Sunday 3rd May
To Euston for the sleeper to Inverness. Two bargain berths at around £90 seems good value and we have dinner on board.
Monday 4th May
The train arrives an hour late at Inverness so we miss our bus to Shiel Bridge. The rail company pay for a taxi to take us there.
From the car we noted the snow along the face of the South Shiel ridge – on my route for the following Sunday. We had tried to book at Ratagan Youth Hostel and some other places but because it was bank holiday there were not many rooms available. Happily we ended up at Kintail Lodge Hotel which we reach in less than two hours.
On arrival we rearrange our packs, get a couple of sandwiches from the bar and head out to find the path onto the Five Sisters ridge. Get a view over to the other side before returning for tea.
Tuesday 5th May
We want to walk to Glenelg on Wednesday unless the forecast is bad. If we arrive on Tuesday we will have to sleep in our landlady’s bed as she has a full house. The weather is rather uncertain, but we opt to stay another day at Shiel Bridge. We take our packed lunch on the path to the Falls of Glomach. It rains all day. This path is unusual in that it reaches the waterfall from the top. We get above it, but it is late and the prospect of spending 40 or more minutes walking down the muddy slope and then up again was not attractive and we turned back.
Wednesday 6th May
We pack everything ready for our walk over to Glenelg. As we leave the hotel the rain stops. There’s a mile or so on the road back to Shiel Bridge campsite where the path leads up the glen to the south.
I can feel the presence of the Saddle ridge ahead hidden by cloud as we turn west up on the shoulder, the low point that leads us over towards the coast. I’m due to come back this way in a couple of days to head up on the high ridge.
Once on the downward trajectory the views open out with the hills of Skye on the horizon, but no sight of the sea or Glenelg which are hidden by the sloping land before them. We head for the North road to bring us to our destination. The Southern route holds more interest and variety but I’m saving that for Friday’s itinerary.
We find our BandB and, unfortunately, the other guests have extended their stay so we have to sleep in the landlady’s bedroom anyway. The local Inn provides adequate food for the evening and a nice bottle of wine to accompany it.
Thursday 7th May
Glenelg is a pretty spot, with good views in every direction, although the dark hills of Skye just a short distance across the water to the west tend to dominate.
We explore the South road with its three brochs and the tea waggon where we were treated to delicious home made cake.
And later the shoreline with the ruined Bernera Barracks constructed by British troops between 1715 and 1723 in order to suppress the locals. In use until about 1800.
We had booked a table at the Inn for dinner and warned them to expect several later arrivals as TGOers assemble for the start the next morning. 10 were scheduled to start from Glenelg, and by 9.30 o’clock we were 7 at the table puzzling over the local quiz in aid of Nepal. Despite this large assembly of brains and a team more than double the size of others we only came third.