Kingairloch (pm)

[Note: this walk was completed on the 28th June 2018]

It’s nearly 5pm by the time I resume my walk. It took me longer than expected to drive back along the twisty coast road, retrieve my Monster bike, and then retrace my journey. Luckily, Scottish days are long in June, and the sun is still shining.

In fact, a farmer is out making the most of this good weather. Literally, he’s making hay while the sun shines.

50 flat farmland at Glen Glamadale, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

I’m following the B8043 as it curves up through the Kingairloch estate. Sadly, the coastal section of my walk is about to come to an end. As I climb higher, I stop to admire the view over the little bay below (Camas na Croise) and take more photographs.

51 looking down on Camas na Croise, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

Further up, and I look back and down into Glen Galmadale. Hemmed by steep slopes on either side, the wide mouth of the glen is the only extensive piece of flat land around. You can just make out the farmer, still on his tractor, making hay in one of the fields.

52 Glengalmadale steep valley, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

Climbing higher, I’m surprised to see a church below me. There doesn’t seem much of a population around to support such a building. Is it now a holiday home, like every other building around here?

53 Camanacroise church, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

[Later I learn it’s still a church, and holds a monthly service.]

The road has curved around, and now heads in a north-westerly direction, above the shore of another inlet. Loch a’ Choire. A single sailing boat glides slowly, floating past yet another fish farm. The mountains rising on the other sight of the loch look intimidating, while the bright sun in the west makes photography challenging.

54 Loch a Choire with fish farm, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

My road winds onwards. Ahead, a small lane leads down to yet more holiday cottages. Where is everybody? As yet, I haven’t met a single car all afternoon. What an empty landscape this is.

55 turnoff to cottages, Kingairloch, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

I can’t stop looking at the mountains across the loch. My map shows only a few tracks across the mountains, so I’m surprised to see a road threading up. The road looks new. In fact, there seem to be construction machinery still at work on it, but it’s hard to tell because I’m squinting into the bright evening sunlight.

56 looking towards Glensanda, Loch A Choire, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

I pull out my OS map again. No, there are definitely no roads marked, only tracks. I know that hidden somewhere in that wild landscape is Glensanda – a super quarry. It produces huge amounts of granite, but that is not carried out by road, it is shipped out. Maybe the road provides access for workers, or for equipment?

Behind me, the view over Loch a’ Choire is wonderful. And the low sunlight highlights the far shore of Loch Linnhe. Is that Appin over there? Looks lovely.

57 over Loch Linnhe, climbing up from Kingairloch, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

I’m heading inland now. The trees cast long shadows and I begin to worry about midges. Time to stop and reapply my Smidge spray.

58 B8043 to Kingairloch, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

There’s a river winding through a valley on my left. It seems to have multiple names according to my OS map, but a roadside sign tells me it’s called Abhainn na Coinnich.

59 Abhainn na Coinnich, Ruth hiking from Kingairloch to Lochaline, Morvern

These Gaelic names are real tongue twisters. I have no idea how you pronounce that!

To my right is a track, with a space to park a car and a welcome sign. The Kingairloch Estate has provided a simple map showing a suggested walk. Apparently, you can follow a track up the hill and over into Glen Galmadale.

60 welcome to Kingairloch Highland Estate sign, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

Looks like an excellent route, but I must stick to the road. Onwards and upwards

Over the past few days I’ve been pondering what to do about Glensanda. I’ve learned it’s possible to walk across the mountains, and there is even a bothy up there, somewhere. Other coastal walkers have done it. But I would have to carry overnight provisions and camp in the bothy – if I could find it. And there is the constant fear of getting tangled up in the quarry workings, getting shouted at, being forced to turn back, and walking even further than intended.

Also, how do I get back to my van? It would be a long cycle back.

I look at the unmapped road on the other side of the loch. It does look enticing…

61 road over to Glensanda, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

…and if I wanted to do it, I would turn off the road about here, and find a way down the valley and across the river… but, no, no, no! I’m not going to do it. Really, it would be too tough for me. I would need a bigger rucksack, and one of those personal locator beacons, and a bivvy bag, and a whistle – all the things I should carry but don’t!

I’m a coward.

Anyway, today I’m just going to enjoy walking along this lovely road, as it twists and turns up the hill.

62 winding road to Loch Ulsge, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland, Kingairloch

A sign, nearly hidden in the bracken, tells me it’s only 15 miles to Lochaline. That’s tomorrow’s destination.

63 Lochaline 16 miles, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

The slope begins to flatten out. Nearing the top of the climb, I look back down the valley. You can see the road winding down, the river beside it, and the distant blue splash of Loch Linnhe.

64 looking back to Kingairloch, Ruth's coastal hike around Scotland

I may have left the coast behind, but you’re never far from water in Scotland. Here’s another lake. Loch Uisge. Very pretty. Because of the low, bright sun, I have to wait until I’ve walked its length before I can take a photograph looking back.

65 Loch Uisge, Ruth hiking from Kingairloch, Morvern, Scotland

At the top of the loch, the road goes past a building that’s surrounded by decaying machinery, and scruffy looking series of shacks and sheds.

What’s that? A sudden horrendous noise makes me jump.

Dogs! A whole pack of them. Luckily they’re caged. They fling themselves at the fencing and yowl at me. Very aggressively.

66 excited hounds, Ruth's coastal walk from Kingairloch, Scotland

Hounds? Hunting dogs? What a noise!

I hurry past, hoping the dogs won’t find a way to escape from their enclosure. Only when I’m safely out of their view, do I stop to take a photo looking back at the motley collection of sheds and containers. What a mess.

67 kennels, B8043, Ruth hiking around the coast of Scotland

Meanwhile, a group of deer are watching me from the other side of the road.

68 deer near Loch Uisge, Kingairloch, Ruth Livingstone

Are the dogs used to hunt deer? I’ve never heard of such a thing. Surely not. Perhaps they hunt foxes (is that still allowed in Scotland), or perhaps its just a breeding kennel?

Somewhat flustered, I hurry on. The road is long and straight, and the sun very low and bright. I needn’t have worried about the dogs, nor about midges. They’re not the problem here. I’m about to be attacked by…

69 walking into the sunset, Kingairloch, Ruth's coastal walk, Scotland


Horrible, horrible things. Luckily I’m wearing a long-sleeved top, but can horseflies bite through clothing? I think they can. And they take no notice of the Smidge I’ve covered myself with. I stop and shrug off my rucksack, while continually batting the flies away from my face, and pull out my insect repellent.

I soak my face and neck in the smelly insecticide – but the flies take no notice of that either. Oh no. I hurry on, flapping my hands constantly.

There’s the Monster, leaning casually against a fence, waiting for me.

70 Monster bike, Kingairloch, Ruth Livingstone

But, before I get on my bike, I must walk a little further until I come to the end of the B8043, and the junction with the A884. Tomorrow, I’ll turn left along here and head for Lochaline.

71 crossroads to Lochaline, Ruth's coastal walk, Kingairloch

For today my walk is finished. I return to collect the Monster, waving my arms like a mad woman and swatting wildly at the horseflies. But I need both hands to unchain the wretched bike – and they take advantage of my distraction.

Ow. That hurt! Ow, so did that!

The ride down to Kingairloch is blissful. Downhill all the way, with my speed keeping the horseflies away. My only fear is meeting a car and having to slow down… but the road remains empty.

Miles walked this afternoon = 6.5 miles
(Total today, walking = 13 miles, and cycling = 13 miles)
Total around coast = 3,959.5 miles

You can learn more about the Glensanda super quarry on Wikipedia.



About Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.
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9 Responses to Kingairloch (pm)

  1. Yeah, horseflies can bite through at least some clothing – they merrily munched me through my t-shirt on Skye. They also laugh at Smidge and repellents in general. But then little’s as repellent as they are themselves. They are awful.

  2. Eunice says:

    Wonderful views again but not so wonderful horseflies – I hope you didn’t get bitten too badly. I found out 20 years ago that I can have a bad reaction to them – had to have my rings cut off once when my fingers and hand swelled up, and last June on Anglesey I ended up at the local doctor’s when my arm swelled up after being bitten by one of the dratted things 😦 I now carry some antihistamine tablets with me on warm sunny days just in case.

    • Pam Ley says:

      Snap to the allergic reaction comment! I got bitten several years ago, and my arm swelled to twice it’s usual size! I had to have time off work as couldn’t use it. …horseflies are horrible beasts!

  3. baz says:

    Looks like a fabulous day’s walking. Well done. The scenery is just amazing.

  4. Nick Heaps says:

    Hello Ruth. I hope you don’t mind me saying that your determination to continue this walk is amazing. Not only are you walking it mostly alone but you are now also cycling the route. Added to that you will be having to sort out your meals and refreshments as it sounds like there is no chance of a welcoming café or pub. Having had an afternoon stroll yesterday from Cocker Bridge to Knott End (your walk 269) and then driven home to sleep in our own beds you make us feel very inadequate.

    • Well, thank you. I think of other coastal walkers who have done it all in one go, carrying everything on their backs and camping, and I think I have a relatively easy time in comparison 😀

  5. Karen White says:

    You certainly aren’t a coward! It’s common sense not to go off up a mountain without the proper safety gear and provisions. Horse flies are dreadful – I react very badly to them, in fact I react evry badly to most bites. On Brownsea Island I a few years ago I was bitten by something and by the next morning my knee was the size of a football. My GP thought it was a bite from the dreaded Blandford Fly.

  6. jcombe says:

    Yes I also did this today doing the distance from the eastern end of this B-road at Inversanda to the nature reserve at Acharn to avoid having to cycle! A long way to cover in a day though.

    I deliberated about doing the route through the quarry as I also didn’t want to risk trying to stay overnight and carrying provisions. I’ve also heard mixed views about if you can walk through the quarry or not (some say you can some say they want to drive you – which would be cheating). In the end I decided if I did to it, it would be 2 there and back walks. Unfortunately the 2nd would mean me walking from Kingairloch to the western end of the quarry and once I got here pretty much straight back. I think if I was escorted through that would irritate them a lot that you get to one end then immediately ask to be escorted back again! So I opted for the road too.

    I missed out the low road by the church at Camasnacroise but spotted (too late) that that is a path up from the other end of the minor road along the shore, so it is possible without doubling back. It had recently been neatly mown too and with a proper footpath sign (as you said Kingairloch is a welcoming place).

    I did however find you can turn off into the village itself and follow a track along the north edge of Loch a Choire then follow the path past Kingairloch House, cross the river and follow a track that goes through woodland and crosses the river again to re-join the road near Tigh Gardail (that’s what it shows as being called on the map). This was quite nice but the last bit a bit of a slog, it’s a steep hill over a lose rocky path which ends at a mobile phone mast then it’s a slightly rougher track that twists back down to the road, but the bridge marked does exist and the path is signed (it was also on the Kingairloch Estate map of paths they dot about the place).

    I’m guessing the house with the barking dogs was Lochuisge? It looked abandoned now and the dogs and containers have gone.

    • Yes, that was a long walk to do in one stretch. I read various accounts by people who’d walked through the quarry, and found the whole idea too intimidating. Glad I’m not the only one who took the road route instead. Sounds like you found a nice track to follow through Kingairloch. As you say, a very welcoming place.

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