I knew before we left that we were likely to have a good time on Knoydart. I think I was slightly anxious about how some of the others who'd never been before were going to find it. I needn't have worried - they loved it.
It's not the easiest place to get to but access now is much improved to my first visit back in 2001. We'd organised a boat charter with Knoydart Seabridge to get us over and what a laugh that was due to the slightly rough sea conditions but we made it over safe and sound though Jamie did get a wee bit wet from sitting out.
Ian from Knoydart House was waiting for us when we docked at Inverie and the gang soon got the hang of how to unload a boat Knoydart style into the waiting trailer. It was hilarious when we got to the house. Poor Ian was trying to fill us in on the salient points on how things work but everyone was giddy at the luxury that we had walked into. Maria was like Tigger bouncing about the place. Steve and I had last seen the place a couple of months before they had finished the build but were still gobsmacked at how stunning it is. Jackie and Ian had thought of everything. This really is a 5 star place.
The house is so gorgeous that you could quite easily not bother to venture out but there is the draw of a Knoydart institution that we had to introduce the others to, The Old Forge. We trotted the 2 minutes down the hill to find a few of the locals having a game of Killer Pool and before long we were joining in. With the real ale flowing well, the craic was flying. As always it was a very entertaining night.
Next morning was also entertaining. The hill for conquering on the agenda for those not on the injury list was Sgurr Coire Chonnichean, the Corbett that towers over Inverie. Eventually the others left. Steve and I went for one of our favourite wanders along the shoreline of Inverie Bay to Long Beach and out to the graveyard on the Kilchoan Estate. The views were moody due to the cloud but enchanting and that was before we had the joy of spotting the eagle flying overhead or seeing the herd of deer grazing in the same field as the coos.The gang had enjoyed their four seasons in one day on the hill too having done the circuit from Mam Uidhe up to the summit and along the ridge coming down onto the track in Gleann an Dubh Lochain.
|Sgurr Coire Chonnichean from Long Beach
|Kilchoan Estate buildings
|Meall Buidhe from Inverie Graveyard
|My Knoydart eagle
The four seasons weather on Sunday saw only Maria being brave enough to venture up high to tackle Meall Buidhe, her 60th Munro. Meanwhile the rest of us were just loving chilling in the house. It's huge full height window gives a view that has you mesmerised watching the weather unfold in front of you. Eventually we did all venture out with Jamie, Nicky and Kirstin exploring the bay and Steve and I went west out to Glaschoille. Amazing how we all managed to meet up again in The Old Forge. Need for a hot chocolate was the excuse ;-) It being Sunday meant the need for traditional Sunday roast kindly supplied by The Old Forge. Retiring back to the house for the hot tub was just the icing on the cake though we were the ones getting a wee bit icy with the effects of windchill on those parts not in the hot tub!!
|View from The Old Forge window
With Jamie, Nicky and Zoe having to head back on the Monday our depleted band regrouped talking over the plans for the rest of the week. Knoydart has a lot more to offer than the obvious Munros something that all of us were planning to discover. Maria decided her "rest" day would be to cycle the only road on the peninsula out to Airor. We weren't surprised when she got back to inform us she'd continued onto the landrover track completing the circuit of the west of the peninsula.
Tuesday was my birthday. A day that I am normally up a hill. Not an option this year but I wanted to get out an explore. There is a very good landrover track that takes you all the way to Inverguseran on the NW coast of the peninsula. The views that you get as you you wander along remind you of just how rugged and massive the hills are. The line of the ridge starting on Sgorr Coire Chonnichean all the way along to Ladhar Bheinn and back down into Gleann na Guiserrein draws your attention for the first half of the walk while the view over the Sound of Sleat to Skye grabs you the rest of the way. There may have been a lot of high hazy cloud but we were still fortunate enough to be able to see all those wonderful hills. We were also treated to multiple sightings of the fantastic golden eagle but no matter hoe hard I tried I couldn't get it on camera.
|Ladhr Bheinn and Coire Torr Asgail
|The hills of Skye
|Strange rock formation at Inverguseran
|Looking north from Inverguseran
|Beinn Bhuidhe peaking above The Old Forge Knoydart
|Steve & I enjoying the hot tub
|Looking back to Inverie
|Eigg and Rum
|Looking down to Airor
|Spot the RAF big bird from Airor pier
|As clear as I have ever seen the Cuillins
|Sun going down over the Sound of Sleat
Our long day out meant we missed out on the film night that was being held in the Village Hall but we enjoyed yet another top night in The Old Forge before having one last dip in the hot tub. Our week was over way too soon.
It's always a gamble going somewhere off season but for me I prefer it. For me this trip to Knoydart was a bit like being Lucy going through the wardrobe returning to Narnia meeting friends old and new.Til next time..............
|Sunset on Inverie Bay