Tuesday, 19 September 2017
A two day Torridon tour - a meteorological beating
On our crossing of outer Loch Torridon we had a very visible aiming point - the sandy beach at Red Point which seemed to have caught any patches of sunlight throughout the day. A pale patch amongst greys, greens and browns, it stands out well in views from the south. The swell which had built up behind us as we crossed was broken up by a small island and an offshore reef, making for a relatively easy landing.
Red Point was the site of a fishing station, now abandoned. The cottages are just gable ends and a couple of walls, the most complete building being a semi-derelict store on the shore. It's missing substantial portions of wall and roof and was a bit "sheepy" - we would be glad of it soon enough! Slender trunks of pine trees seem out of place in the dunes nearby; they didn't grow here but were dug into the dunes to provide supports for net drying.
I knew from a previous visit that we could find decent pitches behind the dunes, we pitched our tents in comparative shelter from a strong breeze which at least guaranteed no midges would trouble us during the evening.
A blink of evening sunshine provided a flash of colour, but unfortunately it didn't last long........
...before the weather begann to close in. The wind increased to a pretty strong blow and soon we felt the first spots of rain.
To the south, the shore we'd paddled from looked to be getting some heavier rain; we reflected that place we'd originally planned to camp would have been exposed to the worst of this weather.
To seaward, there was an unmistakeable and menacing bank of rain approaching. We moved our cooking kit into the derelict shed to take advantage of whatever shelter it offered - there would be no camp fire on this evening!
The next couple of hours saw heavy rain and a strong wind battering the coast, and the shed where we huddled to eat dinner. The weather was pretty hostile and the evening was one of the coldest August evenings I can recall outside of the mountains. Soon after dinner we battened down our tents and retired to our sleeping bags.
The view from the tent door just before I closed it up was quite dramatic. The mountains of Torridon were invisible and the middle part of the loch at Shieldaig was taking a real meteorological beating - the sky was a livid purple shade and the sheets of rain were clearly visible. Lying in my sleeping bag listening to the rain and wind on the tent, I wondered what the morning might bring......