After a decent breakfast at the B&B I repacked my stuff and was ready to go at 9.45. I needed a shop and was going to head to the one in town but the woman reccomended I go to the shop in nearby Kames. Apparently they’ve a much better selection. So back onto the coast road I went and headed to Duncan’s store. Just before there I had a quick chat to a guy out walking.
The shop was a good reccomendation and seemed to have a fair few things. The road out of Kames became single track and sticks right to the coast most of the way. I passed yet another campsite that doesn’t take tents then towards the end of the point. The road curves round so I took a dirt road out past a few houses and down to the shore through fields. There was a huge bull stood right by the open gate and I was going to have to walk within a meter of it at least. I’m fine with cows now but not so confident with bulls, especially huge ones.
I ended up climbing over the fence and getting stabbed by gorse. I still think it was the right decision. Getting round on the shore wasn’t too difficult and it resulted in some very pretty scenery. I could have come in once round the headland but I stayed on the shore and was treated to some stunning white sand beaches. In Kilbride Bay the man from Kames came and talked to me and took a picture. Was another really nice bloke.
There was a path for the last bit to Portaverdie, which gave some great views. Portaverdie itself is less nice with derelict buildings and it seems to be a massive construction site. Looks like it could be pleasant when it’s finished, though. By the marina is a nature reserve and I took the shore path through there as long as it lasted. It took me to the next bay then I has to make my own way again.
At Crispie I got onto a dirt road that took me up to Melldalloch past lots of posh houses. I got onto the road from there and unexpectedly found a fountain on the side. It was in memorial to Patrick Rankin and I filled up my water bottle there. Once over a river I made my way off the road through fields toward the coast again. It got quite boggy and I managed to go well over ankle deep at one point and got a very soggy foot. I was hoping for a good spot but it was all animal fields until I got through a wood and came to a dirt track. I camped just off that, by Kilfinan Bay. It turns out I was very close to a house but I didn’t get any bother. I treated myself to a beef stew ready meal for tea which was very nice indeed.
I was woken by a quad bike driving around but it didn’t seem to come my way gladly. The night was actually quite cold despite the sunshine I’d had during the day and the wind was still chilly in the morning. I put shorts on anyway and headed along the shore again. What I thought was a bridge on the map on the other side of the bay was actually a river so I had a nice knee deep paddle to start me off.
The beginning was beach but it was soon onto rock again, although nothing too bad climbing wise. One of the bays I came to had a driftwood den set up with a wooden chair in the middle. Round the corner from there I stopped on the rocks to get some stones out of one of my boots.
As I sat there I heard a cough and looked up to see an otter swimming around in front of me. When he dove I made a move for my camera and watched him as he fished, taking pictures as he slowly got further away. When it got round to the previous bay I did some SpringWatch style stalking, with only one boot on, to get a video. Quite pleased with myself I left the little fella be as carried on.
I was brought down to earth pretty soon when I slipped whilst climbing up the rock and both feet got a good helping of sea water in them. A track appeared and took me to Otter Ferry from where I joined the road. Roads tend to allow quicker progress but can be very boring, although the views weren’t bad. When I reached the Strathlachan river I headed inland a bit, still on the road, to meet back up with the sea round the headland. Basically cutting a bit of a corner but there was no path to stay on the coast.
I got to Strachur hungry and foodless at 5.40. I asked a lady if there was a shop there and the nearest one was at the petrol station in Clachan. This was about a mile away and shut at 6. I caned it along the road then up the turn off desperately hoping they wouldn’t shut early. I dumped my bag at a bench and ran the last bit, uphill, to get there with five minutes to spare. Running after 20 miles of walking is not fun but it was worth it for the chocolate and pasty. Once back on the coast road I walked about a mile on then set up camp on a disused and overgrown dirt track. I collected some driftwood from the beach below and successfully lit a fire to dry out my boots and socks by.
Being so close to the road has he major drawback of traffic noise first thing in the morning. Once I got up there were a fair few midges about and I’m sure I got bitten a few times. A side effect and drawback of the fire was that a lot of my stuff now smelled strongly of smoke. I scrambled back up to the road and headed off into the slightly cold morning. There were a lot of lorries passing and it wasn’t much fun but thankfully there were a fair few dirt roads running parallel to the main road on the shore side.
Just past St Catherines there was one which led to a path and took me all the way to Cairndow at the top of the Loch Fyne. I was hoping for a shop there but was disappointed and had to carry on along the main road round the loch head. On the opposite side was the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar but more importantly a garden centre with shop and cafe. I got an overpriced, microwaved bacon roll from there and carried on with hunger satisfied slightly. It was A road all the way with a short exception at the head of Loch Shira where I was able to cut across along the old road and bridge. It did mean a scramble through trees on the other side to get back on the road though.
Just before Inveraray I was attacked by an Oyster Catcher. It kept making dives for my head and only swerving away at the last minute. I really wouldn’t want a bill that big stuck in my head but I obviously stopped and got a photo of it in action. Over the bridge you get a good view of Inveraray castle and the town itself looked pretty idyllic as you walk towards it.
I was staying at the hostel and arrived at 3.30. I had fully intended to walk on and bus back after dropping off my bag but the hostel was shut until 5 and the bus times meant walking on wouldn’t gain me anything. I had a wander around and found you can’t even pee there without paying. It takes something away from a place when it is so obviously geared towards getting money from tourists. I got an ice cream and sat in the sun before heading to the shop just before 5. I got myself supplies and food for the evening and went to check into the hostel. I had a nice bit of pasta for tea and chatted to some of the other guys there, one from Newcastle particularly. I had my room to myself at first but a couple of guys from St. Andrews uni turned up later in a group. They were both pretty nice as well though.