A short day above Shieldaig

Another cold, clear start held the promise of a fine day, but it would be a short day above Shieldaig with the long drive south to follow.
Still, there seemed little point joining the queues so early and wasting such a day...
...particularly when faced with such wide empty spaces as these.
I started beside the loch, mirror calm waters reflecting woodland colours, the air still, warming now as I stretched cold muscles before heading up the stony track that leads eventually to Loch a Bhealach. I had walked in to this remote loch once, years before, camping beneath the horns of Alligin for two nights. It seemed a distant memory and yet I remembered clearly the rough track winding out across the moor...
...past lochans and sandy beaches...
...above waterfalls and peat stained pools...
...rising gradually, the Torridon summits a southern boundary.
A tiring climb across softening peat and heather led soon enough to Loch Gaineamhac. I meant only to stop for a bite to eat, but resting in the sun, I felt little urge to continue.
It wasn't going to get much better than this, the only tracks on the sands beside mine an otters, while the icy waters shimmered beneath the broad ridge of Baosbheinn.
Eventually I turned for the downhill run...
...pausing just once to look back on Beinn Dearg...
...and finishing with a flourish through the woodland above Shieldaig.
I hadn't missed the boat on this trip - it had been a refreshing lack of faff in fact and the Torridon mountains remain one of my most favoured stomping grounds. But still the sea called.
I spent my last hours on the sands of Red Point - Skye, Raasay and Rona, Lewis and Harris all clear on the horizon - leaving with thoughts of long paddles completed and those still to come.

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