and am unlikely to encounter much traffic). Once again the road soon has grass growing down the middle.

The road beside the Duartmore Burn

Soon there is another little bridge and further down a sort of embankment. It turns out there is another small fishing business down here, perhaps a small fish farm. The maintained part of the road ends at a body of water called Bagh Chalbha which is really part of the open sea. It’s nice to see the sea again – this is meant to be a coastal walk after all!

Loch na Creige Ruaidhe

Loch na Creige Ruaidhe

From here the old road turns to the right. It was clear the part I had been walking was still maintained for access. It is very clear that the part I am on now isn’t!

Disused road north of Duartmore

In fact the road is almost entirely overgrown, with just a tiny thin strip of tarmac in the middle that is still walkable, but even that is quite overgrown as you can see above.

Despite the tiny bit of tarmac there are still the remains of old “passing place” signs along it.

Disused road north of Duartmore

I continued north along the road which soon ran along the east side of Loch Duartbeg. A pretty little loch.

Disused road north of Duartmore

Just past this I reached the other end of the old road and emerged via a gate back onto the public road. Now the road was wide enough for a car again and soon I passed Loch Mhuilinn on the left and shortly after Loch a Chreagain Daraich on the right. This latter loch in particular was very pretty and I could just get a good view of it through a gap in the trees.

Near Duartbeg

Near Duartbeg

Near Duartbeg

Sadly this road soon turned away from the loch and began to climb again, back to the A894. This passes by the narrow Loch an Obain on the left this one a small sea loch.

Near Duartbeg

Beyond it I could see the huge number of islands out in the sea. They are all uninhabited and most are tiny, but it is really beautiful.

Near Duartbeg

Now I was back to dodging traffic on the A894 but despite this, it is a very scenic road and soon I was passing another loch on the right. This one is Loch Bad nam Mult.

Near Duartbeg

The road climbed past the loch and soon I was over the brow of the hill and descending into Badcall Bay. Here it looked as if it might be possible to follow a path west around the north side of the bay to the public road at Upper Badcall and follow that back north to the A894.

Heading north up the road I couldn’t see the path they all looked like private drives. I could try and walk along and see but I decided to take the easier option and stick with the main road. This took me past Loch Chreagain Theth on the right, another shallow loch with lily pads on it.

Near Duartbeg

Rounding the corner I was alongside Loch an Daimh Beag.

Near Duartbeg

Then there was the road to Upper Badcall on the left and immediately another loch, Loch an Daimh Mor.

Near Scourie

Near Scourie

Soon I had another dead-end road down to the left. A church was marked at the end but it was only short and didn’t get to the shore. The farm along it had huge piles of junk everywhere and I couldn’t see the church so I stuck to the main road.

Near Scourie

I was soon rounding the corner into Scourie, or the edge of it.

Near Scourie

Here there is a school and rounding the corner I soon came down to Scourie Bay. This was prettier than when I was here earlier, now with some sand visible (though the map shows it as entirely sand!). Scourie is a lovely village.

The beach at Scourie

The beach at Scourie

The beach at Scourie

The beach at Scourie

The beach at Scourie

The beach at Scourie

Now I had just a short walk around the back of this beach to the centre of the village, where I had parked earlier. (No I don’t know why there is a black area at the top right of these photos, but it had gone the next time I used the camera).

Scourie

Scourie

I knew when setting out on the walk today it was going to be mostly A-road walking which I was not especially looking forward to. So I was pleased I had been able to find a couple of diversions off it, onto part of the old route of the road which gave a break from the traffic. It turned out to be far more pleasant than expected with some lovely views and lots of little lochs and lochans to pass on the way and some views of the coast, albeit it often at a distance. Both Kylesku and Scourie are very pleasant little villages too, both set in stunning locations. This had been a good walk, quite relaxing by the standards of this trip and today with easy route finding which was a bonus.

Here are details of the public transport needed for this walk:-

Durness bus route 804 : Kinlochbervie – Rhiconich – Laxford Bridge – Scourie – Kylesku – Skaig Bridge – Lochinver (for connection to/from Ullapool). One bus per day each way, Tuesday and Thursday only, from May to end of October only.

Here are the complete set of photos for this walk : Main Link.

This entry was posted in Sutherland, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s