[This walk was completed on the 11th April 2019]
I’ve only walked 8 miles this morning, and still have plenty of energy despite my early start. So, I decide to continue a little further. I could use my monster of a bike and do a there-and-back route – but I decide to do a circular walk instead.
The bike looks at me reproachfully from the boot of the car, but I harden my heart, and set off down the road. Soon I come to a sign for the Ardnamurchan Natural History and Visitor Centre.
Actually, the part of the sign that really interests me is a single word – café. Not many of those around. Hope it’s open!
The sun continues to shine, and the views across the water are spectacular. Due to the ins-and-outs of the coastline, I’m not sure what I’m looking at. After struggling with the map for a few minutes, I decide to give up worrying about identifying landmarks. I’ll just enjoy the view.
The road turns away from the water, and runs a few hundred metres inland, along a lovely wooded slope.
Down on a flat plain below me – a salt marsh – I see some familiar outlines. Highland cattle, and one has a very young calf with her. I take out my camera, but the cow is shielding the view of her calf and I can’t get a good photograph. I wait for a few moments, but she doesn’t move.
Onwards. Further down the road I come across a new building, not shown on my map. It’s the Ardnamurchan Distillery. Oh. That’s a surprise. I’m tempted to go in and see if I can do a whisky tasting… but then I remember I have to drive back to my B&B later this afternoon, and I carry on.
[Later I learn that the distillery is only 4 years old and, like the Ncn’ean Distillery on Morvern, is yet to produce it’s first proper whisky.]
A little way past the distillery there’s a sign for the café.
Round the corner, and just before the bridge over the Glenmore River, I see the carpark and the Visitor Centre. Looks very inviting.
Before I go in, I stop to look at the view. There’s a children’s play area, a field of sheep with springy little lambs, and then the water of Loch Sunart. To my right, the lump of headland is part of a tidal island… called Eilean Mor.
Eileen Mor? I thought I’d passed that island already. I take another look at the map. Yes, there are two of them in Loch Sunart. They really believe in recycling names in Scotland, don’t they?
I look around the gift centre, and spend some minutes admiring some beautiful polished marble bowls, and some bright paintings. I have to resist buying anything now. Promise myself I’ll come back later when I have the car.
Time for a drink and something to eat.
Full of cake and coffee, I head back down the road, retracing my steps, and keeping a look out for the footpath that should take me up and over the hill. The path doesn’t seem to start where the map says it should, so I’ve almost resigned myself to continuing back along the road, when I spot a wooden walkway. That must be it.
I climb up the wooden steps, clamber up a muddy slope, and join a path. A sign tells me this is the Glenborrodale Reserve Footpath.
It’s a beautiful walk, up through a forest of silver birches. No wonder the hill is called Silver Hill.
At the top, I cross over open land and get my boots rather muddy. I spot a buzzard, but no sea eagles. I’m half-expecting to meet the bird watchers I met earlier, but I see nobody.
The path curves southward and begins to dip down into the valley.
Down through the trees, steeper and steeper, until I can see the road below me.
I join the road right alongside the car park, where my car is patiently waiting. Where is everybody else? They’ve all gone home.
This has been another fabulous day of walking. Yes, it was mainly along the road, but what a beautiful road! I got to enjoy coffee and cake too, and the diversion up Silver Hill was a real treat.
Miles walked today – 11 miles
Total distance around coast = 4,070 miles
Route: morning in black, afternoon in red.