Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Walk 268 -- Kilberry to Ardpatrick

Ages:  Colin was 68 years and 333 days.  Rosemary was 66 years and 110 days.
Weather:  Dull, but dry.  Mild temperature.
Location:  Kilberry to Ardpatrick.
Distance:  6½ miles.
Total distance:  2544½ miles.
Terrain:  All tarmacked lanes.  Undulating.
Tide:  Coming in.
Rivers:  No.307, Abhainn Learg an Uinnsinn.
Ferries:  None.
Piers: None.
Kissing gates:  None.
Pubs:  None.
‘Historic Scotland’ properties:  None.
Ferris wheels:  None.
Diversions:  None.
How we got there and back:  We were staying in our caravan in Lochgilphead.  This morning we drove to Ardpatrick where we parked at the junction with the ferry road.  There were no buses, and the local taxi driver had refused to take us.  So we planned to start walking towards Kilberry and hopefully thumb a lift.  Trouble was, there was no traffic!  We walked four miles in the ‘wrong’ direction before a car (only the third vehicle to pass us!) stopped to pick us up.  It was a family from Horsham on holiday in the area — very pleasant, and interested when we explained about our venture.  They conveyed us the last mile to Kilberry.
At the end, we sat above the jetty eating our chocolate, and felt quite pleased that we had managed to walk all the way from Balimore to Ardpatrick over the last three days despite being let down by that wretched taxi driver.  But we were also annoyed that we’d had to walk nearly ten miles in the wrong direction in order to connect up the Walks.  We then trudged the one and a half miles back to our car (no traffic at all passed us so there was no hope of a lift), had our tea and drove back to our caravan in Lochgilphead.

We started today’s Walk at the Kilberry Inn, which had turned out to be an expensive restaurant.  So we didn’t dine there, just took a photo of it then walked southwards.  About half a mile further on we sat on a wall and ate our sandwiches.  We could see across the loch to the peninsula we had previously walked round from Achnamara.  But the clouds hung heavy in the sky making for poor lighting.  If only the sun would come out!
We climbed a hill, but altogether this Walk was more downhill than up.  On a clear tarmacked lane too, so it was pleasant easy walking.  We passed some Highland cows in a field — I do so love these creatures, they look as if they are full of character.
There were some strange diggings on the grass verge, a lot of them stretching for about half a mile.  Colin asked me, “Where have you seen these kind of diggings before?  The answer will give you a clue as to what probably caused them.”  I couldn’t think what he meant, but when he said, “The Forest of Dean!” I realised immediately that they must have been made by pigs.  Are there wild boars in this part of Scotland?

The views were stunning despite the grey cloud.  It was very clear, and we thought we could see Ireland in the far distance.  But it was right on the horizon, and wouldn’t have shown up on a photograph.

As we came towards the end of the peninsula we had lovely views over tiny Loch Stornoway, which is really a glaciated river estuary.  The rocks lining the road were quite craggy, and off-road it was very boggy.  We were glad we had a decent road to walk on!

We passed some trees, still devoid of leaves, which were covered in some kind of fungus — or was it a moss? — which made them look creepy.

Then we crossed the river (with an unpronounceable name) which flows out through Loch Stornoway.  Beyond that we saw a number of standing stones in adjacent fields.

We passed an enormous farm building with a magnificent archway in the middle.  It looked run down, and we couldn’t decide whether it was derelict or still in use.

Five miles into the Walk on a public road, and we hadn’t been passed by a single vehicle in either direction.  Nor had we met any people, only sheep had watched us pass by.
At the road junction we came to our car, for we had parked it there rather than at the end of the Walk one and a half miles further on.  We stopped and had two cups of tea each from our flasks.

We continued down Ardpatrick Lane, a dead end.  We saw some deer running away in the distance, we think they were roe deer.  We also saw another standing stone, there seemed to be a lot of them scattered around this area.

We passed some houses where children were playing — yes, real people!  About a mile down the lane we passed through a gate and walked alongside Ardpatrick Farm.  Opposite the big house we had a lovely view across West Loch Tarbert — the loch which almost turns the Kintyre Peninsula into an island, but not quite!

We continued to Ferry House, and were amused to see it was sporting a satellite dish.  How times have changed!
Opposite the house is the remains of a stone jetty from where the ferry used to run.  We sat on a log and ate our chocolate.

That ended Walk no.268, we shall pick up Walk no.269 next time by Ferry House on the other side of West Loch Tarbert — the ferry closed sixty years ago.  It was twenty to six, so the Walk had taken us three and a half hours.
Many people, who claim to have walked the coast of mainland Britain, took a short cut when they came to the Kintyre Peninsula.  Perhaps they counted it as an island, but it is not.  We decided it was too interesting to miss out, so we are going to walk down the west side from Clachan using Additional Rule no.13 which states we can count this derelict ferry as a functional one because there is a ‘Ferry House’ on both sides of the loch.  On reaching the southernmost point of the peninsula, we will then walk back up the east side to Tarbert where there is a ferry across Loch Fyne to Portavadie.
Having discussed this whilst sitting on our log, we walked the one and a half miles back to our car.  No traffic at all passed us so there was no hope of a lift.  We drank more tea, then drove back to our caravan in Lochgilphead.
The next day we moved the caravan to a site in Machrihanish, at the southern end of the Kintyre peninsula.

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