May 25th, 2014
Yesterday R and I finally walked all the way to Ardentinny from Castle Carrick. This was our third attempt. The first time it started to pour with rain just as we got started. The second time we went with a friend – I will call him J…
J lives in the city and doesn’t do a lot of exercise. So a few weeks ago he came over for the weekend and seemed a bit surprised when I told him the plan was to walk to Ardentinny and back which would be ‘about eight miles’ that afternoon. He had already had a long walk to get to the station and I got the feeling he wasn’t feeling that enthusiastic. I was right – we got about two miles into the walk and he started to get a blister so we gave up and came back. My thought was that we had got about half way there at that point.
So yesterday we set out at 9am, and didn’t take a packed lunch because we were expecting to be back by 1:30pm at the latest. We set our ViewRanger tracker to measure how far we were walking and set off. Some time after we passed the point we had got to the last time – we looked to see how far we had come, and it was nearly four miles – but according to ViewRanger we were nowhere like there. To cut a long story short, we got to Ardentinny beach at 5.5 miles, at which point it was after 12 and still half a mile into the village centre.
Ardentinny is an interesting and pretty village with a nice beach, a walled garden and a fishing fleet consisting of a single prawn boat. It also happens to have the Ardentinny hotel where we now decided to have lunch as we were getting pretty hungry. We walked on for twenty minutes or so past a few tents where some seriously well equipped campers were breaking out the barbeques and cool bags. We took a picture of the prawn boat. And then, seriously ready for lunch, we came to the hotel; it was closed and looked as though it was in the process of being renovated into a private house. There was no hotel, no shop, no tearoom, no pub no nothing. We had just seen one bus disappear over the hill and there wouldn’t be another one in a hurry.
We walked back past the campers, contemplating how we could mug them and steal their sausages. But we didn’t and walked the hungry long way home – finally arriving at 3:30pm. In spite of what it says on the signpost it is in fact six miles from Carrick Castle to the (closed) hotel.
I was thanking my lucky stars we hadn’t dragged J with us the rest of the way because we wouldn’t have got back until about 8pm. And more importantly, J may fairly be said to like his beer, and the only way we would have been able to console him for it being such a long way would have been to point him at the foaming pint of ale at the end. If the foaming pint of ale had then been found not to exist, violence may well have ensued.
Anyway, highly recommended walk with great views across Loch Goil and then Loch Long and a super beach with seals bobbing about watching you go past (first seals we have seen here). But take a picnic.