MONDAY 19 OCTOBER, 2015
KILMELFORD TO CRAIGNISH CASTLE
13 MILES 6.5 HOURS
MORRIS, PHIL AND BILL
TOTAL DISTANCE WALKED SO FAR 1409 MILES
Three days walking were planned for this trip starting from where we had finished on day 84 at Kilmelford. Bill kindly offered to do the driving on this trip and drop us off and pick us up as required. It would have been impossible to complete this section without a dedicated driver. We set off at 0600 for the drive north stopping at Tyndrum for some breakfast before travelling on to Kilmelford.
The A 816 road south from Kilmelford, which is quite a busy road, runs very close to the sea at parts and with the exception of two short sections is the only option for the first 5 miles of this walk. It could be dangerous and is not recommended and for this reason we decided to start the days walk at the Marina at Craobh Haven. Leaving the Marina car park we walked on the minor road passed the Cookery School towards Lunga House. At the Stables we took the vehicle track down towards the sea. On reaching the sea edge at Port Mhic Isaaic we could see a difficult day lay ahead as the hillside woodland was boggy and dense with bracken and brambles. The alternative, the very narrow shoreline, was extremely undulating with slippery seaweed covering large areas of the rocks. Progress over the next mile was extremely testing and slow. The short patches of grass between the large sections of rock provided welcome relief. Several unsuccessful attempts to find an easier route in the woods proved frustrating and each time we were forced back to the sea edge. On reaching Port Caol, much to our relief walking condition improved with flatter grassy terrain although still very boggy underfoot. At the bay at Bagh Dail nan Cean we stumbled on a track which we were able to follow to the bay at Bagh Ban. On walking round the bay we decided to head to the high point at the southwest corner to take the views. This proved not to be one of our best decisions as after struggling through a small copse of trees overgrown with thorny brambles we found a deep burn bordered by thick marshland grass had to be crossed. We were extremely wet, muddy and ‘bramble scarred’ when we make our way to the hilltop but the fantastic views seemed to made it worthwhile. Dropping back down from the hillside the walk to Achanarnich Bay was easy and we made our way to the high point on the series of hillocks that run along the west side of Loch Beag . Near the point we made our way down to the sea edge and turned back north walking round the bay to the finish of the days walk near Craignish Castle.
Summary; We had hoped to walk near the sea edge from Kilmelford but in the interest of our safety and motorists the correct decision to abort this section was made. Walking round sea peninsulas on the west coast has thrown up many different challenges and this one was no different. The abundance of brambles along this route, although very tasty, left as with many painful scratches. Not for the unfit or faint hearted. Very boggy and wet all the way………be prepared to get muddy.
HIighs; The views……and it’s always good to be back walking on the coast again.
Lows; We could say the very difficult conditions but that’s part of the challenge.
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