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Route around Diabaig peninsula in Torridon is no walk in the park

By Peter Evans

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The path rounding Leacan Bana was overgrown with heather.
The path rounding Leacan Bana was overgrown with heather.

The road to Diabaig takes no prisoners. It bends, climbs and dips like a rollercoaster, finally dropping steeply down to the harbour, where there's a small car park near the pier. It's a beautiful, peaceful spot to start a walk.

Beginning at the pier, Rosemary and I continued to the end of the road, going through a gate in front of a white-painted cottage, then left through another gate to access the coastal footpath.

It turns to the right at a barn and passes through trees, climbing up towards the headland. The word “path”, now rather faint and easy to miss, is painted on a rock, where an awkward step up is made easier by an in-situ rope.

We followed the path up to a gate in a deer fence and continued climbing through a steep gully, using hands where necessary, to bypass a crag.

The views back down to Diabaig are impressive from this high vantage point, with everything lit up in vibrant colours on a lovely sunny day.

Easier walking follows as the path weaves its way above Loch Diabaig then rises diagonally left to reach higher ground under Meall Ceann na Creige, where it continues to the right, passing close to Loch a' Bhealaich Mhoir.

We dropped down to cross the outflow from the loch and walked on past picturesque Loch Dubh.

The path descends again with a stunning view over Loch Shieldaig and sight of an isolated cottage perched above Port Laire, reached only by this path or across the loch.

Keeping to the left of the cottage, we began to climb once more on some rocky ground before the path levelled off to reach a gate in a deer fence. The coast path now rounds the small peninsula of Ruadh na h-Airde Glaise and continues above the steep ground of Leacan Bana.

Liathach rises high over Loch Torridon.
Liathach rises high over Loch Torridon.

This proved tricky, with heather growing across the path, pushing us out towards the edge. Taking care, we made it to safer ground further on. Compensating for the trials of the path were the views to the majestic mountains beyond Upper Loch Torridon.

Keeping left, we crossed a section of boggy moorland, heading for the crofts of Alligin Shuas, visible ahead. The path follows the line of a fence to a gate, carrying on down through some attractive woodland on the other side of it.

Once on lower ground we made for the minor road leading into Alligin Shuas, using a caravan alongside the road as a marker.

Gaining the road we walked uphill to reach a junction with the Diabaig road and turned left. A kilometre of road walking follows – steeply uphill – though it is possible to cut out a bend by going off road on a path on the right.

The crofts of Alligin Shuas and the hills beyond.
The crofts of Alligin Shuas and the hills beyond.

After the viewpoint at Bealach na Gaoithe the road levels off and passes a small lochan on the right. A little further on, at a sign for a bend in the road, we joined a path on the left, descending to Loch Diabaigas Airde.

Rounding the north corner of the loch we scrambled over a deer fence and carried on to meet the road again, which is followed to the end of Loch a' Mhullaich. Here we turned left between a fence and the loch-side to cross a metal bridge over the outflow.

A defined path then leads to a gate in a deer fence and turns left, then down, keeping left of the dramatic Allt an Uain gorge. Bluebells carpeted the ground here as we made our way back to the harbour, entering woodland lower down and finally reaching the barn passed at the start of the circuit.

  • We returned from the walk with a few little friends. Ticks – half a dozen in my case – had attached themselves to arms, legs and torso. They seem to be prolific this year so check carefully after your walk and seek medical help if any of the symptoms of Lyme disease become evident.
This bike, resting against a derelict building on our return, had seen better days.
This bike, resting against a derelict building on our return, had seen better days.

Route details

Diabaig coastal circuit

Distance 7.5 miles / 12km

Terrain Paths, rocky and rough at times, and minor road

Start/finish Diabaig harbour

Map OS Explorer 433, Torridon; OS Landranger 24

Much harder than it appears on the map, this is an adventurous walk with some magnificent coastal views

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