On a sunny start to our last day of this trip we drove back up to the head of Loch Craignish to rejoin the A816. It turned inland and through some forests before we reached Carnasserie Castle.
The castle is a ruined 16th century tower house which was the home of the first Protestant Bishop of the Isles, Master John Carswell. He translated John Knox’s ‘Book of Our Common Order’ into Gaelic. This was the first book to be printed in Gaelic.
The castle is now under the care of Historic Scotland. We climbed up the stairs to see the view up Kilmartin Glen.
The Kilmartin Burn runs parallel to the road.
We then continued through Kilmartin and shortly afterwards, turned onto the B8025. Kilmartin has many ancient cairns and cup-marked rocks which you can find on walks around the village. We stopped at five standing stones in one of the fields near the road.
Further on we passed the Móine Mhór Nature Reserve before reaching the swing bridge at the beginning of the Crinan Canal at Bellanoch. It is only 9 miles long and runs from Crinan to Ardrishaig on Loch Fyne. Crinan is a small village located in Knapdale, which is part of Argyll and Bute. Before the Crinan Canal was built (it finally opened in 1809 after the first surveying began in 1777) Crinan was named Port Righ which meant the king’s port. We drove down to the harbour
and then round to the other side where we found a café next to the basin and locks.
Near Dunardy Locks we stopped for lunch. In addition to the locks was one ruined building. The information board said that it was Linnet Shed which had been the boathouse for a passenger boat called The Linnet which had been built in 1866. It left the shed in 1929 and was destroyed in a gale three years later.
Just past Cairnbaan we crossed a bridge and got back onto the A816. Soon after we were in Lochgilphead where we will spend our last night on this leg of our journey. It sits at the head of Loch Gilp which is an offshoot of Loch Fyne.
Lochgilphead was first laid out as a planned town in the late 18th century, soon after the completion of the road from Inveraray to Campbeltown. It’s importance grew after the Crinan Canal was completed. It is administrative centre of Argyll and Bute. Our mileage total for this section was 310 miles bringing the total of Round Britain so far to 3,909.