Day 165: Carry Point to Grogport
Distance: 29.91 miles
Ascent: 3549 feet
Weather: Overcast & SHowers
Accommodation: Wild camp near Grogport
The weather forecast for today wasn’t great, with showers forecast throughout the day. I would be getting the Portavadie to Tarbet ferry today if it was running and based on the time I was up was thinking I might just make the 9:45. The weather was dry as I depitched fortunately and I decided to set off without wet weather and cover on. Low and behold it started raining within 5 minutes so I had to quickly get everything on and was on my way again.
The first 4 miles or so were on a quiet road to Millhouse, in fact I saw just one car on this stretch. The weather was going to be annoying as it was either raining and thus annoying or not raining and I got very hot within minutes but there was no use taking the wet weathers off as the showers kept coming.
From Millhouse there was a very narrow road all the way down to the ferry terminal, I knew now I would only arrive about 10am and would miss the 9:45 ferry but it was fine as there was a 10:45 one anyway. The issue being that though I wasn’t going to make the ferry, some cars might and they were absolutely flying down the road to try and make the ferry which was a little nerve racking as I was walking along.
But I reached the little slipway fine, and fortunately the rain had stopped for a little while and the sun was even trying to come out. A couple of cyclists and a few cars also turned up and the boat arrived and set off near about 10:45. I should explain that this ferry was scheduled in as I could see no viable walking route up and around Loch Fyne and the trunk roads have no verge and are apparently quite busy, and 150miles of busy road was not an option I was happy to take.
The boat docked in Tarbet and the rain had started again fairly heavily, I needed to stock up on supplies here as I thought it would be a day and a half till I passed another shop so I popped to the Co-op. My bag now heavier I set off south on the Kintyre Way which starts in Tarbet. This route soon joined a forest track and climbed up and up from sea level to 320m or so. I was really enjoying this route and the path after the highest peak left the tracks and followed a slightly boggy path down through the woods on an interesting and equally enjoyable path. This path emerges onto the coast at Skipness.
This was where I had proposed to finish the day, but it was still quite early and on asking about good pitching spots further on I was told near Claonaig had some good spots. So I followed the coast road in that direction and the rain had actually stopped and the views over to Arran were just incredible, of all the islands I have seen so far on the walk this is by far the most spectacular to look at with several peaks in excess of 800m.
Once I reached Claonaig it was still moderately early so I decided with the sun just coming out I would carry on a bit further as the forecast for tomorrow was terrible. I was thinking about maybe doing one more mile and then pitching. But to cut a long story short, there was suddenly no options for camping (literally every few hundred meters before this for the whole day you could have camped) with an 8 foot fence on the right of the road and continuous sheep fields on the left. I ended up having to walk a further 7 miles, with a couple of small showers thrown in till I reached a little picnic area near Grogport exhausted.
This was perfect to pitch in, with incredible views and I got the tent up straight away whilst it wasn’t raining. I was a little short on water so walked to the nearest house to ask for some, the owners very kindly filled up my water as well as giving me some fruit, a thermos of tea and a frittata to take away with me.
After a longer than expected day, and with not great conditions I was exhausted and glad to finally be snuggled up in my sleeping bag. Fortunately my massive extension today, means tomorrow will be very short so I should Wi-Fi dependent be able to catch up on diaries.