With the SIB sold, the garage had a void that needed filled. Not wanting to be completely off the water returning to a kayak was the choice.
A P&H Scorpio LV.
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
Abyssinia Bothy,an abandoned building that has recently been added to the list of MBA Bothies. With planned works at the end of April 2017, the building will will be renovated and maintained by the MBA volunteers.
Fuel: Some deadwood in area however, advisable to take fuel in.
***No fire installed at the moment. Chimney blocked off. Will update. ***
Bike Friendly: 10/10.
Is it in Cowal – Yes 👍
Having visited Glen Kinglas previously a re-visit to the area on the news of the bothy project was a must.
The estate road is undulating and reaching the Bothy is no mean feat, especially with the bike.
Whilst in the area I decided to head for the aqueduct that runs above the Bothy. Covered by concrete slabs, progress is easy if the road is to rough. A tour visiting the intake and outfall is an easy cycle, something different.
Photos courtesy of Andy MacArthur 👍🥃
Re-visit on a clearer day.
The quest to conquer further trig points continues. A new area to explore within Strachur.
4.5 miles, 2 hours.
Creagan an Eich, whilst not a giant at 326mts gives fantastic views over Strachur and Loch Fyne. Another small hill with big views.
Parking available at Clachan Beag housing and crossing the road taking Mill Road next to Fergusons yard starts the journey.
A deer gate further ahead with a kissing gate provides further access and the use of the road to the communication masts.
A warning sign highlights the use of high volocity rifles!!!
Once the masts have been reached the remaining 0.7 miles are on open hillside. An ATV track gives enough guidance to the summit marked by a trig point via another deer gate. The views get better with elevation.
Once through the gate (approx. 2/3 of the open hill section) the ATV track is still evident and pretty much leads to the trig point.
Interactive map HERE.
On a separate note, a walk through the woods to be explored and an ideal bothy project!
…and it’s trig point.
4 miles – 1hr 30min
New territory covered on today’s quest to visit a local trig point.
Ardnadam Hill, a summit that goes unnoticed, only highlighted by the electricity pylons that flank its south west elevation before disappearing.
The old finger post signs still in place (albeit lower) showing the way to Glenkin, the next stage of the route.
After turning right the forestry road contours round the base of the hill, the power cables running between the pylons are soon overhead.
Remarkably there is a bench with views and a marker post obscured by a solitary tree. From here it’s a climb on open hill to the third pylon.
The trig point is located over to the right of the third pylon, lower and offset from the true summit. Initially the square top is just visible over the heathery tussocks.
Due to the change in weather and time constraints I decided to return via Ardnadam Farm by crossing the road and dropping down to the lower pylon then turning left picking up a track highlighted by a few old fence posts. The road passes Scottish Waters holding tanks before passing the farmhouses. The road returns to the car park access road.
Interactive map with photos and stats HERE.
Having completed a trip a while back to check on access options to the hillside, today was the day!
Following the upper road, it continues to climb away from the distant shore, always choosing the left hand side at any junction. The road contours round the hillside till the power lines cross above – time for the open hill.
Even in the wintry conditions, a hill track was distinguishable eventually turning to an ATV track. The snow made progress slow, however in favourable conditions this would be a more enjoyable walk. Two rises eventually bring the trig point into view, the vistas getting better and better.
Interactive map with photos and stats available by clicking HERE.
Trigpoints are the common name for “triangulation pillars”. These are concrete pillars, about 4′ tall, which were used by the Ordnance Survey in order to determine the exact shape of the country. They are generally located on the highest bit of ground in the area, so that there is a direct line of sight from one to the next. By sitting a theodolite (an accurate protractor built into a telescope) on the top of the pillar, accurate angles between pairs of nearby trigpoints could be measured. This process is called “triangulation”.
Trig points are another place worth visiting. Most giving great views,not quite sure on the exact amount of the ‘Pillar’ type there are in the area, but the figure must be close to 40,varying in build material and condition.
Trig Points vary in elevation, some easier to access than others but that adds to the challenge. Indicated on OS maps by a small blue triangle with a central dot, they are everywhere!
Blog reports HERE.