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Jo visits the wonderful wilds of Assynt for some Wilderness Walking

Posted on Aug 18, 2010 by Wilderness

I recently had the opportunity to join our wilderness walking trip to Assynt for a few days, and I met the group in Inverness on a sunny Saturday afternoon. We headed north to Ullapool and our first walk, up Ullapool Hill. This is a nice little introduction to the area and offers great views across Loch Broom and beyond to the south-west and the Caledonian forest remnant of Rhidorrich Glen to the east. Afterwards we checked into our wonderful 4 star guest house accommodation.

The next day we drove up to Quinag (pronounced “coo-nag”!), stopping for quick photo opportunities as we passed the distinctive Stac Pollaidh and also the ruin of Ardvreck Castle (haunted by two ghosts!). After a walk up to the saddle of Quinag, we split into two groups, one to attempt one of the three summits whilst the other to attempt two summits. I joined the two summit group, and enjoyed the steep ascent and descent to the first point. At the top I was sure I spotted a sea eagle but it soared out of view just as I got my binoculars ready!

We trekked back along the ridge before our second summit, the highest of the three at 808m. On the way down we met a representative of the John Muir Trust (JMT), the charitable organisation that looks after various areas of the Scottish Highlands including Quinag. JMT is one of the three charities that Wilderness Scotland’s innovative charitable contribution scheme supports so it was great for our clients to hear about their work first-hand.

On the third day we enjoyed a fantastic cruise around the Summer Isles. These rocky islands form an archipelago in the mouth of Loch Broom, and the largest island, Tanera Mor (which means “large harbour island” in Gaelic) is notable for issuing its own postage stamps. Back on the mainland, we drove north to take our final wilderness walk to the Bone Caves of Assynt, where bones of lynx, reindeer and polar bear were found. We returned back to Ullapool for dinner, complete with live music from local musicians.

Alas I had to journey back south, but I really enjoyed the first few days of the trip and can’t wait to come back and explore Assynt again!

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