Today the forecast is for the hottest day of the year so far, so I am quite relieved to see when I climb out of the back of my car that there is a significant breeze blowing. I drive from the campsite up the A83 to Tarbert West Loch and park close to the West Loch Hotel. I catch the 7:24 #449 bus service to and get off at Tayinloan. I pop into the Post Office. There is very little for sale in the shop, but I manage to buy a couple of cans of diet coke to supplement the 1.5 litres of squash I am carrying in my Camelbak.
I head along the small access road to the ferry terminal. The Gigha ferry had only just disgorged its small number of cars, before setting off back across Gigha Sound. I am tempted to try out “Big Jessies” tea room, but I want to get as much of the walking done before the sun gets too high in the sky. I continue along the white sandy beach passing a few old and derelict fishing boats, one of which is called the “Island Queen”. I pass by the Point Sands holiday park and continue out to Rhunahaorine Point, a promontory that juts out from Kintyre into the sea. This large flat area was once part of the Balure Firing range, built during the Second World War. Not many remnants remain, except four observations towers, one of which, Tower D, I climb the steps of to get an elevated view of the surrounding area. I round the point at Rhunahaorine and continue on short grass just above the shingle shoreline. I come to a small gulley and spot yet another Otter some 20m away. Before I could even think about getting my camera out, it had disappeared into the undergrowth. That’s two Otter sightings on this trip!
The shoreline eventually converges back towards the A83 and I spend the next few miles chopping and changing between the road and the Kintyre Way some 10m away. I get fed up with the footpath which is boggy, overgrown and twisty, so I decide to stick to the road. I continue along the A83 and make a short diversion to walk through the grounds of Ronachan House, which was given to the Church of Scotland in 1975. The 14 bedrooms house had recently been put on the market for offers in excess of £495,000. When I passed close to it, it appeared to have had building work done inside. Apartments?
I rejoin the A83 and walk a few more miles into Clachan, a small village, which surprisingly does not have a village store. I pass a cottage which has cleverly used an old red telephone kiosk as a porch entrance into their house. I follow a minor road which climbs steeply out of the village. The breeze seems to disappear and the full effect of the sun makes walking more difficult. After a few miles I emerge back on the A83. From my elevated position on the road I can see the shoreline narrowing into Tarbert West Loch. I see the Cal Mac Islay ferry about to berth at Kennacraig, two miles away. I pick up my pace, but I first remove my hi-vis vest because of the heat; in doing so I inadvertently lose my glasses which were attached to a lanyard around my neck. Within a few minutes I realise they have gone and spend the next 20 minutes fruitlessly combing the undergrowth on the roadside verge for them. I give up – the second pair I have lost within a year!
I reach the car after 5.75 hrs and head towards Tarbert and the ferry over to Portavadie, thence to Dunoon. The afternoon traffic on a Friday and the start of the bank Holiday weekend does not make for a speedier journey.
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 = 21 miles
Total distance = 2824 miles