East Sutherland Blog – part 1

Ben Loyal from Kyle of Tongue

Ben Loyal from Kyle of Tongue

We’ve had an interesting few days in East Sutherland. We have been staying in Kips Cottage, in Kirtomy – a small community perched on the north coast.

We have had a great mix of weather since we arrived last Saturday, bright sun, heavy rain and even snow – real May conditions. As I type this (Nita’s doing the typing really – I can’t feel the keys on the laptop!) it is blowing half a gale, but there are some bright skies around now.

We had planned to go back to Ben Loyal today, having turned back in cloud and quite heavy snow on Tuesday, when we were just half an hour from the top. We didn’t get as far today! It was raining hard when we got up and we had hoped the brighter conditions would arrive by the time we got to the start point for the walk…but they didn’t. A lot of water had come down overnight and the streams were fairly whooshing along and it seemed unlikely that we’d even get further than the small river immediately below the hill. We crossed this easily on Tuesday but in spate, as it would have been this morning, it would have been difficult. So then, after sitting in the car listening to the rain and drinking our flask of coffee, we decided to call off and do something else today. Typically, as we drove the forty minutes back from Tongue to Kirtomy, the rain eased and the first patches of blue sky came in from the north. I cursed, but Nita reminded me we still wouldn’t have got across the river.

The Flow Country

The Flow Country

On Wednesday, we drove along a small, single tracked road out across the heart of the Flow Country. It really is quite amazing, such a large, empty area of bog. To the west we had great views of the snow topped, higher mountains, Ben Hope, Ben Klibreck and Foinaven. Our aim though, was to check out two smaller hills that rise out of the bog, Ben Griam Mor and Ben Griam Beg. They are both just below 600 metres high, but should offer huge views all around across this wild and lonely landscape. We found the start point and even a small place to park the car and we are heading there first thing tomorrow morning, in what is forecast to be better conditions.

Ben Loyal emerging from this mornings deluge

Ben Loyal emerging from this mornings deluge

With the wind still blowing hard and cold outside, this might be an afternoon for lighting a fire and sitting in front of it with our books and a glass of beer!

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