I get up at the ungodly hour of 5:00 am to pack my gear up and clean the pod. The pod or Hexi-lodge, as the owners call it, is not a bad doss. Located on the shore, it has been built to a high standard and is both warm and dry. It has power points, microwave, kettle, heater, toaster, crockery and cutlery. The shape maybe odd with its Witches Hat roof and Hobbit-level windows, but it was a better alternative than camping especially with the amount of rain I had.
I must now drive 25 miles further north to begin my next walk section. On the early drive around I come across two Pine Martens on the road, one of them skips along in front of me for about 30 metres before jumping into the roadside vegetation. It’s the first time I have ever seen a Pine Marten and one so close up.
Today will be a case of biking and walking – pushing my bike up a section of road which is not serviced by public transport. I park at the Knapdale Scottish Beaver Centre car park at Barnluasgan. I begin the cycle ride south to the end of the public road near Kilmory and where I walked to yesterday. The cycle ride is ok, relatively flat and only a couple of get off and push sections. However, I do need to do something about the saddle-sore aspects of doing this amount of cycling over the last couple of days. At the end of the public road I turn and begin the long walk back, pushing the bike in front of me. I suspect there will be many more occasions in the future where I must do this.
My first port of call is the small hamlet of Kilmory close to the public road end. It has a ruined chapel which contain a large and amazing collection of Christian and medieval carved stones from the church and burial ground. The chapel was re-roofed in 1934 to house and protect the stones. There is something like 34 stones and are certainly worth the long trek down to this remote part of Knapdale.
I continue along the road and enter Loch Sween. Across the small expanse of water I can see the low-lying inhabited and tidal Island of Danna, connected by a small causeway to the mainland. I pass the 12th century ruins of Castle Sween, which sits above a local holiday park. At this point the rain starts, not heavy, but persistent. The walk back is uneventful and my mood and humour is diminished as the rain intensifies. By the time I reach the small village of Achnamara, I am soaking wet. I decide to cancel a planned 2 mile circular walk around a small promontory close to Achnamara. The weather, fatigue and sore feet made the decision for me. Back at the Beaver visitor centre the rain was very heavy. Fortunately, I was able to get changed into dry clothes in the visitor centre. The walk and bike ride had taken about 6 hours.
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 = 14.5 miles
Total distance = 2877.5 miles