Thursday, 12 July 2012
The three R's
Heading south from Inverkirkaig towards Achnahaird, this view from near Aird of Coigach looks over part of the Loch Sionascaig group of interlinked lochans to Stac Pollaidh and beyond to the dome of Cul Mor.
Taking the road to Achnahaird, we headed over the hill towards Reiff and Altandhu. Cresting the hill, the view across Isle Ristol to the Summer Isles is breathtaking. It's a justifiable popular area with sea kayakers, and the Coigach cliffs past Reiff are also well known for good quality sea-cliff climbing.
The first sign of the warm and settled weather breaking was evident in the sky, the bank of cloud lowering toward the horizon an obvious approaching weather front.
Reiff (the first of the days R's) is at the very end of the road, and although the shore is mostly boulders there are a couple of places to launch from. Parking is very limited here and it would be easy to cause an obstruction.
I paddled south along the Coigach shore, exploring the sandstone cliffs and tiny inlets. The highly featured Old Red Sandstone can give climbing at all grades. Rocks, the second of the day's R's.
Near Altandhu (where there is a superb smokehouse), I headed for the north end of Isle Ristol (the third of the R's). The north end is quite rugged with cliff and cave scenery; beyond is Eilean Mullagrach.
Isle Ristol (island with the horse valley) is a Scottish Wildlife Trust nature reserve. Attractive as the cliffs and caves are, they're not Ristol's stand-out feature.