Day 168: Campbeltown to Southend
Distance: 15.77 miles
Ascent: 1729 feet
Weather: Overcast with Sunny Spells
Accommodation: Argyll Arms Hotel, Southend (Kindly Complimentary)
I strangely woke up very early this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep. So eventually I got up and went and did some admin on my laptop before leaving the hostel about 7:30. The weather was overcast but it felt like the sun was trying to come out.
As I walked along the promenade out of Campbeltown there were 2 large ships being loaded up with a seemingly never-ending pile of timber. A few seals waved me off and I was soon heading out towards Island Davaar. This is a spectacular island with a tidal (so I didn’t have to walk it though was tempted) causeway, and it looks like somewhere a bond villain would base himself with the steep cliffs and imposing shape.
I would be following the Kintyre Way for the majority of the day, and the first 10 miles of this would be on a road, though a very small one which felt more like a large path so made for nice walking. I had been wondering for a few days if I was just being unlucky with not seeing any sea mammals other than seals, with dolphins, porpoises, otters to name a few you can see around here. Just after turning the corner from Island Davaar I suddenly thought I saw movement on the rocks but couldn’t work out what it was though was hopeful it may be an otter, so I got my camera out and used the zoom and indeed it was an otter. I was about 100m away so could hardly see it but over about 10 minutes I slowly got to within about 30m and it turned out there was not one otter but three (maybe four) a mother and 2 pups I believe. I was so excited as these were the first otters I had ever seen, and they were putting on a great show, diving down to get food, swimming through the water and best of all playing on the rocks.
Eventually I had to drag myself away from the otters, and there was another pod of seals and gannets diving in the background. The next few miles on the road were very nice surrounded by great scenery and fortunately though the sky was ominous at times it did not rain. I got quite excited because I thought I had seen an eagle from distance, and then I got closer when it landed in a pine tree and still thought it was an eagle, even after taking some photos I still thought it was an eagle but on checking my photos (and included below) it appears it is just a buzzard.
There have been some very interesting names on my OS map recently and a hill today took the biscuit and I can only imagine a cartographer was very tired after climbing it as it is called ‘The Bastard’. A couple of miles after this the Kintyre Way left the road for the first time and after heading through a farm headed right down to a stunning beach, slightly ruined by the very decrepit collection of static caravans here.
This next leg was a complete surprise as I had not expected it to be so beautiful or feel so remote and the sun even came out to make it even better. The Kintyre Way actually heads back inland onto the road after a short distance, but I had decided to try and stick to the beach for the final 3 miles. This was a great decision as though there were a few rock scrambles, I came across some stunning little coves, and there were groups of gannets constantly flying by presumably part of some kind of migration as there were so many coming by maybe several 1000 in the 90 minutes or so I was walking along the beach.
I finally reached Brunerican Bay, which meant I was pretty much at the end point of my day, and after taking a track across the golf course I reached the little village of Southend at the end of Kintyre Peninsula. The Argyll Arms Hotel had very kindly offered me a room complimentary for my rest day which I am extremely grateful for, as well as giving me a lovely dinner tonight. It could be interesting being an Englishmen in a Scottish pub for the England football match tonight.
Today was great and the otters were such a treat, definitely in the top 10!
NB - ended up with more than 12 photos due to getting excited with otters.