Loch Hourn runs inland from the sound of Sleat and opposite the island Skye. It is sometimes described as the most fjord-like of the sea lochs of northwest Scotland. It is steep sided and has the majestic Ladhar Bheinn rising from the southern shore.
Departing Mallaig, our vessel Cyfish will cruise north close to the Knoydart peninsula and spot wildlife, we may drop a line and fish for a time. But the focus will be on landing at Barrisdale Bay in the heart of Britain’s last wilderness for a low level hike, heading east along the established path towards the head of the loch.
This route follows the south side of the loch. It climbs in places to avoid natural obstacles, but several sections have been expertly embanked with dry stone walling to allow us to contour round the steep valley side. This path originates from the days of cattle droving.
The loch narrows as we head east and each rise crested and corner turned brings a fresh view. Wildlife abounds and you are likely to see grey seals, red deer and several species of bird ……. with luck and a good eye, otters and eagles may be added to the list.
After approximately 5km, we reach Runival where it is possible to re-join the boat anchored in the loch. Pick up is also possible from Skiary but be prepared for 2km of much tougher going to reach there. A collection by boat from any further east is dependent on favourable tidal conditions.
After the walk, visitors will have the option to visit Isle Ornsay inn on Skye or Shenna’s tearoom at Arinsdale; this is a quirky café the like of which you will most likely never have seen before.