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The Kintyre Way

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Author Topic: Warnings from someone who walked part of the Way  (Read 27587 times)
libby
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« on: April 19, 2007, 09:33:06 pm »

 I am new to this site so --  Hi to all.  Smiley
I have just been to walk the Kintyre Way and I am disappointed.
From Tarbert to Skipness is a bit of a climb, nothing too bad and the scenery is beautiful. In Skipness the little shop sells sandwiches and tea or coffee in a real mug.
From  Skipness to Claonaig is along a road beside the sea, a lovely stroll. Claonaig to Clachan starts along a road, -not too busy and starts to climb until you reach the moor. It was boggy almost immediately, climbs steadily but does have plenty of markers. However, please be very careful when you are on the moor as it is very remote and someone has already had to be helped off. Our weather has been extremly dry but the moor is still very boggy - up past our boots- please wear gaiters and allow plenty of daylight to get to Clachan. We were told one couple on the moor had to cross the river (when high) at chest hieght. There are no stiles on any fences including the barbed wire ones. The gates are falling to pieces. Please make sure you are properly equipped.
Clachan to Tayinloan is on part of the main road, when you do go off onto a track  it is along a dirty drainage track beside the road and then a stony beach, hard going for the ankles. When the tide is in the "Way" is not always passable near to the ferry terminal at Tayinloan.
We had to stop here due to an injury. We were told the next part of the Way was a good walk through forestry and the wind farms. We went on by car to look at the rest of the Way and stay in our B&Bs. A lot of the walk is on main roads, please be careful!
There is very little choice for eating, and limited shops. Please check where you can eat at night  - will you like where you have to eat? We had our bags carried by a taxi  and the lady who picked up our bags was really nice, her husband sits on the board of directors for the Way. He was going to walk from Claonaig to Clachan as they keep hearing the same stories.
The people of Kintyre are very friendly and will help you in any way if you need it. I don't want to put anyone off, you may enjoy it -- just be careful!
                                                     Libby x
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sue k
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« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2007, 02:33:46 pm »

 Undecided Hi Libby
Was interested to read your news of Kintyre Way.  My daughter and I are setting off in the middle of May.  I have been assured that the bog between Claonaig and Clachan is being dealt with, but from your comments it doesn't sound as it has been improved much - I presume you were there recently? As you say, it has been a very dry spell of weather - goodness knows what it will be like if it rains!
All in all, I hope we enjoy the Kintyre Way more than you did - we are booked up with accommodations so cannot cancel the trip now! I will let you know how we get on.
Regards
sue k Undecided
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libby
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« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2007, 04:40:23 pm »

Hi Sue, I'm sure you will enjoy the walk the scenery is fantastic on a good day. Just make sure you are well equipped before you set off. The local people are friendly and we stayed in some very good B&Bs. I started my walk on the 13 April 07. If it rains, the moor is mostly bog so be careful as it is very wet just now. Advice from locals is -- on the last day of walking from Machrahanish to Southend the ferns can grow to waist/chest hieght making the markers hard to see be careful in this area.
Hope the weather keeps up for you.
                                  Elizabeth
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Bonnie Lass
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« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2007, 03:43:33 pm »

Don't forget this is a completely new walk/venture - it takes time to "set" things up.  Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

The beauty of Kintyre is its remoteness, "take aways" will not be just around the corner.  Yes, there is a shortage of accommodation and eating places at Claonaig - but hopefully, someone will see a need and come up with something.

Kintyre is a quiet location - there are various shops in Tarbert and Campbeltown with village shops scattered around, no MacDonalds - or Marks and Spencer - but that is its charm.

Tourist Information Centres are in Tarbert and Campbeltown, they will be able to provide you with local information for eating and sleeping.

Give them a chance... Smiley

« Last Edit: October 13, 2007, 07:27:02 pm by Bonnie Lass » Logged
libby
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« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2007, 11:28:56 am »

Hi Bonnie lass, I'm all for giving them a chance - but when it comes to safety that is another matter.
You write as though you know the area. I also know people enjoy different types of walking, my intention was never to put any one off the walk, only to make them aware, something the organisers of the Kintyre way have failed to do. May I also point out that I know of at least one of the organisers who had not recently been on the moor.
Eating places, I was referring to the whole Kintyre Way.
From my point of view -- the Kintyre Way has some good walking days but also some that could be dangerous even for the experienced walker. There are few facilities in most places.
I have nothing negative to say about Kintyre or its people so why the strong reply to my original posting??  Huh
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sue k
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« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2007, 03:51:54 pm »

Hi Elizabeth
I fully appreciated the point of your original entry.  I was advised by the Kintyre Way people on Feb 11th by email that the bog was being drained, and a diversion to the route being set up to 'improve things for the walkers.' I will not be put off my walk, and am looking forward to it immensely.  As you will see from my original entry, my main concern was the bog on the moor, and I was trying to assemble as much info as possible. Noone wants to intentionally walk into difficulties, and a sensible walker will go well equipped with the right gear and as much info as can be gathered.
Thanks again and I will report back here how I get on.
sue k  Wink
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brian shepherd
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« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2007, 10:32:31 am »

Hello all prospective Kintyre Way walkers

This is a completely new walk. It is less than a year in operation and took many more to get to this point. It needs time and experience of the organising group to bring to the standard of others such as the West Highland and Great Glen Ways. These walks I believe also had the advantage of using canal towpaths and disused railway lines as a basis. This then gave the basic structure for the walk to follow. In Kintyre there was none of these existing features to use, but there are a lot of forestry roads. I believe the reason that the bit from Clachan to Tayinloan uses so much road is that landowners have been reluctant to allow access through their land and the road is the next obvious choice. The foreshore at Ferry Farm Tayinloan is being looked at by the owner to allow crossing at high tide. There are stiles and gates on the section from Claonaig to Clachan but it is not always possible to put these at all crossing points. The incident on that section where people had to wade across a stream is rare and was after a prolonged wet spell last Autumn. This has now been resolved and a bridge or crossing of some form should be in place.

I have spoken to several people in the last week including I think Libby, and there is a 50% split on views of how good or bad the Kintyre Way is.

PLEASE DO not be put off by others' experience, good or bad. Come and try for yourself. e-mail info@kintyreway.com Check the Kintyre Way website we can offer any advice or answer to queries that are asked for. But please give it a fair try.

Thank you       
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sue k
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« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2007, 04:05:55 pm »

Hi everyone!
We are back home after a fantastic walk. We opted out of the last section as the final day was very foggy and we felt it would be unwise to attempt it in such weather.
Tarbert to Claonaig was a great walk, and we took the ferry to Lochranza for the first night to stay in the Youth Hostel. The local shop has closed down so we were unable to get supplies, but enjoyed a good meal in the local hotel. Next morning we were able to get a coffee and cake from the sandwich bar near the ferry before setting off.
The Claonaig to Clachan was every bit as bad as has been described. There is no path and the bog is horrendous. In my opinion the walk should not have been opened until this problem is sorted. We had no mobile phone reception all day. I feel that this section is an 'accident waiting to happen'. However we had glorious weather and the views were beautiful. We arrived safely and stayed overnight at The Old Smithy in Clachan, a very friendly and comfortable place to stay, and the dinner and breakfast were good.
Clachan to Tayinloan was an easy walk along the coast on the following day, but hard on the feet and ankles walking on the pebble beach. Weather again was perfect, and the scenery fabulous. We took the ferry to Gigha and stayed overnight at Tighnavinish. We were made very comfortable and i would recommend this place to all. We walked to the local hotel for an excellent fish and chips.
Back to Tayinloan on the morning ferry with blue sky and blue seas. Tayinloan to Carradale was our first long day. A long hill to start the day was well rewarded with fantastic views, and the walk thro the forest and beneath the wind turbines was memorable. The last few miles into Carradale was unexpectedly hard, when a 'pretty downhill walk' had been promised. We stayed at Kiloran Guest House in Carradale. Again we were welcomed and made very comfortable. The only drawback here was the lack of a shower- we just had a bath. Evening meal and breakfast were great.
Sadly, the fine weather came to an end that evening, and by morning the rain had set in.  We set off to Campbeltown in the rain which continued all day long. Unfortunately, I discovered after just a few miles that the sole of one of my boots had a split in it and was taking in the water! I had to have several changes of sock during the day, and wrapped my foot in a plastic bag before putting the wet boot back on - by the end of the long day, my right foot was fermenting!! Despite the weather, and my footwear, we managed the 19 miles in just 7 hours so were quite pleased with ourselves. We stopped for a meal in Campbeltown, before taking a taxi to East Drumlemble Farm. A delightful lady took all our wet gear, including my very sodden boot, to dry everything overnight, by the Aga. A hot coffee and cookies, and a large whisky soon revived us! Next morning, before breakfast, we heard quite a commotion outside our window and there was nature in the raw - we watched as a cow gave birth! A lovely breakfast and we set off once more, but soon realised that to attempt the last section in such misty conditions would have been a bit reckless.  We had already been advised by several walkers that Machrihanish to Dunaverty was a very tricky walk and dangerous on a steep part, especially when wet. There is no path and we would have been unable to see the markers in the mist. So we sadly took the decision not to do this part of the walk. We walked to Machrihanish and then took the bus to Campbeltown, and on to Southend. We walked to Dunaverty and as we walked along the beach at the end of the day, the sky cleared briefly and we saw the sun! How quickly the weather can change down there. We certainly enjoyed seeing 'the mist rolling in' over the Mull of Kintyre, as in the song!
We stayed overnight at the Argyll Arms and enjoyed a nice meal and a bottle of wine that evening.
The next day it was blowing a gale and pouring with rain when we awoke, and we were concerned whether or not our flight to Glasgow would be on.  However, it had cleared a little by the time we arrived at Campbeltown airport, and we were able to return to Glasgow in the tiny Twin Otter aircraft at 10am. A bumpy flight, but quite an experience!
All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed the Kintyre Way. The boggy section needs sorting, or re-routing, and I cannot comment on the last section, although we were warned it could be dangerous in wet weather.
Regards to all
sue k Grin
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PJK
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« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2007, 03:34:42 pm »

Hi,

I've read this forum with great interest as myself and a friend will be walking the Kintyre Way next week (week starting Sunday 27 May). It's good to hear about the poss problems with the route from Cloanig to Clachan and after I've done it myself I'll report back.
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SLM
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« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2007, 09:26:07 am »

Four of us have just completed the KW and we endorse most of what has been said on this site and would like to add our experiences.

Tarbert to Claonaig was a good walk.  The rain cleared away as we reached Skipness and we had a lovely walk along the seashore in the sunshine to Claonaig.  We caught the bus back to Tarbert for our overnight stay.  Next morning Brian from Tayinloan taxis took us back to Claonaig to resume our walk.

Cloanaig to Clachan.  As nearly everyone else has said, this section was pretty tough.  The road section is fairly steep until you reach Oakwood car park where we headed off across the moors.  It is bleak and unforgiving and as bad as it has been made out to be.  Between the 4 of us we were on 3 different mobile networks and none of them worked on the hills, so be warned if something happens to you up there.  The burn/stream has been bridged but the stile on the other side is very high and could do with another step added to it.  We had to cross other barbed wire-topped fences which were rickety and non-stiled. The bog section was horrendous - knee deep in many places and very hard going.  If any remedial work has taken place then I'm afraid it hasn't worked.  We eventually made Clachan after walking through some very pretty bluebell woods, stocked up with food for the next day at the local garage and headed for our guest house called Dunultach which we can thoroughly recommend.  On arrival our boots and gaiters were taken off us and cleared of mud, put inside to dry out and the following morning laid out in the sun for our departure.  The rooms were spacious and comfortable and the landlord and landlady were absolutely charming.  We had a fabulous evening meal, much of it coming from their own garden and a wonderful breakfast with home-made jams, marmalades and fruit compote.
 
Clachan to Tayinloan started off well along a road  to Dunskeig Bay where we saw  seals basking on the rocks at Seal View.  Off road was uncomfortable under foot, so we made our way back onto the road until we reached the beach.  This is a pebble beach and ankle-twisting for much of its length..  The beach is not the prettiest around - industrial/farming rubbish and detritus left above the high water mark.  A ferry trip across to Gigha for a couple of hours for some liquid refreshment rounded off the day nicely.
 
Tayinloan to Carradale started off by what we thought was a pointless walk through a housing estate to the beach, along the foreshore and then back to the road only a few hundred yards from where we left it.  A farmer's gate and the pedestrian gate were chained together with a heavy duty chain and padlock which barred out route.  The rest of the walk to the top was on good forestry track and quiet roads. .The quiet pretty downhill walk was anything but.  On leaving the forest car park you have to go up through overgrown vegetation for what seemed like several hundred feet before coming down a very steep and winding track which could be slippery  in wet weather. The food and service in the local inn along the road from Kiloran Guest House was excellent.
 
Carradale to Campbeltown.  The proper route takes you to the shore at Waterfoot but what is not explained is that this route is impassable at high tide and you have to return to the road.  There is a long and steep climb before branching off along more good forestry tracks until you reach a fork in the track.  If you are not doing the diversion to Bellochantuy you must take the left hand fork to Loch Lussa which has been kindly arrowed by a previous walker in stones on the ground.. The walk is a good one along tracks and farm roads until you reach a long downhill stretch along a minor road into Campbeltown.

Campbeltown to Dunaverty.  We took the advice given by several people to take the bus between Campbeltown and Machrihanish.  The road is about 5 miles and very busy with no footpaths.  Our day was perfect - beautiful sunshine all day with magnificent vistas as far as Northern Ireland.  The road from Machrihanish bus station was long and steep, then up through farmland and across moors climbing all the way, before a steep descent into a valley.  The views could not be faulted.  Then up the steep sides of Cnoc Moy/Mor observing feral goats on the way, before descending onto a good farmtrack.  For some reason the Way then leaves the good track and hugs the tree line of a forest/woods at Largiebaan.  This appears to be another pointless diversion as the ground underfoot is very boggy and tough going undulating up a large hill.  All the time the good farmtrack is not far  below us.  Then the decent, which is very steep.  The waymarkers lead us into the right-hand corner of a field before turning left to a stile several hundred yards away across yet more very boggy ground.  It would have been better to walk diagonally across the field from the top of the hill to the stile.  I read somewhere that the walk from here to Southend/Dunaverty is about 5 kms - it is not!  It is 5 miles and we felt every weary bit of it to the end of the bay.  We had a great day, and we did have the weather on our side.  The waymarkers leading up to Largiebaan could easily be missed in inclement or misty conditions.  All in all we did enjoy ourselves - the weather was kind to us on most days and the views were fantastic.  The local people we met along the way could not have been more helpful, from the B and B owners (especially at Dunultach) to Brian of Tayinloan taxis who carried us and our baggage between overnight stops. . The walk does have its rough patches, but has only been going as a walk since late last year.  I'm sure in time it will get better.
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