162. Skipness to Torrisdale Bay

Today I was going back to Skipness, which meant catching the 6:30 #926 to the Skipness road-end and then the #448 service to Skipness, with the same driver as yesterday. I intended to walk as far as Carradale, but depending on how I felt, I would maybe continue on a bit further. Today was predominantly road walking all the way to Carradale.

Sign of the times – the closed Primary School at Skipness
The Claonaig Ferry terminal

I set off down the road to Claonaig where I passed the Cal Mac ferry terminal. This ferry which provides a frequent summer service across the water to Lochranza on Arran and one  had just departed as I passed the jetty.  I now said goodbye to Loch Fyne and entered the Kilbrannan Sound, the stretch of water running south between the Isle of Arran and Kintyre.

Looking down Kilbrannan Sound and the B842 on a beautiful morning
Grogport

I joined the B842, which would take me most of the way down to Carradale. The road was very quiet at this time of the morning, but traffic picked up over the course of the day. It was nice to not have to concentrate too hard on dodging cars and lorries. I was able to keep in the shade of the trees for most of the morning, as this was another sunny and hot day.  With only the odd car to contend with the miles passed very quickly as I became lost in thought. I passed by field of full of sheep and watched the first faltering steps of a new-born lamb, it appeared to have been born a few minutes before I had passed by. The road stayed within a few hundred metres of the shore and I was not tempted to get any closer as I had a grand view from the elevated position on the road.

I arrived at Grogport, which is a fascinating name, but in reality was just a small hamlet of a few houses. I did however, find a picnic table by the shore  and ate my lunch there.

Arran across Kilbrannan Sound
Carradale Pier

The Kintyre Way, which had crossed over to the west coast of Kintyre just after Claonaig, reappeared as I entered the Grinian Forest. This forest track was quite wide due to recent logging operations. A footpath left the main track and continued up to about 200m, but offered limited views. The track eventually dropped down to the village of Carradale. Besides a tiny harbour, the village has a couple of hotels, a surgery, a shop and a golf-course. There is a direct bus service four or five times a day to Campbeltown  – the #300.

The beach at Carradale Bay

I was feeling ok when I arrived in Carradale and because I had a couple of hours to kill to the next bus I decided to push on to Torrisdale Bay, which was on the bus route and would save me  fewer miles on tomorrows walk. I popped into the local shop and bought a few chilled cans of pop – I love ginger beer. From the pier I cut through a footpath to the golf course, with the intention of looking at the ruins of Airds Castle. I stood on the highest point on the golf course but could see no ruins at all!

The Waterford Stepping stones across Carradale Water

I then headed along the shore to the small hamlet of Port Righ with its tiny cove. From Port Righ there is a promontory that juts out into the Sound and contains Carradale Point. The area is heavily overgrown with rhododendron bushes and I did not bother getting out to the point. After thrashing about in the undergrowth I eventually managed to get to the transmitter station and then a footpath to the treasure that is Carradale Bay. The beach has golden sands and almost a kilometer long. At the far end of the beach further progress was not possible because of Carradale Water. I turned inland for a short distance before coming to the Waterford Stones. The stones were stepping-stones for crossing Carradale Water and joining up with the Kintyre way on the far bank. The stepping-stones looked easy to cross, but on closer inspection some of the stepping-stones had green slime and required a long stretch to reach. However, I managed to get across ok, but would be reluctant to cross with higher water  levels.

Torrisdale Bay

My destination of Torrisdale Bay was almost a mile away and required me to follow the low-tide shore route around to Dippen Bay. I then had to cut across a field to the B842 and then walk down the road a short distance to pick the #300 service back to Campbeltown. The walk had taken about 7.75hrs.

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:

http://www.scottishhills.com/html/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=23595

Distance today =   21.5 miles
Total distance =    2735 miles

 

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