356 pm Tayinloan to Clachan

The bus drops me off, and I walk up the narrow lane from Tayinloan village, heading towards the ferry terminal.

30 Tayinloan, Ruth's coastal walk, Scotland

There’s not much at the ferry port. A café, a small waiting area for vehicles, and a signboard giving details of the next sailing to the Isle of Gigha.

31 Gigha ferry, Ruth's coastal walk, Kintyre

I’ve heard Gigha is beautiful, but I’ve decided to resist visiting the Scottish islands (except for Arran, which I’ve already walked around). With so many attractive places to visit, I could spend the rest of my life taking ferry trips!

The ferry is just arriving… it does look enticing.

32 Gigha ferry embarking, Ruth Livingstone, Kintyre, Scotland

But, no, I must get on with my walking trek.

I leave the ferry port behind and continue to follow the Kintyre Way along the shore. For the next 4-5 miles I’ll be away from the road. Yippee. It’s wonderful to be beside the sea again, although the beach is not particularly scenic – an untidy mix of stones, seaweed, and sand.

33 bay to Rhunahaorine Point, Ruth's coastal walk, Scotland

I pass a wrecked ship. “Island Queen”. And stop to take photographs. It doesn’t look as if it has been here very long. I wonder what happened?

34 wrecked ship, Island Queen, Rhunahaorine Point, Kintyre, Ruth's coastal walk, Scotland

This bay has no name on my map and there are no buildings along the shore. But halfway around I come across another holiday park. The static caravans have attractive balconies overlooking the sea, and unspoilt views across the Sound of Gigha.

35 caravan park, Lochan Luing, Ruth's coastal walk, Kintyre, Scotland

Past the caravan site, and I’m heading along the edge of a low-lying triangle of land that juts out into the sea. The far point is called Rhunahaorine Point, with a watch tower and an electricity station of some sort. Presumably here is where electricity cables go under the water, and supply  the Isle of Gigha.

36 watchtower, Rhunahaorine Point, Ruth's coastal walk, Kintyre, Scotland

On the flat land beside the point are two other structures – a cairn, and a trig point.

37 cairn and trig point, Rhunahaorine Point, Ruth's coastal walk, Kintyre, Scotland

Is there something placed on top of the trig point? What is it? I head across the grass to find out.

Oh, a sheep’s skull. Nice.

38 skull on top of trig point, Ruth's coastal walk, Kintyre, Scotland

Round the point, the beach continues uninterrupted. Shame the light is very dull and my photographs don’t really do this bay justice. Oh dear. Looks like rain clouds over there. Am I going to get wet?

39 bleak beach, Ruth's coastal walk, Kintyre, Scotland

But the weather gods are kind to me. For the rest of this section of the walk, I can watch the rain falling over the hills to the north, while I remain dry. In fact, the sun even peeps through intermittently.

After a while I grow fed up with beach walking – the sand is soft and energy-sapping – and I climb up onto the grassy plateau above the shore.

40 dunes, Ruth's coastal walk, Kintyre, Scotland

But this turns out to be a mistake. The grassland is full of hidden bogs, cut through by deep streams and drainage channels, and there are barbed wire fences to climb. In places the bank has suffered erosion, with mini landslips. So I soon clamber down the bank to walk along the sand again.

I find a post to balance my camera on, and take a self-portrait.

41 Ruth Livingstone hiking the Kintyre Way, west coast

There is the occasional stream to wade across, but luckily the water is never very deep and I keep my feet dry.

42 Ruth hiking the Kintyre Way to Clachan

I come across the remains of industrial structures. My map shows a “fish farm”, but this must have been abandoned some time ago. There is also evidence of quarrying, again with no sign of recent activity.

43 old industry, Ruth's coastal walk, Kintyre, Scotland

Onwards. Towards the rain. Sadly, I’m beginning to run out of beach.

44 beach walking, Kintyre Way, Ruth Livingstone

When the sand comes to an end, the Kintyre Way takes me up through grass and rocks, twisting and winding. There is a visible path underfoot, but it isn’t very wide and doesn’t look well used.

45 Ruth Livingstone hiking the Kintyre Way to Clachan

In fact, in places the path deteriorates into a quagmire of mud, or becomes obliterated by weeds. But, just when I think I’ve lost the route, I spot the familiar blue posts. Ah, this is the right way, after all.

46 Ruth's coastal walk, Kintyre Way, Scotland

I stop at a picnic bench. Time for a snack, a drink, and a short rest. But I don’t dare stop for long. Those clouds ahead look even blacker.

47 picnic bench, Kintyre Way, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

Now the path runs below and roughly parallel to the main road (the A83), but screened from it by a thick bank of brambles and other vegetation. I know the road is only a few feet away because I can hear the wheels of cars and lorries passing over the tarmac, just above my head.

At first I enjoy walking along this hidden path, but then I come across an obstruction. A downed tree, with branches sprawling over the path in an untidy mess and… and, bits of a car are strewn about. Yes. Those are definitely pieces of bumper and there’s even a broken number plate. A car must have come off the road.

48 car crash, Kintyre Way, Ruth hiking in Scotland

Oh dear. I feel suddenly anxious. First of all, I can’t easily climb over this mess and, secondly, what would happen to me if another car came off the road at this point?

A vision flashes through my head. I see myself lying broken and undiscovered beneath a crashed car, until, days later, the recovery vehicle arrives to lift the metal wreck up and finds my body…

Sometimes I wish I wasn’t blessed with such a vivid imagination!

Shaken, I scramble up the bank, crawl through a hedge of brambles, climb over a barbed-wire fence, and get myself back on the tarmac. I’m not sure if this is any safer, but at least, if a car squishes me up here, I’ll be seen.

49 Road walking, Ruth's coastal walk, Kintyre, Scotland

Onwards, past the obstruction, and I follow the road for a while, before I decide to get back onto the Kintyre Way. The path is clearer now, as it crosses thorough an open area of grassland, and meanders along parallel to the road.

There’s a hill ahead. That must be Ronachan Point.

50 Ronachan Point, Ruth's coastal walk, Kintyre, Scotland

Still following the Kintyre Way, I turn left down a track marked “Private Road”.

51 private road to Ronachan House, Ruth's coastal walk, Kintyre, Scotland

Ronachan Bay is very pretty, with a little sandy beach, and dominated by an impressive building – Ronachan House. I can’t quite work out whether this is a private home, or whether the house has been converted into apartments, or holiday lets.

52 Ronachan House, Ruth Livingstone hiking the Kintyre Way

I’m very grateful to whoever owns the house for allowing the Kintyre Way to pass through its grounds. (Although, I would have liked to walk around the Point itself.) I follow the bank of a stream, surrounded by mature trees…

53 walk through Ronachan House grounds, Ruth Livingstone

… past waterfalls and pretty bridges…

54 bridges and waterfalls, Ruth Livingstone hiking in Scotland

… until I reach the main gates.

55 main gate, Ronachan House, Ruth's coastal walk, Kintyre

Now I’m back on the A83 again, but at least there is a pavement to walk along.

56 road walking with pavement, Ruth Livingstone

Between trees, and across the fields, I can make out a narrow strip of water. I realise I’ve left the sea behind. That water is the mouth of the West Loch of Tarbert.

57 West Loch, Tarbert, Ruth's coastal walk, Kintyre, Scotland

The road is heading downhill. I know Clachan is just around this next corner. Onwards.

58 road to Clachan, Ruth hiking the Kintyre Way, Scotland

The main road bypasses Clachan, so I turn off into the village, where I’ve parked my car next to the old church (which looks disused) and close to the bus stop and the phone box.

59 Clachan, Ruth's coastal walk around Kintyre

In my hurry to catch the bus earlier, I didn’t really notice the phone box. These structures are now becoming historical relics, and very few of them seem to contain working phones. I’ve seen them used to base rural defibrillators, but this one is full of… of books?

I read the sign fixed to the door. “BOOK EXCHANGE”.

60 book exchange, Clachan, Ruth's coastal walk, Kintyre

The sign goes on to explain “We have re-stocked the book exchange with a broad range of second-hand books. Enjoy reading!”

I take a quick look.

An odd mix. The obligatory Catherine Cookson, an old Enid Blyton, and a more modern Swimming Home by Deborah Levy.

Nothing I fancy, to be honest. But I don’t have a book to exchange anyway.


It comes as something of a shock to realise this is my 365th day of walking. That means I’ve been walking for a complete year!
(Actually, it’s 8 years since I started walking the coast, but you know what I mean.)

Miles walked today = 16.5 miles
Total around coast = 3,713 miles

Route: morning in red, afternoon in black.


About Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, Doctor, woman, etc.
This entry was posted in 21 Argyll and Bute and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to 356 pm Tayinloan to Clachan

  1. I did a lot f rock climbing n the past, but mainly as second rather than leading. Like you I think my imagination was too vivid… “what if…”

  2. john dennis says:

    Congratulations on your 365th day. I look forward to the further reports – are you going to walk around Skye?

    • Hi John. I’ve had a look at the maps, and there is no clear walking route around the coast of Sky, so, no, I probably won’t. But I certainly will pop over for a visit in the car.

  3. jcombe says:

    Looks like this was a mostly lovely walk, despite how much was on roads. Congratulations on a whole year of walks! I’m impressed in the time it has taken you because over 8 years that still means you’ve spent on average 1/8th of each year walking (or over 6 weeks) which is quite a lot. You’re making great progress.

    I’ve seen a couple of those book exchange telephone booths in Scotland, it’s a good idea and of course keeps the books dry. Mind you many of them are still necessary. I have found quite a few long stretches of the coast in Scotland where there is no mobile signal at all. That said I did get strangely annoyed waiting for a once a day bus on the A836 on the north coast of Scotland (near Armadale), where a phone box was marked on the map. It was still there and the phone still existed but when I picked up the receiver the display said “Payphone not commissioned”. I couldn’t really understand the logic of keeping the phone and line in place (since it was clearly still getting electricity) but not having it active. In areas like this on a remote road, with no mobile signal a payphone like this could be really important.

    • Yes, it was a lovely walk. Can’t believe I’ve spent so much time walking! Shows how addictive it is. I have come across a few working pay phones in Scotland, but not as many as you would expect, given the patchy mobile coverage. BT’s strategy seems one of death by neglect ☹️

  4. Brett says:

    Cool pics and lovely countryside. 🙂

  5. nikonbodach says:

    Jings Ruth, your blog is fairly negative, I would say. A few examples….Imagine a beach being so untidy as to be a mix of stones, sand and seaweed! (There was Storm Hector just a few days ago, you know!) No mention of the beautiful clear water, the rich variety of bird life or of how pretty a village Clachan is, and this is the first time I’ve heard anyone describe primroses as weeds. It’s a shame you were there on a dull day but your photos don’t come within a country mile of doing the area justice. If you would like some pictures of this walk on a better day please do let me know and I will be happy to send you some.
    Regards,
    Susan.

    • Hi Susan, I didn’t mean the blog to be negative at all, and In general I have really enjoyed my walk around the coast of Kintyre. Unfortunately, this was a very dull day, and taking decent photographs was impossible. This blog is, of course, not intended as a glowing tourist guide, but is about my personal experience of walking the coast, and that experience is coloured by things like the weather, the state of the path, my own physical discomfort, and my general mood. I would be very happy to post links to any good photographs you have of the area.

I welcome your views

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