A wonderful Cape Wrath Trail variant

Streap and Bealach a;Chaorainn

The Cape Wrath Trail had been a disappointment so far not because it had offered poor walking but because I had expected it to be better than the three Ways I had walked in May and, initially, it isn’t.  Bealach a’Chaorainn below Streap was more what I had hoped for.  Sadly, the walk down into Glen Pean concludes with a messy stretch where an old fence corrals animals and walkers on to a boggy, broken corridor.  Across the bridge, a sign said Do Not Enter the Forest.  Felt pen instructions showed the approved route to Glen Dessary and A’Chuil.  For me, this was the last straw.

I hiked angrily past the sign, into the forest and turned left for Loch Morar instead of going right, the easy way to A’Chuil.  I could hear one machine working above the forest road but saw no one on a rapid hike to Glen Pean bothy.  From the bothy, I ploughed through bogs to staggeringly beautiful scenery in upper Glen Pean.  Rocky ribs protrude from the steep glen sides to embrace a sequence of boggy, little meadows.  The sequence was interrupted by Lochan Leum an t-Sagairt, which I by-passed using a deer track on the wrong side of the river.  More boggy meadows lead to a tangle of huge boulders and a hidden lochan.

Glean Pean

Lochan Leum an t-Sagairt

Lochan Dubh

Gleann an Obain Bhig is a wild place, with a great deal of rock and bog, dissected by rapid streams in small gorges.  It feels very remote.  Technically, Britain might not have any wilderness as every inch of these islands has been worked over by our ancestors but this feels very remote and, in the absence of a cell phone signal, is no place to hurt yourself.  From Lochan an Obain Bhig, it is hard to imagine that a path, admittedly one now needing exhumation, leads through the glen.

Loch Morar

Lochan an Obain Bhig

Rounding the headland to Kinlochmorar, I took the first deer path on Sron a’Chroin and ended up ascending more than 150 metres to get round slabs.  It was a mistake as lower paths exist. From my eyrie, I could see that the first 400 metres of Abhainn Cean-loch-morair would not be easy to cross, being slow and deep.  I could also see three horses where I had hoped to camp.  I headed up the glen to a spot where crossing the river was easy, just calf deep, had a snack and then set off to gorgeous Lochan Eanaiche.  A ten minute fit of petulance had provoked me into one of the best days walking – a twelve hour day, it should be noted – I have ever experienced.  Is there better scenery in Britain than the pass between Glen Pean and Loch Morar?

Kinlochmorar

Down to Loch Morar

Lochan Eanaiche

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