Torr Fada and Traigh Gheal.

Start. Knockvologan.

Route. Knockvologan - Tireragan nature Reserve - Torr Fada - Breac-achadh - Glen Traighe - Traigh Gheal - Glen Traighe - Breac-achadh - Knockvologan.

Notes. This is a walk I'll remember for all the wrong reasons, a full on yomp through the Tireragan Nature Reserve, our destination a beach Traigh Gheal (White Beach) said to be the most beautiful on Mull. “Acres of white sand” the guide book promised, “fringed with flowering machair surrounded by high cliffs, a bay peppered with little islets, paradise on the south coast of Mull”. Who could resist that, unfortunately paradise was guarded by the Devil himself, in the form of challenging rough, boggy terrain, and that without doubt is the biggest understatement I have ever made.

It was wet and windy as we left Knockvologan, as it had been all night, we were prepared for a wet outing, but nowhere near as wet as it turned out. From the farm buildings a stoney track guided us towards the Tireragan Nature Reserve, after a couple of gates the going got wet, the stoney track replaced by a wet path. After crossing a burn and passing through the final gate we immediately started climbing the slopes of Torr Fada. On a nice day I guess the views would be stunning, but today wasn't that day, we made do with grey vistas through driving rain.

Making the best of the situation we continued across the summit before descending into what I can only describe as The Devils Kitchen. Fighting our way through heavy vegetation, bog hopping at every turn, detour after detour followed, map and compass in hand, checking bearings every few minutes. On the map this looked simple, give me the fells and ridge lines any day, the path was faint, always muddy, difficult to follow, arrows supposedly marked on stones were difficult sometimes impossible to find.

The rain came down the route got wetter, bridges were washed out, on more than one occasion we nearly threw the towel in. Suddenly confronted by an intact bridge the mood lifted, we ignored the cleared village of Tir Fheargain continuing through overgrown tracts of Hazel and Willow, little did we know this was the easy bit. Passed another cleared village we picked our way, then our route crossed Glen Traighe, oh my god, masses of wet ground to traverse, again many diversions followed before we reached the edge of oak and birch woods. Sometimes you just have to give up and paddle through the bloody morass, it was so deep that was impossible.

Using branches from trees we picked our way through, across and around deep bog, climbed the hill over slippery moss covered boulders to find safe fording points of swollen burns. Without warning the path started descending, through the trees our first glimpse of the beach we'd fought so hard to reach, knackered we stumbled onto its white sand. This may be the most beautiful beach on Mull but on a day like today it looked grim, we were there so made the best of it.

We sat around, walked around, took photographs, had a brew, re-energised before the inevitable, the journey back. The only route back was the way we came, we had it all to do again. Sue vanished into the trees, I followed her then we had a spot of look, I found a scaffold plank laying in a burn. With the plank over my shoulder we wandered on, our very own bridge in tow, crossing boggy ground became easy, deep gullies just a mild inconvenience.

Once at the foot of Torr Fada we followed a faint path on our left, as the plank was weighing a bit by now I left it for the next people to risk life and limb traversing this glen. This path although muddy had bridges over the really bad bits, it deposited us at the gate we passed through earlier, all that remained to re-trace our steps over the not so wet bits and the stoney path back to Knockvologan, remove wet clothes, socks and boots and go and find a warm inn.

view route map.


Leave Knockvologan via this path, make the best of it.

The landscape of South Mull, pretty level walking but boot hugging.

Ascending Torr Fada looking to the sea cliffs of Aird Mor.

View taken from near the summit of Torr Fada, grey across the horizon Iona.

Wandering into the wilderness.

Our first glimpse of Traigh Gheal.

Traigh Gheal looking to Eilean Mor, Large Island.

The jagged edge where the cliffs of Sgala Dubh tumble into the bay at Traigh Gheal.

Sue's disappears into the undergrowth, the only route back.

Glen Traigh and look, blue sky, it didn't last.

One of many cleared villages in the Highlands and Islands, Breac-achadh.

There was quite a number of buildings hidden in the bracken, plus what I took for the remains of a mill.

Sue battles her way towards Torr Fada.

It's raining again, here we have a shot to a distant horizon melting into the grey murk.

The scenery is quite beautiful when the rain stops, looking over Glen Traighe.

Sue ascends the lower slopes of Torr Fada, eyes pealed for a path junction marked by a couple of carved arrows on a boulder.

Rising from the Atlantic Ocean, Aird Mor.

Looking back to Torr Fada and the path we trod earlier.

For a second the sun paints the landscape, Cnoc an t-Suidhe over the green fields of Knockvologan.

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