Blood,Sweat and Sweary Words
The Bodach visits Ardnamurchan
The forecast seemed not too bad, easterly winds fresh at first them falling light by afternoon with unbrokensunshine. So checking carefully that Friday was not the 13th the Bodach thought that a visit toArndnamurchan seemed possible and being one of the idle poor a spur of the moment decision was easy.
First mistake was to admit where he was going! A bit difficult admittedly not to say when you are on the ferry not spending money (being a genuine Bodach) on a ticket.”
Sanna” says the expert “there’s an easy shore path along to Portuairk. Probably can’t ride up but just a push up the hill and then probably can’t ride down the other side but an easy push down again. Can’t gowrong !”
A fresh easterly is ok going this way and gives a good push up the hill over to Sanna. Ignore the signs suggesting that a landmine clearance is in operation and that all visitors should report to the site office as well as the slightly legible sign suggesting that anyone straying from the path will be shot on sight. Nearly as bad as bits of Mull!
Portuairk looks about a mile away and a nice broad road leads in the right direction. After a couple of gates on to a grass surfaced road then a nice bit of single-track. Bit of a doddle this. Through another gate and the path becomes a bit indistinct but is eventually found over a small hill. First problem. There is a Kissing Gate which is not easy to get past on a bike and the fence has been carefully topped with barbed wire making it impossible to lift the bike over. Up a steepish hill with bits of peat bog and rocky sections which are fairly strenuous but not too bad.
The views from the top are fantastic on this sunny day. From Arisaig out to Canna and all the islands in between this makes the hard work worth it. Next bit should be an easy push downhill to Portuairk. Wrong!
Next bit is a long nearly vertical downhill peat bog if that does not seem impossible with a few rocks to give occasional grip. Must be nearly there. Wrong again! A slight uphill is followed by a long downhill but with large boulders instead of peat bog, much harder when you land on them but admittedly less messy.
A slight respite past a house ruin then the river. Not much water but the only way over is to cross car sized boulders to a bothy on the far side – pushing a bike which is not exactly lightweight and not designed to be carried.
By this time, and following the climb up to the bothy ,there has been a lot of sweat and sweary words and threats of bloodshed when the instigator of this route is located.
After the bothy it must be a well used and easy route down to the village. How often can you be wrong? A cliff is not too strong a description with a path so narrow that the bike has to be lowered down and steered from behind at the narrowest bits. At the bottom some joker has put an arrow pointing towards a gate which leads nowhere sensible and is in fact padlocked.
Par for this route I suppose. Eventually at Portuairk there is then the small matter of the 1 in 4 uphill outwards, ignoring the suggestion of the path over the hill to the lighthouse road. At least by this time the wind has dropped making the trip back to Kilchoan much easier. An ice cream would be nice. The shop must open sometime but the Bodach has never happened to be there at the right time.
On the last visit the pub seemed to have shut for lunch as well so this time did not even try. Nothing else for it but back to the ferry and back to Mull contemplating vengeance to be met by the excuse “I didn’t say it was easy!!!”
Think Twice if you take advice from Keenan .