It’s very early. In a village called Tayinloan, I wait with a bunch of schoolchildren for the Campbeltown bus to arrive. Luckily I’d researched the bus routes in advance, because this bus doesn’t go into Glenbarr village itself, but drops me off on the main road.
I plod back to the Glenbarr turn-off (the point at which I ended yesterday’s walk) and then retrace my steps, past the bus stop, up the hill, and past the war memorial.
Today will be mainly road walking, and I hope to make rapid progress. In addition, the light is very dull this morning, so I don’t stop to take many photographs.
Past Glenbarr school, on my right. It’s in the middle of nowhere.
Now the pavement ends, but on goes the road. Luckily there is little traffic to worry about. At this point, I’m about a mile from the sea.
I pass the scruffiest looking sheep I’ve ever seen. Hope the poor creature doesn’t realise how ugly it looks!
Up a rise, round a bend, and now there’s a lovely view of the sea. Ahead is the village of Muasdale.
The GP surgery is on the outskirts of the village. I wonder what it is like being a GP here. The nearest major hospital is in Glasgow, and any medical emergencies would probably require a helicopter. You would need to have good first aid and life support skills.
Muasdale village is disappointing. There was a village shop here once – you can still see where the sign was fixed to the wall – but it is closed now.
The village pub no longer exists. I guess this was it – now a private house called “The Inn”.
Beyond Muasdale, the shore is a mixture of rocks and sands. I try to climb down to walk along beside the water, but am defeated by a thick hedge of brambles, so I stick to the road instead.
The fields are full of sheep and lambs. Along the shore, I see the odd static caravan. Perhaps they’re holiday lets.
A pass a field of black sheep, no, wait… not sheep. Black llamas? Or alpacas? I don’t really know the difference.
They must belong to nearby North Beachmore Farm. Love the sign.
More static caravans. Across the water is an island. I check my map, but it doesn’t show much beyond the coastline. I think that is Islay. Or is it Gigha?
To my right is a slope and I spot a “For Sale” sign. Anyone want to buy 7 acres of croft land? I wonder if you would be allowed to build a house here, or would you need to live in a static caravan?
Apart from llamas, the fields are mainly full of sheep, and the occasional herd of cows. Love the highland cattle. They look fearsome in photos, but in real life they are quite small and, I gather, pretty docile. With their long fringes, they look really sweet – the bovine equivalent of Shetland ponies.
That island over there is definitely Gigha. Or is it too small to be Gigha. Maybe it’s Cara?
The road slopes downwards and I’m taken by surprise when a heavily laden cyclist trundles past me. A few minutes later, he is followed by a second cyclist – his wife or partner. She shouts hello.
I’m approaching the Killean Estate. I noticed the gatehouse and stable buildings when I drove past here earlier. It looks as if most of the buildings have been converted into holiday homes. An attractive place to stay.
On the opposite side of the road is a ruined church and an old graveyard.
Now I meet an old friend. The Kintyre Way. It comes down off the hill alongside the Killean Burn, and then runs alongside the road for a short distance. I’m delighted to see a separate walking path has been created, shielded from the road by a screen of bushes.
It’s great to be off the tarmac, which is always tough on the feet after a few miles. (In fact, I can feel a blister developing under the ball of my right foot. Sore!) The soft grass is a welcome relief.
The path turns westwards, and heads towards the shore. This is much better. I’m so looking forward to walking away from the road and beside the sea. But, just before I reach the shore, I meet an obstruction.
A donkey. With a large head. An enormously large head. A grotesquely, enormous large head.
Donkeys aren’t as scary as cows, but they can kick and bite. I wave my stick and shout “shoo”, but the creature ignores me completely, and won’t move.
In fact, the situation is made worse when a companionable horse joins the donkey and now the path is completely blocked.
Eventually the horse ambles off, and I begin to sidle round the donkey, nearly tumbling into the ditch on the way. Stupid animal, I mutter. (Actually, I mutter something rather ruder than this… but I’m not going to print that here.)
I get past without any kicks or bites, and it’s really wonderful to be back on the shore.
I walk along the sand and then stop for a picnic snack and drink. Ahead is the ferry port at Tayinloan, and I watch as the Gigha ferry glides in.
Soon the Kintyre Way leaves the shore, and takes me into the village, where my car is parked.
My walk today isn’t finished yet. From here, I’m going to drive further north to the village of Clachan, and then catch the next bus back to Tayinloan.
[To be continued…]