Posted by: natsevs | June 30, 2010

Kilchoan to Barcaldine

Most of the night was spent being woken up by a lamb calling out for its mum in the field next door. It obviously didn’t manage to wake her up unfortunately.

The morning was quite cloudy with a bit of wind, which seemed to have got rid of the midges. I was obviously very happy about that and was able to eat my porridge in peace. As I set off, I walked past a few better looking camp spots but that’s always the way.

It was fairly up and down on the road towards to Degnish. I came off just before there onto a dirt track that was all up and no down. It was at this time that the day decided to get very muggy so that was fun. The view down over Loch Melfort was some consolation though. Once it levelled out a bit I drifted off into my own little world and only woke when Ardmaddy Bay came into view. I could also see Seil and the very mountainous looking Isle of Mull. I was glad that I was not venturing onto Mull but I didn’t know I was going to have plenty of mountains that size znd bigger anyway.

I turned off my track too early and ended up following sheep to a dead end. I knew I only had to get down though and could see a gate off to my right and took a chance on that. When I got to it the track from there definitely went down so all was good. At the bottom I followed the track to the lane and that took me out of the bay and onto the road. I reached the turn off to the Isle of Seil in good time and was crossing the bridge at noon.

I was staying in the B&B (Innish) right by the bridge so I headed there to get rid of my bag. The owner was very nice and offered me a cup of tea but I needed some lunch so headed straight off down the road to Balvicar. The shop was open which was a good start. I got my usual sausage roll for lunch plus some crisps and biscuits. KitKat Chunky Caramels and Lion Bars were on offer together! They must have known I was coming.

The aim was to get around the island and back to the B&B so I headed out through Balvicar and into fields to the shore. It started off quite flat, but got more rocky as I went until it ended up pure rock. It was quite easy to go over though until I hit a garden. The fence went right onto the rock leaving little room for manouvre and the owner was sat there reading a book. Around the corner I hit another bay and the opposite shore was vertical so I was forced inland slightly. I carried on along a nature reserve path to the bottom of the island. From there I took the road up to a church which had a path behind it going to Easdale.

There is an island just off the shore there with  houses as well as ta pub and post office on. From Easdale I took a farm track northward which faded out eventually. Then I made my own way until I hit a loch and followed its edge to the bay. The two are only separated by a road. There was a path from here back to Clachan Seil. It deserted me, as so many paths do, halfway along but through fields, over fences and onto the road I got back to the B&B. I had a good bar meal at the pub next door then settled in for the night.

I didn’t sleep well despite having a bed, think I was too hot. The hostel owner gave me £5 for the Stroke Association as I left and despite it raining overnight it was starting to clear. I went back over the bridge over the Atlantic and along the road, turning left at the end to head northwards.

The road took me through a valley to the coast and then along next to the beach. It was a little road at first but soon merged with the main road up to Oban. It was pretty busy and without a pavement as usual. I managed to get onto a dirt track for a very short while but was the road most of the way to the end of the loch.

I came off early though as the tide was right out allowing me to get across sooner than the road. This was fine until I hit the river. It started off as little streams over the rocky beach but soon became deeper up to the main channel. I had already got one wet foot so I took off my boots for the main channel. The rocks weren’t pleasant.

On the other side I headed back down the loch on the beach. A group of Canada geese with their goslings were the most interesting thing there. When I got to a marina I came in and onto the road to take a path up the hill. At the top was a loch but there was no path around it, although there was a little row boat. I resisted the temptation to ‘borrow’ the boat and headed round on a deer track. It wasn’t the easiest route and I slipped pretty early on but the real problem was the heather scratching my legs to pieces.

I made it to the end and now I just had to get around the other side to reach the path heading down from there. This way was slightly easier thankfully. Down the path I just had to make my way through a field with a cow and calf in. Oh and a absolutely huge bull. I went through very close to the fence and very slowly.

On the other side I was onto a small road that curved round to the coast and into Oban. It had turned out sunny by this point and Oban was looking really pretty as I walked towards it. When I got there the view back out was even better. I made my way to the hostel then and collected my camera that had been sent up. It was then a rush to the post office before it closed to send the broken one back.

After that I could relax and had a Blue Banana ice cream from a place called The Pokey Hat. The Oban chocolate factory shop and cafe had just closed unfortunately. After heading to Tesco I had a celebratory microwave curry for tea. Oban is halfway according to scheduled days. I had two radio interviews because of this fact so repacked and sorted in between doing those.

I woke up pretty early in the morning but managed to get some on/off sleep before making myself get up. Was actually a bit dizzy for a bit when I stood up and had been feeling a little dodgy recently so was hoping it wasn’t anything major. The morning porridge was improved majorly by the addition of squeezy honey. Now I just needed them to make squeezy choc spread and I’ll be set for all three daily meals.

As I did the last of my packing I realised my bag cover had gone missing so was left hoping there wouldn’t be any rain until Fort William. It was a perfect summer morning as I set off, sunny but cool. I headed along the esplanade towards what the map showed as a dead end beyond the castle. I was planning on cutting across the fields or whatever was there to get over to Dunbeg but there was a nice new cycle route joining the two when I reached the end.

After Dunbeg I was onto the main road to Connel and over the bridge to go past the little airport on lesser roads. Thereis a disused railway line there but instead of making it into a rely nice path they have left it to become complety overgrown. As a result I was back on the main road again pretty soon.

At Benderlich I nipped into a shop for some chocs and an apple Lucozade. It may be because I live in a bubble but I’ve never seen apple Lucozade before but I enjoyed it. I came out round the bay from here past loads of caravan sites to get around a sticky outy bit. Technical walkers term that is.

At the bottom though I was blocked off by a private estate. It didn’t mean much back tracking as I could get across to the other side and head up pretty easily. I stopped on the track up and had some lunch in the sunshine whilst letting my feet breathe.

My map had disappeared so I headed back barefoot and found it by a gate. I’d been on the phone to my brother there so I blame him. When I got to the top I had to pass another bull then jumped a fence onto the beach. I followed that round the top and down the other side. Where the road got right by the coast I came up off the beach past some confused looking fishermen who’s yard I was going through.

It was a mixture of road and cycle path to the Sea Life Centre then not long after that I took my chances on the disused railway. The path wasn’t great but I did see a Muntjack Deer. Moments later it’s baby ran out from it’s hiding place after her. Then a second baby ran to a new hiding place. I managed to get close enough fir a photo then it ran off too. I really hope they all find each other.

Once over a river I abandoned the railway and headed back to the road. It was then only a matter of minutes before getting to the camping and caravan site in Barcaldine where I stopped for the day. It’s a very nice site and I was able to enjoy a bit of the sun before hiding from the little biters.

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