My first visit to Badrallach was over ten years ago. It was a one night stopover en route to Coigach and Assynt, so we didn't adequately explore the surroundings. On revisiting at the weekend I was extremely impressed, both by the campsite and by its environs. Badrallach is a tiny crofting community occupying a sunny spot the end of an eight mile single track road on the north shore of Little Loch Broom. It is the access point for an even more isolated but rather larger off-grid community of Scoraig
, five miles down a track from the end of the tarmac road. A quick squint at their web page revealed that there are a couple of crofts for sale for those who fancy it. It's certainly not for me; I grew up on an island so isolation and its attendant inconvenience holds no romance for me. I can still remember how liberating and novel I found my first taste of mainland life, being able to simply get in the car and go wherever I wanted whenever I wanted, rather than being a hostage to the weather, to the ferry timetable or to both.
|View west from Beinn Ghobhlach to Scoraig and the Summer Isles|
|View from Beinn Ghobhlach towards the Corbett Sail Mhor and a snow-dusted An Teallach|
I've been dabbling in a bit of hill running lately but hadn't taken on any proper hills, no Munros or Corbetts. At 635 m Beinn Gobhlach is a Graham and on a sunny Sunday morning it made an irresistible objective.
|Sail Mhor and Little Loch Broom from Kildonan|
Saturday's stroll was more gentle, tailored to 3 year old legs. East of Badrallach is the stony beach and abandoned township of Kildonan. By the shore is a relatively modern building, in the first stages of deriliction, still roofed and with staircase and fireplaces intact, but carpeted in sheep dung and already past the point of no return. I recently read Adam Nicolson's book 'Sea Room'
, the story of the social and natural history - and prehistory - of the Shaint Isles. Due to their small size and to his tenacious curiosity he was able to piece together a complete history of the human habitation of the islands. As I read his account I realised that with the right eyes, layer upon layer, millennium upon millennium of human history could be deciphered in every little corner of Scotland. Kildonan is such a place; even the layman can see that relatively recently there were few and a short time before that there were many. Now there are no people, the foreshore has been relegated to the status of an outdoor feeding station for cattle and sheep, slurry seeps from the poached soil surrounding the feeder into the pores of the stony beach. My daughter wanted to have her legs buried in the stones. I refused, explaining that the beach was full of poo. I am not in any way against people using the land to make a living, but it seems absurd that we all subsidise these polluting practises through the EU. Custodianship of the countryside it most certainly is not.
Labels: Badrallach, camping, hill running