349 Claonaig to Grogport

There’s a tiny parking place at the spot where the Kintyre Way leaves the coast road. From here it heads over across the peninsula to the other shore. That’s not the right direction for me…

01 car park for Kintyre Way, Ruth hiking in Scotland

… and so I must say goodbye to the Kintyre Way – temporarily – because today I’m road walking to Grogport.

But, first, I must backtrack along the road to the marker pole. This is where I ended yesterday’s walk, and so it’s the place where I must start today’s walk.

02 marker pole, Kintyre Way, Ruth's coastal walk

(Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so obsessional!) Turning round at the marker point, I begin my walk along the road. Here’s the last marker for the Kintyre Way, and from now on I’m on my own.

03 Kintyre Way, Ruth hiking in Scotland

And I really AM on my own. The road is empty. No cars. No other walkers. No houses. Just a few tangled trees and the occasional bridge over a stream.

04 streams by the road, Ruth Livingstone

At the top of a small rise I get a view of the sea. As road walking goes, this is as good as it gets! Shame about the dull light because it’s difficult to get a decent photograph, but I think you can just make out the Isle of Arran across the water.

05 hazy Arran, Ruth hiking the Kintyre coast, Scotland

The road goes on. And on. Ah, there’s a farm house.

06 empty road, Ruth's coastal walk, Kintyre Peninsula

And now more road. Just a few sheep for company.

07 scenic road to Carradale, Ruth's coastal walk, Kintyre

Warning signs talk about very soft verges and advise you use the passing places. (This later turns out to be a prophetic warning.)

08 warning soft verges, Ruth hiking Scottish roads

I’m surprised to see a couple of cows in a muddy field. There is little growth in the grass yet – it’s still February after all – so they are clustered round an empty feeding trough, looking mournful. Wait… that big one is not a cow. It’s a bull!

09 a bull, Ruth's coastal walk, Scotland

Further on I come to a small walled area where somebody has made an attempt to create a little park. It’s fenced off and not obviously public land, so I stay outside, but I can make out a memorial bench. “In loving memory of Angus and Mabel MacArthur.”

10 memorial garden, Ruth walking from Claonaig to Grogport

I wonder who they were? And why make a memorial garden here? There are no cottages or farms close by.

Down by the shore I spot a trig point. I would like to go and look at it (I love trig points) but there is no easy path and the ground looks very boggy, so I stick to the road.

11 trig point and Arran, Ruth's coastal walk

On my right I pass another farm. This one is very higgledy-piggledy. Quite a mess really. Funny how some farms are very neat and tidy and others look like they’ve been hit by Viking raiders.

12 scruffy farm, Ruth's coastal walk, Kintyre Peninsula

There are very few landmarks on my map, but I’m excited at the prospect of approaching a place marked as Allt Romain. Roman ruins? Did the Romans get as far as this?

But no, what a disappointment. Allt Romain turns out to be the name of a house.

13 allt romain, Ruth Livingstone in Scotland

Maybe because there are so few buildings in this area it seems that every single one deserves its own name on the OS map.

More cattle. One stares at me belligerently, and then I spot a tiny calf. Uh oh. I’m glad I’m on the road and not tramping through the fields.

14 calves in a field, Ruth's coastal walk

Meanwhile, some of the morning haze is lifting. I get a wonderful view of Arran, spotlighted with dramatic shafts of sun filtering through the clouds.

15 light over Arran, Ruth Livingstone hiking in Scotland

I reach a place called Crossaig. I knew it wasn’t going to be a proper village, but it is still something of a shock to realise Crossaig is basically just a bridge over a river and a single farmhouse.

16 farmhouse at Crossaig, Ruth walking in Kintyre

They are renovating the farmhouse. A dog spots me and starts barking. One woman is painting the outside wall, and she turns and gives me a cheery wave. She’s the first person I’ve seen all day.

Over the bridge the road climbs steeply, and I pass a tumbledown farm cottage.

17 ruined buildings, Crossaig, Ruth's coastal walk

There are NO BUSES along this road, and so I know I’m soon going to have to turn around soon and retrace my steps back to my car. Psychologically this is a hard thing to do and spoils some of the enjoyment of the walk, because I know that very mile plodded will have to be re-plodded in the opposite direction.

At the top of the slope is a timber yard. It has wide, locked gates, a stretch of cleared land, and a stack of old logs. There is nobody working here and it’s a Saturday…

18 logging area, Ruth's coastal walk, Kintyre

… so I climb over the gates and sit on one of the logs. It makes a good place for a picnic lunch. I enjoy my hot chocolate, and manage to drink the stuff without burning my lips. They’re still sore from yesterday!

Later, the gate post makes a good place to perch my camera for a self-portrait. I’m wearing my hi-vis vest, although there really isn’t much point, as I’ve only met a couple of cars all morning.

19 self portrait, Ruth Livingstone hiking in Scotland

I decide this would be a good spot to break my walk into two. Yes. I’ll go back and get my car. And then the next section of the walk will seem much easier, because I won’t be faced with such a long return at the end of it.

There’s one advantage to walking back the way I’ve come. The sun is behind me and the haze has lifted a little, I get to enjoy some much better views. Finally, I can take some half-decent photographs.

20 walking back to Claonaig, Ruth hiking in Kintyre, Scotland

It seems a long way back, retracing my steps, even though I make rapid progress along the empty road. Only 4 miles and just over an hour of walking, until I reach my car. Then I drive along the road, through Crossaig, and back to the timber yard, where I park in the wide layby.

I feel immediately better and more positive about the afternoon’s walk. As if to reflect my mood, the sun lights up Arran, which looks really cheerful across the water.

21 looking over Arran, Ruth Livingstone's coastal walk, Scotland

A little further along I pass an electricity station.

22 electricity grid station, Ruth walking on Kintyre

There are signs designed for the construction traffic. “Please be a courteous driver.” Yes, you have to be courteous on these roads.

23 road signs B842 Ruth's coastal walk

Onwards. Into the sunshine. I enjoy having the sun on my face, even though the air is cold, and the low light makes photography difficult.

24 walking into the sun, Ruth hiking the Kintyre Peninsula

Here’s a wonderful view of Arran. I can make out houses along the shore. That must be… I check my Garmin… Pirnmill, I think. It seems a long time since I was over there having my lunchtime picnic. October. Only four months ago.

25 Pirnmill, from Kintyre, Ruth's coastal walk

The only way I can take a decent photo along this road is by turning round and having the sun behind me. Here is an unusual sight – a working phone box. The nearby cottage isn’t named on my map.

26 road to Carradale, Ruth's coastal walk, Kintyre

I’m approaching Cour. Again, I was expecting more, but it’s basically just the name of a farm. In fact, that’s Cour House below me, and Cour Bay. Lovely in the sunshine.

27 Cour farmhouse, Ruth's coastal walk to Carradale, Scotland

I carry on for another mile or so, and then I check my watch. I’ve only walked for an hour this afternoon – 2.5 miles – but I had a long walk yesterday in my clumpy leather boots, and I’m actually feeling very tired. Also, every mile forward means another mile backwards.

Then I spot this passing place (in the photo below) which seems wide enough to safely park my car for the next stage of the walk tomorrow…

28 passing place, Ruth hiking in Scotland

… and so I come to a quick decision. I’ll end my walk here.

It’s an easy walk back to my car, with the intermittent sunshine making the landscape glow.

29 returning to Crossaig, Ruth's coastal walk in Scotland

Sadly, tomorrow I’ll have to repeat this process of walking, turning back to my car, driving on, walking again, turning back… wish there was a bus along this route. Never mind, it’s been a good day and at least I’ve made steady progress. Slow, yes, but still progress.

Miles walked today = 13 (but only 7.5 in the right direction!)
Total around the coast of Britain = 3,623 miles

High points: empty roads and beautiful views.
Low point: no buses and having to retrace my steps.


About Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.
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13 Responses to 349 Claonaig to Grogport

  1. owdjockey says:

    Hi Ruth, may I offer a simple solution to the back tracking? Buy a small folding bicycle and drop it off at where you intend to finish your walk. Or ride to the end of yourwalk and stash it somewhere OR (if this is just a road section) push the bike back to your car. The advantage here is that if you come to a steep hill simply walk up and then on the return route you can ride back down, as long as you have covered the distance. There are a many other places in Scotland where you will be faced with the same dilemma.

  2. Eunice says:

    Love the afternoon photos and Cour Bay looks lovely – it’s surprising what a difference a bit of sunshine makes 🙂

    • Just been reading your account of your Easter trip to north Wales. Weather sounded terrible. We deserve a decent summer, don’t we?

      • Eunice says:

        We certainly do, but will we get one??

        It’s a shame you have to keep back-tracking on your walks, I was going to suggest getting a folding bike but owdjockey beat me to it and it seems you’ve got one anyway – I hope it helps 🙂

  3. Chris Elliott says:

    Hi Ruth – I’ve been doing a few ‘there and back’ walks recently in order to avoid camping and so to enable me to just carry a light pack. That’s one of the snags of being self supported. What happened to hubbie? I thought he was meant to be helping you out? Hope nothing is amiss or is he looking after the grand-kids?

  4. jcombe says:

    Looks like quite a varied route and I’m glad to see you’re back making progress along the coast, I will find this very useful when I get this far.

    I hate doing “up and back” walks. So far I’ve only had to do it twice, in the far north of Scotland, and it really keeps it in your mind that each mile you walk you’ll have to walk again later, although sometimes I guess you might be able to find a shorter route back along roads, perhaps.

    I’ve considered the folding bicycle option but for most walks in the north of Scotland I’ve usually been flying from Luton to Inverness as it is much cheaper and faster than driving (I’ve usually managed the flight for between £40 and £50 return on Easyjet, which is a lot cheaper than it would cost to drive) but that makes taking a bike difficult! I might change my mind though if I find there are too many walks where I have to walk there and back.

  5. Hello Ruth, I’d never thought of walking until I chanced upon your blog, you inspired me and now I’m following in your footsteps,(and using your walks) walking from Kent to Landsend and enjoying it tremendously – thank you.

    • Hi June, and how wonderful to hear you’ve started your own coastal trek. That’s a lovely section of coast to walk. Plenty of things to see and well supplied with cafes and transport! I know you’ll enjoy it 😄

  6. Karen White says:

    There are some wonderful views on this stretch of coast. How lovely to live in one of those farmhouses though I think the isolation might get to me after a while.

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