The problem with this 15 mile section is there are no public transport links between the two points – which is actually not quite true! On a couple of days in the week you could travel between the two points but it would take almost 5 1/2 hours! Therefore my choices for getting back to the start point were limited. I decided on using my bicycle again by parking at Otter Ferry, cycling to Strachur, walking back to Otter Bay and finally driving home via Strachur to pick my bike up.
It was a very damp and overcast morning when I drove back over the top from Glendaruel. Although it was not raining, it was typical “scotch mist” weather. I set off on my bike to cycle to Strachur. I am not an expert cyclist and 15 mile is about my ‘comfort’ limit. The terrain certainly helped with the B8000 hugging the shoreline for most of the way and was generally level.
It took about 1 1/2 hours to cycle to Strachur, where I locked my bike up close to the main A815 junction. the ride up the loch was uneventful, apart from my cycle chain coming-off! Which was easily repaired. After securing the bike I set off back down the A886 at 8:15. The road was relatively quiet and for the first mile out of Strachur I had the luxury of a pavement. After another two miles I turned off down the now familiar B8000. In fact this road had become very well-known to me after two car journeys, cycling and walking it! If the A886 was quiet the B8000 was even quieter, which is always nice, especially when you don’t have to concentrate all the time on large lumps of speeding metal that could kill you.
At Garbhallt I pass the derelict building of the old coaching inn which sits on the opposite side of the road to the newly built(well 1781) and relocated chapel of Kilmorlie. This church, like others in the area, has its bell situated outside of the church and connected by rope in order that the bell can be rung for call to prayer. I am now in Strathlachlan, home to the Clan MacLachlan. Their stronghold at Lachlan Bay has a great deal of history. The ruined old chapel and graveyard at Kilmorlie is the ancient resting place for the Clan Chiefs of MacLachlan. Close by are the ruins of Lachlan castle, a consequence of post-Culloden retribution for Maclachlan siding with the Jacobite cause. Although the government allowed the Maclachlans to keep their lands, things changed forever after Culloden. The present castle was rebuilt about half a mile away and is situated and hidden behind a holiday home park. The castle is still home to a Maclachlan, the present incumbent being Euan John Maclachlan 25th Chief of clan Maclachlan.
I continue along the road south. At Lephinmore I notice a small flock of unusual sheep in a field. I recognise them as Jacob sheep, an ancient breed and one that I remember seeing near Ravenglass in the Lake District last year. The weather is being kind to me with only the occasional shower and a few glimpses of sun. I am afforded excellent views across Loch Fyne, which I am not surprised to learn is the longest sea loch in Britain. Close to the fish farm at Largiemore I see a Red Squirrel, the first I have seen for about 7 years. It scampered across the road just in front of me and disappeared up a tree before I could even get my camera out.
My end point of Otter Ferry has now come into view and I was pleased to see that I completed the walk in 4.25 hours from Strachur. It was then simply a case of heading for home, driving back up the B8000 to pick up my bike art Strachur.
These two days had not yielded a great deal of mileage; but at least I was back on reasonable public transport routes. My next trip up will see me passing around the head of Loch Fyne and beginning the long, long route down Kintyre.
NB: I also publish all my Scottish Blog entries on the excellent Scottish Hills website, I use the same narrative, but larger photos and a few extra ones. They can be found here:
Distance today = 15 miles
Total distance = 2641 miles