Three spectacular walks in Western Scotland are featured in this "Great Walks" video. Reliable Striding Edge host Cameron McNeish is accompanied by author and longtime nature reserve warden and conservationist Dick Balharry as they take us into into "the Heart of Torridon," "the Wild Coast of Mull," and Creag Meagaidh. The two prove genial companions, each with a deep knowledge and appreciation of the area. At the outset of each segment Ordnance Survey maps display the three routes.
As they set off into Torridon, McNeish stops to appreciate a tribute on a monument; Balharry remarks that the man being celebrated was responsible for evicting hundreds of tenants from their land. At one point, they pass by a mountain where in 1951 a small military aircraft crashed 200 feet below the summit in the middle of the night, killing all 7 of the crew (the bodies weren't recovered for months). At another point, the pair stop to admire admire a fragment from the root of a 6,000 year old tree. This particular segment was filmed on bright and clear day in June; but for contrast, McNeish inserts a brief clip of their previous attempt in this region eight months earlier, when torrential rains eventually made them abandon their walk. This first trip takes us past Beinn Eighe, Beinn Alligin, and Liathach, ending at the Bridge of Grudie near the shores of Loch Maree.
The second walk, along the west coast of the Hebridean island of Mull, offers a complete topographic contrast to Torridon. Beginning in the deciduous woodland near Lochbui, the two walk to the rugged coast, past a spectacular cave (with carvings from the 6th or 7th centuries) and to the Carsaig Arches, reminiscent, Balharry points out, of similar natural structures in Utah. And in fact a strange and enormous hexagonal rock formation on the cliffs above the beach reminded me of a similar geologic curiosity (called "The Devil's Postpile") in the Sierra Nevadas, just south of Yosemite Park in California. The two spot a buzzard ("the Englishman's Eagle")and Balharry, peering through his binoculars, explains the difference between buzzards and eagles.
The third and final segment, focused on Craig Meagaidh, a 3,700 foot peak (number 26 in the Munro tables), takes us along "the spine of Scotland," beginning at an Aberarda farmhouse, through Coire Adair, then to Craig Meageidh itself, returning to Aberarder via Sron a Choir, with spectacular views of Loch Laggan, far below. This is an exhilirating trio of excursions into the Western Highlands and the coast of Scotland.