Believe it or not, plenty of hardy souls do walk to The Gathering rather than catching a boat. The luxury and comfort feels that much better when you’ve been walking with a heavy pack for two or three days!
Three options for walking in are detailed below. For walks leaflets and advice, contact the Knoydart Foundation Rangers who have a wealth of experience. All three options require Landranger map 33.
Route 1: Kinlochhourn to Inverie (16 miles, 2 days, medium-hard difficulty)
Easily the most popular route in, the route follows a well-constructed old drove road. Most folks take two days to walk in, stopping off at Barisdale on the way, although some super-fit types have done it in a oner.
The first thing you’ll need to think about if considering walking in this way is transport. Kinlochhourn lies at the end of Britain’s longest dead-end road, so you’ll either need to be dropped off or leave your vehicle there and be prepared to walk back for it. Unfortunately, the Royal Mail Postbus service has now been discontinued.
Follow the drove road as it skirts the side of hauntingly beautiful Loch Hourn, and be prepared for three steep climbs with rewarding views at the top of each one.
Want to leave your car in Fort William and get a taxi to Kinlochhourin this will cost you approximately £70-£80.
At Barisdale you have a choice of accommodation. You can camp, stay in the bothy, in the small bunkhouse next door to the bothy, or, if you’re a big group, there’s always the White House. See their website for more details.
If you think your feet will have given up at this stage and you could do with a spot of pampering, why not speak to us about a luxury speedboat from Sea Knoydart to whisk you round to the village? If you’re in a group, the £200 cost is well worth it.
The push over the hill to Inverie from here is unrelenting, but rewards you with incredible views across Loch Nevis as you descend to the village, The Gathering, and underfloor heating!
Mountainbikers would find this the most rewarding route in. Munro-baggers have the choice of bagging Ladhar Bheinn, Luinne Bheinn and Meall Buidhe on the way in, all of which are spectacular mountains. Again, speak to the Rangers for leaflets and advice on these hills.
Route 2: Glenfinnan – Inverie (27 miles, 3 days, Difficult)
A few people (crazy people?) choose this route in. There are actually a few choices route-wise; the one described below is probably the “easiest”, but should still be treated with respect. Seek advice from people who have done the route before or the local Ranger Service. Make sure you have full kit for every eventuality of weather! Bothies (unlocked stone shelters) are mentioned below: please be aware that sometimes these free shelters can fill up with people, so you should bring a tent in case.
Set off from the famous “Harry Potter” viaduct at Glenfinnan, and walk up the glen towards Corryhully bothy, famed as Scotland’s only electric bothy. There used to be a supply of old 50ps here to feed the meter with! You could stay here, or it would make more sense to press on to A’Chuil bothy, skirting through the forest from Glen Pean to Glen Dessary.
After A’Chuil follow the boggy stalkers’ path towards Sourlies bothy, set on the shore
of Loch Nevis. Sourlies is small, so you may need to camp. Next day, head round the shore toward the Mam Meadail path, and climb the zig-zags to a great view down towards your destination.
This route is not recommended for mountain-bikers who would find certain parts a real slog. If a Munro-bagger, why not pick off Sgurr nan Ciche whilst staying at Sourlies? This pointy mountain dominates the landscape for miles around.
Route 3: Bracora– Tarbet (5 miles, a few hours, medium difficulty)
Most of this route skirts Loch Morar, Britain’s deepest freshwater loch. Keep an eye out for Morag the Monster, a fearsome beast indeed! Wander along past Bracorina towards Swordland, then follow the well-made track as it contours up the hill which divides Lochs Morar and Nevis at their closest point. When you get down to Tarbet, call in to see Frank in the church whilst you wait for Sea Knoydart to pick you up and whisk you across to The Gathering (£80). A good route for mountain bikers.
So once you’ve done all the effort, had your well earned pint at Mainland Britain’s Remotest Pub, head five minutes up the road to the luxurious surroundings of The Gathering. We have a drying room for wet gear and tents, and there’s a laundry service available £7 for a load, (smelly socks taken at no extra cost).
For the girlie girls who’ve made the effort to walk in, you’re going to love our Girlie Rescue Kit (GHD hair straighteners, GHD curling wand, quality fragrances, full nail care essentials, tweezers, moisturisers, lotions, deodorants, shampoos and conditioners. Just think of all the weight saved in your pack by not having to carry in any or all of the above!
A great idea if you fancy getting dolled-up for a night on the tiles in the pub would be to post your glam gear up, so our local handsome postie can deliver it in time for your arrival. We can post it back down to you if you’re walking back out again, so all you’ll be carrying are essentials, and possibly The Gathering’s famous packed lunch!
FOR MORE INFOMATION ON WALKING ROUTES CALL OUR KNOYDART RANGER ON 01687 462242 (office hours)