Well, I’m back from Scotland, and have started my new job. What better time to reminisce over the holidays? As a result without any further ado, I’ll talk about my Scottish adventure.
AW and I planned a few months ago to visit the most remote pub on the island of Great Britain. It’s in a small town called Inverie, and is accessible only by boat, or a 30 odd mile hike. Obviously we decided to hike in, and then get the boat out (stopping overnight to enjoy the pub itself of course).
After getting the overnight train from Euston to Glasgow, then another train from Glasgow to Glenfinnan (with the viaduct of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets fame), we started our walk around 1pm.
The famous Glenfinnan viaduct
The scenery was wonderful, but the weather was cloudy with light drizzle. The route was fairly simple, and essentially took us up a glen, over a pass, then back down the other side. Unfortunately for us, the weather turned at the summit of the pass, and once we’d crossed over the other side, we were completely drenched, owing to the heavy rain and strong winds. At around 7pm, we finally got down the second glen, when we were faced with having to ford a very deep and fast flowing river. It took us quite a while to decide where to cross, and it was about knee deep (resulting in a total drenching)! The challenge that immediately followed was to cross an area of land described by a sign as “dangerous bog”, which was rather reassuring. It was certainly a bog (I personally can vouch for this as I ended up thigh deep in it on several occasions)! Anyway, we eventually got to where we were going to camp, but the weather was still horrendous, so instead we elected to push on through a forest to a bothy.
A’Chuil bothy and the surrounding countryside
Upon reaching the bothy, we were ecstatic, and we quickly made ourselves at home and had some tea (after collecting water from the river outside). There was one other occupant inside, a man called Dave who had done the walk many times, amongst lots of others in the area. We chatted until 11pm or so, after which we went to sleep (after leaving some chocolate buttons out for the resident mice).
The next day dawned, and we packed and left. The destination for this day was another bothy, around 7 miles away, and over another pass. Luckily the weather was much better, with sunny spells instead. The first part of the route involved crossing yet another bog (and once more I fell in it rather deeply), but after that, there weren’t too many troubles. Descending down from the pass at around 4ish was amazing, and the view was breathtaking (with the sun shining down over Loch Nevis – the sea loch where the bothy was on the shore of).
We reached the bothy at around half 6 or so, and therefore enjoyed a rather relaxing evening (with Dave who had arrived a few hours earlier) sitting outside in the sunshine, in the middle of nowhere, at peace with nature. It was delightful.
The route the following day was subject to the tides (as the path went over the beach), and as a result, we had to leave at 6am. However, I’d been up since around half 3 owing to the mice who sounded like they were having an enormous party under the sleeping platform. We left just as the sun broke over the mountains, giving yet another beautiful view.
Sunrise over the Scottish Mountains
AW and I stopped at around half 7 to grab a quick breakfast on the road, as immediately after, there was a 600m ascent. After breakfast, and what seemed like the longest climb in history, we made it to the top, and looked down the next and final valley.
The view towards Inverie
We could see the village of Inverie (which is also on the edge of Loch Nevis), but it was a good 6 miles away still. Having made it to the top, we rewarded ourselves with a long rest, and had some delicious (and ice cold) water from the mountain spring we were sitting beside.
That’s what spring water actually looks like
Then we hastened on, down the long valley to go to the village. Around 3 hours later, we finally arrived in Inverie absolutely knackered.
Not a walk for the fainthearted!
We dumped our stuff at the bunkhouse where we were staying, had a rather good shower, and headed out into the town. First on the agenda (for it was only 1pm at this stage), was some lunch. The pub wasn’t open until 3, so we elected to snack at the tearoom where we had an enormous pot of tea and a large sandwich (I chose cheese and haggis).
Cheese and haggis baguette. Ideal!
After that, we moved to the pub, and enjoyed a few pints outside (until the midgies got too bad – they’d been plaguing us the whole trip to be honest, but that’s to be expected).
The most remote pub in Britain!
Supper time soon rolled around, and I decided to eat scallops (collected from Loch Nevis, so it couldn’t get more local).
Scallops from the Loch!
After that, and a few more pints of course, it was bed time, which was great (as we actually had proper beds this time)! We woke early the next morning, and caught the ferry to Mallaig, from which we got the train all the way home.
The ferry back to civilisation.
It was a great holiday, very challenging, but exceptionally rewarding (especially with respect to the scenery). All in all though, let’s be honest, it was just a pub walk!