The Sutherland Trail: Day Three. Lone to Kylesku.
Day 3 Lone to Kylesku
Distance: 12 miles / 19.2 km
Total ascent: 2007 feet / 612 metres
Time: 4hrs 33min
Average heart rate:119
Calories burned: 2025
After force feeding myself some nuts and berries I set off on a minor road south towards the A838 road. Today's leg would end at the Kylesku hotel where i planned to eat like a King. Food was on my mind a lot. So much so that my stomach was starting to do my thinking. I decided that if i really pushed the pace today i could eat both dinner and lunch at Kylesku. However when i saw what i thought was the turn off to head up through the Achfary forest i took it without really checking my map. Bad move. Inside a pine forest plantationAfter 10 minutes the track petered out into nothing and i was in a walkers nightmare; a pine forest plantation. I should have doubled back there and then but i just stupidly figured if i kept on pushing through the trees i'd get to the proper path a lot quicker. My stomach was still doing the thinking, and I was taking a stupid risk. In these type of forests the trees are planted very close together and because they have shallow roots, a lot of them easily fall down to become tough obstacles and hazards where i could have easily snapped a limb, or taken an eye out. Especially as i was carrying a lot of weight, low on energy, and just being plain careless. The amount of energy and time i was wasting trying to get through the dense plantation was so much more than i would have used if i had just checked my map. After 20 to 30 minutes struggling up, through the forest, with a growing sense of danger, i still could not see any sign of the path. So i prayed, and five minutes later i was on the proper land rover track through the forest. "I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name."
Psalm 91.
Walking between Lone and KyleskuOnce at the top of the hill, i again started walking across a plateau for a while before descending down into Kylesku. This was a pattern that was being followed each day on the trail. Walking high up on these plateaus is a great feature of the Sutherland Trail. I got to see for miles and walked with panoramic views of the majestic landscape. At this point on the trail i felt like my normal city life was a very distant memory. My senses and mind were completely engulfed in my environment and daily routine. The land rover track on the second half of this section must be used more then previous tracks on the trail, as there was no earth cover at all on it. With the going now very, very stony and rocky underfoot, much like the West Highland Way. I had chosen to wear trail shoes but was now wishing, walking over the stony surface, that i had worn my boots. It was sore on the feet, and a thicker sole was definitely required. I went over quite heavily on my ankle here but having quite strong ankle ligaments from playing football i did no permanent injury. Could quite easily have been a show stopper though. So i recommend boots for the trail. Not too big of a surprise to most i'd wager. I recommend Brasher boots which can bought be at reasonable prices. Loch GlenduKylesku is in a beautiful setting and the views down loch Glendhu from the bridge are enchanting. Much like a Norwegian Fjord. Being perched beside a sea loch it was no surprise that hotel there served some fine sea food at decent prices too considering it's remote location. After my all day feast at the hotel I camped under the Kylesku road bridge with my stomach feeling like a medicine ball. Falling asleep to the sound and smell of the sea loch's lapping waves and occasional snorts from some sea mammal that i could not see. Summary Navigation wise no real problems. Just make sure you get on the land rover track behind Lochmore Lodge. Once out of the forest and up on the plateau follow track taking no turn offs to remain high as long as possible before descending to Kylesku. Not too much ascent at 400m the highest point. Conditions under foot become a bit more stony. Much like the West Highland Way now. Lone to Kylesku Map Use controls to zoom in/out and move around. The green line is a guide to direction of travel. See main map page for more detailed map

Paul Stewart is Loved by Jesus Christ.

He is employed as a Web Developer and Corporal in the British Territorial Army where he has been Mountain Leader Trained.

A lover of the outdoors he is available as a summer mountain guide in the Scottish Highlands.

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