Today was my last full day in Durness. I had been told that the cliffs at the northern end of the Kyle of Durness, on the cape-side, were worth seeing so I decided to take the ferry over and walk up to them. I could’ve gone on my way back from Kearvaig on Tuesday but missed them when I decided to catch the bus home. This would allow me to “finish” the walk back from the cape and give me one last day of walking around bogs and moors.
I walked out to the ferry in the morning and took the ferry over to the cape side (11am). I then walked along the road down the Kyle to just past Daill where I managed to find the track that heads north east up the coast (the road goes north west from here to the lighthouse).
The track was . . . . “OK”. It would’ve been awful if everything wasn’t so dry at the moment! There were some lovely streams and half a bridge, which was funny as I had “F” marked on my map. “F” actually means “ford” but it could equally be interpreted in this case as “half a footbridge” (FB)!
I went up as far as the track goes, to an old building. There were some very interesting rocks here, and some parts where the water was swirling around the rocks in a very interesting way. I could’ve sworn there was an animal making the ripples but I watched for a very long time and it seemed to just be the waves bouncing off the rocks and, presumably, more rocks underwater that I couldn’t see. I didn’t see any amazing cliffs, but it was a nice enough walk all the same.
I walked all the way back to the ferry, just in time to catch the next set of ferry runs at 2pm. I was pretty sad on the way back, saying goodbye to my beloved heather and moorland. The tide was coming in, which led to some very interested cross-hatch wave patterns in the shallows. The Kyle is very tidal – it goes from almost dry (you can walk across some sections but there is sinking sand so you need to be careful) to reasonably deep.
Back on the Durness side, I started walking back towards town. I had planned to walk to Balnakeil via the Old Manse Track which heads off through a paddock from the main road about halfway back into town. A lovely couple offered me a lift which I took, up to the track, telling them where I was planning to go.
When I got to Balnakeil I stopped in at the Craft Village, looked through a couple of stores then went to the chocolate shop, Cocoa Mountain. I’d heard about it, so wanted to see what it was like. I had a hot chocolate which was amazingly decadent and a couple of chocolate truffles. The couple who had given me a lift part of the way were already there, finishing their hot chocolates. Since I had told them about the place they’d obviously decided to come down and check it out!
After finishing my hot chocolate (and feeling a little bit over-sugared!) I walked back into town and had a look at the tourist information office. There was a wealth of information in there about local flora and fauna, traditional yearly activities in the area (a board for each month with the activities that traditional farmers would do then) and, . . of course, . . . rocks! Including a bunch of big rocks outside that were all labelled. While most of the northwest is quartzite on sandstone on gneiss (or some combination of these), there is a strip of limestone down the middle, particularly here at Durness and where I was at Breabag. But, it’s not that simple. There are heaps of different rock types all mashed together and mixed up around here. The geological map was pretty complicated!
I spent the rest of the afternoon chatting to Scott and his parents and cleaning my gear up, ready to pack and leave the next day.
And now for some gratuitous dog photos from Wednesday!