Mallaig Holiday - June 2013
Mallaig is 42 miles west of Fort William, and those arriving by train (whether steam or diesel) cross the Glenfinnan viaduct (as seen in Harry Potter films). Peter (the event organiser), Eva, Aline, Vanessa, Vanda, Paul, Greg, Roger, Brian and Chris stayed in the West Highland Hotel from the 23rd, and were later joined by Colin for a meal (and a walk), and by Mike as a staying guest from the 26th. The hotel is spacious and comfortable, and the food was very good (though served at varying speeds).
Walks were led by Peter, often with longer versions led by Greg. On Monday 24th we walked from the hotel round the coast to Mallaigvaig, then a gradual rough, boggy, and sometimes steep ascent onto Sgurr Eireagoraidh at 548 metres, descending to Loch Eireagoraidh and skirting Loch an Nostarie to Glasnacardoch, before returning to Mallaig. On Tuesday we took the bus to Morar village, then walked along the road at the side of Loch Morar to Bracorina, and took the path past Swordland Lodge, and a track through Glen Tarbet, to a ferry which took us up Loch Nevis via Seal Rock back to Mallaig. On Wednesday a ferry took us to Rum where Peter led a group to Kinloch and up Kinloch Glen. Greg led others on a path along the east side of the island. Returning to the ferry both groups passed Kinloch Castle, built by a Lancashire cotton baron. On Thursday, after a train to Beasdale, Greg's group took a path up the side of Borrodale Burn to Carn a Mhadaidh ruaidh (503 metres) then descended to Scamadale and followed a track to Arisaig. Peter's group walked via Glen Cottage along the Arisaig peninsula as far as the disused pier at Rhu and back, then to Arisaig station, from where both groups took the train back to Mallaig. On Friday we took the ferry to Armadale on Skye, where we saw the ruins of the castle and walked round the Clan Donald museum. After lunch some took the nature trails around the 200 acre estate. On Saturday those who stayed on - Greg, Roger, Brian, Peter, and Mike - took the train to Arisaig and walked partly along a footpath over some beaches, and partly along a road, back to Morar and the train.
For the other six of us, the last evening was the Friday, memorable for a sing-song led, and accompanied on the piano, by Peter. The locals encouraged our rendition of The Skye Boat Song. It begins:
Speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing,
Onward! The sailors cry;
Carry the lad that's born to be King
Over the sea to Skye.
Somehow, though, On Ilkley Moor baht 'at was less appreciated, and cleared the bar area.