351 Off-roading

Today I set off in high spirits. It’s a Monday and there are buses running along the stretch of road between Carradale and Campbeltown. No need for double-walking today. Yippee!To get to Carradale I must drive down the good old B842 – a road I feel I know only too well, having driven and walked each section several times already. I’ve grumbled about this road, and today… well, today the road gets its own back.

Around a corner, and I came face to face with another car. A rare occurrence to meet anybody else, but here we are, nose to nose. No worries. There’s a passing place just behind me. All I have to do is reverse…

It’s a new car, I’ve not had much practice at reversing yet, I’m on a bend, I’m a little flustered, and I forget momentarily about the single-track nature of the road…

01 car off the road

The car ends up well and truly stuck, with two wheels sunk so deeply into the soft verge that I might as well have driven straight into the ditch.

After several fruitless wheel-spinning attempts to get the car out, I decide I need to call Green Flag. Meanwhile, the other car has stopped – just as well, because I have no phone signal and very little battery left on my phone anyway. (I must have forgotten to charge it overnight.)

The couple kindly offer to drive me to their house where I can use their landline. It’s “just down the road” – which turns out to be about 6 miles away – and longer than that because we drive up to Skipness first so they can pick up a paper.

At least I get a nice cup of coffee, a scone, and somewhere warm to wait. And I get reasonably prompt service from Green Flag, although it does take the operator some time to understand exactly where I am. Even the local garage in Campbeltown, who phone me back, seem to find it difficult to work out the right location.

“Just follow the B842 from Carradale towards Skipness,” I tell him.
“But how will I find your car?” the mechanic asks.
“You can’t miss it. It’s the only one stuck in a ditch.”

The couple give me a lift back to the car and I wait for the tow truck to arrive. It’s cold. While I wait – all of 20 minutes – two cars pass by. Both stop and offer to help. Nice people in Scotland.

The tow truck driver arrives – and I greet him enthusiastically, but he is a typical dour Scotsman and responds with a scowl. It seems he’s worried about the single track road.
“Need to hurry in case a bus comes along,” he says.
“Don’t worry. There aren’t any buses on this section of road,” I tell him.
He doesn’t seem convinced.

Anyway, he soon pulls me out and the car seems to be undamaged. He tells me to drive ahead so he can follow behind and make sure all is well. I drive carefully, praying I won’t meet anything coming towards me… and luckily I don’t meet anything on the road.

Later, I drive into Carradale, but I’ve missed most of the buses running today, and I really don’t have the heart to do any more double-walking. So I sit in my car, overlooking the little harbour, and drink my hot chocolate, before heading back to my B&B. I’m going home tomorrow.

So, as far as walking goes, this was a DISASTER of a day.

I’ll leave you with one of the photos I took earlier in the morning, when the day was full of promise and the early-morning sun was streaming down on Arran.

01 view of Arran with snow, Ruth's coastal walk, Kintyre

Miles walked today = none worth counting!

About Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.
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35 Responses to 351 Off-roading

  1. Sorry to hear about your misfortunes!

  2. Sorry to hear all that, but fortunately no damage to body or car. I’m disappointed to hear about your experience from Green Flag. Coming from you as such a decent person I guess the guy was probably even more unobliging than you indicate. I have been with GF for years and called upon them several times and always had excellent service.

  3. Julie says:

    Oh dear! Don’t worry, we’ve all had days like that! Might sound a bit OTT, but I don’t think You should include your reg number in a pic next time.
    My walking with hubby postponed for a while, he’s in for a hip op. The lengths some people will go to avoid a good hike!

    • Hi Julie. Sorry to hear of your husband’s hip op. Hope he is on the way to recovery now. (Interestingly, I did wonder about blurring out my reg number, but then I thought… why? And couldn’t come up with a convincing reason.)

  4. Eunice says:

    Disastrous? Disappointing? Annoying? Whatever you want to call it it was certainly some day – or even a non-day. At least neither you nor the car were damaged, that’s the main thing 🙂

  5. jcombe says:

    Oops. When I first saw the picture my first thought was “that looks like a daft place to park”. Now I see that it wasn’t intentional! Still at least no damage done other than to your pride.

  6. Anabel Marsh says:

    Oh no! Glad no lasting damage done though.

  7. tonyhunt2016 says:

    One thing I’ve intended to do whenever I got a new model of car but have never actually got around to doing is to spend five minutes in an empty car park just practising manoeuvres like reversing and parking. All cars are different, and I know that just a few minutes of focused practise without the distractions of traffic, passengers etc. can make a huge difference. Ah well, next time I’ll definitively do it!

  8. David Kain says:

    Oh Ruth – As you were soon to be in the vicinity of Campbeltown I was hoping that you would be immune from getting into embarrassing situations, but alas no.
    Fifty years ago at the tender age of twenty one I took a flight from Glasgow to Islay to start a short job of work there; we landed and I full of confidence and ready to make a good impression got off the aircraft; only one other passenger joined me but departed immediately in a waiting taxi, leaving me standing there on this very desolate runway. A few minutes later an air hostess descended from the aircraft and asked me if I wanted to go to Islay, because at the moment I was at Campbeltown. Ah, I now had to re-enter the aircraft with a face of a similar colour to the hostesses scarlet hat. All the other passengers were staring with that look that said – you stupide boy.
    Wouldn’t it be nice to have that device that told you to stop immediately because you won’t like what is coming next!

    Keep up the good work of being human and sharing your great photos.

  9. 5000milewalk says:

    “You can’t miss it. It’s the only one stuck in a ditch.”
    Lol! That was irresistible, but could be why he was so dour!

  10. lizziwake says:

    Oh dear. The best laid plans… glad you were ok.

  11. Still following your adventures and sooooo soooo impressed . you truly are amazing and if ever anyone needed proof of the fact that walking is good for you I have to say that you are living proof.

    Two bits of unwanted and obvious advice to all walkers !!! ha ha

    NEVER forget to charge your phone when on such quiet, and what can appear to be safe, but can turn into potentially dangerous walks… and ofcourse for those not accustomed to narrow country roads …. please learn to reverse your car!! I have to say that we have similar occurrences around here pretty regularly and GF Man probably was attending to his third such call that week!! The kindest words are those often untold … so he kept his thoughts to himself!!

    Love your journey and your posts and pics…

    • Hi Brian and Jane. Very excellent advice. Yes, GF man probably has to tow people out of the ditch regularly. Lots of warning signs telling you not to go on the verge too. His real thoughts were probably unprintable!

  12. Rita Bower says:

    Glad you & car were OK. Better luck next time! Fantastic photo though.
    A few weeks ago, near Chester, I mistakenly walked about 8 muddy miles in totally the wrong direction & not on the coastal route! So we all have those ‘wasted’ days…..but they add to life’s experiences…though am sure this is one you could have done without!

  13. Jacquie says:

    Oh, that was bad luck after all those miles without mishap too. Very honest of you to share it with us all

    • I did hesitate about writing up this day, because no actual walking happened. But then I thought i would – because in retrospect it was pretty amusing, and because it might help as a warning for others 😄

  14. Bad luck Ruth especially on your last walking day too! I re-started my walking on Tuesday thru to Wednesday completing 25 miles from Corton to Walberswick, Suffolk. Weather was beautiful tho a cool wind!

  15. Margaret Oliver says:

    Shame about your day Ruth but glad you and the car were ok. We all have those sort of days believe me!!!
    What a stunning photograph you have taken.

  16. Ruth, you could have mentioned that you had probably the only joyously coloured car for a hundred miles in any direction… There should be a 100% tax on grey / black dull cars to pay for the treatment of depression which they cause. Better luck with trip next time.

  17. Rose Hodges says:

    Hi Ruth. I enjoy your blogs so much and have your book Walking the British Coast but are you putting a book together so all your blogs will be in one place?

    • Hi Rose, and thank you so much for your kind words. I have thought about putting all my blog posts into a single book, but it would be enormous! And, if I wanted to include colour photographs, it would be very expensive. I’ve thought about doing sections – e.g. the South West Coast Path, Anglesey, etc. Or I could just select the “best bits”. Would be grateful for any thoughts 😄

  18. Karen White says:

    What a shame you had such a disappointing day but it could have been worse! At least the other car stopped, and the nice people gave you a lift, a coffee etc. Down south the other car owner would probably have driven merrily on his/her way and left you stranded with no phone signal.
    Re the possibility of putting you blog posts into a book, I wouldn’t like to see any left out so doing it in sections might be the best way. That way people could also choose the parts of the country that they’re particularly interested in.

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