[visited on Sunday, 14th April 2019]
After my short walk this morning, I should be buzzing with energy, but I feel strangely tired. My first priority is to find somewhere to buy food. So, I drive into Kilchoan and follow the signs to the village shop. It is closed. How frustrating. The next shop is 15 miles away, and no guarantee that one will be open either.
Feeling rather irritated, I decide to cheer myself up by visiting the lighthouse.
I drive up towards Portuairk, along a road familiar from yesterday’s walk, and turn off towards the lighthouse. The last section of this road is frighteningly narrow, and twists around the base of rocky cliffs, before emerging beside a visitor centre and carpark.
The lighthouse itself looks shut, so I wander around taking photographs. Unfortunately, the light is dull, and the photographs don’t really capture the beauty of the place.
Find some picnic benches on a rocky headland, a place slightly more westward of the lighthouse, and realise I’m here, at the most westerly point of the British mainland. Wish I’d brought a nip of whisky to celebrate. Or even a bar of chocolate! (Why was the shop closed?!)
Think back to when I reached the most easterly point of Britain, at Lowestoft Ness. About 500 miles away as the crow flies, but considerably further along my coastal route. Can’t believe I’ve come so far.
But, as I sit on a picnic bench, sipping my water and shivering in the chilly wind, I don’t feel very celebratory. I didn’t walk here after all, but came by car, so does this milestone actually count? And I remember something else. This isn’t really the most westerly point on mainland Britain.
The most westerly point actually lies a little further south of here. Corrachadh Mòr. I can see it clearly across a couple of little bays
Perhaps I should try and walk there today?
But I have very little food left, only a few snack bars, and I must find something to eat. And, as often happens a few days into a long walking trek, I feel utterly exhausted.
I leave my cold picnic bench, and wander down the hill, past the carpark, to look at the visitor centre.
Next to the centre is a café and, to my intense surprise, it’s open! Yay! I go inside, grateful to get out of the wind, and order a pot of tea and a sandwich. Followed by a huge slice of cake.
I feel much better with some solid food in my stomach, but the wind is still blowing cold, and I really, really don’t fancy fighting over rough land to reach Corrachadh Mòr. I’ve reached the lighthouse (albeit by car!) and that’s going to have to be good enough for today.
Time to head back along the twisty road. Luckily there is a traffic-light system in operation, so no danger of meeting another car head on. Would hate to have to reverse around all those corners.
[Later, I look up the blog post where I describe reaching Lowestoft. It was nine long years ago, and only the 11th day of my coastal trek. Since then I’ve covered nearly 4,000 more miles (3,979 more miles, to be exact!), and so much in my life has changed. I’ve come a long way.]