382 Wishing Stone to Drimnin

I’m feeling rather cross with myself. If only I’d caught the bus yesterday, I would have already completed today’s walk and be further along the coast. Oh dear, I seem to take ages to get anywhere!

This morning, I must drive back to the parking place near the Wishing Stone. It’s a beautiful spot, and the sun is shining after a night of rain.

01 wishing stone car park, Ruth hiking around the coast of Scotland

Mull looks under the weather, again. It seems to attract dark clouds like a magnet.

02 mean and moody Mull, Ruth hiking around the coast of Scotland

I head down the road, past the Wishing Stone and its ancient cairns.

03 past the Wishing Stone, Ruth hiking around the coast of Scotland, Morvern Peninsula

Ah, this is lovely. The dark clouds from last night are drifting away, and the landscape is lit by a low, February sun.

04 road to Drimnin, Ruth hiking around the coast of Scotland, Morvern Peninsula

Out in the Sound of Mull, I spot a really ugly boat. More like a raft than a ship. Must be some sort of fishing farm, I suppose.

05 fishing operations, Drimnin, Ruth hiking around the Morvern Peninsula

Onwards. What a beautiful road this is.

06 winding road to Drimnin, Ruth hiking the coast of Morvern Peninsula

I see something weird dangling from a tree. Turns out to be a stuffed toy with giant googly eyes. How did it get up there? At least 20 feet high, so someone must have hurled it into the air with great force. If it was a treasured toy, some poor child must see it hanging there every time they pass along this road.

07 toy in a tree, Ruth hiking the coast of Morvern Peninsula

Further along is a promontory – almost an island – dominated by a ruined building. I check my map. OS maps show the names of castles in a weird gothic script, for some reason. Hard to read without my glasses, but I think that ruin is called Caisteal nan Con.

08 ruined Caisteal nan Con, Ruth hiking the coast of Morvern Peninsula

Although the Morvern Peninsula is very empty, the 300 or so residents live, mainly, along the southern shore. So I pass a number of driveways and buildings. There’s even an old post box, stuck somewhat randomly in the middle of nowhere.

09 post boxes and machinery, Ruth hiking the coast of Morvern Peninsula

Down below the road, on my left, I spot an old cemetery with tomb stones enclosed inside a railing. My map suggest there was once a chapel here, but doesn’t mention the cemetery. It looks like the sort of private burial ground you sometimes find on large estates.

10 old cemetery, Ruth hiking the coast of Morvern Peninsula

I pass a gated track, one that is well-equipped with a host of fire-fighting brooms.

11 fire-fighting kit, Ruth hiking the coast of Morvern Peninsula

During the long hot summer last year, Saddleworth Moor, just above Manchester, burned for more than 3 weeks . Sadly that fire seemed to have been started deliberately. I wonder how often they are troubled with forest fires here? And are they deliberate? It’s hard to believe that anybody would set out to destroy this beautiful woodland.

On my left I pass a farm. Rhemore, says my map.

12 Rhemore Farm, Ruth hiking the coast of Morvern Peninsula

The road has risen and is running a few hundred yards inland of the sea. I get a good view of the Isle of Mull ferry, heading back towards Lochaline. (I really must visit Mull one day.)

13 Mull ferry, Ruth hiking the coast of Morvern Peninsula to Drimnin

Oh, how wonderful to be walking in February in the sunshine. My landlady at the pub seemed surprised by the good weather, and said I was very lucky. Of course, I’m not really ‘lucky’, because I plan my trips based on the weather forecast. (One of the joys of retirement is being able to make last-minute plans!)

Ahead, across the Sound of Mull, I can see the brightly-coloured houses of Tobermory. Love that name.

14 Tobermory across the Sound of Mull, Ruth hiking the coast of Morvern Peninsula

A roadside mile-marker is set very low beside the road. It looks old, but newly painted. Only two and 1/4 miles to Bonnavoulin, it says.

15 Bonnavoulin milepost, Ruth hiking the coast of Morvern Peninsula

Bonnavoulin? The name Bunavullin is printed in largish letters on my map, although everybody calls the place Drimnin. This plethora of names is very confusing, especially when trying  to work out bus routes!

I pass another farm. Glenmorven Cottage, my map suggests. Looks bigger than a cottage to me. Maybe it’s been extended?

16 Glenmorven Cottage, Ruth walking the coast of Morvern Peninsula

I notice moss growing profusely on the wall beside the road, forming a patchwork collection of little green cushions among the stones. They say when you see a lot of moss you know the air is very clean. This Morvern air must be especially pure.

17 moss on stone wall, Ruth hiking the coast of Morvern Peninsula

I pass a church that isn’t marked on my map. Beside it is a war memorial, and a tarpaulin has been tied around the memorial with rope. Maybe to protect the inscription from the weather? Or maybe to protect the poppy wreaths?

18 church and memorial cross, Ruth hiking the coast of Morvern Peninsula

The church has a bench and chairs on a little balcony outside, and I wonder if it’s been converted into a holiday home.

Here’s another pretty little waterfall beside the road…

19 roadside waterfall, Ruth hiking the coast of Morvern Peninsula

… and here’s a bright roadworks cone. Why is it here?

20 roadside cone, Ruth hiking the coast of Morvern Peninsula

The road swings round a curve, and I see a village ahead. That must be Drimnin, or Bonnavuolin according to the signpost, or Bunavullin, if you believe my map! When I get nearer, and can read the road sign, it definitely says Drimnin.

21 approach to Drimnin, Ruth hiking the coast of Morvern Peninsula

Dark clouds have been drifting across the sky, but the sun is still shining intermittently. I stare across at Tobermory, and realise I can see the end of the Isle of Mull. That next headland, across the gap, must be… I swing my rucksack off my back and get out my map… what is it?

22 end of Mull, Ruth hiking the coast of Morvern Peninsula

That far headland is not actually on my current OS map. I check my Garmin instead and, according to my Garmin, it’s the tip of the Ardnamurchan Peninsula. The most westerly point on mainland Britain. Wow! Another important milestone.

But, will I ever reach it? My progress is painfully slow.

I’m walking through Drimnin now. Nothing much here. I’d noticed a post office (PO) on the map, and hoped I might be able to buy a drink or a snack. But the post office turns out to be a shed – possibly the smallest post office I’ve ever seen! No room for queues.

23 Drimnin post office, Ruth hiking the coast of Morvern Peninsula

It’s closed. Of course.

The road is narrow and the tarmac uneven. A sign warns me that the route is unsuitable for caravans, and I think of my lovely Beast. Oh, I think he could get down here OK, but he’s a campervan, not a caravan.

24 unsuitable for caravans, Ruth walking to Drimnin on the coast of Morvern Peninsula

Well, here IS a caravan. Abandoned? Or maybe somebody’s temporary home? Poor sad old thing.

25 old caravan on road to Drimnin, Ruth hiking the coast of Morvern Peninsula

I reach the crossroads, the place where I should have caught the bus yesterday. The sign to the left says Seaview and Bunavullin. Oh, so that’s where Bunavullin is.

26 crossroads, Drimnin, Ruth hiking the coast of Morvern Peninsula

I turn left, down the Bunavullin road, which meanders past a few houses and soon drops down to the shore, where it winds around the edge of a pretty little bay.

27 shore road at Bunavullin, Ruth hiking the coast of Morvern Peninsula

The Bunavullin road is a very short road. I soon reach the end of the tarmac, walk past the last house on the road, and pick up a footpath. This crosses over a river via a little bridge, and rejoins the B849.

Only a hundred metres left to go. I can see the slipway ahead, which marks the end of the B849.

28 slipway, Drimnin, Ruth hiking the coast of Morvern Peninsula

On the way round to the slipway, I pass an old, red telephone box. It’s being used as a mini library – a book exchange. I’ve seen quite a few old phone boxes used in this way. Great idea.

29 library in a phonebox, Drimnin, Ruth Livingstone in Scotland

A private lane leads off to the right, and I notice a footpath signpost to Doirlinn. Good. That’s the route I’m going to take tomorrow. ‘TAKE CARE’ warns a smaller notice. ‘You are entering remote and sparsely-populated, potentially dangerous mountain country.

30 sign to Doirlinn, Ruth hiking the coast of Morvern Peninsula

Oh dear. Potentially dangerous. And, even worse, the sign goes on to say:

‘Please ensure that you are adequately experienced and equipped to complete your journey without assistance.’

This makes me even more nervous. Am I adequately equipped? Am I experienced enough? I never feel that I am.

Onwards, to the end of the road, where another sign says ‘End of public road. Turning place only.’ There’s a piece of flat grass, a little shed, and a slipway.

31 ferry terminal at Drimnin, Ruth hiking the coast of Morvern Peninsula

A cold wind is blowing and the sun has gone in. It’s too cold to sit outside, so I sit inside the hut to eat my snack lunch. A sign on the wall tells me this is a passenger and parcel service ferry landing, although I don’t believe the ferries run anymore. The place is now owned by a community trust.

Behind the hut is a strange monument dedicated to Charles Maclean of Drimnin, who was killed at Culloden in 1746. The death was long ago, but the monument looks relatively new.

32 Maclean memorial plaque, Drimnin, Ruth hiking the coast of Morvern Peninsula

It’s time to turn round and walk back to my car, but I decide to take a detour through the Drimnin estate. Very pleasant, although the gravel tracks are tough on my feet. I’ve had 3 days of tarmac walking, and they’re feeling a little sore.

33 through Drimnin estate, Ruth hiking the coast of Morvern Peninsula

Back at the crossroads, I note the point where the bus should have picked me up yesterday, if I’d been on time. And I see another footpath sign.

34 community noticeboard, Drimnin, Ruth walking the coast of Morvern Peninsula

It points to a ‘Heritage Path’ called the ‘Bunavullin Coffin Road’. Rather frustratingly, the sign doesn’t tell me where the path ends, and it’s not clear from my map.

35 Bunavullin Coffin Road, Ruth hiking the coast of Morvern Peninsula

I’ve made good progress this morning, and so I have some time and energy to spare. I go exploring up the road to find the coffin route. Up a hill, and the route goes off to the right. Here’s another sign. “Barr, by post track. 8 km.”

36 Barr by post tract, Ruth hiking the coast of Morvern Peninsula

Post track? Is this the same as the coffin route? And where on earth is Barr? I pull out my OS map, but can’t find a village called Barr.

How confusing.

Anyway, it’s time to head back down the hill, to rejoin the good old B849 and plod back to Lochaline. I make rapid progress, and try not to stop to take any more photographs, but sometimes I can’t resist. What a fantastic view.

37 looking up Loch Linnhe, Ruth hiking the coast of Morvern Peninsula

After I’ve gone a couple of miles, I hear a pattering sound and a snuffling noise, just behind me. I swing round, and catch sight of a dog on my heels, but he quickly swings round too, and gets behind me again.

We spin in circles a few times, before I realise he’s not going to bite my ankles. He’s just a nervous dog.

I can’t make out where he’s come from, because there is no house in sight, and I’m a bit perturbed because he begins to follow me. Every time I stop, he stops. Every time I set off again, he follows at my heels. Oh dear! Please go home, little doggy. I can’t look after you.

After a few hundred yards of playing Grandma’s Footsteps we’re overtaken by a couple of Lycra-clad male cyclists. The dog takes off running after them.

38 cyclists and dog, Ruth hiking the coast of Morvern Peninsula

Whew. He must have been with the cyclists, I think. But when I round the next corner, I find him waiting for me.

39 friendly dog, Ruth Livingstone in Drimnin

He accompanies me for about half a mile, sometimes scouting ahead, sometimes following at my heels. A car is forced to slow down because the dog is in the middle of the road, and the driver looks at me accusingly, because I’m not controlling my dog. I flag the car to a halt, and ask the driver if he knows who the dog belongs to. He doesn’t.

I’ve resigned myself to taking the dog back to the Lochaline Hotel. No doubt the locals will track down the owner. But suddenly, the animal stops, sniffs the air, and sets off walking back the way we’ve come. It’s a brisk, purposeful walk, and he soon disappears up the road.

I don’t know whether to be relieved or sad. I enjoyed the company. Long-distance walking can be a lonely business.


Miles walked today = 13.5 miles (only 6 in the right direction)
Total around coast = 3,997.5 miles

Route:


 

About Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.
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16 Responses to 382 Wishing Stone to Drimnin

  1. jcombe says:

    Another nice walk, you are lucky to be able to plan around good weather! That sign about the mountain path etc I’ve seen on a few paths, the wording is always exactly the same. Some are tough and some not too bad. I take “adequately prepared” to mean “I have a packet of jelly babies with me”. Your mileage my vary. Abandoned caravans in scrubby bushes and trees beside roads and tracks seem to be a bit something you see quite a bit in the highlands. Not sure why!

  2. owdjockey says:

    Hi Ruth, I am afraid that the Cal Mac ferry you saw was not the Mull ferry. The ferry from Lochaline runs just across the Sound of Mull to Fishnish and is quite small. The ferry you saw was either returning from Coll/Tiree or Castlebay on Barra.
    BTW Barr is a very small hamlet close to the Barr River on the eastern side of the peninsular

  3. Hi Ruth!
    I see you are coming up for the big 4,000 milepost. Congratulations! I passed that total on the Wales Coast Path at Trefor in February, it’s a great feeling. But you are probably ahead of me overall on the British Coastline. I haven’t done any walks in Scotland yet.
    Although have included Offa’s Dyke Path and Hadrian’s Wall in my tally presently 4,166 miles. At the time I thought I was only waking round England, which is now complete. Silly me. I now I realise I am actually programmed to walk round all Britain’s coastline and Offa and Hadrian are surplus to requirements, but they were both very worthwhile. It was actually Offa who got me up and walking, since we live in Shropshire, not far from Offa’s Dyke Centre in Knighton.
    I hope to finish the Wales Coast Path at the end of July in Aberystwyth if all goes to plan, and then it’s Scotland??
    I wonder if our paths will cross? My enthusiasm is as great as ever but energy is rationed and I’m definitely slowing down…
    All the best
    Bob McIntyre.

    • Hi Bob. Well done for completing England – a fantastic achievement! And sounds like you’ve nearly completed Wales too, with a whole circuit. You’ll love Scotland, but the logistics are tricky. Yes, perhaps our paths will cross. Best wishes.

  4. David Kain says:

    Hi Ruth,
    Congratulations on reaching such a milestone, a mear hop skip and a jump to 4000 miles.
    And with so many followers across the world, you are most definitely not alone.
    We all look forward to the next installment.

    • Hi David. 4,000 miles! I can’t believe it. But, since I only add up the mileage at the end of each walking expedition, at the time I was completely unaware of reaching this milestone.

  5. Hi Ruth. I’ve only just caught up with you again after the string of comments from posts way back that I haven’t read. At first I thought you were in Scotland now, enjoying the current good weather there, but then you say it was February when you were on this section. I’m not sure about your intentions but I would welcome knowing the actual dates of each walk, but maybe you have reasons for not emphasising that? This was an interesting post. I look forward to your continuation. Walking the west coast was always going to be a long and slow process but I think you are doing remarkably well. Don’t be put off by those warning signs, they are only for people wearing high heel shoes or flip flops and carrying nothing other than a handbag or a copy of The Sun – you have the experience and have proved your resourcefulness beyond any doubt.

    • Hi Conrad. I’ve been following your walking expedition, off and on, with interest, but need to go back and read your posts properly. Yes, I really should get in the habit of putting in the exact date of each walk, now that I’m so behind with my write ups! Thank you for the reassurance about those off-putting signs.

  6. lizziwake says:

    It’s amazing how unpopulated so much of Scotland is. And how beautiful. It’s a pity so much of the coastal walking seems to be on tarmac, even tho the roads are quiet.

    • Yes, I was disappointed to discover that most of Scotland hasn’t got the same footpath network that we are used to in England and Wales. But, I guess that is exactly because it is so sparsely populated.

  7. Chris Elliott says:

    Ruth – I may be mistaken but I think it is also because of the right to roam – why have a formal footpath when you can go anywhere you like (subject to reason)? I was told this was one of the main reasons OS don’t even mark the paths in all cases that do exist.

  8. Eunice says:

    Just catching up with you after being pc-less for two weeks. I guess by now you’ve probably reached, or even gone round, the Ardnamurchan peninsula – I went to the lighthouse there a few years ago, because of the twisty roads it took me over two hours to drive from Arisaig only to find nothing else there! I expected to find at leats a little hamlet of houses or something. I did pass some very pretty scenery along Loch Sunart though, and Sanna Bay was nice 🙂

  9. Karen White says:

    Over the last few daysI have been watching your mileage tally creep ever closer to 4000 miles. An incredible total. The signage in Scotland is certainly confusing, I wonder why the place names can be so different – or maybe it is just to befuddle the tourists!
    You are very good with the composition of your landscape photos, something taht always lets me down. Gorgeous views once again.

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