Start location: A835, northwest of Ullapool (NH 124 953)
End location: Achiltibuie (NC 024 086)
Geographical area: Lochaber
Path Type: Rural Path
Path distance: 28km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians
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Please note that this route is a serious undertaking with treacherous sections. We have been informed that the way is not always clear, especially when the undergrowth is high. Allow more time than you might expect and travel well-equipped.
This is a spectacular walk, not without some difficulty, along the lower slopes of Ben Mor Coigach which drop steeply into the sea at the mouth of Loch Broom.
At the west end of the walk a public road comes by way of Achiltibuie from Strath Canaird as far as Culnacraig, a total distance of 37km but actually only 10km from the start of the described walk.
The usual starting point is at the public car park just west of Blughasary in Strath Canaird. Cross the River Runie by a bridge to reach the foot of the hillside. Go WSW along a path, muddy in places, for 1.5km on the outside of the deer fence which encloses the grazing land to reach the burn which flows down through a narrow gorge from Loch Sgeireach. 50m beyond the burn and 50m before reaching a gate in the deer fence start climbing steeply uphill by a path marked by cairns and wooden posts. After the initial steep climb, the path bears left on a rising traverse west for 1.5km. From the crest of a little spur at NC104012 descend gradually across rough and in places boggy ground, still following cairns and posts until at NC091014 the path, which is very narrow at this point, crosses a steep grassy slope above sea-cliffs with a few metres of scrambling down a rocky step. Great care is needed at this point.
Beyond there the path continues its gradual descent towards the shore at Geodha Mor. However, as west of the Garbh Allt the path has been remade and is much higher than the original, the route now cuts inland up the Garbh Allt's east bank for some way before the crossing in order to traverse the steep slopes of Garbh Choireachan before dropping gradually to the cottages at Culnacraig at the end of the public road. From that point there is a choice of routes, either by road direct to Achiltibuie or seaward by path to Achduart and then by road past Achininver Youth Hostel (currently closed).
For those who want to start this walk at Ullapool, the following route goes from there to Strath Canaird. Leave Ullapool northwards by the A835 and 2km beyond the bridge over the Ullapool River take the vehicle track which climbs NE over the west side of Creag na Feola and ends at Loch Dubh (presumably the original path was submerged by the damming of the loch). Go round the west side of this loch along a series of huge flat stones interspersed with bog. After crossing a small dam at the north end of the loch a tarmac road goes past Loch Beinn Deirg and all the way down to Strath Canaird.
OS Landranger 19 (Gairloch & Ullapool area), 20 (Beinn Dearg & surrounding area) & 15 (Loch Assynt & surrounding area)
This route is shown on Arrowsmith’s map of 1807 as the only land route in those days from Ullapool to Achilitibuie. In the 1860s when a regular postal service was established, this rough path became the route taken by the local postman, Kenneth McLennan of Blairbuie. For 2/3d a time, he walked to Ullapool twice per week.
In the 1870s, Achduart saw the opening of a school; the timing suggests that it was set up under the 1872 Education (Scotland) Act which made elementary education compulsory for all children aged between 5 and 13. The section of the Postie's Path between Coulnacraig and Achduart was built under the auspices of the school board of that time.
The described walk from Ullapool to Loch Dubh here uses the more accessible fishers’ track because of large scale waterworks and community forestry which now block the original path by way of the east side of Creag na Feola
- with thanks to The Highland Council's Paths Around Ross & Cromarty leaflet.