Day 192: Strontian to Glenmore
Distance: 18.99 miles
Ascent: 3190 feet
Weather: Light/Medium Rain & Sunny SPells
Accommodation: Camping Glenmore Farm
After the extended sun/heat wave that has followed the walk for about the last 10 weeks, the conditions have slowly started to deteriorate over the last 3 or 4 days, and even though it was not forecast it had rained for quite a lot of last night and was still raining though lightly when I got up. I packed my stuff up and decided to head off in semi wet set up, that being rucksack cover and jacket on but not waterproof trousers, as I thought the rain was light enough for this.
I almost immediately joined the A861 which I would be following for the entire day bar a very short section of woodland. This road was fairly good for walking as not too much traffic, a decent verge and in fact it was single track for a lot of its length meaning most cars don’t go to fast. The rain was now slightly heavier, and I was wondering whether I should have gone full wet weather set up but I persevered adamant the rain would lighten. After about 5 miles I reached the woodland trail car park which signified the start of the woodland trail which would be my only respite from the road.
This woodland path was surprisingly steep in places, in fact though only short sections some of the steepest non-stepped sections I have encountered. I had seen on a sign earlier in the day that there was a wildlife hide here and had decided I would have my morning break in there as it should be a dry spot to sit out of the rain. The approach to this hide was an incredible, crazy boardwalk section and the hide itself was amazingly made with some really intricate carpentry. Most of these hides I have gone by have not been overly scenic or have any wildlife in front of them, but this one had incredible views and there was a basking seal only 50m in front of the hide and I even got a brief glimpse of an otter before he disappeared around the corner. It was the perfect spot for my morning break, and I had a longer break than normal.
After the hide I rejoined the road and my speed was fast today up near 4 miles an hour due to the ease of walking. After another 4 or 5 miles of road walking I reached Salen, where I knew there was a shop but was surprised it was also a little café so I had a quick tea, this was in fact both a lovely shop and a lovely café a rarity around these parts. Whilst going to toilet I spotted my first tick of the walk (which is surprising I have gone this long but I have been wearing leggings to reduce the chance of bites) on the inside of my knee, and courtesy of a present given to me by a lady I met on the walk what must have been 4 months ago I had a tick remover so got it out easily enough. I then did a thorough check and actually found another one on my right side which I removed and 2 on my clothes not bitten me yet which I got rid off. This must be a tick heavy area, as I noticed 2 customers come into the shop and ask about tick removers.
Fully deticked (hopefully!) I headed of on the road once again. After a short while I noticed some movement a few hundred meters from the shore and it turned out to be 3 or 4 (maybe more) porpoises circling back and forth in a small circle presumably for food, unfortunately due to the drizzle I was not happy to get my camera out to take a picture. After this there was not much of note until the end of the day but the rain had stopped and by the end of the day the sun was even trying to come out. Just shy of my finish point there was a new whisky distillery, Ardnamurhcan Distillery, only started in 2013 so the whisky is still not ready for sale, but they are already doing tours and whisky tastings presumably of other whiskeys as theirs is not ready yet.
After crossing the river I came to Glenmore Farm whom I had emailed about pitching and they had kindly said it would be fine. I headed up to the office where the lady (sorry forgotten name) kindly made me a cup of tea and Karen had left me some lovely homemade vegetable soup, and a couple of cakes negating the need for me to cook tonight.
I pitched in the little field, with the intrigued highland cattle as spectators as I erected the tent coming over one at a time before they got bored when they realised there was no food in it for them.
I had actually finished writing diary at this point and needed a pee (can’t believe two toilet related moments in diary today) and headed outside and could not believe how big what I was seeing was, literally mid flow a massive eagle flew right over the top of me and it was indeed a white-tailed eagle (sea eagle), I was so excited but needed to finish peeing so I could quickly grab camera from tent before it fully disappeared. It was quite far away by the time I took photo but the photo though blurry is still unmistakably a white-tailed eagle. Hopefully I will manage to get a better photo of one in the next few days.
A medium length day, that was actually very easy, there is a part of me that thinks I could have continued to Kilchoan and got a day ahead but that would have turned it into a very, very hard day. Tomorrow is planned to be a very short day (9 miles) by design to help with the issue of shop facilities over the next 4 or so days. Seals, an otter, porpoises and a white tailed eagle what a day!