Saturday, 19 October 2013

Walk 158

Glenbarr to Tarbert 26miles

A long and straight forward walk today., the road I had to walk along took me all the way to Tarbert, fortunately it was Saturday so thankfully it was quiet. First stop was Musadale and like a lot of villages along these sort of roads consisted of a sign announcing the village, a dozen houses and that's your lot!
Tarbert Castle

Next up was Tayintoan where I managed to get a sandwich from the little shop, here you can catch a ferry to Gigha which looks like a nice island from where I was eating my sandwich, but then again they all look nice, that's the beauty of this area.

After Tayintoan the road heads inland and is arrow straight for 3 miles eventually it ends up hugging the coast again at Balochroy.  I was soon on the banks of Loch Tarbert and the home straight into Tarbert where it starting raining again...what a surprise!!!

Walk 157

Southend to Glenbarr 26miles

After 5 days of rain the forecast today was for dry and sunny weather what a relief ! The walk out of Southend took me past my first beach of the week, I found it hard to comrehend that this was my first beach of the week and that I'd walked so far without seeing one! The route took me inland a little today with uphill and downhill roads through many forests, I saw a young buck at the top of one hill but I couldn't get my camera out in time.

Westpoint Beach
The road eventually led to Machrihanish, after skirting around their magnificent golf course I walked along Westpoint beach, and what a beach! 3 miles of sand arching around a lovely bay, I thought beaches are like buses you wait for ever for one then 2 come along at once! I sat in the dunes to eat my lunch and watched the world and their dogs walk by. Once off the beach I had 10 miles of road walking along the very busy A83 with the isle of Gigha as my only company for the rest of the day.

Southend Castle

Walk 156

Cambletown to Southend 14miles

An even easier walk today so I started out late to try to miss the rain....but I failed!!!  The route took me around the bay at Cambletown past the causeway to Davaar Island. I continued along the coast road through Kildalloig and Ballimenach with the sea on my left and Christmas trees on my right. At Feochaig I stopped for lunch and seal watching again for the second time this week.  As I pushed on to Southend I was stopped by yet another motorist and asked if I wanted a lift, this is the 4th person this week that has stopped and asked me but as I'm walking I refuse politely every time aren't the Scottish kind and friendly!!  Actually it was quite fortunate that this motorist stopped as an Island had appeared on my left and I hadn't a clue what it was called, so I asked the gent in the car who reliably informed that it was Sanda Island
Sanda Island
and is privately owned.

Just before Southend the heavens really opened and I got soaked, I was also 1.25hrs early to get into my accommodation so I sat in the shed and wrote out my notes for this blog!

Walk 155

Carradale to Cambletown 16miles

A really nice easy walk today along quiet country roads, the weather was much better with a chance of rain at the end of the day.  The BNB I stopped in last night refused to have the heating on so I had to dry my socks on top of the warmed up kettle!!!

As I walked out of Carradale the sun started to shine and after 4 days in a row of rain it was a welcome relief. I stopped at Peninver for my Kit Kat break in order to soak up the views of the Isle of Arran, shortly after Peninver Ailsa Craig came back into view which was nice to see.  The road continued and shortly before Cambletown there is a lovely island called Davaar which has only a lighthouse and a few cottages, it reminded me of Burgh Island of the coast of Devon, you can actually walk to the island at low tide.

Davaar Island
So I walked into Cambletown pretty refreshed and had a mooch around, its all a bit grey and run down however the bay it sits in is lovely.

Walk 154

Tarbert to Carradale 25miles

Long and Winding Road
I'm following the Kintyre Way for a good few miles today and its starts in Tarbert, the first part of the walk is a climb out of the village past the castle this takes me onto a wide track where it meanders through a forest for a few miles.  Eventually the track runs out and this is where the fun starts, I have walked along many a coast path etc during my walks but never have on walked upon one so badly maintained as the Kintire Way, I know we have had a lot of rain recently but this was like a bloody swamp! no sign of any alternative route or even running boards its just appalling!!!!  The path fortunately soon turns back into a track and eventually arrives in Skipness, I decided to shelter under a tree to eat my lunch overlooking the bay and much to my delight there were 2 seals frolicking in the bay it was a joy to watch whilst I ate my sandwich.

The Isle of Arran was in full view today and along the road at Claonig the ferry to the island was chugging out of port.  The quiet country road I was walking along took me through Grogport and then onto Carradale to my BNB for the night.

Walk 153

Auckenbreck Wood to Portavadie (+Ferry to Tarbert) 21miles

Bute Sound
The rain was more steady today rather than the lashing I received yesterday. I had an early start in order to catch my bus to Auchenbreck Wood, I had a restless night at the BNB because the fire alarm went off twice in the middle of the night, it would of been nice to have an apology from the owner in the morning but I guess I'm asking too much!!!!

So the walk took me along the road towards Waukmill and then left following the river Raul, as I turned left there was a neon sign telling me that all ferries were running as normal today, which was a huge relief as yesterday they had been cancelled due to the bad weather. The road heads south along the bank of Loch Ridden and directly in front of me is the Ilse of Bute, the road climbs sufficiently to get a fantastic view of the island and the loch below, but due to the weather the photos are a bit dull.

I eventually arrive in Tighnabruaich where I stop for tea and cake at a newly opened Tearoom, I get chatting to the owners who have only been open for two weeks I wish them well with their new venture and I'm on my way along a quiet country road to Craig Lodge, this in turn takes me to Millhouse and then finally onto Portavadie for my ferry to Tarbert.  Whilst waiting for the ferry I met a mother and daughter from Dorset who are on a touring holiday, its a small world!

Ardlamont House

Walk 152

Dunoon to Auchenbreck Wood 21.5miles

Aux Ship
I was kept awake for most of the night by a storm hammering against my bedroom window, eventually I had to get up and face the music.... by the time I had made it to the outskirts of Dunoon I was soaked! I trudged along the coast keeping to the hedges where possible to protect me from the worst of the weather, most of today was along roads and the first village was Innellan this came and went quickly, soon I made it to Toward I decided against walking down to the lighthouse as I wouldn't be able to get a decent picture in this weather.  At Toward I headed west for a couple of miles then a right turn took me north along the banks of Loch Striven, as I turned a corner at Brackley point I was shocked to see a huge Royal Navy auxiliary ship moored up, it stopped me in my tacks as it was the last thing I expected to see tucked away on a Loch in Scotland! Apparently this is where the ships come to have there tanks cleaned out. 

Loch Stiven
Just after Inverchaolain the road ran out and a track took over, this ran for a few miles when this eventually ran out, at this point things started to go wrong......I had researched this stretch of coastline and even though there was no path on the map I believed I could get through to my rendezvous point with the taxi I had ordered at Auchenberck Wood, but I tried 3 different routes all to no avail, the bracken was 4 foot high in places and totally impenetrable, I had no choice but to turn back and pick up my taxi at Brackley Point I was very disappointed to say the least.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Walk 151

Wemyss Bay to Gourrock 7miles (+ Ferry to Dunoon)

It is now September 2 months since I finished my previous weeks walking.  Its such a long journey to my start point that I had to use 5 different forms of transport today, and they were car-train-bus-plane-bus-train-feet and ferry.

Cloch Point Lighthouse
Today's walk eventually started at the fabulous Wemyss Bay railway station.  I had to walk along the busy A78 for a couple of miles to Iverkip. At Inverkip I was able to walk around their lovely marina and pick up a coast path all the way to Cloch Point with its fantastic lighthouse.  The route eventually took me to Mcinroys Point and the ferry to Dunoon.  The views from the ferry were spectacular along the river Firth and down to the Holy Loch, a great ending to a long day.

Walk 150

Largs to Wemyss Bay 8miles

I had just about recovered from yesterdays mammoth walk, so I woke up pleased in the knowledge that I had only 8 miles to walk today.  The BNB owner suggested that I took the back road to Wemyss Bay as the main road was very busy and had no footpath to walk along.  So I started out with a very long and steep hill out of Largs, once at the top I had magnificent views of the bay with its Islands and I stood for a while watching the ferry chugging across the bay to Millport.  The back road continued uphill and down dale for a few miles eventually meeting up with the main road at Skelmorlie, thankfully there was a footpath that took me to Wemyss Bay and my train home.
Wemyss Bay

A quick note on Wemyss Bay railway station, it has to be one of the finest in the whole of the architectural masterclass.

Walk 149

That Bridge..........
Troon to Largs 31miles

Yes it does say 31miles.....there are two reasons for this silly amount of mileage 1) BNB owner cancelling my reservation in Fairlie 2 days beforehand and 2) a bridge that no longer exists at Irvine!!!

Today started with a lovely walk along the seafront in Troon with and equally lovely walk along a 4 mile sandy beach all the way to Irvine bay. I had decided to take off my shoes and socks to walk along this beach which was really nice, however halfway across I was bitten by something (sandfly maybe) and my foot started to hurt, I carried on regardless and made my way to the bridge that I hoped to cross at Irvine.

Ardrossan Beach
The bridge at Irvine was put in place to give access to the Science Park on the other side of the river Garnock, but unfortunately the Science Park went bust two years ago and some bright spark decided to take the middle out of the bridge so now no one can get across the river, this added 4 miles onto my already long day! so I had to follow the cycle route inland which eventually takes you through Stevenston and then on through Saltcoats and eventually arriving in Ardrossan.  At Ardossan you are able to get a ferry across to I'm using ferries where possible on my walk around the coast but I think this one would be a step too far!!!!!!

Arran and Millport
I stopped in Ardrossan for lunch by their marina which was nice and then I started on the main task of the day which was walking along yet another busy road, however lucky for me there was a footpath which took me all the way through to West Kilbride.  I picked up two new neighbours today in the form of the Isle of Arran and the Isle of Millport, it was nice to watch the little ferries come and go to these islands chugging there way across the bay.  Just after West kilbride I was able to take a back road to Cambleton passing by the lovely Hunterston House, this took me onto the big Iron Ore terminal at Fairle which is where my walk should have concluded today but alas I had to walk and extra 3 miles to Largs for my nights BNB.  Largs is really nice and vibrant and in the evening sunshine is was just a treat to sit and watch the world go by.

Largs Needle

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Walk 148

Maybole to Troon 18miles

I had a 2 hour window of opportunity in the morning before the weather closed in with heavy rain in the forecast.  The road out of Maybole in long and winding but thankfully it is Saturday so the traffic is light.  Just before Drumsheng at the top of a hill you get a magnificent view of Culzean castle clinging to the cliff face unfortunately it was too dull to take a photo but I did stand for a good while and admire the view. Next village was Denmure which I skirted around before making the approach to Ayr.

Ayr is by far the biggest town I have visited all week and it was a shock to the system to see all these people in one place as most of the villages I have walked though were one horse towns!!!  The rain finally arrived as I walked out of Ayr, so I stopped at Prestwick Airport train station to shelter and eat my lunch.  Whilst at Prestwick I got chatting to a couple of guys who were busy organising the bus replacement service for the railway company and I finally found out from them what Neeps and Tatties is on the menus I've been staring at all week!! I must say it was starting to bug me!!!!  The final part of the journey took me along a cycle route which was a pleasant change, and finally I arrived in Troon which has a total of 9 golf courses....
Troon  Beach

Walk 147

Ballentrae to Maybole 24.5miles

Following the A77 out of town I braced myself for a long day along busy roads, though at least I had Ailsa Craig for company for most of the day which is nice. The first village I walk through was Lendalfoot where I stopped to read the plaque commemorating the WW1 Russian warship Varyag that was scuppered in the bay after a long and heroic journey to Ayrshire , unfortunately you can only see it at low tide so I will have to come back another day to see the remains of the ship. 

Varyag Memorial
Another 6 miles along the road and I reached Girvan where I stopped for lunch.  Girvan is a lovely little harbour village which was really bustling.  The Ayshire Coast path takes a back road out of Girvan past a sewage works(phew!) but soon brought me back to the A77, thankfully the A77 veered off to the right a few miles down the road and this took me on the A719 which was a little more sedate.  This road led me trough Turnberry and there famous golf course, now I have walked over/past a lot of golf courses during my walks but I have never seen so many people playing golf as I did at Turnberry it was like Piccadilly Circus!!!  The A719 was turning out to be a nice country road that took me through Maidens and the Culzean country park via the entrance to Culzean castle.
Turnberry Lighthouse

Saturday, 5 October 2013

A Sad Farewell

It was with a heavy heart that I had to finally give up on my walking shoes last week, I bought these Scarpa shoes in the January sales back in 2011 and so far on all my walks they have been the most comfortable shoes/boots I have worn.  They lasted for a heroic 1600 miles so I mustn't grumble..........Farewell old friends!!!!!!

Walk 146

Stanraer to Ballentrae 20miles

The day was again thankfully dry as I made my way around the southern edge of Loch Ryan, I picked up a cycle route which I was thankful for as this was a very busy road.  The cycle path eventually runs out at Cairnryan at the first of two ferry terminals to Northern Ireland, what amazed me was the heavy police presence in the area I must of seen a least a dozen different police vehicles between the two ferry ports!! then it came to me, the G8 were meeting in NI over the next few days ah ha!!!

Ailsa Craig
Once the cycle path ran out it was head into the traffic with fingers crossed, but fortunately this didn't last long because at Finnarts Bay I'd noticed a track that ran parallel with the road for a a while, and then it seemed to head uphill so I decided to follow this path. This path led me to the find of the week!! the Ayrshire coast path this once again was not marked on my map so I followed the way markers and then two people 1/2 a mile or so in the distance as they seemed to know where they were going!!  The route takes you uphill and down dale eventually arriving in Garlefin just outside tonight's stop of Ballentrae.  This had been a great and varied days walking with the added bonus of finding a "new" coast path.  Also Ailsa Craig came into full view today which is spectacular.


Walk 145

Portpatrick to Stranraer 20miles

I decided to take the cliff top route as I had been into town last night and I'd seen all there was to see in Portpatrick.

Stanraer Lighhouse
 The day was warm and sunny as I made my way along the Upland Way path, this route along the coast only lasts a couple of miles but is very up and down ending at the Killantringan Lighthouse, which is the best one I have seen in all my walks so far.  Just after the lighthouse there is a lovely beach and I noticed on the map that there was a track at the end that I could get up to the road from, so as the tide was out I decided to go for it! The route up from the beach took me past a large imposing house right through their front garden!! just as I reached the house I bumped into the owner and I thought uh oh this could be bad! So I put on my nicest face and asked kindly if it was OK to walk along this path, the owner was polite and proceeded to tell me that they are in dispute with the local authority about the access issues, I nodded sympathetically and agreed with everything they said and finally I managed to get away. However I walked around to the fence by the road and hey presto there in front of me was a kissing gate with a BIG padlock attached, and next to it was a style!!!! I couldn't quite believe it, that is why people think its a right of way..... because it is you Dipshit!!!

NI in the distance!
The next few miles took me along narrow winding country lanes with very little traffic and eventually I arrived in Kirkcolm on the banks of Loch Ryan. I stopped for lunch at the local pub and got chatting with the owner who was from Lancashire.  Once I'd had lunch I was on my way traversing the left bank of Loch Ryan, the traffic gradually increased until it was dive in the hedge time again!!

Friday, 4 October 2013

Walk 144

East Muntloch to Portpatrick 20miles
Port Logan

I decided the night before that I would have an early start  today so I could try and miss the worst of the rain forecast for the afternoon...... I failed!  Today was all road walking along minor country lanes and this started with a 2 mile walk back the way I came yesterday! This road eventually led me to Port Logan which was closed but I imagined that it would look lovely in the summer.  The road eventually bought me back to Ardwell where I stopped for a packet of crisps at the Chandlers but I only had 43p in change but the crisps were 50p so the lovley lady behind the counter let me off the 7p Scottish people are so nice!!

The road out of Ardwell is long and winding and at Kirwell Farm you are high enough up to be able to see both sides of the sea which was nice. The rest of walk came and went quickly and wetly, unfourtunatley though due to the weather I had to give the magnificent castle at Portpatrick a miss....maybe next time?

Walk 143

Glenluce to East Muntloch 21miles

A little overcast today which was a relief as it really was too hot to walk in yesterday. I had to walk along the A75 for the first 2.5miles which was horrendous as the road has a lot of blind corners and the lorries were coming at me thick and fast. I did however manage to take a nice picture of the viaduct over the River Luce.


Soon I was walking along the more sedate B7084, this takes you past the MOD at Luce bay, I find it very frustrating that you can't walk along the beach.  I soon picked up the A716 which took me to Sandhead and my lunch stop, whilst I was sat having my lunch I noticed a couple and their child flying a kite, and I thought it was nice to see children out and about instead of stuck in the house watching tv.  I was soon on my way taking the Mull of Galloway trail along the beach to Ardwell, this is a new trail that has only being open for a year.  After Ardwell I picked up the A716 again and this took me to Drummore where I stopped for my Tea as the BNB I was stopping in was 3 miles from the nearest restaurant.  Once fed I made my way out of town via the back roads where I managed to get stuck at a Cow Crossing! this is another first for me on my walks. So as I stood waiting for the farmer to herd his cattle across the road a car pulled up beside me and you should of seen the look of indignation on the drivers face, relax I thought this is the countryside things move slower!!!  I arrived at the BNB in good shape and was given the room that overlooks the Mull of Galloway lighthouse which was spectacular!!!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Walk 142

Isle of Withorn to Glenluce 28miles

Isle of Withorn
Luce Bay
St Ninians Cave
Another glorious day with temperatures due to rise to 24 deg and sunny. I started out from the Isle of Whithorn taking the coast path all the way to St Ninians where there is a cave that was used by St Ninian the first missionary saint to arrive in Scotland who set up the first church in nearby Whithorn. Once I had taken the obligatory photos I headed in land to link up with the reasonably busy A747, this took me to Port William and then onto Auchenmalg, the route hugs the coast all the way to Auchenmalg which was nice, and as far as roads are concerned this was very easy on the eye. Just after Auchenmalg I took the even more quiet road to Milton and then onto Glenluce, this route is fantastic as it takes you uphill, which in turn gives you great view across Luce Bay. Unfortunately Luce Bay is owned by the MOD so all I could do was look at this stunning bay :(

Walk 141

Newton Stewart to Isle of Whithorn 24.5miles

It has been 2 months since my last week away and I was itching to get back on the road again. After a long journey from Glasgow via Stranraer I arrived in sunny Newton Stewart, what a difference a place looks when the sun is shining.

Cairnsmore From Newton Stewart
I walked along the busy A746 for a few miles before veering off to the left along the more sedate B7004, this was more like it, a road with very little traffic the river Nith on my left and forest on my right just bliss! The route took me through Wigtown and then onto Garleston, I got chatting to the shop keeper in Garleston and she informed me that I could walk along the coast path for most of the rest of my journey, the path was not marked on my map but I went for it anyway!! It turns out that the path along the coast has only just been opened and it had all the mod cons of a path with kissing gates, bridges and styles. However I did have to proceed with caution as a lot of the fields had cows and calf's, as long as I remembered to not get between the two then I would be safe!!

Dinnans Fort