Thursday, June 19, 2008

Cowal Way, Day 3: Glenbranter to Lochgoilhead

This day's walk was described as the most challenging of all sections by my guidebook, because of the bogginess and lack of a proper path for much of the walk. At first I walked along the old main road, then I made a detour up to the village of Strachur to buy some food. Then it was back down to a side road that led me to the forestry road up into the hills. The total distance for the day was to be 11 miles, but what with my detours I probably ended up walking a full 15 by the day's end.

The path was very good up until I got along a burn (stream) that led to a lochan (little loch) up on the pass. Then it got very boggy and uneven. The wind had picked up at that point, but it was on my back fortunately.

Then once past the lochan, the trail pretty much disappeared at times and where it existed it was really muddy. I had to pick my way down a hill, skirting cliffs around the base of a waterfall, and that took a while. Even so, I beat my guidebook's estimate of 7 hours walking time (I seem to walk faster than the person it estimates for) and came down into "outer" Lochgoilhead after 3pm. I spent the afternoon taking care of food and then hunting for a good place to camp, eventually deciding on a spot in the woods outside of the village, where there was no midges!

Now some photos.

I'd walked miles away from the road by now, and here were someone's cows and sheep pasturing. Trickier back fields to get to than farmers have in PEI.

Mist rising off the hills.
Currain Lochan, very wavey due to a strong wind.

Cliffs I had to pick my way around coming down off the Lochain pass to get down to Lochgoilhead.


Lochgoilhead, at the head of Loch Goil, of all things.

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