176. Oban to Creagan Bridge

Today should be slightly easier than yesterday with no serious off-road sections planned. I should be walking predominantly on footpaths, cycle tracks, quiet roads and a bit of A85 verge hopping. It was a beautiful start to the day, with a full sunny day forecast. I hurried my breakfast down as the midge were out in force

I drove to and parked at Creagan Bridge and caught the 8:16 #405 bus to Oban. The bus was full of tourists and people going to work. When I arrived in Oban the place was very busy, even at this time of the morning. I could see a large cruise ship, The Aegean Odyssey, had anchored just off-shore and its three tender vessels were busy ferrying its passengers into Oban. I spend some time admiring printed copies of famous classical paintings hung on the exterior of the Oban chocolate company building. The paintings had been cleverly doctored to include a chocolate theme.

Tender vessel ferrying cruise liner passengers ashore at Oban
The Arnolfini Portrait by Van Eyck – entirely appropriate that a painting full of symbolism has been “re-mastered” with chocolates and a pussy-cat
Black Guillemote – Oban

I followed the coast road past the cathedral and lighthouse and onto Dunollie Castle. The road dropped down to a newly built estate of private housing at Ganavan Sands, at which there is a large car park and small sandy beach. I turn inland slightly up a newly constructed cycleway, part of the Caledonia Way or NCN78. A small rise in the path had a bizarre sign “CAUTION STEEP HILL”, how would one exercise caution going up a steep hill? The slope wasn’t even steep. The cycleway travelled across open moor down to the main A85 at Dunbeg. The road was very busy and I was grateful for the occasional protection of a footpath, however, that disappeared so I was forced to stay on the verge almost all the way to Connel.

Lighthouse and Dunollie Castle – Oban
Bizarre sign!
Approaching Connel Bridge

I have passed through Connel many times before and had only ever seen The Falls of Lora from a passing car, so I was looking forward to getting a closer look at this natural phenomena. This amazing sight is caused by a flowing/ebbing tide forcing its way up and down Loch Etive. Although the effect can be seen with a flowing tide, the best effects are when the tide ebbs, creating a height difference between the height of the water in the Loch and the sea. A volcanic extrusion, a sill, acts as an underwater barrage, obstructing the free flow of water. From the bridge I get a great view up and down the loch.

At the far side of the bridge I turn left and pass through a small estate of housing and pass onto a track that skirts around Oban Airport. The airport has some commercial flights, but is generally quiet. This is the closest I’ve been to the beach on this trip and I enjoy a mile of beach walking as far as the North Ledaig Holiday Park. I rejoin the cycleway up to Benderloch where I turn off down a minor road which takes me through Barravullin. I pass the impressive tower house of Barcaldine Castle, originally built in the early 17th century, it has now been converted into a B&B hotel.

As I emerge back on the main road, the A828, my left foot begins to ache again. I swap into the spare pair of trainers I had been carrying and it improves things for the first couple of miles at least. On my left is Loch Creran and I am walking on the well constructed Caledonian Cycleway,  part of which follows the route of the old Ballachulish branch line. I have wonderful views west and north and I can easily make out the giant  pinks scars of the Glensanda quarries on Morvern. The heat is now beginning to take its toll, but thankfully I soon reach the bridge and my car.

Falls of Lora – Connel Bridge
Heading north past Oban Airport
Barcaldine Castle
Heading north along the Caledonia Way cycle path
A Vardo at the Lagnaha campsite – available to sleep in

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=23736

Distance today =  18.5 miles
Total distance =  2990 miles

 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “176. Oban to Creagan Bridge”

  1. Hi Ruth, I never really have any problem with the midge while i’m walking. Its when I camp, particularly when cooking, but I use a head net and spray my hands with Avon Skin So Soft, it is supposed to deter them. In actual fact it kills them! Do I detect that the recent purchase of a tent means you will be making use of the camp site along the route?

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    1. I have some of that Smidge stuff. Difficult to know how effective it is, because I haven’t been bitten yet, but that might just be luck! Will investigate that Avon Skin So Soft. It’s what the guy who cycled round the coast used. The tent is a safety-net thing. I have it in my car ‘just in case’. Guess I might use it one day… but I do like my B&B comforts too… 😀

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  2. Hi Ruth, only the females bite! If your on the move and not camping then you’ll not get pestered as much. Avon skin so soft may be an urban myth, but it does actually kill them, not as that helps! It also depends what odours your body emits, some they like others their not so keen on. I was once bitten by a midge on the summit of Cairn Toul a 4000ft mountain in the Cairngorms, it was the last thing the little blighter did! Most of the time the midge are a nuisance, making you scratch, itch, getting in your eyes, your food; even as i write this i feel like scratching myself!

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