We set off, trying not to overdo the pace on the initial hilly section leaving our digs. Soon we had our rhythm, and were making our way towards Achnaha, nestled in the centre of The Great Eucrite, the vast circle of gabbro hills which once formed the caldera of an ancient volcano. Even below the low cloud the scenery was impressive. The boilerplate slabs reminded me porridge which had overflowed from a giant pot and congealed in great lumpy masses.
Soon we dropped down to the lovely sands at Sanna. We turned west along the shore, passing the interesting Sanna Bheag House nestling flat and squat against the westerlies. It was after this we began to go wrong. A missed turn saw us forced to climb a fence, then scrambling down a slippery basalt dyke on to the beach. Once down, the shoreline rocks were too slick to boulder-hop in running shoes. Eventually we regained a path of sorts and forced our way between rushes and dwarf trees. Ahead lay a fishing bothy, and thereafter, undoubtedly, the path to Portuairk. But a stream, swollen by the heavy overnight rain, lay between us and the bothy. We did not want to risk a real soaking, so cast about upstream for a crossing. Up and down we went, forcing our way through all sorts of bushwhacking territory. It was impossible to run.
Eventually we emerged from the undergrowth to spy an old and rusty bridge. Soon we were heading downstream, eventually joining the path to Portuairk. It was very difficult to regain our running rhythm.
Mhairi decided to walk the road back to Sonachan, but I managed to compose myself sufficiently to grind up the steep road away from the coast and jog back to base.
(Peer pressure forced me back out to give Mhairi a lift, despite her insistence that she wanted to walk) It was a frustrating training session for her.
A hot shower, food and improving weather saw us in better spirits.
Sunday was a better weather day for the hill and we returned to our Great Wee Hill, Beinn na Seilg. In an area where one is “guaranteed solitude” there were a lot of OMCers around! Highlights included an excellent VS, and a sensational flake trundle by Jim. Pictures on the website.