Walk #481: Clachan to Kilberry
Map of the walk
Maps courtesy of Google Maps. Route for indicative purposes only, and may have been plotted after the walk. Please let me have comments on what you think of this new format. For a detailed table of timings for this walk, please see the table file.
I set off this morning feeling fitter than I have for some time, as when I woke up I found that for the first time for nearly a week I had full movement in my neck without much pain. This cheered me up massively, and although it is still not perfect it is better than it has been. I can only hope that this continues to be the case, and that the problem has sorted itself out and will get better soon. This may be wishful thinking, but only time will tell.
I met Sam for lunch at the West Loch Hotel at West Tarbert, after a highly enjoyable walk down the A83. This appeared to be busier than yesterday, but I still enjoyed the walk nonetheless. At Kennacraig I passed the ferry over to Islay. One of the things that has amused me about these Scottish ferries is that many of the jetties are in the middle of nowhere, so you will be walking along a road and suddenly come across a ferry waiting to depart. The Islay ferry is an example of this - the only thing in Kennacraig is the ferry terminal.
I was reminded today about a comment Graham made last Saturday night. When he first met me in Brighton in December we only had time for a quick chat, and from what I said he got the impression that somehow I was trying to "out Merrill John Merrill". This amused me tremendously, as the last thing I would ever want to give the impression of doing is trying to beat the achievements of Merrill. The only thing I have to beat on this trip is myself, and the only person that I have to beat is myself. My motivation comes from me, and I am choosing the route that I take to please me and get enjoyment, not to beat John Merrill (and anyway, he took a far more coastal route in many areas, particularly of Scotland, than myself, and his walk was far more of an achievement than mine). After chatting to me this weekend Graham said that he realised that he was wrong about my motivation, which is a bit of a relief!
As I walked along the B8024 road near Newhouse a little bus stopped and the doors opened. I expected to be offered a lift, but the lady driver offered me a pack of Smarties. We had a quick chat, and when I explained what I was doing it turned out that she had seen Graham on his walk a week or so ago. She also offered me some water, but I was still okay (I had refilled the one litre bottle that I was carrying at lunchtime). This is yet another example of the kindness people in this part of Scotland has shown us. A little further along I came across some palm trees - I had not expected to see them this far north, and it shows exactly how much the gulf stream warms up this part of the Scottish Coast.
When I finally reached Mervan I was very glad to see that it was waiting for me outside the tiny inn in the village. I collapsed into Mervan, and Sam had the evening meal almost ready. I was fairly hungry, and so Sam cooked the meal and we the waited for a few minutes for the inn to open at six thirty. I was exceedingly thirsty, and therefore the first pint went down very quickly, and was swiftly followed by another. The Inn is fairly famous, and won the Taste of Scotland Best Bar Meal 2002 - they have a website at www.kilberryinn.com. The inn was very busy this evening, and it is obviously a haven for visitors and locals alike. I left fairly early as I was so tired, but Sam stayed on for a little longer and did a collection amongst the patrons.
Sam has to drive to Glasgow tomorrow morning to get the passenger side electric window fixed. Getting this window fixed has been a saga since the very beginning of the walk, and I am just waiting to see what goes wrong next. She has to get there by ten in the morning, so she will be setting off at seven and I shall consequently have to start of early as well. This may be a blessing in disguise, as it means I can get a long distance done before the day gets too hot, and then find somewhere to have a long (and hopefully lubricated) lunch break. I have been told that the scenery on tomorrow's walk is going to be fantastic, and I am therefore really looking forward to the stroll.
This walk starts off at the campsite in the village of Clachan. Leave the campsite and turn left to head northwards up a steep hill. At the top the road turns to the right to head northeastwards for a little over a mile until it meets a junction with the A83 road. Turn left and follow the A83 northeastwards through Whitehouse and past the ferry terminal at Kennacraig. The road then roughly follows the eastern bank of West Loch Tarbert. The road passed the hotel at West Tarbert and the junction with the B8026 road, and then turn left down a minor road that heads northwestwards past a golf course and the northern end of the loch.
This road ends at a junction with the B8024 road. Turn left down this road and follow it as it heads southwestwards through Torinturk and on down the northern shore of West Loch Tarbert to Dunmore. Here the road turns slightly to the right to head westwards, cutting of a little peninsular. Eventually the road curves to the right to head northwards, and this walk ends after a couple of miles at the Kilberry Inn in the village of Kilberry.
This makes a total distance of 23.9 miles, with 2274 feet of ascent and 2149 feet of descent.
We parked Mervan in a lay-by immediately up the road from the Kilberry Inn, which was a lovely place to park for the night, and an easy staggering distance from the inn.
Please note that I take no responsibility for anything that may happen when following these directions. If you intend to follow this route, then please use the relevant maps and check the route out before you go out. As always when walking, use common sense and you should be fine.
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And finally, enjoy your walking!
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