The best and worst of the north-west coast: Rubha Reidh

Of the major headlands on Scotland's mainland coast, Ardnamurchan Point is perhaps the best known, marking a traditional divide between more sheltered waters to the south and the exposed north-west. But to my mind at least, it is Rubha Reidh which marks a more significant divide, the seas north of here losing the protection afforded by the Hebrides, from the Atlantic. As the Yachtsman's Pilot notes: Rubha Reidh and the Point of Stoer are notorious for heavy seas...but the coastline itself changes too, Torridonian sandstone forming many of the features which in part at least, are the reason I have been returning for so long.
Leaving Loch Gairloch beneath heavy skies, the sea was flat, as calm as I have ever seen it in these parts.
After passing along the west coast of Longa Island, we headed in directly to the cliffs south of Port Erradale, paddling through the first arch of many moments later.
These cliffs are riddled with caves - a low entrance to one leading to a large chamber and further cleft running approx 100m further still, opening through a narrow slot into the bay beyond. The exit was no more than a few inches wide, forcing a retreat, palming off the smooth walls to either side there being no space to paddle.
A perfect and almost entirely deserted beach further north...
...sea thrift blending with the smooth sandstone cobbles. And Just out of sight while we enjoyed the sun ashore, two nudists happily waved as paddled on, a rare sighting so far north.
Approaching the lighthouse built in 1912...
...after which the cliffs grow in stature, taking on an altogether more imposing atmosphere...
...towering stacks guarding narrow passages beyond which lies the exceptional Camas Mor - having spent far longer than anticipated exploring the caves and coves of this intricate coastline, we did not land, pushing on toward our intended camp in an effort to beat the rain rolling in slowly from the north.
Passing through the islands at the eastern end of the headland with the unmistakable bulk of Suilven clearly visible ahead, though it was gone moments later...
...and with it our chance to set camp in Slaggan Bay before the rain began. If a picture speaks a thousand words, this one says nothing of the lamentable combination of evening calm, rain and midges. If we had seen the west coast at it's best a little earlier, then this was perhaps its worst. Neither of us moved from the tents that night...
...waking slowly to a different world.

Comments

Ian Johnston said…
One of the best camp sites in the north Will, I was lucky and avoided any midges in a strong breeze :o)