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www.scottishhills.com :: View topic - 276. Bettyhill to Strathy Inn
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276. Bettyhill to Strathy Inn

 
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OwdJockey
Big Grey Man
Big Grey Man


Joined: Aug 31, 2007
Posts: 4032
Location: Telford, Shropshire

Logged:
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2019 10:16 am    Post subject: 276. Bettyhill to Strathy Inn Reply with quote

TRIP REPORT: Show trip details

276. Bettyhill to Strathy Inn - 28th June, 2019

The forecast for the North West Highlands was a staggering 29 deg C! I had hoped that this forecast did not include the northern coast of Sutherland.....but I was wrong! By the time I had driven along the A836 from Thurso, the early morning fog had been burnt-off, leaving bright blue skies. By the time I reached my parking spot near The Strathy Inn it was very hot. With no cloud in the sky I was rather apprehensive about the days walk, as I never really like walking in the searing heat.

I caught the #800 bus, which although primarily a school bus service, is also available to the general public. The bus was heading for Bettyhill where I would start my walk. Before leaving Bettyhill I popped into the Post Office stores to get another 1ltr of water to supplement the 2.5lt I was already carrying. I walked a short distance along the A836 until I set off down a signed path to the empty beach. I walked to the end of the beach and picked up a grass track leading to Clerkhill. At Clerkhill I took a wrong turn and it was about 600m up a steep hill before I realised I had gone the wrong way. With the heat already having an effect on me I decided to stay on the road until it met the A836, something I had not planned to do. The heat, even though I had only been walking for an hour had become very fierce.

I decided I would try and get back on course by continuing along the A836 for another 2km and then turn off up to a radio mast on Cnoc Mor. This would put me closer to my intended course and more importantly maybe offer some shade! As I neared the summit the heat was intense and I was relieved to find buildings to give me shade. It was 11:15 and I decided I would stay put for at least 2 hours and recover in the shade of the main building. I made myself at home, making myself a seat and removing my boots and my sweat-soaked top, which I put out in the sun to dry! A gentle breeze finally got up and helped me to cool down. My water situation was very good and by 13:20 I was ready to go again.


Heading towards the beach at Bettyhill



The beach at Bettyhill



Heading up towards the transmitter tower on Cnoc Mor



The view westwards with Arkle and Foinavon in the far distance



Looking westwards with Ben Loyal and Ben Hope receding into the distance



Looking eastwards from the transmitter tower



Zoomed shot looking eastwards towards Hoy and Mainland on the Orkneys

I decided to set a bearing of due east on my compass to take me directly to Armadale over trackless terrain. After about 30 minutes I was overlooking Armadale Bay and could easily see my route ahead. I picked up a signed footpath down to an empty Armadale beach. Although two footbridges appeared on the map, they were not needed, as I walked over the two river outflows on the beach without getting my feet wet.


Looking towards The Strathy Peninsula from above Armadale, the Orkneys can be seen in the far distance



Armadale Beach



Crossing over Armadale Beach

I was now walking on the western side of the Strathy peninsula. Although trackless I was able to keep to the shoreline on the cliff-tops by simply walking through machair grass covered fields. I eventually arrived at the hamlet of Brawl, which I bypassed, and headed up the small rise of Cnoc Dubh (114m). I could now see my route ahead out towards Strathy Point. The ground I was on was still recovering from wild fires some years back. Although some vegetation had grown back I was mainly walking on blackened earth. Only a few weeks before, 5 miles away, wild fires had flared up and closed the A836.

I passed close to the hamlet of Aultivullin and then headed NE across boggy terrain to Totagen, near Strathy Point. I did not have the energy to do an out and back to the lighthouse, and so decided to head south 3km along the road back to the car.

A very tough day and glad the heat will not be as great tomorrow.


Looking back towards Armadale



Heading up the western side of the Strathy Peninsula



Collapsed blow-hole Geo with natural arch near Aultiphurst



Looking back from above Brawl on Cnoc Dubh



Heading towards Aultivullin



Looking towards Strathy Point with The Orkneys in the distance



Signs of new growth from previous wildfire



Looking east towards Dounreay from near Strathy Point



Strathy Point



Cut peat drying


Distance today = 16 miles
Total distance = 4,997 miles



Route Map
[googlemaps https://www.google.com/maps/d/embed?mid=11ga5_Lcd3uAIgRV2-YcZPrqbnw_farRr&w=640&h=480]


Last edited by OwdJockey on Wed Jul 03, 2019 8:06 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Byrdman
Mountaineer
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Joined: Dec 17, 2012
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Location: Ilkley

Logged:
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2019 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow... the last time I was in Bettyhill it was August and it was the coldest summer day I've ever experienced!
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LB
Yeti
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Joined: Nov 22, 2009
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Location: Aberdeen

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2019 7:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not the usual temperature for the Far North.
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LB
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Squiz
Sir Hugh
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Joined: Jun 20, 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2019 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done for making it. We were in Paris where it was 38 degrees for the Saturday, and only sunk to 28 for the Sunday, where we managed to wander round a park by dint of sitting down and listening to the birds a lot and then darting into an air conditioned museum. Would have simply melted on your trip.
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NeillyDunn
Brocken Spectre
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Joined: Mar 10, 2009
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Location: Here, right here...............

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The heat certainly saps your energy. I know how you felt as you sheltered in the shade................ Laughing Laughing



Your coastal walk is epic!
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OwdJockey
Big Grey Man
Big Grey Man


Joined: Aug 31, 2007
Posts: 4032
Location: Telford, Shropshire

Logged:
Munros: 282
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Grahams: 36
Donalds: 89
New Donalds: 118
Sub 2000s: 23


PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very Happy Very Happy LoL Thats about it! Only I did'nt have my top on Sad
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stan
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Joined: Sep 09, 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow i can't believe you've done nearly 5000 miles of coast path I finished the SW coast path a year ago and thought that long at 630 miles,well done
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