Day 181: Benderloch to Kentallen

Distance: 28.43 miles

Ascent: 2555 feet

Weather: Sunny, Hot

Accommodation: Wild camp Near Kentallen


I woke up feeling a little tired which is hardly surprising after yesterday, but after packing up and having some of my ducktaped granola (I managed to rip the bag in half by accident) I was ready for the off. Strangely I felt absolutely fine once walking and the first part was on very quiet lanes passing Barcaldine castle which has been turned into a B&B.

I had known at the beginning of today that where I joined the A828 there would be a proper segregated cycle/pedestrian route and indeed there was and though it wasn’t particularly interesting walking it was quick. Near Barcaldine the cycle lane goes inland a bit for a mile and a half, but I thought I could follow the dismantled railway which was more coastal. I started on the dismantled railway but this became overgrown so I dropped down onto the beach and fortunately was able to follow this passed some holiday chalets, the front of a new factory being built and then rejoin the road where the cycle/pedestrian route heads just slightly inland of the road.

This steep stone rock sided part was in the shade so I sat down for a break. I don’t know why it suddenly occurred to me but suddenly I outwardly said ‘F*%^ it’s Sunday’ and after a bit of googling the community shop in Port Appin did open but only till 1pm rather than 5:30pm. The shop was the only one I would pass and was 9 miles away and it was already 10:30am so it would be a massive push especially in the heat (not quite so bad today due to slight breeze) to walk in two and a half hours (almost 4 miles an hour). But I decided to go for it knowing the cycle route was hopefully simple as would hopefully the lanes on the other side.

There isn’t much to write about this section the cycle section was simple crossing over the bridge before after Invernahyle I turned onto some narrow country lanes all the way to Port Appin. I had to keep telling my legs to speed up as they kept reverting back to my normal pace but it was looking very tight but that I may make the shop. Eventually a little leg weary from the push I made it to the shop by 12:52. I had to run around as the guy in the store was not overly friendly and seemed to want me and the other woman out even though it wasn’t 1pm. But I got all the supplies I needed and sat down under a tree outside and had my lunch.

This area is famous in Scotland for the Appin Murder. The murder of Colin Campbell as he rode alongside the loch is not overly remarkable, but what followed was. It became one of the worst episodes in Scottish legal history with 11 of the 15 Jurors being Campbells and the presiding officer was the Duke of Argyll the clan officer and everyone knew they were sentencing an innocent man (a Stewart) to death but they went ahead with it anyway to essentially make a political point. They even left his decaying body on display for 18 months. The Stewarts though did know the murderer and it is thought that they have passed the murderers name down through the generations and recently almost 250 years after the incident a Stewart decided to reveal the name of the murderer. All very strange.

I felt very satisfied about making the shop and was in very good spirits on the way out of Port Appin, and crossed over the estuary on the jubilee bridge a wibbly timber bridge that looks nice but I can’t imagine will last long. On the other side I rejoined the cycleway which soon passed Castle Stalker an impressive castle on a little island.

This cycle way was very good for about 4 miles I guess, at times very scenic right on the water’s edge, but suddenly it just stopped with a Path End sign and another telling cyclists to rejoin carriageway and path will restart in 2 miles. Unfortunately, this road was too dangerous for pedestrians in my opinion, so I had to improvise and though I was slowed down a mixture of dismantled railway, farmers fields, a detour across a cemetery took my to Duror where I had proposed to finish today.

But a breeze had got up and there was now some cloud cover, much better for walking, so I decided to carry on for one hour more, which should allow me to get around the Ardsheal Estate peninsula. I saw a group having drinks outside so I joined them for a beer, of course I didn’t I asked them if they could fill my water up which they kindly did. From here a road took me down to Cuil Bay which had stunning views and in fact there were several cars and mobile homes parked up here. I followed a track around to the very end of the bay before heading uphill offpiste hoping to bump into a little path (marked as grey dash on OS map and these don’t always appear to exist.) I found the path which was quite overgrown, was very muddy and had a few trees down but nothing was stopping me today so though slowed down a bit I managed to moderately easily overcome all these. I eventually reached a track that took me passed Ardsheal House and about a mile later I headed down to the shore and pitched up.

The views from my pitch were lovely and I cooked the pasta I had got in Port Appin before settling down for an early night

A good day, and one I needed to get my confidence back up in terms of my route planning. I cannot wait for my rest day in Fort William which I will get too after tomorrow’s walk!

charles compton