Day 158: Dumbarton to Cove

Distance: 27.00 miles

Ascent: 1354 feet

Weather: Sunny

Accommodation: Julia & Peter's House, COve


I woke up seemingly with no ill effects from yesterday, but as today was quite long and I had two sets of people to meet at different points I had meant to leave at 6am but even though I had set my alarm for 5am I was not able to make myself move till after 6 and it was 7ish by the time I left.

The weather was as per normal sunny and hot, and for the first part of the day I followed a mixture of slightly overgrown paths and foreshore on the seaward side of the railway tracks to Cardross. From here it continued being a mix of tracks and foreshore walking to the carpark at Ardmore.

From here my proposed route took me over and inland of the railway tracks and then followed a busy road for a mile or two to Helensburgh. But I decided to change this and take a more coastal route as I thought the lowish tide would enable me to do this. I had to climb just one fence to get to the foreshore from where I fairly easily got to just a few hundred meters short of Helensburgh when a major issue appeared, the tide was already up to the railway retaining wall and thus I couldn’t walk along (would have needed to swim!) So I had a dilemma either walk the couple of kilometres back or find a way onto the other side of the single tracked railway. I think it best to say that I found a way onto the other side and from there I easily got into Helensburgh.

There was a statue of John Logie Baird here as it was the town which he was born in, but it is not the first plaque I have seen in relation to him, another was up Boxhill on a walk several years ago. He was the first to demonstrate a working mechanical television system (some may say the inventor of the TV of which there appears to be a few claimants.)

I actually had to get a wiggle on as I had told a couple I would meet them at Gairlochhead at 12:30 which was pushing it a little. The route to this would follow a busy road the whole way but from my planning it appeared there was a segregated path the whole way. This did not make for interesting walking but the only positive was the road was treelined so I got some dappled shade. Just shy of Faslane Miliary Base, there was a very strange protest camp next to the road in the trees (see photo below) with dozens of caravans mostly protesting against the nuclear subs but it looked more like a way of living than an actual protest. In fact Kathryn & Lloyd (my hosts in Blackpool) happened to drive past at this point and said hi before driving on to Gairlochhead. Regardless of the protest site the mammoth walk past the military base was not pleasant with high electrified fence on my left and a busy road on my right for about 45 minutes.

I arrived at Gairlochhead about 12:45 and it was great to grab a quick snack with Kathryn and Lloyd who had broken their journey up to Skye to meet me. I departed laden with cake, and the next part followed a quietish road (though no verge or pavement) all the way down to Rosneath. Shortly after Rosneath the path leaves the road and my route headed through Rosneath Home Farm which is a really bizarre site almost a decaying national trust style mansion surrounded by industrial farm buildings (see photo below) before turning towards Kilcreggan at Meikleross Bay.

I arrived at the Creggans Pub where I would be meeting Julia who was kindly allowing me to pitch in their garden and also give me dinner even though they only had a few week-old baby. The people in the pub were very friendly with one guy getting me a drink and the manager giving me a free pizza.

My finish point was actually a couple of miles further on so after meeting Julia I carried on and met her and her husband Peter back at the house, where they gave me a lovely dinner before I retired to my tent.

A quite long, hot day but satisfying and nice to meet a couple of sets of people.

charles compton