The title of this post is a little misleading, because I haven’t actually reached Grogport yet. But I’m nearly there. I park in the layby where I finished yesterday’s walk, and set out along the road.
Today the sun is shining, but Arran looks misty and mysterious. Every time I see the island, it seems to be wearing a different face.
I’m walking into the sun (heading south) and so photography is difficult. To be honest, there’s not much of interest along the way – a ruined farmhouse, a lonely cottage by the shore, fenced off scrubland, patches of woodland – and with few distractions I make rapid progress.
Just before I reach Grogport, I come across an official picnic area and a very small car park – with room for 2 cars, maybe 3 if you’re lucky! But what a great place for lunch. And with wonderful views over Arran.
I decide to turn back here. Yes, it’s another day of having to retrace my steps. It’s Sunday and there are no buses running, but, in any case, this road doesn’t have a bus service.
As always, the route backwards seems to take much longer than the route forwards. I distract myself by thinking happy thoughts – of my new grandchild, of my family, of my shiny new car… ah, there it is, waiting for me in the layby.
I drive back along the road, and park by the picnic spot I discovered earlier. Sadly, it’s much too early for lunch. Onwards. There’s the village of Grogport ahead, just on the other side of a little bay.
At the end of the bay I turn around and take a photograph looking back. It really is very pretty here.
Grogport is barely a village. There’s a bridge and a few houses. No shop. No café. No pub.
Beyond the village, the road zigzags up a hill. 12% says a warning sign. That’s… I do some quick maths… a gradient of one in eight. No wonder I’m finding it hard work!
At the start of the climb I’m surrounded by trees, but the road soon reaches open land, and the views are wonderful.
Uh oh. The cows are out. They’re giving me the evil eye, but luckily they’re on the other side of a fence. I wonder what breed they are?
The road turns away from the coast and flattens out a little, but still continues going uphill.
Over a rise, and it drops down again. The photographs I take are poor, and don’t do the view justice. It really is attractive countryside, only slightly spoiled by the marching pylons and the felled areas of logging.
Round a corner and over another rise. Will this road never end?
As the road dips down, I reach a mini crossroads. A sign points, rather ominously, to the cemetery. No thank you. I’m going straight on.
At the crossroads I’m reunited with the Kintyre Way. Hello, old friend. Where have you been? In fact, the Way had previously crossed over to the west side of the peninsula, and now it’s crossed back again.
The road marches up the other side of the dip and from the higher ground I get a view of the cemetery. There appears to be a standing stone nearby. I check my map. No, not a standing stone, but a chambered cairn.
At the top of the hill I decide to turn around. I was planning to walk a little further to reach a forested area where there is an official car park marked on my map. But I’m hungry. Time to go back to my car and have that picnic.
Grogport’s bay is looking even prettier when I reach it. The tide has gone out, exposing a small patch of sandy beach. I climb down to walk through the rocks and then along the sand.
It’s the first beach-walking I’ve done since I left Arran. Lovely. I resist the urge to take off my shoes and socks – it’s really too cold – but I remember this is why I set off on my coastal walk in the first place.
I enjoy my lunch, and take the opportunity to snap a self-portrait. I’m looking cold and stern, but don’t have the patience to try again.
After lunch, it’s time to set off and find that car park in the forest. I’ve got more walking to do before I reach Carradale.
[to be continued…]