Well having picked up the new kayak on Sunday, a test was well overdue. Loch Eck was the ideal locus.
An 8 mile paddle, first paddle in a year. Never tire of Loch Eck!
The one stop shop for small inflatable boat adventures.
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A walk that may or may not be to everyone’s taste.
A blot on the landscape or engineering marvel? You decide.
Looking for something different, a walk round the perimeter of the Cruach Mhor wind farm.
Parking by the main road (A886) a forestry road winds its way up the hill giving access to the wind farm. The construction of the access road in generous due to the logistics of getting the apparatus to site. Easy to navigate without straying off onto the spur roads.
A maze of tracks leading to the turbines awaits, a good circular route can be chosen to circumnavigate the turbines.
On the time of visit the mist wasn’t far away, sometimes engulfing the structures. They could be heard but not seen until within 100mtr proximity.
The tracks within the site are fairly undulating, so after the initial climb progress is easy.
Some info on the wind farm HERE.
An unplanned route taking full advantage of the low water level at the reservoir allowing the full circuit to be completed.
On arrival at the larger than normal shore, the recent prolonged dry spell was evident – the flow from the inlet pipe at minimum in comparison to previous visits.
The water line had dropped enough to provide sufficient foreshore to allow progress without the usual restrictions of rocks, vegetation and trees.
Raised platforms and diminishing fence lines that disappear into the water perhaps signs of the Glen prior to flooding.
Rugged terrain easily negotiated although 1ft less of water would have made progress easier.
Something completely different that can’t be undertaken normally. It’s not often it’s so dry for so long in the West 👍
Loch Tarsan; is a freshwater loch and is an impounding reservoir located 13 kilometres Northwest of Dunoon, on the Cowal peninsula in Argyll and Bute, Scotland. This three-armed Reservoir extends into both Glen Tarsan and Glen Lean. It supplies water to the Striven Hydro-Electric Scheme (also known as the Cowal Hydro-Electric Power Scheme). The larger of the two dams is 17.6 metres high and was completed in 1953.
An Creachan at 580 mts was sure to provide some great views.
6 miles:3 Hours
Parking on the Glen Massan road and heading for Corarsic farm,once over the bridge a sign pointing left aids navigation to the top of the glen. The track easily followed and there are marker posts en route, eventually leaving the track and into an opening in the woods.
After looking about for a marker or any evidence of a trail I decided to head up the burn, ducking under trees and crossing the burn heading to the open hill. Prior to emerging out of the trees a found an old path with some tape tied to the trees, this led to the open hill.
On return thankfully I’d taken note of where I’d emerged from the forest i picked up the path. Curiosity got the better of me so I decided to try follow the path with the taped branch markers.
It never led to much and it started to climb again. Instead of retracing my steps to the last bit of tape I decided to push downhill through the woods till I got the the track, it was torture,ha.
Plan to return to confirm the best route and perhaps take a hand saw or axe to clear a/the path.
The route I took!
Taking to the open road, a self-propelled and self-sufficient trek. An opportunity to absorb the surroundings at a moderate pace. As opposed to going totally off grid, a night’s camp was enjoyed at the Glendaruel Caravan Park where there are facilities available such as toilets and showers. There is also an undercover camper’s shelter with, hot and cold running water.
Saturday, Outward Bound: Ardnadam Pier – Glendaruel Caravan Park (26 miles).
A circular route starting off from the shores of the Holy Loch (free carpark at Ardnadam Pier), taking to the public road via the A815 and the Glenmassan C class road. Leaving the public road prior to Deer Park and opting for the forestry road that follows the River Echaig to Benmore Gardens with its Café – approx. 4.3 miles from start.
The road continues through the Benmore estate then northwards towards the outfall of Loch Eck, the vistas opening up as the steep hills flank either side of the loch. The forestry road through to Glenbranter is mostly undulating, perhaps a few climbs but they don’t raise any major concerns. The local Forestry Commission offices are located in Glenbranter, an opportunity to regroup, stop for a break and use the facilities – approx. 13.5 miles from the start and the mid-way point.
After a break it’s time to tackle the climb out of Glenbranter heading for Garvie Farm – this section encompasses part of the Cowal Way . The initial and steepest part of the climb lasts for approximately 0.5 miles before lessening for the remaining 3, there is no shame whatsoever in dismounting and pushing to the summit – the sense of achievement is still the same. On the flip side, what goes up must come down, the rest of the journey to Garvie Farm is a breeze with only one short lived climb to contend with.
Leaving Garvie Farm (approx. 22 miles from start) a short section of the A886 is covered prior to turning on to the West Glendaruel public road. The West Glen road is single track with passing places, not that you’ll meet much traffic. Again, no noticeable climbs worth mentioning.
On arrival at the Glendaruel Caravan site, a wee rest, then pitching of the tents prior to something to eat and refreshments.
Sunday: Refreshed, fed, watered and ready to roll! Well 3 out of 4 isn’t bad. The fact that the home stretch is 9 miles less than the previous day is encouraging for a start. Sunday’s roads were all public surfaced road, initially on the West Glen Road till it meets with the junction of the A886 then onto the B836 before re-joining the familiar A815.
The West Glen road is undulating and progress easy. The A886 starts off downhill to the A8003 junction then a steady gradual climb towards Stronafian.
The B836 junction, reached at approximately 4 miles from the start is a different beast however, a beast that can be tamed! It has two noticeable gradual climbs, again the laws of physics apply and what goes up must come down. The smooth surface helps with progress and the climbs are not as hard going as originally thought.
The climbs are both similar in distance and elevation, roughly one and quarter miles (2kms) with a gain of 400ft (120mts). The first being from the B836 junction to the top of the ‘Long Brae’, the second being from Ardtariag to Tarsan Dam. As before, there is no shame in dismounting for a push or a rest – these should be promoted as photo opportunities! There are ample stop off points to allow regrouping and a break to refuel.
Enough of climbs, now for the fun bits…..descents. After the first climb the descent is a steep and fast one. Brakes should be in tip top condition as the gradient will have them working, care must be taken. The second descent is a more gradual affair, from Tarsan Dam down, through the flats to Clachaig then to the A815. A welcome easy run after the epic (perhaps too strong a word) taming of the climbs. The return via the A815 on to its shore road to the carpark is uneventful.
An epic wee adventure, from sea loch to fresh water loch, from East Cowal to West Cowal, a night under canvas……and back.
Thanks to Iain for attending and helping organise the weekend, also thanks to Fin and James for their company and keeping me right.
Glendaruel Caravan Park provides an excellent base for exploring the area, offers a variety of accommodation and there is always a warm welcome.
An excellent walk whilst in the area is accessed from the back road at the caravan park – Lochan Chuilceachan