369am Kilninver to Kilmore

I get off the bus at the Kilninver bus stop, and try not to think about the walk ahead. There’s going to be a lot of road walking today.

01 bus stop at Kilninver, Ruth's coast walk around Scotland

It’s a miracle I managed to get here at all because, when I caught the bus from Oban, I had a ‘senior moment’.

“I’m going to Kil… ah… Not Kilpatrick, not Kilmartin… somewhere else beginning with Kil.”
“Kilmore?” the driver suggested.
“Doesn’t sound quite right…”
“Kilmelford?”
“No. Hang on, it’s in my brain somewhere… ah…”
The bus was crowded, and I felt the hostile stares of a dozen impatient passengers.
“Oh, got it. Kilninver,” I said, eventually.

Nobody else got off here.

I cross over the A816, and start my walk by going down the same quiet lane I walked up yesterday. The sheep are still there, along with their not-so-little lambs. Morning ladies. Morning babies.

02 sheep and lambs in Kilninver, Ruth's coast walk around Scotland

To my left is the little river. It looks lovely with the bright sunshine filtering through the trees.

03 stream, Kilninver, Ruth's coast walk around Scotland

When I get to the fork by the church, I turn right. Now I have a mile to walk along a lovely stretch of coast road, before I hit the A816 again.

There’s a wonderful view looking across fields and towards the mouth of Loch Feochan. I check my Garmin. That’s Ardentallen Point, but what are those tall hills (or mountains) in the distance? Must be the Isle of Mull, I think.

04 view to mouth of Loch Feochan, Ruth's coast walk around Scotland

I come to a little cemetery, with a sign saying “Commonwealth War Grave” – note, only one. Can’t resist going for a wander among the stones. It would be nice to be buried here, with this beautiful view.

05 cemetery at Kilninver, Ruth's coast walk around Scotland

Onwards, down the road. I’m walking close to the water now. It seems so peaceful, but I can hear the roar of traffic along the A816, which runs almost parallel to my sleepy lane.

06 across Loch Feochan, Ruth's coast walk around Scotland

All too soon and I’m back on the main road. Oban is only 8 miles away, according to a road sign. That doesn’t sound far, but involves nearly 3 hours of dodging traffic along this verge.

07 road to Oban, A816, Ruth's coast walk around Scotland

I’ve studied the map, because the road cuts across the apex of another peninsula, and I would love to walk closer to the shore. But I can’t see a route. There are a number of lanes and tracks but… the same old story… they don’t seem to join up.

I come to layby. I never really noticed these places before, but now I’m always mentally checking them out and thinking, “Would this be a good place to camp in the van?” This one looks promising…

08 trashed caravan in layby, Ruth's coast walk around Scotland

…until I realise the caravan that appears to be parked is, in fact, completely wrecked. Smashed windows. The interior trashed. Such a shame.

wrecked van.jpg

I would be reluctant to park next to a smashed van. It seems… well, just wrong. And I wonder how it got in such a state. Was it smashed and then left here as a fly tip? Or did someone park it here deliberately, but came back to find it vandalised and then abandoned it?

Onwards. A stone block beside the road appears to be a milestone, but I can’t make any sense of the markings, because there are no place names, just enigmatic initials.

09 incomprehensible marker stone, Ruth's coast walk around Scotland

I hate this road. Traffic travels fast. Everybody is in such a hurry, and I must keep jumping into the ditch. I’m walking facing the traffic (obeying the highway code) but it’s terrifying every time a car overtakes its companions and comes roaring up behind me.

10 traffic on A816, Ruth Livingstone hiking to Oban

Here’s another layby. The sign promises a picnic spot, and I was planning to stop here for an early lunch… but there’s no bench to be seen. It might be somewhere nearby, but hidden in a jungle of weeds.

11 another parking spot, Ruth's coast walk around Scotland

An unfriendly sign says “No Overnight Parking”. Shame, because it would be a lovely spot to camp, although a little too close to the main road for my liking.

12 no overnight parking, why not, Ruth's coast walk around Scotland

I’m not the only person who thinks this is a little disappointing. Somebody has added a question to the sign. “Why not?”

why not.jpg

There are a few houses on the opposite side of the road, so maybe the residents don’t want campervans parked so close to their front doors.

Unable to find the picnic bench, I sit on a stone beside the driveway to one of these houses, and have a quick drink and snack. Wow. It’s hot.

Then I notice a little lane leading off. Oh? I check the map. It’s only a short semicircle and soon ends up back on the A816, but it will give me a little break from the traffic. It’s a very nice lane too.

13 detour at Balinoe, Ruth's coast walk around Scotland

Apparently there are waterfalls and other beautiful things to see along the forest tracks that branch off from the lane. I’m tempted… but I must get to Oban today, and the waterfalls are nowhere near the coast. Maybe I’ll return and visit another time.

(This is one of the frequent “maybe” promises I make to myself. And, of course, I know it is extremely unlikely that I’ll keep any of them. There is just so much to see, so many deviations I could make… and I have to keep reminding myself that my primary task is to walk the coast.)

I’m back on the A816 and, approaching Kilmore, I take advantage of a break in the traffic to take a photograph.

14 Kilmore, near Oban, Ruth's coast walk around Scotland

I’ve really, really, had enough of walking along this road. The cars aren’t too bad, but every time a large lorry goes by I’m almost blown into the hedge. It’s not just unpleasant, but dangerous too. So, I’ve come to a decision. I’m going to get off the road as soon as I can, and the first chance I have is at Kilmore.

From here, I can walk along a series of minor roads to Oban, and maybe even pick up a forest track, if I’m lucky. It means going inland, even further inland than the A816, which is already several miles from the shore at this point. But it’s better than continuing to risk my life.

The minor road through Kilmore turns out to be unexpectedly busy. It’s only single track too, which means I must step off the road for every car that goes by. Maybe I’ve made a mistake?

I come to a junction, and hope things will get better after here. The junction is festooned with signs, including one that says “Dumb Dumpers. Don’t do it. You now face fines of £40,000.”

15 back road to Connel, Ruth's coast walk around Scotland

Shame we need such a sign. I hate to see fly-tipped rubbish.

I turn left at the junction, and soon come across what looks like a fly-tipping site. But, on closer inspection, I think all this rubbish has actually been collected by someone. Old metal frames, mesh wire, broken bikes of various sorts – obviously all could be potentially useful. My hubby would agree. But I think it looks a mess!

16 old containers, Ruth's coast walk around Scotland

Onwards. The traffic has disappeared, and this road is really very pretty. There’s a river running to my right, to my left are meadows full of wild flowers, and the verges are dotted with more flowers.

17 delightful back road, Ruth's coast walk around Scotland, towards Oban

I reach a lake. Loch Nell. Well, I might be nowhere near the sea, but at least I’m walking beside water, and it’s very beautiful.

18 Loch Nell, Ruth's coast walk around Scotland

My map shows a chambered cairn just off the road. I think I can see it… climb over a gate… and scatter sheep as I walk up a grassy field. Yes. Here it is. What a wonderful place.

19 Chambered cairn above Loch Nell, Ruth hiking in Argyll, Scotland

It’s nearly 1pm, and I’m hungry, so I spread out my jacket and sit beside the cairn, using the stones to shelter from the cool breeze blowing off the loch. Time for lunch.


[To be continued…]

Route this morning:


 

About Ruth Livingstone

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

2 Responses to 369am Kilninver to Kilmore

  1. Mary Latham says:

    Hello Ruth
    I am enjoying your blogs very much but please tell me why you dislike proper caravan parks/campsites so much but think it perfectly acceptable for camper vans to park wherever they like completely ruining the views especially in remote areas? I am very concerned by the sheer volume of camper vans absolutely everywhere and think they should only be allowed to park overnight on designated campsites not all over our beautiful countryside. If they had to park with other vans they would have a view of their own ugliness – a huge mass of revolting metal inhabited by self centered folk…
    I would love to hear your view on this and yes it is awful walking along roads especially when being passed continually by camper vans in particular.
    Best Wishes
    Mary

    • Hi Mary, I never, ever thought I would get a campervan, as I like my space and the luxury of running water, etc. But, in this part of Scotland, it has proved nearly impossible to find a room in a B&B or a reasonably priced hotel. They’re all booked up months in advance, and the few rooms still available seem to cost a fortune. I guess that’s why you see so many campervans and caravans up here. Funnily enough, I didn’t come across any campsites on this trip until I reached Oban. As for spoiling the view, I guess it’s different when you’re sitting in the van! Of course, I try to choose sites that are secluded and not overlooked by anybody. Funnily enough, campervans aren’t a problem when walking on the roads. They drive slowly and give you a wide berth. It’s commercial vans and articulated lorries that really scare me!

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