Day 161: Carrick Castle to Dunoon
Distance: 19.73 miles
Ascent: 3361 feet
Weather: Sunny Spells
Accommodation: Craigieburn Guest House (KinDly Vastly Reduced Price)
After a lovely breakfast at Carrick Farm and drying out my boots speedily with a hairdryer I was on my way. The sun was out once again but not as fierce today. I left the village on a small track which soon became a well-made path up into the forestry commission pine forests. This was a great start to the day and fortunately the few trees that had fallen across the path I could crawl under fairly easily with my backpack on.
This path climbed steadily up to it’s highest point where it joined one of the forest tracks used for getting equipment in and timber out when they fell the trees. This track mainly slowly descended and the views over Loch Long were lovely. Quite eerily firstly an incredibly loud tannoy message echoed down the loch from Coulport military base across the water and then there appeared to be what sounded like an air-raid siren going off for several minutes, both very loud even though I was over a mile away.
Just shy of Shepherd’s Point my map showed a little path that headed down through the forest back to the shoreline. The only issue being this area of trees had been felled and not yet properly cleared and thus there was no visible path, and actually a quite hard terrain to cross. I decided to just follow the path route (even though I couldn’t see it) and carefully walked across the various stumps, timber and other items, at points I could follow the sort of tracks of the presumably massive vehicles that had been here. I managed not to trip and even more surprisingly on reaching the non-felled woodland at the bottom I had hit the little stairway exactly. Now down the bottom there was a sign saying due to felled trees path closed follow diversion, but it was strange there was no sign at the top from the other direction.
From this point I re-joined the roads, though very narrow and quiet ones which actually made for nice walking along the side of the loch. After 5 miles I reached Strone and at first thought the little shop was shut but fortunately it was open, so I got a few bits for lunch and ate them on the bench outside.
From here I followed the interestingly named Midge Lane up and around Holy Loch before heading down the other side and through Ardnadam & Hunter’s Quay before arriving at Dunoon, where in fact I was only a short distance and ferry crossing to Gourock where I had been 6 days before.
Craigieburn Guest House in Dunoon had kindly given me a vastly reduced price on a room for the 2 nights of my rest day, in fact cheaper than a youth hostel even. Dunoon should be a perfect location for a rest day and should enable me to stock up and also get a much needed haircut.
So another good day, though it looks like the sunny snap may be coming to an end with quite severe conditions forecast for the day after my rest day.