Posted by: natsevs | June 14, 2010

Inveraray to Saddell

I woke up fairly early, for me, in the hostel and was having breakfast before 8am. This meant I was heading off before 9 for the first time in quite a while. The village was very quiet as I walked out. All the tourists were obviously still in bed. A little while out of Inveraray the road loops inland but I could get out on a track through a caravan park, staying right on the coast.

After a while I came to a quarry and through into Furnace where all the gardens inevitably had familiar looking stone pathways. As I came out of Furnace the rain started but I had already put my coat on in preparation so figured I’d be OK. After 10 minutes it stopped and my legs dried out. Just when they had done so, the real rain started. I got fully waterproofed up and trudged onwards. About an hour later it stopped and I came into Minard. There was a path from the town out to the castle on the shore then back to the road briefly.

Pretty soon I was heading into another wood, Ardcastke wood this time, but this one wasn’t so easy to navigate. The paths on my map didn’t seem to match those in front of me. I actually managed to get through in the right direction so maybe I’m getting better. I headed over the marshy shore of Loch Gair over a couple of rivers but was blocked by the sea and a little power station after a while. I had to climb out up a ditch then over a field trying to get to the road. I had to then cross another ditch, hanging onto a fence, before emerging through some bushes onto the road once more.

Not much further on it was back into woodland, although a lot of this one had been cleared. The track came out at Port Ann from where I took a farm track out along the shore and up and over a very steep hill. The last 45mins or so was all road and I arrived at Lochgilphead on good time. I went straight into the little supermarket and got some goodies then round to the rifle campsite on the opposite side of the head. It tipped it down with rain straight after I’d had tea so I was quite lucky.

It rained a fair bit again before I got up in the morning but I was lucky again and was able to pack away in dryness. I started off along the Crinan cansl which runs right along the coast road the short distance to Ardrishaig. I got rained on but could see blue skies so figured it would stop but in a newly forming pattern there was a second much heavier downpour straight after. I took refuge in the co-op and it had almost stopped when I reemerged.

It was all road for a long while and as a result, very dull. I daydreamed and trudged along steadily until lunchtime where I stopped at a parking picnic spot just past Inverneill. Coming down from there a police van came up beside me and the woman told me to walk on the other side of the road for my own safety. I’ve never understood how watching a car coming to hit you is safer, especially when there’s a rock face blocking any means of escape and your coming up to a blind corner on that side. I said I would go over very politely.

A couple of minutes later they came back and asked me if I wanted a lift because it was a dangerous stretch but I explained what I was doing. I managed the road with no accidents and was soon able to get on a track closer to the coast as the road ran inwards for a bit. Along here I passed one house with a couple of golf holes in the garden and another with a peacock strutting around. Not posh at all. At the other end there was a house with the gate to the road locked shut. I ended up having to climb on there bins to get out. Stupid people.

The road took me to Tarbey which I thought was quite pretty and once I’d got a few supplies I headed up onto the hills following a stretch of the Kintyre way. It went up past the castle (one wall) then along the hills above the sea. It obviously gave some great views as a result but also meant ascending a fair way. There is picnic sites and viewpoints all along and was quite a nice walk. It comes down along a river to Skipness and to an awesome view of the Arran. I walked out if Skipness a little way then spotted an area obviously used by campers before, by the single track road, and set up there. It had a great view and was pretty quiet but apparently midge season had started. When I went out to brush my teeth I cams back with a whole load of them fighting to get into the tent.

In the morning, it was raining on and off, but mainly on. Once packed away I set off in a slight lull. I passed the ferry port in Clanaoig. It is basically a jetty and as far as I could see, it was all there was to Clanaoig apart from one farmhouse. Once past here the real rain got going again. I was all waterproofed up but pretty soaked pretty quickly. It was all along single track road being passed by the occasional caravan.

A little way down there were sheep on the road. Instead of heading off to the side or running back past me they ran along the road in front if me for at least a mile. Not even a car coming the other way could send them off in another direction. I can’t actually remember when or how I got rid of them. I think they must have been lost to the rain. The day was seeming slow and was definitely boring with the rain. There were quite a few steep hills though and I had a frazzle sandwich for lunch after 1pm.

Before Carradale I was able to take a path through the woods. It started with a steep climb up, past hoardes of midges now the rain had stopped. I could have followed the Kintyre way along the top but decided to head down the other side to the shore. There was a path down shown on the map but it wasn’t clear when I got there and I had a steep and muddy way down. I’d just taken off my waterproof trousers and was now getting soaked by all the wet undergrowth. The overgrown path eventually joined with a dirt track and took me into Carradale. From there I headed out on the road before hitting the beach at Waterfoot round to Torrisdale where a big tall ship was docked. It was back onto the road here and some serious steep ups.

I finished in Saddell with my parents arriving there in the car at exactly the same time. They were up for the week and had rented a cottage outside west Tarbet. I had been really looking forward to the luxury and home comforts in the days leading up to this. We headed to the cottage where they had already dropped off their stuff. I vegged out in front of the tv with a beer and we had Thai curry for tea. Ideal.


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