I have a cunning plan for this afternoon. Instead of relying on the monstrous bike, I’m going to catch the bus that runs along the road to Achnamara. All I have to do is park somewhere along its route. Bellanoch seems a good place.
Bellanoch is on the Crinan canal and consists of a couple of rows of houses and a marina…
…and, most importantly, a bus stop. The stop has a beautiful view over the canal, which is very wide at this point. Continue reading
It’s going to be another day of road-walking, but my blister is well padded and my foot feels surprisingly comfortable. I drop the Monster bike off in the village of Achnamara, and drive back to Castle Sween, where I park in a layby.
It’s only a short distance from Ellary House to the beginning of my next walk. Only 3 miles on foot, but a whopping 30 mile trip by road, because you have to drive all the way round via Lochgilphead and the Crinan Canal.
It’s gone 11am by the time I get to the end of the public road and park my car. There’s a cyclist sitting on the grass, and I ask him if he’s OK, but he’s only having a rest. He asks if I’m going to the Secret Beach. No, I tell him. I’m walking up through the Ellary Estate. I ask him where the beach is – because the sea is not in sight – but he only grins. He can’t tell me, because it’s a secret!
I go through the gates of the private estate, and walk up the track. At the top, I’m half-expecting the cows to be still guarding the pass, but there’s no sign of them today. I reach the point where I stopped yesterday, turn around, and begin today’s walk.
The west coast of Scotland was shaped by a drunken giant with an enormous pair of scissors and a sense of humour. A jagged series of mulls, peninsulas and inlets.
My walk today will take me part way around yet another peninsula, Knapdale. There’s a road some of the way down one side, and a road some of the way up the other – leaving a gap in the middle. My plan today is to walk until I close the gap. Continue reading
Yesterday, I ended my walk at a place called Kilmaluaig, and today my first task is to get back there. But there are only two buses a day on this route, and it’s a Saturday. That means there is no early school bus, and the first bus doesn’t run until noon.
So, I get to have a lie-in, and decide to spend the rest of my free morning in Tarbert. Looking forward to it. Continue reading
Today I get up very early, and drive back towards Kilberry, arriving in good time to catch bus number 447. There are only 2 passengers. Myself and a sleepy-looking schoolgirl.
The bus driver seems surprised by my choice of destination – the turnoff to Ardpatrick. Yes, I know it’s the middle of nowhere.
It’s the last week of May, and I’m back in Scotland. Taking up a great deal of room in my car, and clanking ominously every time I turn a corner, is a monstrously heavy, folding bike. Continue reading
This morning I forget the bus doesn’t stop in the harbour area of Tarbert, but in a car park a little further up the road. Realising my mistake, I’m jogging along the road when I see the bus coming up behind me. Luckily, the driver notices my frantic signals, and waits at the stop until I got there.
He seems unnecessarily impatient when I climb on board, but later apologises. He is worried because two young Chinese-looking tourists are hoping to make the ferry crossing to Islay.
The bus drops me off, and I walk up the narrow lane from Tayinloan village, heading towards the ferry terminal.
There’s not much at the ferry port. A café, a small waiting area for vehicles, and a signboard giving details of the next sailing to the Isle of Gigha. Continue reading
It’s very early. In a village called Tayinloan, I wait with a bunch of schoolchildren for the Campbeltown bus to arrive. Luckily I’d researched the bus routes in advance, because this bus doesn’t go into Glenbarr village itself, but drops me off on the main road.