Round Britain: Machrihanish to Glendaruel

Our last evening in Machrihanish arrived with a thunderstorm after two warm and sunny days. We got our waterproofs out and walked to a local hostelry for our evening meal. I was glad to have seen the sunset the previous evening. On a dry, warm morning we first drove down to the southern part of the Mull of Kintyre on the B842. It runs through farmland and forests to Southend and Dunaverty Bay. There was a seal resting on a rock. There were several oystercatchers on the beach and one heron on a rock further out who flew off before I could get a photograph.

We returned to Campbeltown to pick up some supplies and continued on the B842 on the northern side of Campbeltown Loch. The road passes through Peninver and Ardnacross Bay before reaching Saddell Bay which is said to be where Paul McCartney’s Mull of Kintyre video was filmed. Across the other side of the water towards Portvadie is where Polphail Village was flattened in 2016 when it was only 40 years old. The village was built to accommodate 500 workers for a nearby oil platform construction yard but it was never occupied and remained a ghost town from the day it was completed to the day it was bulldozed. It is said to have provided a home to a colony of bats and a blank canvas for street artists. We made a short diversion down a side road to Carradale Bay where we hoped to find a coffee. The harbour was quiet

and the tea room was closed. We had to continue past Grogport and Claonaig before arriving in Tarbert to top up the caffeine levels.

We were then back on the A83 which like many roads in this part of Scotland is lined with rhododendrons, crocosmia and bamboo: all non-native garden escapes from the estates that brought these plants into the country in the late 18th and 19th centuries.  The road continues through Lochgilphead and Inverary, passing the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar which we ate in many years ago during a holiday with some friends. After Cairndow we took the A815 and then the A886 heading south on the Cowal Peninsula to Glendaruel. The River Ruel runs down to the Kyles of Bute. The campsite we stayed at for one night is on the site of Glendaruel House. In the Second World war it was requisitioned and used as a hospital. Afterwards it was sold, used as a hotel and then destroyed by a fire in 1970. The population of the village is now less than 200 and it has lost a lot of its services including a post office, tea room, hotel and general store. The campsite is quiet and surrounded by woodland which provides some welcome shade in the hot weather.

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