The April air is cool and, despite the sunshine, I soon start to feel cold. So I hurriedly finish my snacks and set off down the road. Although I usually find road-walking boring, I’m surrounded by lovely views and time passes quickly. It is wonderful to have Ailsa Craig as a companion again.
There are still a few miles to go before I reach Campbeltown. Over the brow of a hill and I see Ardnacross Bay ahead, and the village of Peninver.
In a nearby field are two scarecrows. The white one is very unrealistic, but the darker one is spookily life-like and almost appears to be moving – an optical illusion caused by the wind tugging at its clothes.
Peninver looks like a proper village, but I checked it out when I travelled through here in the bus this morning, and I know there is nothing much here. No café. No pub. The place is dominated by a static-caravan holiday park consisting of a series of green tin boxes standing in rows along the shoreline.
The beach, however, is wonderful, with a mix of rippled sand and stones. Across the water, the Isle of Arran makes an impressive backdrop.
I walk along by the waves, before heading to the top of the sand to sit on a stone. No need to hurry and these views deserve to be savoured. I’m not the only person enjoying the beach today, but you can’t exactly call the place crowded.
Onwards, up the road, I walk past the rows of caravans and soon leave Peninver behind.
In a nearby field is a black goat – no, a black sheep with horns – with three beautiful little black lambs. Can’t resist a photo and this family are bold posers. Mum stares brazenly at me while her lambs trot along beside her.
Good. I’m pleased I’ve finally managed to take a decent photograph of some lambs today.
On goes the road. Ahead is a wide inlet – Campbeltown Loch – and I know I can’t have far to walk now.
I cross over Smerby Burn. The bridge is narrow and the curving road makes it difficult for drivers to see me plodding along the tarmac. There isn’t exactly a lot of traffic passing by, but there is more than there was earlier, and certainly enough to keep me slightly on edge. I must keep listening out for cars.
Beyond the bridge are some brick structures. They are marked on my OS map, but without any labels. I think they must be gun emplacements from the second world war. A trio of lambs look up and watch me walking past.
Over on the far side of the field, near the sea, is a cemetery. ‘Church (remains of)’ says my map.
Now I’m approaching the entrance to Campbeltown Loch. Across the water is Davaar Island with its lighthouse.
The island is tidal, and when the tide is low you can walk over the connecting stretch of sand and visit the place. It look inviting and I decide I must visit the island sometime in the next few days.
Now I’m approaching the outskirts of Campbeltown, where I’m staying in a slightly run-down hotel. Campbeltown is named after Archibald Campbell who developed the town in the 17th century, turning it into a prosperous fishing and shipbuilding port. It is the biggest town on the Kintyre Peninsula (the ONLY town, in fact) and the place where most of the area’s population live.
Campbeltown is still a working port, and across the loch I can see piles of timber waiting to be transported, while a collection of fishing boats huddle inside the inner harbour walls.
Nearer the apex of the loch, where the water is shallower, lie a group of pleasure yachts. A range of hills – covered in partially logged forest – forms an attractive backdrop to the town.
I wish I could say Campbeltown was a pretty place. It has a few fine buildings, but the town itself is rather ugly, although the loch does look lovely in the late-afternoon sunshine.
Miles walked today = 17 miles
Total miles around coast = 3,651 miles
Route: morning in red, afternoon in blue.