The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Monday 8 May 2017

Carn Breugach (Isle of Kerrera)

Carn Breugach (NM815278; 189m)

As a rule I choose not to go on boats, but even I could stand the thought of the <0.5km crossing over to the Isle of Kerrera, which sits just opposite Oban, so at 8.43 this morning we strode purposefully towards the slipway for the 8.45 ferry. That was, I confess, cutting it a bit fine, but a series of faffs and delays had caused us to run a bit later than intended, and we had in mind that it was no problem to miss the first ferry of the day, as they ran every half an hour.

Miss the first ferry we did, as we entered the slipway to see it just pulling away, ahead of schedule, and despite the efforts of a local to call it back, we insisted that we would wait. Then we found that the next ferry wasn’t until 10.30.

That wouldn’t have been a problem, except that we intended to come back on the last ferry before the lunch break, at 12.30, which meant that we would now only have two hours on the island, rather than the intended 3.5, and thus we wouldn’t have time for a circuit of the island as well as our hill.

The 10.30 crossing proved to be so popular that three boat loads of people turned up, but we were near the front of the queue, and thus it was just before 10.30 that we stepped off the boat and wasted no time in heading to our objective (which, incidentally, is the view out of Bertie’s front window as I sit and write this. I would take a snap, except the sun is currently sitting right above the summit). Our pace didn’t prevent us from noticing the state of the cars on the island. There are no public roads there, and thus no need for things such as MOTs, and the first vehicle we saw had one headlight held in by twine … and empty holes where the other lights should have been!


I forgot to start the Garmin Gadget until after we left the track to attack the hill. The dark green line is drawn in to represent our outward route. The light green line is what was recorded once Mick had (belatedly!) reminded me to press ‘start’.

Our revised, shorter route was still a clockwise circuit, but a much smaller one than originally intended, with the highpoint of the island being its focal point. Down the track towards the castle and tea-room we went, until a convenient gate presented itself 1.2 miles later. The climb up from there was steep – but then so was the whole of this side of the hill – but it was doable and before we knew it we were huffing and puffing our way onto the top.



Our route down lay to the NE, which kept us on high ground for a while, before allowing us to descend gently to an unmapped track, which leads to the ‘main’ track that cuts across the island. Past a small handful of houses, and the chapel, we went before finding ourselves back at the slipway half an hour ahead of schedule, in time for the noon ferry. I’ll bet there aren’t many tourists who only spend an hour and a half on the island, but we had done what we had gone to do, even if it was a bit of a shame to have missed out on a bigger exploration of the place.

(As an aside, the only reason we didn’t want to stay on the island until the ferries resumed at 2.30 was because our next port of call was a campsite, and we wanted to get a headstart on the chores that have been stacking up, waiting for us to have access to facilities. It didn’t come to our attention until this trip was underway that there’s a very sorry lack of campsites in the bits of Argyll & Bute where we have been travelling - a fact that hasn’t been helped by the slow speed at which we have moved from Loch Lomond to Oban (I imagine that many tourists are happy to do that journey in a day). In fact, three weeks into our trip, this is only the second one that has lay near our route (ignoring Luss, who wouldn’t let us stay). It’s made for a very cheap trip so far, but it is also nice to have access to facilities every now and then.)

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