Trails and trials of the writer who walks
According to my bothy inmates, the section from Sourlies to Inverie is “straightforward”. Perhaps they mean it in the sense that assembling a flat-pack lawnmower might be straightforward.
Rising late, and missing low tide, I have to take the high route from the bothy to the Loch Nevis estuary on the other side of the headland. This involves several bum-scrambles above nasty drops. Anyone repeating my effort will find human teeth marks in the rocks.
Landing (literally, but hey it was soft) in the grassier outer edge of the allegedly traversable estuary, relief is short-lived. A boggy but distinct path disintegrates into islands of bleaberry and cottonsedge separated by wide gullies of deep, water-laden peat. In my attempt to find an archipelago that will carry me the 400 yards or so to the bridge, I back-track and change direction many times. This could be a really fun game on Android. If only it were virtual reality instead of reality reality.
Two hours later I reach terra firma. I’ve achieved 1.5 kms since leaving the bothy, but the rest of the section is indeed straightforward: a steep climb and then down through the glen on the other side.
At the top of the pass, I must breathe deeply with my eyes and inhale everything. The glen is bright with contrasts of bracken and heather. Along its flanks, rain-moistened outcrops of rock sparkle like a sky full of stars and, as if it were the portal to Shangri-La, a thick rainbow has chosen this moment to span the entire glen, embracing beneath its arch the shining loch and tiny forests where I will find Inverie: population 70.