Here at Rhiconich you are in one of the wilderness areas of the Highlands and your walks can be tailored to individual needs.
Before leaving on your walk, leave word with friends of your route, destination and approximate time of return. As an alternative the management at the Rhiconich Hotel have agreed to "log you off the hill". On the mountain do not let your party become separated. Ensure you are all off the hill, or well placed for getting off before dark. An early start and a good torch are really beneficial. The ideal party is four. In the event of help being required send two and leave one with the injured party. Lesser numbers require decisions of necessity being made, depending on the circumstances and the equipment available. Ensure you have plenty of food, warm clothes and waterproofs. I take it for granted that you have good boots a relevant map and compass.
(O/S Map - Landranger 9, Cape Wrath, 1: 50,000)
Coastal, Hills and Moors, or Mountain walks can all be made as long or short as you please.
- A couple of popular examples are the walk from Balcrick to Sandwood Bay and back, a beautiful unspoilt stretch of beach 1.5 miles long - about 7.5 miles return.
- Then there is the trek into the Glendhu Forest starting and finishing at Kylestrome giving a taste of a uniquely ancient landscape - about 7.5 miles return.
These are but two of the many varied and interesting days to be spent in an area unparalleled in Europe.
MOUNTAINS IN THE NORTH WEST - Introduction
To assist in furthering your exploration and enjoyment, the following gives brief details of easy routes up some of our most notable mountains in the area without resorting to climbing. These suggested instructions relate to the summer months, and should never be attempted in the winter unless suitably experienced. It must however be emphasised that all of these outings are strenuous and it is expected that you have the experience to judge that you are able to undertake the walk or alternatively take advice.
Note:- The times are for the ascent only and exclude any rests or meal times. Timings are from car park to summit and, although generous, are based on good conditions and fit persons.
ARKLE (2583ft 787m)
Length: Three hours.
Set-up: Car park at the stone barn a quarter of a mile north of Loch Stack Lodge on the A838.
Route: Cross the bridge to Loch Stack Lodge, turn right and follow the track north east. After one and a half miles the track turns sharp left under the slopes of Arkle heading almost north. At this point turn right, south east, and follow the northern lochside for about half a mile. Strike diagonally up the hillside, aiming to pass through the rocks in line with the end of the loch to gain the high wide corrie leading to the summit ridge of Arkle. Ascend this corrie bearing left near the top to reach the ridge. Follow the ridge left due north to the summit.
BEN STACK (2366ft 721m)
Length: Two hours.
Set-up: Car park at the stone barn a quarter of a mile north of Loch Stack Lodge on the A838 .
Route: Fifty yards north along the A838 a track strikes north west up the hillside. Follow this round and south until in half a mile a wall and fence are reached, descending steeply from the left. Follow this fence up onto the north west ridge of Ben Stack. The route continues all the way up the ridge keeping a little to the left at the summit's steeper crest. Follow the crest along to the cairn. Alternative descent:- Continue in the same line as the ridge south east, until the route ascends again slightly. Follow this rise bearing left to a long wide grassy ramp which leads down towards the wooden structure at the side of the A838, almost at the southern end of Loch Stack. Care is needed to thread the small rock outcrops at the bottom.
FOINAVEN (2980ft 908m)
Length: Ceann Garbh Three hours.
Set-up: Car park two and a quarter miles from Rhiconich Hotel on the A838 Durness road where a waterfall can be seen on your left, park as best you can!
Route: Strike out from the road south east across the boggy moors straight towards Foinaven. Steep grass slopes lead to the ridge of Ceann Garbh, the highest point. The whole mountain is then easy, but time consuming for exploration.
BEN HOPE (3040ft 927m)
Length: Three Hours.
Set-up: Access to the south ridge of Ben Hope can be made almost anywhere from the Cashel Dhue turn off, to Dun Dornaigil . However the easiest start is from Dun Dornaigil.
Route: Follow the true left bank (right looking up) of the Allt na Coullich, turning to cross it in a quarter of a mile, to head due north up the south ridge . Follow this easily all the way to the summit cairn.
BEN LOYAL (2504ft 763m)
Length: Three hours.
Set-up: considerately at Ribigill farm, due south of Tongue.
Route: Follow the broad fenced track, then a path through a large gate keeping to the left ford a stream to reach the cottage at Cunside. Keep about two hundred yards to the right of the cottage and head straight for the rocky summit buttress of Ben Loyal. As the hillside starts to rise, head more easterly following the true left bank of a stream descending from the left. This path passes to the left of the summit into a corrie flanked by the north ridge of Ben Loyal. Where the path levels out , about a mile before a saddle, strike up right to gain the ridge descending left from the summit of Ben Loyal. Follow this ridge to the first rocky summit. Continue south along the ridge for about half a mile to the highest point with its trig point.
Note:- To traverse the whole ridge and descend the tricky far end requires a long time.
A little while ago I was telling a Scottish friend of some Himalayan mountain experience . After a while he said, "Yes, I have heard that the Himalayas were good training for Scotland".
He is right,
ENJOY YOUR WALKS.