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The Great Wilderness

A' Mhaigdean by a roundabout route, October 30th to November 2nd 2000 — Part One

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We arrived at the car-park at Incheril just as it was getting dark and by the time we had got our boots on and all the gear loaded we needed to use a head-torch to make our way along the path leading to Loch Maree. This wasn't as straightforward as we might have hoped as a ford we had to cross was too deep due to the heavy rains so we backtracked upstream to make a dry crossing. Then a little further on the level of water in the loch had drowned the path and we had to find a way through the woods to our first camp where the path through Glen Biannasdail branches off from the route on to Letterewe.

The next day started as a day of autumn sunshine as we made our way towards Letterewe along the right of way that at first climbs away from the old iron works and then descends past the abandonned cottages set back from the shore on the north side of Loch Maree. We were treated to a close view of a stag and his hareem as they made their way back to the higher ground. At Letterewe the right of way continues along the shore but we turned north to take the stalkers' path over Bealach Mheinnidh to Fionn Loch.

Just over the bealach we met the stalker returning to Letterewe with four hinds on the ponies. We got a rather cool reception - no words were exchanged but if looks could kill then the one he gave us would have been as deadly as his client's shooting had been. At least the man with the gun seemed a little friendlier we got a half smile and a nod out of him. After the diversions of the first night we were hoping we would be able to cross the causeway separating Fionn and Dubh Lochs to Carnmore and not have to detour all the way round Dubh Loch on pathless ground due to high water as is sometimes the case.

At first sight it seemed as if the Carnmore end of the causeway was under water and this was indeed the case, but it was only a few inches deep so we were able to cross. Here a decision had to be made whether to continue towards a' Mhaighdean to make a high camp somewhere near Fuar Loch Mor or to spend the night in the bothy. An imminent heavy shower made our minds up for us and we turned left past the house to the bothy.

Carnmore bothy has had a new roof put on and there is plastic sheeting to cover the floor so it is now habitable. The bed frame reported to be in the bothy is used to stack the pack saddles for the ponies on and there is a game store at one end of the building. We were also advised that there were rats and so we hung the food from the rafters out of their way as well as blocking an obvious entry hole before cooking a meal and settling down for the night.

Part Two

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