30 October 2016
The previous day had been damp and misty. Stepping outside of Ratagan Youth Hostel and seeing the tops of the Kintail peaks raised my hopes of a half decent day. However, I did not want to do anything big after my marathon on the hills the previous day (see An Socach). Also, I fancied lingering with friends at Ratagan until the last people left. This is also a safeguard against leaving anything; it is easier to check once everyone has cleared their stuff out.
I decided on a bike ride up to the telecommunications mast on Plockton Crags (Cam a'Bhealaich Mhoir) but as this was going to be a much more leisurely day, I stopped to photograph Eilean Donan Castle.
The route was well signposted and on good tracks all the way to the transmitter. With tired legs from the previous day, I did stop and push the bike a few times, but could cycle most of the way.
A family of three caught me up at the gate (while I was taking photographs). There is a sign on the gate about keeping dogs on a lead but this is unlikely to be read if the gate are open.
The summit gives good views of Plockton and Loch Carron as well as the island of Scalpay. The Applecross hills had extensive cloud on them and I could not pick out the Skye Cuillin or any other large hills, which left me feeling very happy with my choice of objective.
Returning from Iron Lodge the previous day, I was very aware of the squeaks and other noises my bike was making but did not really want to do any maintenance in the dark, so I thought that this trip would be an opportunity for any diagnostics. However, my bike moved smoothly and quietly throughout!....Just like going to the doctors and feeling better!
I believe that the land mass behind me in the photograph is Scalpay with the smaller island of Longay in front of it.
I took a little detour on the way back to visit the Carn na Sean-Chreige hillfort.
On reaching Loch Achaidh na h-Inich, I saw this dipper. I have only seen them around moving water (burns and rivers) before. This one seemed reasonably tame. As usual I wished for a more powerful zoom and better light.
I was keen to pay Plockton a visit. I camped at the back of the houses back in the '90s, using it as a base for Glenshiel and Glen Carron during my old Munro-bagging days. I have particularly fond memories of Plockton. All things change and the small cafe in the village stores is now much bigger, occupying the area originally taken up by the shop part. I quite liked the coziness of the old cafe rather than the slightly upmarket feel of the current one.
Looking up at the mast on Plockton Crags.