422am Ardaneaskan to Lochcarron

[This walk took place on 5th August 2019.]

I stayed last night in the Wee Camp Site in Lochcarron. This morning, I steer my Scooty bike along the narrow road that runs beside the shore from Lochcarron to Ardaneaskan, and reach the carpark at the end.

It’s a beautiful spot, and I take some time out to sit on a bench and look out over the mouth of Loch Carron. There’s Plockton across the water, and the mountains of Skye in the distance.

view to plockton, Ruth's coastal walk, Lochcarron

On the way here, I passed a little blue fiat parked by the side of the road. Now, the same car pulls up in the car park, and I start chatting to the occupants.

They’re farmers from the south of England, and he is up here looking at a patch of woodland for sale. He told me how he met a local woodsman, and they discussed what trees they could grow, and how they might plant one particular tree at regular intervals to encourage the population of red squirrels.

01 view to Plockton from Ardaneaskan, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

It’s great to listen to their plans. So much of our countryside is stripped of trees, I love to hear that people are encouraging the growth of native woodland, and supporting the wildlife that lives in it.

I check Scooty is firmly locked, and hidden down the side of a nearby building. Time to set off on my short walk back to Lochcarron. Only 7 miles along this pretty coastal road.

02 view over the entrance to Loch Carron, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

It’s a dull day, but very calm. I pass a scattering of houses, and watch a family playing beside the stony shore. A man is standing in the water. Fishing?

03 view over to Plockton lighthouse and Skye mountains, from Ardaneaskan, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

It starts spitting with rain, and I spend the next couple of miles hiding my camera in a plastic bag, and then pulling it out to take a few photos in between the showers.

Hello little black sheep. There’s always one!

04 hello black sheep, Loch Carron, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

The road rises, and I lose sight of the water behind a screen of trees.

05 narrow road from Ardaneaskan, Loch Carron, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

Over a cattle grid, and I pass the spot where I saw the English farmer earlier.

06 cattle grid, road between Ardaneaskan and Lochcarron, Ruth walking the coast of Scotland

Actually, I thought he had stopped the car for a quick wee,  because he was standing with his back to the road. I didn’t realise they were standing there to inspect the woodland.

It’s a steep slope. Looking after this wood would be hard work. I wonder what commercial potential it has, and whether the farmer will decide to buy it in the end.

07 sloping woods, Loch Carron, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

It begins raining steadily. I put my head down and trudge along. Then, the weather clears a little, and I pull out my camera again. See that house down by the shore? What a lovely spot to live. I wonder if it’s permanently occupied, or is it a holiday let?

08 lochside residence, Loch Carron, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

One of the things I’ve had to get used to in Scotland is the amount of road walking you have to do. Footpaths are relatively rare. But this road is quiet and beautiful, and it snakes onwards, keeping to high ground.

09 road winds from Ardaneaskan to Loch Carron, Loch Carron, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

After two or three miles, the road drops down towards the shore again, and I reach the turnoff to Strome Castle.

10 turn off to Stome Castle, Loch Carron, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

According to my map, this area consists of three hamlets. Stromemore, North Strome and Mid Strome. But they’re all ‘nothing’ places, with only the occasional farm house or cottage to be seen, and perhaps are just remnants of old villages. I’m turning off to take a look at Strome Castle, which, in comparison, turns out to be a bustling place.

I pass new excavations in the slope at the side of the road. Are they planning new building here? Or just levelling off the land?

11 excavations on road near Stromemore, Loch Carron, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

Further along, and there are more cottages and houses. And there’s the castle off to my right.

12 Ruins of Strome Castle, Loch Carron, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

I walk straight past the castle, as I want to see the jetty at the end of the road. This is where the ferry used to run, crossing over Loch Carron, to the village called Strome Ferry on the opposite bank.

No ferry runs here now.

Two fishermen (husband and wife, I think) are standing on the jetty with their dog. I watch them set up their lines, and I remember standing on the road at Strome Ferry a few weeks ago, and looking across to this side of the loch. Now I’m over here, looking back at where I once stood.

13 Strome Castle and jetty where Strome Ferry used to run, Loch Carron, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

A minibus has pulled up beside the jetty. It’s an organised tour of some sort, and a group of people – adults and children – begin struggling into wet suits. An instructor helps them put on oxygen tanks and supervises as they adjust their scuba gear.

One by one, they jump into the water. Some are more reluctant than others. I must say the water seems murky today, and not particularly inviting.

14 fishers and scubadivers, Strome Castle, Loch Carron, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

Despite the commotion going on around them, the fishermen manage to catch a fish. Their dog looks on. I wonder if it’s edible?

15 catching a fish, Loch Carron, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

Finally, all the scuba divers are in the water. The youngsters are shrieking because the water is cold. Just wait, one of the mothers tells them, it will warm up.

16 everyone in the water, off Strome Castle, Loch Carron, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

It’s entertaining to watch them, but time to get on with my walk. I have a brief chat with the fishers, and then leave them in peace.

Back down the road, and I turn off to look at the castle. Unfortunately, it’s in a state of disrepair.

17 repairs to Strome Castle, Loch Carron, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

I follow the narrow path along the slope. Beautiful spot.

18 footpath to Strome Castle, Loch Carron, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

The ruins are marred by fencing, although quite why they bother, I don’t know, as the obstructions are flimsy…

19 scaffolding Strome Castle, Loch Carron, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

… and I squeeze past the edge of a fence in order to peer through the arch. It frames a great view. Pity the weather is gloomy. That’s the mouth of Loch Carron down there, Plockton in the distance, and the mountains behind belong to Skye.

20 view down Loch Carron from Strome Castle, Ruth's coastal walk around Britain

Funny how I’ve walked for days, and have actually travelled such a short distance really.

Below the castle is a pretty little bay. It’s name is, of course, Castle Bay. Across the loch is Strome Ferry, and I remember spending a couple of nights in my campervan in the car park at the top of the hill.

21 Castle Bay, North Strome, Loch Carron, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

I’ve been to some wonderful places on my Scottish adventure. Everywhere you turn is a stunning view.

Rain is threatening again. I shrug off my rucksack. Time for a quick lunch, and I can perch my camera on a handy piece of castle wall and snap a self portrait too.

22 lunchtime self-portrait, Strome Castle, Loch Carron, Ruth's coastal walk around Scotland

My lunch is cut short by the rain. Oh well. Onwards.

[To be continued…]


Post walk note: Apologies, but this walk is the wrong way round. Following my rules, I should have driven from Lochcarron to the end of the walk at Ardaneaskan, left my bike there, driven back to the beginning, walked to the end, and cycled back to the beginning again. (Hope you see what I mean.) But I did it the other way round, partly because I prefer to get the cycling over at the beginning of the day, but mainly because I could  avoid ‘breaking camp’ and avoid packing up the van unnecessarily.

I did, of course, agonise over this decision for much of the evening the night before!

Route this morning:


 

About Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.
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22 Responses to 422am Ardaneaskan to Lochcarron

  1. Paul sennett says:

    Lovely
    Good to read your blog again
    We will do the Cumbrian coastal path sometime before year end .. if lock down
    Allows it… we then have just some NOrth York’s . Moors gaps to finish to complete our total English CoastAl path walk

    Hope the Lyme disease has cleared up
    All the very best
    Paul and Carol Sennett

  2. jcombe says:

    Nice to see you back I actually thought you were already up to date but I guess you have kept a few posts back. We are getting close to the point we will “pass” (probably virtually!).

    • A few more walks to write up, Jon. Bit late, I’m afraid, but I’ve found it hard to get anything done during lockdown, despite having nothing to do! A common problem, I think. Also I’ve been holding back because once the blog has been written up… well, what is there to look forward to? I guess I’m hanging onto my walking experience and eking out the last memories.

  3. Russell White says:

    Hi Ruth it’s great to Blog On with you again (sorry!). I hope you, me, all who read and comment on your adventures will all be out stomping around soon. Stay well – Cheers Russ

    • Hi Russ. Yes, I hope we all get back out there soon. It’s so frustrating to be confined to home territory. I try to get out for local walks every day, but it’s not quite the same.

  4. Keith Case says:

    Great to read your blog again

  5. Eunice says:

    Great to read a new post Ruth, you’ve been missed 🙂 I like the view from the castle arch and the little bay looks lovely 🙂

  6. Jayne says:

    Your walk, YOUR rules. I can see no reason why you cannot do one section the opposite way to that which you normally walk.

    But as Eunice says, it is lovely to see you back, have been thinking about you during lockdown. Hope all is well in your world.

    • Hi Jayne and it’s good to get back to blogging again. All is well, and plenty to be grateful for. Just got very, very itchy feet 😄 Hope all is well with you too. Such a weird time we are living through.

  7. Brian Williamson bi says:

    Nice to keep receiving these Google up dates! Don’t know if I’ll be camping in Cornwall this year with this virus rubbish.
    Good luck,
    Mr Williamson (Dover)

  8. Brian Williamson bi says:

    Nice to keep receiving these Google up dates! Don’t know if I’ll be camping in Cornwall this year with this virus rubbish.
    Good luck,
    Mr Williamson (Dover)

  9. Paul Watts says:

    Loving your adventure Ruth. Rarely comment but I’ve been ‘with you’ from the start. Keep on truckin’ – when you can!

  10. Karen White says:

    Good morning Ruth. It was lovely to open my emails and see an update from you. It’s truly done my mood a power of good to start the day reading your latest Scottish adventure and seeing your beautiful photos. I have been wondering, on and off during lockdown, how all this will affect your continuing with your walking this year. Have you been able to do any yet?

    • Hi Karen and thank you for your kind words. No, I haven’t been able to do any walking trips this year. In fact, in March I saw a patch of good weather was forecast, so I was all packed and ready to go… and the night before I was going to set off, Boris held his press conference and said no unnecessary travel! I still live in hope of a short trip this year… will just have to wait and see how things go.

  11. Neville Black says:

    Oxygen tanks:  Not.  Just compressed air, around 20% oxygen.Various unpleasant things can happen with mostly-oxygen breathing. neville blackphiladelphia USA

  12. 5000milewalk says:

    I just noticed you were going anticlockwise before seeing your comment at the end! I did exactly the same recently, because the wind was so strong and I didn’t want to cycle into a 50 mph wind, and I agonised over it too, it breaks the pattern, doesn’t it? And besides, it just feels wrong with the sea on your right 😄

  13. Margaret Kay says:

    Hi Ruth, I’ve enjoyed your posts on and off since you started. Thanks so much for sharing your journey, with all the beautiful photos. Something i thought of doing a few years ago, but probably not up to it now (73). You bring it all to life so well.
    Love from Maggie

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