[Note: this walk took place on the 27th June 2018]
We’re having an unusually warm summer this year in the UK, and in Scotland I wake up to a beautiful, sunny day, with barely a cloud in the sky. I start my walk from the ferry slipway in Ardgour.
I turn left, away from Fort William this time, and resume my coastal trek. First I must take a photograph of the little lighthouse at Corran Point. It’s short and stubby, a pattern that most Scottish lighthouses seem to follow.
I look back to watch the ferry arrive, and I’m surprised to see an ambulance coming off the ferry. I guess it’s a much quicker route than the alternative of travelling all the way round the end of Loch Linnhe by road.
The ambulance pulls up beside another ambulance waiting nearby, and I realise they’re about to transfer a patient between the two vehicles. I wonder how often this happens. In such a remote area, journey-times to the nearest A&E must be very long.
I continue onwards, past the lighthouse. After a tiring road-walk yesterday, I want to give my feet a rest from tarmac and so I stay close to the water, walking across rough ground dotted with wild flowers.
Here’s a memorial bench. You don’t see as many of these in Scotland as you do in England. This one is dedicated to Murdo John Mackillop – a wonderful Scottish name.
The road is close to my right, and I’m about to navigate a little river. But I’ve no need to wade across, because there is no water flowing. Wow. Such a warm dry summer, and even the Scottish rivers are running dry.
Along the shore the rough shingle is tough underfoot, but I don’t mind because it’s wonderful to be off the road and walking close to the loch. Sallachan Point is my next waypoint, with another lighthouse. I can see it as a tiny dot in the distance.
I make slow progress, partly because I have to watch my footing on the rocks, and partly because the views across Loch Linnhe are so beautiful, and I keep stopping to take photographs. There’s the bridge at Ballachulish, in the distance across the water, with Glen Coe beyond.
The lighthouse at Sallachan Point is growing nearer. I walk along the grass, following what might be a footpath…
… or it might be just a sheep trail. Sorry ladies, I didn’t mean to startle you.
The “lighthouse” at Salachan Point turns out to be a daymark tower. It has an odd geometric shape, hexagonal I think (I forgot to count). Unusual. What a beautiful location.
The daymark sits at the apex of a promontory of flat land, jutting out into the water. I begin to make my way down the other side, around a wide bay called Camas Shallachain.
This is where the River Gour empties into Loch Linnhe, and here I find a flock of sheep sitting on a series of grassy islands.
The bay itself is a mix of mud and sand. On a fine day, it looks like a lovely beach, but the ‘sand’ is actually quite thick and sticky.
I can’t get any further along the bay, because of the river, so I must join the road again and use the bridge to cross over the River Gour.
There is a little parking area close to the bridge, and a number of signs. Apparently fishing here is by permit only.
And no overnight parking or camping is allowed. Oh, what a shame. This would be a lovely place to spend the night with The Beast.
From here, the shore becomes difficult to follow, and I stick to the road.
I had a late start this morning, and it’s nearly one o’clock, so I’m pleased to find a picnic bench overlooking the bay. Time for lunch.
A nearby noticeboard informs me that this is one of the few places where you can see both Ben Nevis and Glen Coe at the same time…
… and, yes, you can! Ben Nevis is on the far left hand side of the photo, and Glen Coe is the peak on the far right. (I think I’m correct, but no doubt someone will tell me if I’m not.)
Sadly, another noticeboard tells me I shouldn’t be fly tipping. I can’t believe that people would dump their rubbish here, but I guess the sign is there for a reason. Look at the beautiful clear waters and the incredible view. Who would spoil this place?
After lunch, I continue along the road. It turns away from the coast for a while, and I lose sight of the water, but I don’t mind the change in view. There are some spectacular mountains ahead.
The bridge over the Ghearraidh river is functional, and it would be easy to miss the river if you whizzed past here in a car.
Shame, because there’s a much prettier (and far older) bridge hidden in the foliage.
The road has brought me back close to the water again, and a sign warns me there are cows ahead. Yikes! Cows for three miles. Triple yikes!
I decide to leave the tarmac and walk along the shore. Not only is this more attractive than the road, but hopefully my route will be cow-free.
Everywhere I look the views are stunning. There’s Ben Nevis again, our highest mountain. I know I’m going to lose sight of him shortly, so I stop and take more photographs.
I’m approaching Inversanda Bay, and I wasn’t expecting such a pretty beach.
To avoid a scramble over rocks, I follow a rough track above the shore, and through some trees. After this I was hoping to pop down to walk along the beach, but the fence puts me off.
I would have to cross the beach under the scrutiny of a large house that overlooks the bay, and in the middle of the bay there is a river to cross, so I would have to come inland at that point anyway. OK, I’ll follow the road instead.
I’ve nearly reached Inversanda. The road swings around a shallow curve, away from the bay. It’s hot and I’m getting tired. There’s a nice, white house, across the fields. Maybe there’s a café here?
When I researched the bus route, I noticed the bus stops at Inversanda and so I thought Inversanda would be a biggish place. Should have known better.
Well, this is definitely Inversanda. Love the rustic sign, although it doesn’t look as though it will survive too many Scottish winters.
No café, of course, and I can’t even see a bus stop. Just a driveway, a few parked cars, and an old telephone box.
Basically, Inversanda is just a couple of houses and a bend in the road!
I hear the sound of traffic behind me, and a sudden flurry of cars and vans drive past. I realise a ferry must have landed and released this batch of vehicles.
Onwards, through Inversanda. I’ve a little further to walk before I finish for the day.
Ahead is the turnoff for Kingairloch, and I’m going to walk a mile or so up this road, and pick up my bicycle from where I dropped it off earlier. The sign for the B8043 is large and impressive…
… but the road itself is small and insignificant. Single track, with a 10mph speed limit, and no trucks allowed. My kind of road!
A little metal post beside the road turns out to be a “traffic count installation”. Really? I’ve never seen one of these before. Is it still working? Does it count me? Will it count my bike? Why is it there?
Maybe they will close the road if nobody uses it? But there are hardly any roads in this area anyway. So maybe they will widen the road if they find plenty of people are using it? Who knows the purpose of the little grey box? It’s a mystery.
I cross over the River Tarbert. In Gaelic, Tairbert means a crossing point, and it’s a common place name in Scotland.
Beyond the river, the road winds and rises through grassland. I’ve left my bike at the top of the hill. Onwards and upwards. Whew, it’s warm.
I’m rewarded at the top by a great view looking back down at Inversanda, Loch Linnhe, and the mountains beyond. Ah. I recognise a couple of those peaks. So this is another place where you can see Ben Nevis and Glen Coe, both at the same time.
This morning I stopped in a gravelled area, and left my bike – my heavy monster of a bike – resting in the grass. Where is it? Perhaps someone has stolen the horrible thing?
No such luck. I spot some handlebars poking through the grass.
Perhaps it’s just as well nobody has stolen The Monster. It would be a long walk back to the Corran ferry where I’ve left my van. The bike ride back along the road is surprisingly pleasant, with only the occasional bit of traffic to contend with. It’s mostly downhill or flat, so I get to ride all the way.
It’s always a relief to get off the Monster. I’m getting better at riding the blasted thing, but I really must buy a padded seat.
Miles walked today = 9 miles
Total around coast = 3,946.5
Blisters = 0
Miles cycled today = 7 miles
Saddle sores = 0
High points: the amazing views and gorgeous weather
Low points: none