Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Cowal Way, Day 2: Glendaruel to Glenbranter

I woke up to sunshine and no sign of rain (nor the intense midge swarms of the night before), so I was a happy camper as I laid out things in the sun to dry while I had a shower and breakfast. It did drizzle a bit as I packed up, but nothing too much to worry about.

The walk for the day was to be not too long or hard, around 12-13 miles I think. I set off down the single-track road, probably the old "main" road as it ran parallel to the now main road. However, after a couple of miles where a bridge was supposed to be, I reached a "Road Closed" and construction site fence. The bridge was being repaired/replaced, and I couldn't pass through as it was a job site (hard hat, etc. required). Checking out my map, I saw no easy way around, nor an easy way to the main road that didn't involve risks of bogginess while cutting through pastures (after the mud incident of the day before, I was eager to not get covered in smelly mud early on in the day). So I walked back to the campsite and out to the main road around there. The main road met up with the next stage of the walk, staring at Garvie Burn onto Foresty Commission roads to go through to Glenbranter.

The walk through the forest had a few steepish hills, but was on a good track so not too bad really. It rained lightly and then it stopped and then it started again. I didn't see any people, just sheep, until I came out at Glenbranter Village, where there's houses and forestry offices, around 4pm. Glenbranter is along the river Cur, which runs into Loch Eck from the north-ish direction.

I'd decided to treat myself to a night in a bunkhouse (to dry out) and a cooked meal, so I caught a bus down the road after 5pm to the Whistlefield Inn, on the shore of Loch Eck, which you may remember me mentioning from the days when I lived a few more miles down the road from it. The bunkhouse was just like a hostel, with great heaters for drying things in front of, and I had an excellent burger for supper, Aberdeen Angus beef mixed with haggis.

Glendaruel, from the churchyard. An old archway on the road through Clachan of Glendaruel.

On the Forestry Commission road, sheep running from me. Even the ones in fields beside roads where they should see people often ran away from me. Maybe it was the backpack, gave me a weird shape to them.
Looking back toward the hills surrounding Glendaruel (it would be on the right, with the wind turbines on the hill defining the left side of the glen).
Coming down into Glenbranter.

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