Sunday started with a leisurely sleep in, complete with book reading, then some decision making about how I would continue my walking.
We decided that Scott would drop me down at Inverkirkaig early on Tuesday morning so I could pick up my walking almost where I left off. I would walk from there to Suilven, missing the large cross country section and two river crossings between Stac Pollaidh and Suilven but otherwise putting me back on track. I would then do 3 days of my original planned walk – Suilven to Breabag, then to Quinag. Scott would pick me up on Thursday afternoon at Quinag. My original plan for Quinag was to go up the southern ridge, walk all the ridges and then try to descend in between the two northern ridges. This descent was entirely unproven and not recommended anywhere. Ending the walk here allowed me to tackle Quinag through the more conventional route instead (up the middle of the corrie from the east, over the ridges then down the southern ridge). It also allowed me to leave my pack at the bottom of Quinag instead of carrying it up and over.
The rest of Sunday consisted of lunch at the Oasis (pub), then a walk with Scott’s dogs (or his parents’ dogs, depending on who you ask!). After a short walk on the beach for both dogs, Scott then dropped River and I out at Faraid Head with the instructions to walk down the beach, across the head then follow the beach back to town. Kyle is too old for long walks now, so didn’t get to come.
River and I walked down the beach on the western side of the head, then cut across the top, then instead of finding beach, found lots of cliffs! We eventually went down to some beach but then got blocked by cliffs again and had to climb back up (River wasn’t too keen on this bit!). We then criss-crossed across the top of the head through waist high grass for several hours attempting to either find the beach that I was supposed to walk back along or find a way back to where we’d started without following the road. I eventually decided that “walk back along the beach” was not really an appropriate instruction and that I would have to go back the way I’d come. Not wanting to follow the road meant that it took us ages to get back, at which point both of us were quite thirsty. I found a small stream in a cow paddock and encouraged River to have a drink. Sadly it was very boggy and he promptly sank up to his belly then just stood there calmly looking at me as if to say “well, it was your stupid idea, you’d better get me out of here”. Luckily I could just reach him from solid ground so I pulled him out then had to take him back down to the beach to wash him off before returning him home!
On Monday Scott was going out for the day so he suggested I go and visit his sister. Yep, sure . . . I’ve met her once for about five minutes . . . sure, I’ll just go and drop in! It turned out I had nothing to worry about. I ended up staying there all day, chatting to her and her partner and playing with the kids. I also got to meet various other family members when they dropped in throughout the day!
That evening I packed my bag all ready for an early departure, went for a quick walk around the Smoo cave (Smoo means cave, so it is literally “the cave cave”) then went to the Oasis for dinner. Unfortunately everywhere else came in after their council meeting and fire brigade meeting and after work, and I learnt that “do you want another drink” isn’t actually a question in Durness. It’s more of a statement. This led to a bit of a late night, with a bit too much beer! Not great before an early start for a long walk!