395 Singing Sands (Gortenfern) to Arivegaig

[This walk was completed on Tuesday 7th May 2019]

I park in a little carpark at the end of the public road near Arivegaig, Kentra Bay. It’s only 8 miles to Ockle, says a footpath sign, but I’m not going as far as that. Just back to the Singing Sands at Gortenfern to pick up my walk where I left off yesterday.

What a difference the weather makes. Yesterday was a glorious day of sunshine and great views. Today is grey and drizzly, and I take my umbrella with me.

The sign on the gate warns about unexploded munitions.

I follow the track for a while, but I’ve decided to deviate off into the woods along another path, in order to turn a there-and-back hike into a more interesting circular walk.

The alternative route is clearly marked as a track on my map, and starts off as a clear green lane. This is lovely. Up the hill I go, and into the trees.

Unfortunately, the green lane soon deteriorates, and I have to climb over fallen tree trunks and duck under hanging branches. It becomes slow and difficult to make progress, and my umbrella turns out to be a bit of a hinderance,  but I persevere.

Stop for a quick breather, and pose in the drizzle for a self portrait.

The top part of the path is the worst, with some sections completely obstructed, forcing me to scramble between tree trunks. I save my umbrella from getting torn, but I manage to get scratched on the arms and legs, and I pick up a few bruises too.

Eventually, and with great relief, I fight my way through to a clearer section. A few hundred yards later, and my overgrown track rejoins the main track to the beach.

Whew! This is much better. And it’s stopped raining too! I see other walkers ahead of me, but they walk much faster than I do and I soon lose sight of them.

It’s a popular route. Not just walkers, cyclists too.

I soon reach the turning down to the beach. Here’s the sign I saw yesterday, warning about unexploded munitions left over from when this area belonged to the Ministry of Defence.

If you find anything suspicious you’re supposed to call the police. Wonder if anyone still finds explosives here?

Oh, I’m so glad I came here yesterday and saw the beach in splendid sunshine. It looks drab and dull today.

I walk along the damp sand and weave my way through the rocks. The sky lightens a little, although rain is still falling out at sea.

An elderly couple have set up chairs on the sand and are peering through binoculars. I ask them if they’ve seen anything interesting, and they mention a few bird names, none of which I would recognise.

I sit on a rock and eat my picnic lunch quickly, rushing to finish because I’m feeling cold.

There are far more people here today than yesterday. Dog walkers…

… bird watchers, hikers with big backpacks, and the odd solo photographer too.

Yes, even on this dull day it’s still a beautiful place. But look at those rain clouds sweeping in from across the sea.

Time to get on with today’s walk. I’m heading back to my car, following the main track this time, and then I plan to make my way further around Kentra Bay.

I meet a few other walkers heading for the beach. They look wet and slightly miserable.

A woman jogger comes past me…

… followed a few seconds later by a male jogger and his dog.

It begins to rain again – hard sheets of serious rain – and I’m very glad I brought my umbrella. It saves me having to pull on my waterproof trousers, which I hate wearing, and it means I can still use my camera under the shelter of the umbrella.

Down the track, through the downpour I can make out the elderly couple walking way ahead of me.

It’s actually quite a boring walk through featureless plantation firs. The surface of the track is made of sharp gravel, and it’s painful to walk on. Don’t know how those joggers managed to run over this!

I pass a wide area of gravel, where there is a collection of metal boxes – something to do with electricity, judging by the ‘danger of death’ warning signs stuck to them.

Onwards, and the track runs close to the shore. This is much nicer. The surface is firmer too and makes for easier walking.

Kentra Bay is not showing its best face today. ‘Mud & Sand’ says my map. More mud than sand at the moment.

A metal object on the verge catches my attention. What is it? As I get nearer, I realise it’s a motor scooter. Wonder why it’s been abandoned here?

I reach a marshy area where a river (Allt Eas an Taileir) empties into the bay. You can cross by an old ford…

… or, like me, use the more modern bridge.

The track winds around the shore, lined by trees. It would really be very pleasant if it wasn’t for the continuing rain.

Three French ladies pass me. They are well wrapped up in plastic and waterproofs, and chatting non-stop to each other. Such a shame about the weather.

Onwards goes the track. It stops raining, temporarily, and I can see Arivegaig across the bay. Nearly there.

Round another curve, and the carpark comes in sight. Look at all those cars! I’m so used to walking in complete isolation, it’s made quite a change being in a popular spot and meeting all these people.

I reach the gate at the end of the track, and there’s the elderly couple, still ahead of me.

As I unlock my car, the couple come up to me. They recognise the car, because we are staying in the same place in Salen. I’m staying in a wonderful little hobbit-hut, while they are staying in a more substantial wooden cottage. They tell me they come here regularly.

I’m always surprised to discover that some people  return to the same holiday locations again and again. I guess there is something comforting about familiar places.

My plan was to continue walking along the road, heading up across Kentra Moss to the end of the B road at Ardtoe. But I feel unexpectedly tired, and then it begins to rain again. So, I decide to return to my hobbit hole and curl up with a good book. The walking can wait until tomorrow. There’s no hurry.

Miles walked today = 7 miles
Total around coast of Britain = 4,131 miles

Route: Way out in black, return route in red

About Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.
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7 Responses to 395 Singing Sands (Gortenfern) to Arivegaig

  1. owdjockey says:

    Hi Ruth, the “metal boxes” are all thats left from the HQ of a reality and ill-fated TV series called Eden.

    When I walked past a few years ago there were still overhead gantries and containers of “stuff”

    • Hi Ruth,
      I’m nearing the end of my walk round England and Wales. Next Saturday, 27th July I walk into Aberystwyth with six grandkids, their parents and a few other family members and friends to complete nearly four and a half thousand miles of English and Welsh coastline, including some grumpy non coastline where I’ve been forced inland away from the seashore, where I’m most comfortable.
      I’ve been watching your Scottish progress most carefully, because after a recovery period, I have no option but to start following your trail.
      I have completed Hadrian’s Wall but the lowlands and highlands of bonnie Scotland are now calling me to explore further.
      I have various difficulties with the blogging mainly memory related. So I do admire your almost total recall – I feel I’ve almost been there already!
      My next task is to select an all enveloping website name
      All the best
      Bob McIntyre

      • Chris Elliott says:

        Hi Bob – I set out on walking the coast of mainland Britain at about the same time as Ruth. I started in Rye in East Sussex and I’m nearly back there. I completed the coast of Scotland last September. If I can be of any help to you re the planning of Scotland let me know. My email is chrisrfelliott@btinternet.com. I did not follow Ruth’s route as Ruth jumped from Ayrshire to Arran and on to Tarbet. I literally followed the coast of the mainland apart from on the west side of Loch Striven. Depending on your ‘rules’ for your walk I may be able to help on sections Ruth has not yet covered.

      • Hi Bob. I’m not sure about total recall, but I take several hundred photos on each day, and I find the combination of reviewing the photos, alongside the relevant OS map, transports me right back into the walk again. I think it helps that I walk so slowly too!

        Big congrats on very nearly finishing your circumnavigation of England and Wales. What an achievement! I’ll be thinking of you on the final leg on Saturday. Yes, Scotland is calling…

    • Oh, that’s interesting info Allan. I wondered why the boxes were there.

  2. Karen White says:

    Interesting that you saw so many other walkers. Is is the Singing Sands that is the attraction?

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