This is one of my favourites from my scottish holidays in December 2012/January 2013. Have to wait a year to do the second attempt to claim two caches in Knoydart.

Be warned, both caches has a T ranking of 4.5, just because it is a long walk to get there! hmy:

After camping on Rum&Canna in June for a few days, I did a walk on Skye in September.
In bad weather from Kilmarie Car park to Loch Coruisk, with one night in Camasunary bothy (my first night ever in a bothy) and one stormy night next to the Memorial Hut in my tent before a walk back to the car park.

I really enjoyed this experience, I decided to search for two Geocaches near Sourlies at the end of the year which means to walk in to Sourlies from Inverie on one day and after a night at the end of Loch Nevis return to Inverie where I stayed in the bunkhouse.
Before I started the walk, Ness (a friend, hillwaker, but not geocacher) helped me to sort out some clothing and we reduced it to 2 pairs of spare socks, socks for sleeping, sleeping clothes and fleece. Because of the possibility that the bothy is occupied the tent was also in the backpack and naturally all the necessary things for cooking, hygiene and for the evening (EBook-reader, notebook, pen), 450ml thermo flask with hot tea and 1,5l bottle with apple juice. Also the GPS device and a photocamera.

I had no idea about how long it will takes from Knoydart Foundation Bunkhouse to Sourlies Bothy, only that it should be possible before sunset, because a year ago a party of us had planned to go in with a boat to Sourlies and walk back. This trip was cancelled due to adverse weather.

I started about 9.30, alone. Ness want to follow me a few minutes later to accompany me for a few miles before heading back to the bunkhouse. Without a buddy I took the first turn up the hill, but after a few metres and a look at the map I recognized that I was wrong. The next turn was the right one. Up this little slope I got the first problems with my bronchia (asthma). What the hell? Sad to say, but I think this is because of all the mould in the sleeping rooms at the bunkhouse.
When reaching the only gate on the track a car stopped behind me. Just in time, no need for the driver to leave his car. I opened the gate for us and then I closed it after passing.
First "wildlife" sighting after a few hundred metres. A highland cattle in the middle of the track. I have no problems with them, but Ness does. A few metres behind I saw two stags very close to the path. They watched me, how I walk along in mist and upcoming rain.



After a few minutes it was only a question of time until I will be soaked. But I didn't care about my feet, they were safe and warm in Smartwool socks and wellies.
Yes, wellies! After my "long" walk in September I know that I can walk a long distance without any problems in wellies. So I left my usual walking boots in Mallaig and took only the wellies and light walking shoes to Inverie.

Passing the monument hill I turn left at the remains of the cairn and enter the path to Sourlies. Before the bridge was a large puddle with mud on both sides. With wellies on I walked straight through the puddle. Within an hour I reached Druim bothy. Wow, 5km in less then an hour. So far no sign of Ness. The further path is not suitable for quads any longer and was also a burn, very glad about my wellies now.



This was a first impression, I didn't know what to expect over the next few miles. But first up a little hill, down and over a bridge without railing. After a few hundred metres the uphill part started, the bealach and Ness were still out of sight. Later Ness told me, that she could not see me when she was near the bridge, despite the fact
that I had a bright blue rain cover over the big pack. So I must have walked really fast.
Crossing the bridge, the first metres the path is flat and the ascent start very soft. The way was muddy, puddles, no burn to follow. But I have to cross a burn which run very fast crossing the path. And then I saw the bealach. I have to walk up all this way? Gosh! Ok, according the map I have to manage nearly 550m ascent but to see where the path run is different to just looking on the map. Especially when you walk in the rain of late December, the tops of the hills around covered in low clouds and when the path is a muddy burn. Where the clouds are not so low the snow was visible, even on the bealach. Nice, but it was my decision to do this hike.

Look back to Inverie was a nice view with a little bit of sunshine on Loch Nevis. No rain behind me.



Time for a short break to check the conditions of my clothing and to fix the rain trousers (a little bit too big). Because of walking with poles the rain ran into the sleeves. Shoulders were also wet, but the belly was dry. The trousers felt damp, but not wet. After this check I was glad about the walking poles. Another burn cross the path. To the right was the steep slope, to the left, the hill. The burn was too wide to jump with a
backpack. It also looks too deep for wading.



A metre up the hill the ground was visible under the water surface and something which I could use as a stepping stone. Using the poles as stilts and a big step I could cross, but at least one foot in the burn. No problem with the wellies. After crossing the burn the good path ended.
The track was now furrowed and water runs down the hill. But it was easier to walk in the ditches with the running water, because the ground there was rocky or sandy, not muddy and slippery like the soil next to the ditches.
Slow but steady I walked uphill always with the bealach in sight, but the bealach didnít get closer. It felt that I was as slow as a snail. Not exhausted, not tired, just slow. This was depressing. In the meantime I was soaked and with the altitude the wind getting cold and colder, the way wasn't an easy walk and the bealach seems further away then ever.

The rain stopped but then the hail started. Think positive: It was soft hail, snow pellets, no rain and the wind was from behind, so a free view. Eventually I was nearly at the bealach. A last gaze down to Inverie and then forward. Or not. An ice and strong wind hit me and no shelter. Pulled the head in a little more, buff and cap lower to the forehead and go. Passing the cairn and a few metres down the wind softened and after about 3 hours a first view to the glen and River Carnach. I didn't take a look to the GPS so no idea how good this time was or about the distance I walked.

I couldn't see the tops of the hill because of low clouds. Good view down to the glen, the descent is much shorter then the way so far. Not like on the map, the serpentines began short after the bealach.



On this side the path was much better because not muddy. I was so glad about the wellies now. On the other side I had several times to choose where to walk but on this side you have to walk in the water which ran down the slope. In some turns the water took a shortcut and the path was dry for a few meter and then you entered
the burn again. From time to time I balanced on an edge, because the water was too deep or the steps too
high. Also I unlocked blockade when stepped on dry grass. The water was then dirty and I had to wait until it was clear again so that I can see the ground and where I walk.

The cache of the day was the one at the Carnach pools, but I was soaked and even of the movement I freeze. Still 2km direct to the geocache in Sourlies and Carnach pools. But why was one direction "E" and the other "S". Carnoch was in front of me (350m below), how it can be that both caches has then the same distance from my point? Where are the Carnach pools then? Ok, no Carnach pools today. But first down into the glen. The weather improved, rain has stopped several minutes ago. The wind was kindly, almost warm and my clothes begun to dry. But for how long I can kept this state. There was a risk to get soaked again, but not because of rain. I stood on the bank of a burn in spate.
Definitely too far for a jump, regardless of the backpack. It was difficult to estimate how deep the water was, high current and both sides of the burn were muddy. No other chance then to use the stones which were covered with water and hoping that theyíre not slippy. They weren't slippy but the first stone was wobbly. This I recognized not before I had my whole weight on the leg which balanced on the stone. The next stone was
a very small one. With support by the walking poles I managed the crossing without a bath.



Time for lunch: a wee cup of tea and a cereal bar. 2 kilometers left to Sourlies. I checked the GPS, time to sunset, all clothes are dried and there is a rover track along the river. Contra my decision 350 metres higher I turned left when reaching the river and not right to the bridge.
A few meters on the rover track and another river crossed the way. No bridge, no stepping stones, to difficulty to estimate how deep the water is. Doesn't matter. I have to cross the river, today or tomorrow when I want to find the geocache. I left the track and look for something similar to a ford, the one where the track crossed seems too deep even for the wellies.
All was fine until the last step before leaving the water. Suddenly I felt water in my left boot, because the trouser was in the wellies and so it was tight the boot was not full with water. After the crossing no need to pull off the wellies.
The rover track degraded. More bumps, mud, bog holes, puddles, little burns to cross. But the most time old tyre marks were visible. Why a car drive along here? It wasn't a comfortable walk, the meters on the GPS which give the distance decrease so slow. Then I was near the geocache hide and with the backpack I climb down to the bank and search for a little plastic box in a camouflage bag. I looked here, there and everywhere.
The arrow jump here, there and everywhere. 2m, 3m, 5m, 2m, 8m. WHERE IS THIS F...BOX?
Climb up again, go to the other side of the rock. This time I left my rucksack but also the GPS at the top of the steep bank. It was easier. But still no success. I was nearly the point to give up and climb up when I saw the camouflage bag. 2miles detour just to sign a small log sheet. Silly.

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