Legs 12,13 & 14 Preview, West Coast of Scotland
The West coast of Scotland for many is the jewel of the UK coastline, and there is good reason. However this trip is about the entire UK coast and not just the treats that exist to be found in Scotland. Thats said I am obviously driving down most of the West Coast, as part of this trip. I say most as not all of it has connecting roads, and indeed many hundreds of miles could be covered to include the sea lochs where they stretch inland for miles. Its about the whole trip for me in the time available, and as I have said in nearly all my posts its about the most appropriate road. Sounds like a get out clause and I guess it is in some places.
Ullapool to Ardnamurchan
This is a challenging stage as I head out south from Ullapool and follow the “Wester Ross Way” south to the Kyle of Lochalsh. Before there however I shall visit Applecross, returning to the main road via the Bealach na Ba route.
From the Kyle of Lochalsh, I intend not to follow the normal mainland route of heading inland west to Fort August then following the road south the Fort William, but instead cross the Bridge to Skye and follow the main road South to the ferry post in Armdale. From there catch the late (alas booked the only available ferry slot) over the Malaig and the final 40 or so miles to my overnight stop.
Depending on how long it takes to get to Applecross it will decide if I stop for Lunch at the Applecross inn (well recommended) or press on and spend time exploring the road to Elgol (a wee village in Skye that has stunning view of the Cullin Ridge) before the drive to the ferry port. Time will tell.
Ardnamurchan to Cambeltown
Another day another super long stage, heading south still. The day starts with a stall. as I will be needing the services of Salen Laundry! Yes thats right its all hold off for a couple of hours whilst I watch my goods going around. Assuming all goes to plan, its drive over to the lighthouse (too make the final Western most point of the compass of the UK mainland) then catch the ferry across the bay and into Tobermory for late morning. From there head off on a wee tour of the island. Again the ferry bookings limits who can get on and off the island back to Oban. I have a late 3:30pm ferry due to arrive and unload around 4:30pm.
From there I have a 100 or so miles to head sound the Cambeltown, right at the southern end of the Mull of Kintyre. Using the Isle of Mull like yesterday (on Skye) is a far better prospect than endless miles up and down the shores of lochs around Fort William. Its within the spirit of my trip ideals (and more fun).
Cambeltown to the Mull of Gallway
Okay so there are some red lines on this map, which indicate alternative ways (and by all means not the only way to deal with this area). From Campbeltown I am now heading north up the other-side of the Kintyre, towards Tarbert and this is where I need to decide on one of three main routes. Firth is to use the ferry over to the Isle of Arran, which has a great road all the way around the Island, then jump on the other ferry back to the mainland. But its missing the Greenock and Bute areas out. Secondly I could catch the ferry from Tarbert and follow the route marked in Blue around to Glasgow (there are far longer versions of this which twiddle in and out of the headlands adding 150 miles getting you back where you started)! Lastly, route three is to follow most of the route in blue but jump onto the Isle of Bute, then catch another ferry off and over to the mainland, therefore missing the hassle that in Glasgow, but doing some of the twiddly bits and more in keeping with the route ideals.
From whichever route I take its drive south to the Mull of Galway the most southerly tip of Scotland, I visited this once when I went tall ship sailing as a 18 year old, I don’t remember much other than having to walk form the bay we anchored in to the nearest pub some several miles away.
The next preview post sees me leave Scotland and finish of the English coast as aI pass the Lakes Blackpool and Liverpool and enter North Wales, the final kingdom on the drive.
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