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Road to the edge of the World

by

Bill Davies

A couple of years ago an Autumn run was suggested and four stalwarts of Scottish fame together with guard dog Jock decided to head to the edge of the world. Colin had been passing the time on the Net and found a "Bothy" ,an old farm workers cottage on the West Coast. Where abouts we asked…Kinlochourn…oh says I,I know where that is, or did I.

A weekend was agreed and we duly set a meet point at the Green Welly in Tyndrum, a bikers halt that is very popular and the food is good too. The four of us met at around mid-day and fed and watered we set off towards Fort William, via the Black Mount and Glencoe and along the side of Loch Linnhe. After Fort William we turned west to Corpach where we took the B8004 to follow the west bank of the Caledonian canal, turning right to go to the Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge. This striking memorial was erected to remember the soldiers who trained in this area during the second war. Once we paid our respects we set of up the A82 as far as Invergarry where we turned left on the A87 and after about three miles we turned left again onto a single track road…for the next 20 miles…and what a road, it had turns and twists, narrow bridges, some surfaces, some not, potholes and loads of character. It followed the banks of Loch Garry then the river before diving back into magnificent countryside then Loch Quoich a bridge over the narrows and still we went on. As this was September the light was starting to fail and still the road twisted in front, "if this is the wrong road we'll be stuffed."

Then a dramatic drop down through more twists and we were at sea level and in front stood a lonely farm on the right and two bothies on the left. There was another farm over the field but that was all. This area is known as Knoydart and for years it was owned by various landlords who owned it for it's privacy…tourists not welcome…but now times have changed and the people need to money.

As we stopped Colin announced that we had arrived, the building resembled that on the net. Just at that a man appeared, our host who announce that the fire was on and there was hot water, but no electricity, candles being the order of the day. Washed and refreshed we adjurned to the farm for our dinner that we had fortunately booked as the nearest pub/restaurant was some 30 miles back the way we came. Dinner complete we went back to the bothy to sample the beer that Tom and I had been given for hosting the Drierad Treffen in 2015, a 5 litre cask. The warning sight of our snug welcomed us back and we stocked the fire (but don't burn the logs, as it's the end of the season) and set about having an evening of chatter and tales of woe, some longer than others. Now after our wander along the bumpy road to the bothy the beer had been given a good shaking, and we got pints of foam all night until the last drops emerged as a liquid. Still it tasted good as there was nothing else.

The morning dawned bright and we set of back on the same road, but the views were just as spectacular, and on rounding a corner we met a pair of fine stags out for a meander, not in the least worried about humans or trikes. We also encountered wild cows who live on the hills only coming in when winter finally sets in. Our progress was good and we turned left onto the A87 and proceeded past the Five Sisters in Glen Sheil before turning left onto the road to Glenelg, stop at the ferry port to Skye (closed for the year) then round to the village pub for coffee and a snack.

Then a historic run round to a Broch, Dun Trodden, a medieval fort of some three stories that must have presented a significant defensive structure for it's inhabitants. That done we retraced our steps to Shiel Bridge to refuel for the return trip home, a stop at Invergarry for a late lunch and we then set off south, back tracking the same road that we had come north on. Ian decided to stop at Jennie's and say hello the rest carried south for a tea at a church/craft café, only to arrive as they shut shop, c'est la vie.

Good byes said and thanks to Colin for finding a great place to stopover.

It has now been modernized with electricity and water, who needs that when there is atmosphere and good stories to be told around a log burner in candle light. We'll need to get searching for somewhere else to stop.


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