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" Scotland - 6 - Gairloch after the Rain "

Date & start time:     Saturday 24th September 2016.

Location of Start :    Charleston Golf Club public car park, Gairloch.  ( NG 805 756 )

Stayed at :                 Rubha Reidh Lighthouse, Gairloch, Scotland, UK.        

Places visited :        Flowerdale Valley and the waterfalls then back to the lighthouse.

Walk details :           3.6 miles, 750 feet of ascent, 2.5 hours.

With :                         Ann and our dogs, Harry and Dylan.

Weather :                  Rain to start but clearing between showers, A lovely sunset.

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After a blustery night, with rain and strong winds,

we woke to a poor weather forecast which suggested it might carry on for most of the day.

Tracy and Roger who were our hosts at the Lighthouse Guest House suggested a walk in Flowerdale, a sheltered glen close to Gairloch

with a waterfall at the top end to add to the pleasure of the walk.

First a little stroll around . . . to walk the dogs and explore the immediate surroundings.

"Through the Gap" as I head out on the trackway to the small jetty.



Another flash back to 1989

when Ann, myself and our two youngest

visited Rue Reidh Lighthouse on a walk from Melvaig, a hamlet,

a few miles down the road to Gairloch, where we had been staying.


No prizes for the correct answers to this competition

unless they are written on the back of a ten pound note

and posted to  ;o)


At the other end of the gravel path was a steep incline down to a small jetty, set amongst the rocks.

Not much wildlife spotted on the way except these gannets.
The incline tramway (minus the rails) leading down to the jetty.

Believe it or not but all the equipment to build the lighthouse and associated building was shipped in using this jetty.

Apparently the larger supply boats were anchored off and a smaller tender transported the stone and supplies ashore, little by little.

- - - o o o - - -

After breakfast we gathered our walking gear

and headed back down the road towards Gairloch.

- - - o o o - - -

We started our waterfall walk from the car park by the golf club

and headed up alongside a cemetery on an non signposted track

into the woodlands that surround Flowerdale House,

the ancestral home of the Mackenzies of Gairloch.

Crossing one of the streams deep in the woodland.

These woods are certainly more sheltered than the coast . . . and the rain was easing nicely.

The Gairloch Estate have built a number of paths in the valley to make walk to the waterfalls easier.

On the right in the last photo . . . the "Island of Justice"
Mmmm . . . sounds like a damp alternative to the stocks !

Paths turn to forestry tracks as we leave the farm fields and outbuildings behind.

Ahead we can hear, and soon see, the top of the waterfall.

With the recent rain, the falls are running nicely and prove quite a spectacle.

Harry takes advantage of the cool water.
. . . and Dylan likewise.

Following a muddy path up the side of the falls to get a closer look.

It is formed by two waterfalls with a short step between.
The view from the top, looking down the valley.

You can proceed further up the glen from here ( right click here for views of the upper Glen walk)

but we chose to retrace our steps back, past the Gairloch Estate hydro-electric power plant and Flowerdale House,

then turning left  to reach the road at Charleston Harbour.

On the last section we passed the outflow of the ornamental lake . . .
. . . and the normal start of the walk at a small car park by the road.

The old bridge has been superseded by a new road bridge behind us

but the old one still gives pedestrian access to the gallery and the pub.

Ahead is Charleston Harbour, around the sheltering headland from Gairloch Village

It is this small headland that holds half a mile of road walking for us to complete in order to re-unite ourselves with the car.

- - - o o o - - -

Driving back out to Rubha Reidh there are definite signs of the weather clearing . . .

Another stroll around the grounds of the lighthouse brings me over to this small cove.

Looking back at the light.

The broken stone propped up against the rock

is a gravestone for the only man to have died whilst

the lighthouse was being built.

Sadly he slipped near the jetty and drowned in the sea

before he could be rescued.


He was to be buried here but instead

his body was taken to his home down south

and the local gravestone consequently became redundant.

The lighthouse offers a bird and sea life hide set up in one of the outer buildings of the complex.

It is full of useful information but as it is inside the outhouse, it is only open to guests and not day visitors to the headland.

The view includes the northern peninsula of Skye . . .
. . . and the distant Shiant Islands across the Minch

Outside it is approaching sunset

and the main light is now illuminated.

You can see the modern banks of electric lamps

which have been installed in preference

to the old paraffin lamp we saw in the Gairloch Museum.


- - - o o o - - -


With the sunset, the weather has eased

and the distant clarity and views out to sea have returned.


The sun that has been notable by its absence during the day

but it is just about to make an appearance.

Time to take the new camera for a walk !

Ann is inside but she'll be out soon taking her own photos, some of which are included here of course.

Harry and Dylan join me after their evening meal.

We clamber up the grass, but I decide

to head out on the track to the jetty instead.


There's a lovely rainbow in prospect

as the sun shines on a departing rain shower

now far out to sea to the north of us.

One of our fellow guests stands on the rock by the harbour . . . also admiring the view of the sunset tonight.

" West to the setting sun " . . . as it briefly appears through a gap in the clouds.

As we walk back the sun clears the clouds completely . . .
. . . and a sudden burst of colour shines out across the sea.

Rubha Reidh at sunset on the 24th September 2016.

I take the opportunity to play with the camera to record the scene in black and white . . . because I discovered I could.

I believe that's Ann and two fellow guests by the wall at the front of the lighthouse.

" Star burst mode " . . . impressed ?
It works on the sea too . . . with interesting results.

These are true colours this time as I return the camera to normal mode

and retake the view of the light from the track to the jetty.

" White Stones in the Sunset "

Dylan waits at the gate for me to take yet another photo.

The light became stronger as the sun cleared the clouds

then starts to deepen and fade as the true sunset approaches.

An alternative view from the top of the rocks . . .
. . . and from within the walls of the light house buildings.
Night inexorably follows day . . .
. . . and one flash follows another from the top of the tower.

The light also illuminated part of the headland behind us

as the beam rotates round and over the high ground and across the sea to the north.

- - - o o o - - -

We retire inside once more for our home cooked evening meal

and adjourn to bed with a glass of . . . water.

One of the other abiding memories of Rubha Reidh

will be the whisky-coloured drinking water that issued from every tap.

It has already been filtered and purified after leaving the deep brown, peaty stream that flows from the moorland

so it could even have been darker . . . still it tasted nice . . . sleep tight !

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's new Panasonic Lumix Tz60 Compact, or my Panasonic Gx8 Compact System Camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . A clearing sky at the end of the day.

Go to Top . . . © RmH . . . Email me here



5. North to Gairloch

Previous walk - 23rd September 2016 - 5. North to Gairloch

A previous time in the area - 8th to 18th May 2015 - Durness and Northern Scotland

Next walk - 25th - 26th September - 7. Rubha Reidh and home