Posted by: natsevs | June 9, 2010

Old Kilpatrick to Knap

I was up earlier than usual for breakfast, which was pretty good except for a mystery component. At first I thought it was fried bread. but turned out to be a slice of sausage meat loaf.

The day started with walking down a canal for a bit to Bowling. From there I kept to a cycle way, which followed the coast all the way to Dumbarton. It missed out the castle though so I took a detour out to that past the football stadium, then back in to the road again. Back on the road, I was joined by David Michael who had cycled out from Paisley to walk a bit with me. He is walking the coast of Scotland in stages and was good company as well as having a lot of useful information for me. Once he had locked up his bike we carried on over the bridge and down to the path along to Ardoch.

From Ardoch, we carried on along the shore with the railway just inland from us towards Ardmore. It was quite rocky in places but the tide was out so it was do-able. Just past Cardcross there was a seal sunning itself on a rock out in the bay, which was a definite highlight. The going got a bit more difficult after Ardmore but we got round to a point where we had intended to get across the railway to the road. Unfortunately, despite being able to see the road and the gate of the track over the railway being open, we were stopped from going over by a woman there with some workmen. Apparently we weren’t allowed so we took our chances with the shore.

Our way was soon completely blocked by the sea so instead of crossing the railway at a proper safe place we were forced to get over a fence over the railway and into a field. We got onto the road and headed into Helensburgh where David got the train back to Dumbarton and I headed into a supermarket then had lunch in the sun.

Heading out of Helensburgh a guy drinking in a beer garden called me over and asked where I was walking to and chatted to me. He was called Paul and him and his mate seemed genuinely impressed with the walk and I had to decline their offer of a beer. It was a long road to Garelochhead past a peace camp right before passing the naval base there. Once through Garelochhead, I was on the lookout for a camp spot and found an ok one after a while down below the road where I had to clear enough space.

I could hear the naval base tannoy very clearly in the morning, which was slightly confusing before I woke up properly. It had started raining during the night disturbing my sleep a fair bit but had stopped by the time I was packing up. I set off along the beach rather than rejoin the road.

At Rosneath I came up onto the road and to go through the town then onto a track leading to a caravan park. The caravan park was a little disorientating but I stuck to the edge and found the path going out of it into the woods. The woods seemed to take ages and it’s always a worry that you’ve somehow gone in a circle, but I always had the sea in sight and eventually came out to the beach. From there I got around to Kilcreggan on a track. The shop didn’t have the best selection but I was able to get a few things to keep me going for the next few days. It was around 1pm now and Arrochar was still about 18 miles away so had quite a mission on my hands.

It started with coast road up towards Coulport in pretty miserable weather. Just before Coulport I had to come inland because of another naval base, the home of nuclear submarines, and had a very steep climb to contend with. Was ridiculously sweaty from that but managed to get to the top and along the roads looking down onto parts of yesterday’s walk. I came down to hit a roundabout about a mile above Garelochhead from which I carried on along the road to Loch Long and further on to Arrochar. The road took me gradually downhill and back to the coast and commenced the long walk up the loch. There were quite a lot of people fishing by the lochside with fires on the go but it was soon raining quite heavily. I finally reached Arrochar and a mile out of the centre came to a campsite which was only £4.

It rained a bit in the night again and it was a struggle to get up in the morning. Once I did though, a guy from another tent who I had passed with his wife the evening before came over and gave me a bag of food as they were heading home today. They had been up to do some mountain walking and it was a really good start to the day. Everything was covered in grass as I packed up but was soon away after paying.

I headed back down the other side of Loch Long along the road. At the outdoor centre, there was a path keeping to the coast instead of staying on the road which headed inland. The bridge over the river was closed off so had to go further up on the path to get over a second bridge leading to a dirt road. Past a caravan and camping club site the path began to climb quite a bit which was fun in the heat. I stopped to look at the map when the path forked and a guy came up who was running up the track called Brian. He worked at the nearby outdoor centre and is part of mountain rescue so was able to give me some very good advice.

After chatting for a bit he walked on with me to the top of the climb and end of the headland. From there Brian ran back down but he was welcome company for the climb. The loch at the top was impressive even in the cloud and it was silent up there apart from the cuckoos.

The path from there climbed a bit further as it headed back up the other side of the peninsula and I stopped for a bit of lunch. The path soon went down pretty steeply to a dirt track going up the side of the peninsula all the way to Lochgoilhead. It is quite a pretty place although half of it seemed to be made up of a holiday park. There was a single track road down from Lochgoilhead to Carrick castle, passing some pretty big houses but otherwise there was nothing much until the village. The scenery there was slightly marred by the castle being covered in scaffolding but was otherwise stunning.

After filling up my water bottles I carried on out of the village. Before the track ended to become footpath I passed by a house whose owners were outside and I had a long chat with them as well as they were really nice. It was then onto the path climbing upwards most of the time, past a few potential camp spots but I didn’t want to stop until around 7pm. By the time I wanted a camp spot they were a lot fewer and I ended up camping in the bend of the forestry dirt track. It wasn’t the easiest ground to get pegs in but the views were good. I had stew and dumpling with bread for tea then hid in my tent from the midges.

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Responses

  1. Really enjoying reading your account of some of my stamping ground though not on foot. Did you know if you rub an onion over you it keeps away the midges! Just read that in a magazine- never tried it myself. Let me know if it works.

  2. Nat, the sausage meat loaf is called “a square sausage” we usually bring them back from Scotland as a treat.!!!!!!!!!!


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