Hills: Beinn Akie and Fashven (Cape Wrath)
Date: Saturday 7th June 2014
Company: Myself, Graeme and Penny
Distance: 19.5km, Ascent: 905m
Time: 5Hrs 50Mins

On Saturday morning, Graeme and I set out from our weekend base in Durness to catch the small passenger ferry across to Cape Wrath. Shortly before leaving, I took a quick photo of our tents and vehicles and also one of a Black-headed Gull that landed only feet from my tent.

MMC camping meet at Sango Sands, Durness:

Black-headed Gull:

We drove round to Keoldale just in time to catch the first ferry of the day at 09:30.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

On arriving in Keoldale, we joined the queue of passengers who were already waiting. As the ferry carries a maximum of ten passengers, we had to wait for a second crossing. We had hoped to catch the minibus at the Cape Wrath side to transport us to Kervaig bothy and allow for a traverse back however the minibus was already full when we arrived so our only option was to undertake a circuit on foot. We were advised that the last ferry back was at 16:30.

The return ferry costs £6.50. The minibus, should you be fortunate enough to secure a seat, is a further £12.00 return or £7.00 one-way. It is not possible to make a reservation for the ferry or the minibus, so unlike us be sure to get there early!

Awaiting the Cape Wrath ferry at Keoldale:

The ferry crossing was short and pleasant - a circa ten minute crossing.

Aboard the ferry:

On arriving in Cape Wrath, we walked approximately 800m along the road before taking to the hillside. During the walk along the road, I stopped several times to take photographs of the lovely sand and sea at the Kyle of Durness.

Sand ripples in the Kyle of Durness:

Looking back to Keoldale across the Kyle of Durness:

Kyle of Durness:

We followed the road until reaching a section of hillside that was covered in grass instead of bracken. We then made our way up Beinn an Amair.

Ascending Beinn an Amair:

Beinn an Amair has a drop of only 86m so it falls 14m short of being a HuMP and 64m short of being a Marilyn. It is however a fantastic viewpoint. I would recommend ascending this hill en-route to Beinn Akie.

View during ascent of Beinn an Amair:

View during ascent of Beinn an Amair (panorama):

On reaching the summit of Beinn an Amair we made our way across to an un-named 241m top and then on to Beinn Akie.

Looking towards Beinn Akie from Beinn an Amair:

From the summit of Beinn an Amair it was nice to see across to Fashven, our main target of the day. Fashven would appear to be a rarely-climbed hill. Only two people have logged a previous ascent of Fashven on Walk Highlands.

Beinn Akie and Fashven:

I found the red conglomerate rock near the summit of Beinn Akie quite interesting - lots of red pebbles embedded in red sandstone.

Looking towards the summit of Beinn Akie:

We stopped for a brief rest at the summit of Beinn Akie before continuing on towards Fashven. We selected a route that would minimise height loss and also avoid some seriously wet ground next to Loch Airigh na Beinne.

Fashven from the summit of Beinn Akie:

I have yet to ascend Creag Riabhach. It looks a great hill!

Creag Riabhach from the summit of Beinn Akie:

Looking back to Beinn an Amair from the summit of Beinn Akie:

Fashven across Loch Airigh na Beinne:


The col between Beinn Akie and Fashven was fairly wet underfoot. The subsequent ascent of Fashven was also fairly wet until reaching Loch na Gainmhich beyond which the ascent was really pleasant.

Ascending South ridge of Fashven:

Onto the level summit area:

On reaching the summit area we visited a large cairn which has a disused aerial nearby. We then continued on a hundred metres or so to the actual summit.

Panorama from large cairn near the summit:

View from large cairn near the summit:

Looking towards Sgribhis-bheinn from the summit of Fashven:

View from the summit of Fashven:

After taking several photos at the summit, we decided to descend as directly as possible towards our next potential target, Sgribhis-bheinn. The descent from Fashven was not as steep as expected.

Looking back to Fashven during steep descent:

Looking back to Fashven:

During the ascent and descent of Fashven, we were careful to lookout for any ordnance (exploded or unexploded). We didn't find any.

In the Danger Area:

It was however interesting to cross through an area of old vehicles which appear to get used as targets.

Old military vehicles in the Danger Area:

There were numerous small craters near these old vehicles.

Missile crater:

On reaching the road, Graeme decided to continue on to ascend Sgribhis-bheinn while I decided to play it safe to get back in time for the final ferry which was allegedly at 16:30.

Looking back to Fashven across Lochan nam Breac Buidhe:

During the walk back I stopped to take a photo of a Red Grouse.

Red Grouse:

Looking back to Fashven and Daill:

I got back to the ferry at 16:00 with apparently 30 minutes to spare and got the ferry back across the Kyle of Durness at 16:05. I wasn't too happy to find out that the ferry would likely be running until 18:00 meaning I would have had plenty time to also ascend Sgribhis-bheinn. Never mind, it gives me the opportunity for a return visit .

After waiting for Graeme to get the next ferry back, we returned to the campsite where we enjoyed several drinks whilst waiting the return of the rest of our group who were mostly traversing Foinaven.

To end a most excellent day, we were treated to a lovely sunset.

Beautiful sunset in Durness:

I will remember this walk for some time and am already looking forward to my next visit to Cape Wrath (hopefully with a stay at Kervaig)