Day 13: Coulin – Achnashellach Station – Allt a Chonais glen – Bealach Bhearnais

14.9 miles – warm sunshine and puffy clouds, becoming bright and cold

Moss carpets boulders and tree stumps in secluded places, forming these deep, soft sculptures.

I packed up in a cloud of midges and soft, warm sunshine. The woodland I had chosen for my pitch was a wonderland, in which the floor, in which its ancient floor had been covered with a thick coating of moss. There may have been boulders or tree stumps or nothing beneath the smooth, spherical surfaces. I think this scene struck me more deeply with its beauty than anything else so far on the walk.

the Coulin Estate seems to encourage Scotland’s wild, indigenous vegetation, as the next two photos show.

Idyllic view on looking north on the Cousin Estate.
Last view of the beautiful land.

It is like emerging from a dream to come across a railway station in the midst of wilderness. I set up in the little shelter and brought this website up-to-date. There are only two trains a day to and from Kyle of Lochalsh and I was lucky enough to see one of them; it was very exciting. Achnashellach consists of five houses within a mile of the station, three of which were clearly ruins; so it was quite surprising to see one man getting off.

The 12:39 Down Kyle departing Achnashellach Station.

It is a feature of the Cape Wrath Trail that streams – and indeed rivers – have no bridges; they have to be forded. Here is an exception. It consists of length of wire to walk on and a length of rope to hang onto for dear life. The wording on the green sign is: “You use this bridge at your own risk.” I didn’t dare; I tried it without my rucksack and it was perilous! I stuck to the tried and trusted.

The wire bridge across Allt a Concise for those who dare!

I pitched my tent on the mountain pass – the first flat ground I could find – where it was freezing due to the altitude.

Toby, in all his clothing and in his sleeping bag, after a slug of whisky. Note the socks drying on the makeshift washing line.

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