Walking Scotlands Coast

DAY 99 – ARDNAMURCHAN LIGHTHOUSE TO MINGARY PIER

DAY 99

WEDNESDAY 27 MAY, 2015

ARDNAMURCHAN LIGHTHOUSE TO MINGARY PIER

11 MILES 5.5 HOURS

MORRIS, PHIL, BILL, GEORGE, STEWART. 

TOTAL DISTANCE WALKED SO FAR 1369 MILES

The weekenders headed home after yesterdays walk leaving the rest of the team to soldier on. After breakfast, Stewart who had very kindly offered to be dedicated driver for the rest of the trip dropped Phil, George and I at Ardnamurchan lighthouse. The plan was Stewart and Bill would leave the minibus at Mingary Pier and walk back to meet us. The rain had started when we set off. We crossed the small river which runs into the bay at Briaghlann then made our way near the sea edge to the high point above Port Garbh.  From here for almost the next two miles we enjoyed a ridge walk on an easy to follow track along Garbhlach Mhor  (shown on O.S.Map). We had hoped to have good views from the high point on the ridge at the Trig point west of Lochan Druim na Claise but it rained quite heavy with quite  strong winds  blowing in from the sea. On reaching the end of the ridge we had to drop down a steep hillside to sea level at An Acairseid. It was obvious that progress at the sea edge was impossible and we had no choice but climb the very steep and rocky hillside on the west side of Beinn nan Codhan. The rain and wind made the muddy, slippery conditions even more testing and it was a relief when we reached more level ground higher up on the north side of the hill. From here we headed towards Dubh Chreag and then round the north side of Druim na Gearr Leacainn before turning south back towards the sea. The walk down the hillside to the road passed Maol Buidhe was much easier but very muddy. The heavy rains continued( although the wind was not as evident at sea level) as we walked along the minor road through Ormsaigbeg and Ormsaigmore to Kilchoan. Passing Kilchoan jetty we walked round the marshland at Kilchoan Bay passed Glas Eilean to the finish of the days walk at Mingary Pier (where we would take the ferry to Tobermory on Mull for the start of tomorrows walk). We met up with Stewart and Bill and enjoyed a hot coffee at the Community centre a short distance from the pier.

Summary; The track along the ridge was excellent and had the weather been good the views would have been great. It was impossible to walk near the sea for almost all this walk. The scramble up the hillside was very difficult and not for the unfit. The heavy rain made the underfoot condition much more difficult and tiring.

Highs; The ridge walk.

Lows; The weather.

ACCOMODATION

Our accommodation for the first part of this trip was at the Sonachan Hotel, Kilchoan . The guys who were walking the full week had rooms in the hotel while the weekend team were in the bunkhouse. Our daily tariff in both cases was inclusive of full Scottish breakfast.

Since making our booking the Hotel and bunkhouse had been taken over by a couple from Wakefield whose experience was running a pub in Wakefield. The accommodation in both hotel and bunkhouse was adequate and reasonable value for the cost. It was obvious from the time of our arrival that the new owners were having teething problems one of which was lack of staff to cook lunches or evening meals although this was rectified with the arrival of a chef a day later. The main problem was at breakfast  when the owner Kevin attempted to cook breakfast while his wife served the tables. To cut a long story short, no cereals, no porridge….he couldn’t cook it, no fried eggs …he couldn’t fry eggs,.In a word breakfasts were a shambles and it took an age………The worst breakfasts we have had on any of our walks.

To make things worse an extra charge of £28 was added to our bill of almost £1000 after I had paid with my personal debit card and only discovered this when I returned home. I phoned Kevin who assured me it was a mistake and I would be refunded……guess what ….still waiting.

On phoning at the beginning of July I learned that Kevin and wife have ‘thrown the towel in’ and returned to their pub in Wakefield and the previous owners are back running the Hotel.

This hotel had been recommended to us on the strength of the service provided by thy original owners so it’s good to hear they are back in charge.

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