After many uncertainties and difficult times, the Knoydart Foundation achieved it’s goal of purchasing the Knoydart Estate of 17,200 acres which forms the core of the remote Knoydart peninsula, one of the most beautiful and wild parts of Scotland. The Trust is a partnership of the local community, the John Muir Trust, the Chris Brasher Trust, Highland Council and the neighbouring Kilchoan Estste and there is a big job to be done in managing the Estate in both community and conservation terms. Further information is available from the web site at http;//www.jmt.org
Knoydart is a wonderful estate for a holiday particularly for Munro Baggers and with this in mind, fourteen of us set off for a long weekend to enjoy ourselves in this remote place.
Katie and Diane took their bikes over from Mallaig on the ferry and cycled on the only road in the peninsula and the various landrover tracks. There is no road onto the peninsula and access is by boat only from Mallaig up Loch Nevis to Inverie or by boat to Barrisdale on the east side. There are a few other routes but they involve two day walk-ins. Paths on the mountains are good as they are used for stalking the deer in the shooting season.
We were accomodated in the up market Torrie Shieling bunkhouse which is not cheap but well worth the money for the comfort. Immediately we arrived at Inverie on the boat from Mallaig it was an eight hour hike up to the mighty Ladhar Bheinn and back in time for dinner cooked by Katie. Some say Ladhar Bheinn is in a setting which makes the views from it and towards it the best in Scotland and I would not disagree.
The approach was through Gleinn na Guiserein which is a sad, peaceful. lonely spot. The best way to do this mountain is probably from Barrisdale but this would mean coming over from Kinloch Hourn by boat and camping before the ascent and we would have missed the home cooking . The home made Coq au Vin was delicious and just the thing to revive us before a fifteen minute walk to the pub. Although there were eight of us on the walk and you could hardly say it was silent as most of us are chatterboxes, there are opportunities to walk alone and enjoy the peace of the mountains as we never met another soul all day.
The next day the baggers numbers swelled to ten to conquer mighty Meall Buidhe along a very muddy path but it was worth it at the top where we were exhilarated trying to stay upright in the wind but intoxicated by the marvellous views over to Beinn Sgritheall on the other side of Loch Hourn where I had been a few weeks previously. As it was my 150th Munro the five of us on the top had a wee celebration by cuddling together, mainly to stay upright as the wind was gusting and we were in danger of being blown over!
That night, we all enjoyed a lovely dinner at the only pub and restaurant in Knoydart which are surprisingly sophisticated given the remoteness of the area. A good few refreshments were taken before making our way back to the Torrie Shieling under a carpet of stars in the sky.
The next day I had intended to join the others on low level walks but the lure of another Munro was too much and we conquered Luinne Bheinn in fine weather. I later found we were lucky with the weather as it had been raining in Glasgow. Dinner was cooked that night by Ian Mac with Katie producing lovely baked apples and custard which was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
Those who went on the shorter walks were invited in for coffee at a house they were passing, such is the hospitality of the people of Knoydart.
It was a tired but happy bunch that travelled the road to Glasgow the following day. Everyone was well satisfied with Knoydart, including Diane Frame, whether they Munro bagged, cycled, had low level walks, relaxed or just hung out at the local pub and restaurant! Diane decided to name her new dog Knoydart to remember the weekend. We all agreed Knoydart had something for everyone and it is certainly on our list to return.