One of the tougher legs of the walk over gloriously rough, remote trackless terrain with plenty of river crossings. You'll earn your spurs on this one. (average walk: 2 days)
This is a tough leg, even for the fittest walkers. The route covers some rough, trackless terrain making progress slow and at times painful. The main route deliberately steers clear of the obvious road shortcut through Achfary, but no one would blame you for taking it as an alternative (see below).
You'll strike out from Glendhu on a good loch side track which continues west then north, climbing on a clear path to a sheiling at Bealach nam Fiann. From here the path heads north west over the summit of Ben Dreavie before descending east and then north, skirting the lower slopes of Ben Stack to the road at Lochstack lodge. The terrain is rough and trackless all the way, making for difficult walking.
The stretch for 5km or so after the lodge is initially on a good path but this gets increasingly rough and boggy with little or no path until you reach Loch a'Garbh-bhaid Mór. The river crossing at Garbh Allt can be difficult and dangerous, so take great care. The best spot to cross can be about 0.5km in land from the loch where the river braids slightly. The final few kilometres into Rhiconich follows a clear but boggy path.
There are some good wild camping spots on route that allow you to easily break this tough leg into two. The hotel at Rhiconich is open all year and a friendly oasis for a bite to eat or an overnight stop to treat yourself to a shower.
The main route deliberately avoids the road, so for an easier alternative, descend from Bealach nam Fiann (NC 273 385) skirting through Achfary Forest to the A838. Passing through Achfary (there are no amenities here) you can then follow the road north west all the way to Lochstack Lodge. This far north, the road isn't that busy.
If you're allergic to roads, but want to shave some distance, there is another alternative route beside Loch Stack. As you leave Achfary on the A838 towards Laxford Bridge, take the track at at (NC 297 402) after about a kilometre and continue on the track, crossing the river at Lone via a bridge before turning NNW, heading for the shore of Loch Stack. Follow the shore before ascending slowly to join the main route around NC 287 459.
Watercolour of Sourlies Bothy, Knoydart by Anthony Harper Return to website