365pm Kilmartin to Carnassarie Castle

I’m walking along a wooded slope, surrounded by beautiful native trees, scented by a carpet of bluebells. Walking doesn’t get much better than this.

40 forest walk to Kilmartin, Ruth's coastal hike, Scotland

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365am Crinan to Kilmartin

I catch the bus to Cairnbaan – or as close to Cairnbaan as I can get – and walk the rest of the way along a beautiful lane, shaded by trees and lined by bluebells and buttercups.

01 lane near Crinan Canal, Ruth's coastal walk, Scotland

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364pm Bellanoch to Crinan

Back on the boring and dusty road, in the heat, I’m dying for this part of my walk to end.

27 track to Crinan, Ruth Livingstone hiking the coast of Argyll, Scotland

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364am Bellanoch to Carsaig

I catch the bus from Bellanoch and, as usual, I’m the only passenger. The driver recognises me from yesterday. “I’m not going to Achnamara today,” he says. I explain that’s OK, because I want to be dropped off at the Barnluasgan monument. He’s not sure where I mean, but says he’ll drop me off wherever I want.

So, I choose to get off at the Forestry Commission car park, the place where I saw the camper van yesterday.

01 car park, Loch Coille a Bharra, Ruth's coastal walk, Argyll

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363pm Achnamara to Bellanoch

I have a cunning plan for this afternoon. Instead of relying on the monstrous bike, I’m going to catch the bus that runs along the road to Achnamara. All I have to do is park somewhere along its route. Bellanoch seems a good place.

Bellanoch is on the Crinan canal and consists of a couple of rows of houses and a marina…

51 Bellanoch, Ruth's coastal walk, Argyll, Scotland

…and, most importantly, a bus stop. The stop has a beautiful view over the canal, which is very wide at this point. Continue reading

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363am Castle Sween to Achnamara

It’s going to be another day of road-walking, but my blister is well padded and my foot feels surprisingly comfortable. I drop the Monster bike off in the village of Achnamara, and drive back to Castle Sween, where I park in a layby.

01 Castle Sween cross roads, Ruth's coastal walk, Knapdale, Scotland

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362 Ellary Estate to Castle Sween

It’s only a short distance from Ellary House to the beginning of my next walk. Only 3 miles on foot, but a whopping 30 mile trip by road, because you have to drive all the way round via Lochgilphead and the Crinan Canal.

It’s gone 11am by the time I get to the end of the public road and park my car. There’s a cyclist sitting on the grass, and I ask him if he’s OK, but he’s only having a rest. He asks if I’m going to the Secret Beach. No, I tell him. I’m walking up through the Ellary Estate. I ask him where the beach is – because the sea is not in sight – but he only grins. He can’t tell me, because it’s a secret!

I go through the gates of the private estate, and walk up the track. At the top, I’m half-expecting the cows to be still guarding the pass, but there’s no sign of them today. I reach the point where I stopped yesterday, turn around, and begin today’s walk.

01 cow pass without cows, Ruth's coastal walk, Argyll, Scotland

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361 Achahoish to Ellary

The west coast of Scotland was shaped by a drunken giant with an enormous pair of scissors and a sense of humour. A jagged series of mulls, peninsulas and inlets.

scottish coast

My walk today will take me part way around yet another peninsula, Knapdale. There’s a road some of the way down one side, and a road some of the way up the other – leaving a gap in the middle. My plan today is to walk until I close the gap. Continue reading

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360 Ormsary to Achahoish

Yesterday, I ended my walk at a place called Kilmaluaig, and today my first task is to get back there. But there are only two buses a day on this route, and it’s a Saturday. That means there is no early school bus, and the first bus doesn’t run until noon.

So, I get to have a lie-in, and decide to spend the rest of my free morning in Tarbert. Looking forward to it. Continue reading

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359 Ardpatrick to Kilberry and Ormsary

Today I get up very early, and drive back towards Kilberry, arriving in good time to catch bus number 447. There are only 2 passengers. Myself and a sleepy-looking schoolgirl.

The bus driver seems surprised by my choice of destination – the turnoff to Ardpatrick. Yes, I know it’s the middle of nowhere.

01 Ardpatrick

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