Posted by: natsevs | June 16, 2010

Saddell to Tayinloan

I woke up in my nice warm bed in the cottage and went for breakfast. We drove to Saddell and all four of us (including the dog) set off around half 9. It was a much better day than the previous one and was promising sunshine. The road climbs out of Saddell and then is fairly up and down the whole way. We got to Peninver in very good time then one last up to go around the bay and into Campbeltown.

As we were walking in there were people coming the other way in running gear and medals. Today was apparently the Mull of Kintyre 10k and half marathon runs, so it was pretty busy. We had our packed lunched on a bench on the front then carried on around. In the Campeltown Bay is an island you can walk over to when the tide is out, I had been recommended to go over there but I figured I would have time later in the week. Mum and dad decided they were going to do the whole day so we booked a taxi to pick us up from the end point.

On the other side the road is single track and goes up a fair sized hill to start with. I had decided to wear trek shoes to give my boots a break whilst I could, unfortunately I’d forgotten that they gave me blisters on the bottom of my feet last time. The whole afternoon they were destroying the balls of my feet. The road though was right on the edge of the cliff allowing great views at least. Ailsa Craig was back, and I could see the Ayrshire coast and the Rhins which I left behind weeks ago.

As the afternoon went on mum and dad started slowing a bit and my feet were killing me. The taxi was booked for 5.15 so I was trying to get us there in time. Once past the hill, pleasantly named The Bastard, we could see Southend at last. There was also a pretty good view of Ireland. The road winds southward then over a hill then we came off onto a dirt track through the golf course.

On the other side is a bridge before reaching the beach. It turned quarter past as I got to the beach and I waited for mum and dad there. The taxi said it would be at the beach car park so we crossed the length of the beach to a place where there were a few parking bays by a caravan park. No taxi. The map showed a car park around the corner so I headed for that but just before I reached it mum rang to say the taxi had left. Painfully, I walked back to the caravan park where we waited for it to come back. Mum and Dad knackered and me in pain. Back at the car we had the winding road home to deal with then crashed on the sofa. Mum was ill from dehydration and not eating enough so I cooked us all fajitas and stuffed my face.

My feet were feeling better in the morning after draining the worst blister the previous night. I was dropped off in Southend to walk up to the lighthouse at the end of Kintyre. There were seals on the rocks right there which was quite cool.(See picture below, look closely, it is a seal!)

The road up to the lighthouse was quite flat and easy to start but was soon climbing steadily quite high. It was a sunny and warm day and the views were impressive so it was quite a nice walk. Just before 12 mum and dad came past in the taxi and I took Allie the dog for the last bit to the top. Dad thought a leaflet had said there was a path over the top to Machrihanish, my map didn’t show one but I was going to go that way anyway and they had been up for joining me for it.

When there was no obvious path we made our way from the car park along the top. Ireland was in very clear view and the scenery up there was quite impressive. We followed sheep tracks if they could be seen for a lot of the start then saw a post. Optimistically we headed in that direction but it was actually there to mark the spot where a plane had crashed in the 50s. There was still debris scattered everywhere.

The route alternated between thick heather scratching our legs to serious bog. I lost my leg up to just below my knee in muddy boggy horribleness at one point.We had lunch in a rare grassy patch and further on got to a peak where we tried to figure out a route from. Happy with our plan we set off to realise we should have looked down. We had a really steep and not very easy descent that we hadn’t noticed. The plan also went out of the window pretty quickly and we had more of the same in heather and bog the whole way. Eventually, we saw a tree plantation which was where the Kintyre Way path comes out. We walked down to the plantation then through it to the seaward side. That was the easy bit. We came to the valley once out of the trees. This was a really steep down, over a stream then a ridiculously steep up the other side.

Halfway up we met the Kintyre Way and were all glad to finally have a path. We still had further to climb though and ploughed on. At the top the views were awesome in every single direction. It was also really windy so didn’t hang about to freeze for too long. The path took us into the next valley then started to tack inwards along a dirt track for a good long while. We finally got to the road and that took us down to Machrihanish. In the first little bay just as we entered the village there was a seal swimming around sticking it’s head out of the water. We piled into the car grateful that it was there and had a far shorter drive back to the cottage. We had roast beef for tea so I was a very happy boy.

I had pancakes for breakfast with the left over Yorkshire batter. I’ve been craving them for a while and wasn’t disappointed. We were all expecting a nice short drive to Machrihanish but unfortunately we were disappointed there. A lorry had crashed with a car on a sharp corner blocking off the whole road. No one was hurt thankfully. It didn’t look like being sorted any time soon so we had to drive back up to Tarbet and down the other side as there are only two roads on Kintyre. The journey turned into a 1h40minute slog and we hadn’t even started walking yet. I set off from Mach across the beach with the airport the other side of the dunes. After havimg rain mist of the morning it was a really nice day and a good walk.

There was a river to paddle through right at the beginning then I kept my boots off for the rest of the way. I met mum and dad at the other side and we all walked the beach for a bit before it got too rocky and we were forced up to the road. We had left the cottage in miserable rainy weather and were now baking in our long sleeved gear in the bright sunshine. We were on and off the road a lot then stopped for lunch on a beach. Afterwards we were able to stay down there for a while which was much nicer walking.

Further on the road goes inland in a loop as the coast goes out in the same way. We stayed on the shore and it was fine to begin with. It got quite rocky so we had to take care to find a route the dog wouldn’t break herself on. Earlier in the week she had tried to jump over a cattle grid unsuccessfully so she doesn’t have the best gauge of her own abilities.

We ended up being surrounded by gorse, bi=og and a stream and had to come inland into some fields which was a slight annoyance. Over a few fences there was a brand new path leading down to the shore then we were able to make our way along until forced up to the road, which had now rejoined the coast. We came up at BT corner, the site of the earlier accident, and everything had been cleared away. It wouldn’t be such a long drive back at least. Mum and Dad stopped in Muasdale whilst I carried on, aiming for Tayinloan. It was road most of the way but a mile out I joined the Kintyre Way once more, which took me along a field edge and out onto the beach. The beach then took me to the ferry point and car park where I waited to be picked up. They arrived and had bought ice creams. I was feeling slightly frustrated with the day so this helped a little more. I had a beer and cooked sausage and mash for dinner which did the trick in relaxing me.



  1. Hi Nat, just caught up on 2 months of your walk in one morning. You are doing really well. Glad you are having some good sights and experiences in Scotland. Hope to catch you sometime when I get to the East Coast.

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