Walk 15 – Old Dornie


Drive towards Ullapool and take the left fork down towards the pier. Beyond the beach, continue uphill and through Polbain. At the far end of the first loch, Loch a’Mheallain, turn left down the side of the road to the little harbour of Old Dornie. Parking is easy here.

Walk to the end of the road and past the new jetty. Across the narrow channel of Caolas Eilean Ristol lies Isle Ristol, and ahead are the Summer Isles. The going is quite easy, and the turf short and lush. Follow the shore to the headland of Rubh’a’Mhada Idh-Ruaidh where there is a ruined croft, sheltered by the hill, Meall Dearg to the north.

Leave the shore before you reach the fence guarding the house at Dornie itself, and strike up the shoulder of Meall Dearg to gain the summit, though it is difficult to tell precisely which cairn marks the highest point (525 feet). Meall an Fheadain, 140 ft higher, blocks some of the view to the west, but to the north, you can see Enard Bay, to the south, the full extent of the Summer Isles, and to the southeast, the Coigach Hills. Continue along the summit ridge and make your way off the hill north eastwards (not west or north where there are crags) towards the head of Loch a’Mheallain where you reach the road leading down to Old Dornie.

This walk can be lengthened by turning right at the road, and taking to the hillside again just beyond the bridge over the burn joining Loch’a’Mheallain to Camas an Fheidh. Climb southeast towards the end of the Meall an Fheadain ridge above Polbain and then turn north (avoiding the bogs) to the summit Cairn (663 ft). Descend to the radio station and follow the crest to the summit of Fox Hill, which marks the termination of Meall an Fheadain ridge, from which the moorland slopes down to Loch Vatachan and Loch Raa. Make your way westwards down to the side of the road (marked on the 1:50,000 but not on the 1:25,000 map) which serves the radio station and follow it until it joins the main road from Polbain to Altandhu.

Turn left along the road to follow the shore of Loch Camas an Fheidh, and at the end of the Loch turn right down to Old Dornie.

DISTANCE: 3 or 6 miles

GOING: Easy in the early stages, but rough and boggy over the hills.