375 Duror to Kentallen

[Note: This walk took place on the 24th June 2018. Apologies for the delay in writing it up!]

It was a relief to spend the night in a camp site, to have access to a power hookup, to have an unlimited supply of water, and to enjoy a warm shower. I think The Beast enjoyed it too.

01 camp spot in Duror, Ruth's coastal walk, Scotland

Today is a Sunday and there are no buses running, and so I’ve decided to do a circular walk. I can follow a path running close to the shore (if my map is correct) for a few miles, before looping back along a cycle route to return to the campsite.

Before I leave, I check in with the lady who owns the site and book a second night. She is getting out her wellies, which seems a bit odd as the weather is sunny and the ground is dry. She explains they’re raising funds for the local school and are having a fete and a duck race. She has volunteered to run along the stream and retrieve the ducks at the end of the race. That’s why she needs the wellies!

I decide to avoid the A828 as much as possible today, and head off down the cycle route.

02 cycle route through Duror, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

Someone has carved characters out of a fallen tree trunk. A banjo player. A winking owl? Obviously the wood carver has a sense of humour, and the funny creatures make me smile.

03 tree trunk trio, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

I meet a few walkers and cyclists. It’s such a beautiful day and unusually warm for Scotland. Everyone is making the most of the sunshine.

04 cyclists in Duror, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

I pass a table and a bag of plastic ducks. A nearby board asks people to choose a duck and promises prizes if your duck wins.

05 preparations for the duck race, Duror, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

I would have liked to sponsor a duck – of course – but the table is unmanned and I don’t have time to wait around.

The cycle track leads back to the A828, where I cross over. Over the road is the school, with bunting dangling and people beginning to set up the fund-raising fete.

06 Inshaig School, A828, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

Again, I would like to support the local school and spend some money at the fete. But it hasn’t got going yet, so I continue on my walk. Past the school, I head down a quiet little road that runs towards the shore.

07 road to the coast, Cuil Bay, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

I reach Cuil Bay. A magical place. The water is a deep blue and there are mountains rimming the far shore.

08 Cuil Bay, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

A few cars are parked along the shore road, and people are enjoying the beach. A mix of pebbles and sand. What a beautiful spot.

09 Cuil Bay beach, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

I hear a honking sound, and manage to catch a small flight of geese as they fly low over the water.

10 geese, Cuil Bay, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

Further along the beach, I spot a number of small camper vans parked along the shore road. I’m almost sorry I booked into the campsite for a further night. This would be a fantastic place to stop.

11 camper van, Cuil Bay, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

At the end of the beach is a memorial seat. It is inscribed in memory of Harry and Marie Livingstone. Livingstone? It’s unusual to see my surname carved on a bench, and I feel sad at the thought of my own mortality. Such a shame life is so short.

12 bench to Harry and Marie Livingstone, Cuil Bay, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

The public road curves inland to feed a few scattered houses. But I continue along the shore, following a track that winds through a cluster of trees…

13 woodland, Ruth hiking in Scotland

… and passes a small hut (a fishing shack?), where a man is unloading his van.

14 fisherman's hut, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

I feel a moment of anxiety. Will I be challenged and asked why I’m walking along this track? No. This is Scotland, and the man gives me a vague wave and continues with his unpacking.

Beyond the hut, the track deteriorates and becomes boggy. Soon it will peter out altogether and I must find my way across open land to pick up a path that should run higher up the slope. Of course, as I’ve discovered, paths marked on Scottish OS maps don’t always turn out to be real paths on the ground. I cross my fingers and set off.

15 track towards Ardsheal Hill, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

I’m nervous about making my way over trackless land, but it turns out to be easy. I do spot some cows, but they are far away and don’t bother me. (Maybe these are the ‘disinterested cows’ mentioned by The Helpful Mammal in my previous post?)

Ah, here’s the path. So, yes, it definitely does exist, although in places it looks more like a stream than a path!

16 wet path, Ardsheal Hill, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

In one of the more watery sections of the path, I come across a large dragonfly. I stop and try to focus my camera, but the darn thing won’t stay still and pose for a shot. So I only manage a few blurry images.

17 killer dragonfly, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

And then something odd happens. The dragonfly hovers in front of my knees like a mini helicopter, and makes charging motions towards my ankles. Swooping low, he slaps his tail on the water, before rising up and attacking my knees again.

After a few minutes of stand-off, and more tail slapping, the dragonfly seems to lose interest in my legs, and charges off to buzz around in some nearby bushes.

Weird. Definitely that insect seems to be in a belligerent mood… no idea why. My walking trousers are a dirty black, and I certainly don’t look like another dragonfly.

The path takes me into woodland. I was looking forward to this section, but it turns out to be very tricky. In the shade of the trees, there is far more water around, deep in places along the path, and creating slippery mud on either side. I slip and slither my way forward, grateful for my poles.

18 walk through thick woods, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

I’m wearing my Australian bush hat, and soon discover the downside to having a large brim shielding my vision. Clunk. I hit my head on a low hanging branch. And a bit further on… crash! I hit my head on another one.

Wondering how many bruises I’ve picked up, I’m pleased to come out of the woods.

19 Loch Linnhe from the Ardsheal woods, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

I have a wonderful view up Loch Linnhe. Through that narrow gap, dead ahead in the photo below, the loch runs all the way up to Fort William. Guarding the narrow strait is a small, squat lighthouse…

20 walking to Ardsheal House

… and later, checking my next OS map, I realise this is where the Corran ferry runs. The lighthouse sits on Corran Point. I will be catching that ferry in a couple of days’ time.

My path has joined an obvious track. There is farmland below and woodland to my right. I pass a house. Is this Ardsheal Farm? If so, it’s in the wrong place according to my map.

21 Ardsheal Farm, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

But what a wonderful place to have a farm. Look at those views over Loch Linnhe!

22 farmland, Ardsheal, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

I walk past more houses, some newly renovated and obviously marketed as holiday homes. One of these is named ‘Ardsheal Farm’, but clearly isn’t a working farmhouse any more.

I meet nobody. My track has become a definite road and I lose sight of the water for a while.

23 wooded estate road, Ardsheal House, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

What is this tucked among the roots of an old sycamore. A piece of litter?

24 roots of tree, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

Ah. No. It’s a little fairy door. Complete with hinges and a golden catch. I open it, of course…

25 fairy door, Ardsheal, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

…but there’s nothing on the other side. Just damp moss and earth. What was I expecting? A fairy’s sitting room?

Signs have warned me about construction traffic. Now I meet a huge machine. It’s parked and they are doing something to the telegraph pole – or is it an electricity pole? The workmen stop the machine to let me through, so I hurry past and don’t take a proper look.

26 machinery at work, Ardsheal estate, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

According to my map, I’m now approaching the drive to Ardsheal House, which is marked as a hotel. It is 1pm, and I’m hoping to stop here for some lunch… but I soon realise Ardsheal House is no longer a hotel.

27 Ardsheal House entrance, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

I’m disappointed. No lunch for me, then. Ah well, onwards.

The road is bordered by a wall on one side, and a wooded slope on the other. To my left is Loch Linnhe, to my right is the slope of Ardsheal Hill.

28 driveway to Kentallen, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

I stop and look back along the shore towards Ardsheal House. What a beautiful beach! Below me, just out of sight in the photo below, a young couple are sitting on the sand and sunbathing.

29 beach, Ardsheal, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

The road is confined now, as it winds between the sea and the slopes of Ardsheal Hill. I’m hungry, and looking for somewhere to sit so I can eat my snacks. I spot a sunny spot on the wall (straight ahead in the photo below) and sit on the stones for a while.

30 private road, Ardsheal, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

Further along, and the road curves around the base of the hill, heading down towards Kentallen Bay. It’s a sheltered spot. White houses line the far shore (along the A828), and boats are moored on the calm water.

31 Kentallen Bay, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

I pass another holiday home, and some gateposts with a sign informing me the road is private. I spot a large rock in the field to my right, and stop to balance the camera on it. Time for a self-portrait.

32 Ruth Livingstone in Kentallen, hiking the coast of Scotland

You can see that, despite the warmth of the day, I’m wearing a long-sleeved top for midge-protection purposes. Actually, I haven’t encountered any serious midge problems yet. I make sure I’m safe inside The Beast before the sunlight fades, and I’ve only picked up a few random bites.

My little lane reaches the A828. I really don’t want to walk along this road today – with no pavement or safe walking route. From my map, I know the Caledonian Way cycle track runs somewhere just above the road. The track is invisible from down here, but I cross over the tarmac, climb over a fence, and scramble up a steep slope…

… and find the cycle track.

33 cycle path back to Duror

It’s an easy two-mile walk back to the camp site. When I arrive, I see a crowd of yellow ducks spread out on the grass.

34 ducks in a row, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

The lady owner waves to me. She is sitting outside with some friends and they are busy counting piles of money. Clearly the fundraising duck race was a great success!

Miles walked today = 8 miles (in a circle!)
Total distance around coast = 3,918 miles

Low points = hitting my head on the trees

High points = the amazing views over Loch Linnhe, and meeting the belligerent dragonfly.



About Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.
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53 Responses to 375 Duror to Kentallen

  1. Oh for some weather like that. Have you made any definite planes for resumption? I hope to set off again on 24th April from Newport, Wrekin to continue my route to Castle Cary.

  2. Paul sennett says:

    Great to see you walking again

  3. Pam Ley says:

    How lovely to read this post!…..have missed you, and so pleased to see you back. X

  4. Jacquie says:

    Oh what an unexpected treat – and on such a stunningly glorious day – those views are superb. Just what I needed after a couple of days nursing a cold. Bring on the summer and, yes, Welcome back 🙂

  5. brian williamson says:

    Thanks Ruth, I haven’t even got the doe to get down to Bumble Rock in Cornwall at the moment!
    Good luck – Mr Williamson (Dover)

  6. Di Iles says:

    Great to be reading your blog again Ruth, have missed it over the winter. Your photos are stunning and the weather looks amazing! The highlands are truly breathtaking aren’t they?

  7. jcombe says:

    Nice to see an update, I was beginning to wonder if you had stopped writing up your walks. This looks to be a stunning section of the coast, especially that lovely beach. A shame about lunch though. Finding somewhere to get food can be a challenge in the highlands. There are few pubs and not that many shops either!

    The lack of public transport can be frustrating but I’m finding on the west coast of Scotland the coast is so indented you can often walk a long way on the coast and cut back inland to make a circular walk without adding on too many miles.

    This is all new coast to me. I’ve still got most of the west coast of Scotland to walk (I’ve got as far south as Lochinver), so your posts will be very useful to me for planning when I reach this part of the coast. At my current rate of progress, it will be a few years though probably.

    • Hi Jon. The logistical challenges in Scotland are quite formidable. I have to stop myself from looking too far ahead and worrying too much. You’re right about the circular walks. Been doing a fair amount of those recently.

  8. Eunice says:

    Great to read a new post from you Ruth, I’ve missed you over the winter. Love the little fairy door though I don’t understand the point of it, but the views over Loch Linnhe are gorgeous 🙂

    • Loch Linnhe is beautiful, Eunice, and I was lucky with the weather. Here’s hoping for another glorious summer so we can both enjoy getting out and about in our vans.

      • Eunice says:

        I can’t wait for you to get up round Arisaig and Morar to see what you think of them as they truly are beautiful – that’s if you haven’t already got there 🙂 I’ve had an afternoon in St. Annes today, discovering some gardens I hadn’t previously known about until recently, the weather was glorious and I had a lovely time 🙂

  9. Keith Case says:

    Good to read your blog again after a long interval. I’m off to Cornwall in three weeks time to resume the South West Coast Path from Port Isaac. I constantly re-read your Port Isaac to Trebarwith Strand blog as part of my mental preparation for what I think is going to be a very hard section (in fact I’ll just walk round it if it is too difficult).

    Looking forward to when you get walking again,


    • Hi Keith, I’m always filled with anxiety when people tell me they read my blog as a guide to their own coast walk. So much of my experience – good or bad – depends on my mood, the weather, and a host of other factors. Having said all that, the north coast of Cornwall was very, very tough in places! Good luck with the next leg of your walk.

  10. Linda Jackson says:

    How thrilled I was to see your latest post in amongst my work emails. I have really missed reading your blog. I hope you’re going to start walking and writing again soon. Happy Spring Ruth!

  11. Peter Caton says:

    What a lovely walk. I want to do it! I’ve encountered some of those invisible Scottish footpaths too.

  12. tonyhunt2016 says:

    Life-after winter begins again! Was this the last walk of 2018, or are we to expect some more write-ups before 2019 walks begin?

  13. janedadswell says:

    So pleased to read your latest blog. My friend and I were starting to get concerned that you hadn’t uploaded anything for a long time. We are years /miles behind you but enjoy reading everything you write. We have been walking along the Essex coast over winter but are back down to the South West Coastal Path next week for a few days. Happy walking in 2019.

  14. Rita Bower says:

    Hi Ruth
    Glad I’m not the only one that gets behind with my blog! Have you started walking this year yet? Scotland looks beautiful…if a bit tricky to navigate at times! Last year I walked the coast of Wales….absolutely fantastic…..I loved it. Back down to earth this year, with Essex. Trying to get some enthusiasm together….hopefully it will be prettier than I imagine! Starting this weekend. Good luck with your walking this year.

  15. Liz Wild says:

    Glad you’re still walking around Scotland. I’m only doing the coast of England. You may find that your dragonfly was a female and from what you say about her behaviour she was egg-laying.

  16. Debbie Yates says:

    Lovely to have you back again Ruth, have missed you! Hope you are back in the swing of things and look forward to hearing about your adventures this year.

  17. Chris Elliott says:

    Hi Ruth – great to see you starting your blog again. I hope you will be back out walking again soon – we’ve had some excellent weather so far this year. Last week I made it to King’s Lynn in Norfolk!!! I am really looking forward to walking the Norfolk coast. I’m off again on 14th April and hope to make Suffolk by the end of the month. Can’t believe how close I am now to getting home – it only took me 3 hours to get back on Monday. Soon I’ll be able to commute to my walk again! The east coast just seems to be flying by….

    • Hi Chris. Kings Lynn is where I started my coastal walk. The Norfolk coast is lovely… or most of it is lovely. There are some fantastic beaches, a good supply of seals, and some surprising cliffs. Also lots of stretches of marsh, mud and shingle… good luck!

  18. El D says:

    Welcome back, Ruth. Thought you’d left us! I googled Fairy Doors and it seems that they are quite widespread. This is from google; https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/11450385/Woodland-trust-cracks-down-on-profusion-of-fairy-doors.html

    • Hi El, and what an interesting article. Thanks for posting the link. I love the idea of fairy doors, but sounds like they’ve got out of control in some places. Damn fairies! But I guess they have to live somewhere.

      • Brian Williamson says:

        Hi Ruth! It’s Mr Williamson down in Dover, who has blogged on and visits The Lizard in Cornwall.
        Re. Fairy Doors, if these do indeed involve banging nails into trees, then they might eventually result in the demise of the tree! Ok up London it’s polluted, but there are some massive trees even in central London – no fairy doors!
        Banging nails into trees is an old and scientifically proven means of killing them!

  19. Rose Hodges says:

    Hi Ruth. Love reading your posts and save them all for future reference. I am interested to know what app you use to measure your mileage? I have been using Map my Walk but since changing my phone it doesn’t work properly. Thanks

    • Hi Rose. I now use a handheld Garmin to track my walks. It has OS maps displayed on the screen, and measures distance, time, speeds etc, I started off years ago with an app on my phone, but it ate up the battery too quickly.

      • Rosemary Hodges says:

        Thank you very much. We are setting out on the South Downs Way in May. Look forward to more of your blogs and Happy Walking

  20. Chris Elliott says:

    Hi Rose – I too am walking the coast like Ruth and I too am using a Garmin. If you decide to get a Garmin can I give you a tip. Calibrate it at sea level. I calibrated mine at home and I always found the descent and ascent numbers inconsistent, so I gave up recording descent and just recorded ascent. Garmins are excellent and the battery life is not too bad. The only issue I have found is that mine occasionally turns itself off in my haversack so try to get one with a descent switch. Mine is old now an Oregon 550t. I would advise you to get the best you can happily afford.

  21. Yup, those are the ‘disinterested cows’. I followed the road to the ‘few scattered houses’ you mentioned, where the path you later joined begins. The cows were all over that part of the path and I wondered if they might dissuade you, despite them being incredibly chilled about my presence.

    I was really interested to see your route along the shore and what you found there as I turned back at the cows and went an inland route – not because of the animals themselves but because they’d turned the path into a shin-deep mire of mud and cow slurry and I didn’t have the footwear to cope with that.

  22. gill rance says:

    Good to see a new post from you! I look forward to more as you resume your walking this year.

  23. Karen White says:

    As always I enjoyed your photos, especially the geese and the views of Loch Linnhe

    Yes, your other commenter was right and your dragonfly was a female – a beautiful Golden-ringed – and definitely the behaviour you describe was her ovipositing. However I don’t hold out much hope for her eggs laying them in what was no more than a shallow puddle! I am more than a bit obsessed with dragonflies and damselflies and will add a couple of links in a separate post as your spam filters will probably dump it in your spam folder. One is a golden-ringed dragonfly perched – I sadly don’t have one ovipositing, and the other of an Emperor dragonfly ovipositing. If you are interested in seeing more photos of these incredible insects, click on the album ‘dragonflies and damselflies’ (on the right of the photo page’) to see my full collection.

  24. Karen White says:

    An Emperor dragonfly ovipositing

    emperor ovipositing

    A Golden-ringed perching

    golden ringed dragonfly 27/52

  25. jcombe says:

    I did this walk today. It was heavy rain and gale force winds for most of the day but forecast to stop raining early afternoon so I decided on a short walk. I parked at the north end (Kentallen) and followed the private road. At the point just after this track turns left there was a path down onto the beach to Crom-Roinn so I followed this along short grass at the back of the beach, very pleasant.
    This continued as a fairly good path (sheep grazing along it, so probably why the grass was short) until passed the Ardsheal House (not?) hotel. The next part was more of a struggle with a fence to get around and then typical Scottish terrain of boggy long grass, heather and bracken mixed in with rocks to negotiate. There was a path most of the time (possibly a sheep path), though I did see a few human footprints so I wasn’t the only one to follow it.

    It improved as I headed to Rubha Mor and I found a fairly decent path out to the end here. From there I could follow a path back along the various little beaches to North Cuil and the road. There are signs along the beach stating that the grass beside the road is private and overnight parking is £10 per night, I assume to deter motorhomes. On reaching the main road a new cycle path seems to have been created so I didn’t have to walk on the road at all. I think it went right beside the camp site you used.

    The only problem I had was there was no access to Kentallen from the cycle path (here an old railway). I spotted my car on the road just below so had to make my own way down over a fence to the road! Still a pleasant route despite the weather.

    • Shame the weather was bad for you. Those signs about overnight camping are new, and I’m not surprised because there were 7 or 8 vans parked up when I stayed there a few nights later. It’s a pity though. Such a beautiful area.

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