Tuesday 2nd August 2011 Weather was wet first thing. Walked from Drummore to Mull of Galloway… the southern-most tip of Scotland, where I visited the RSPB centre and lighthouse. Lots of donations. Then I retraced my steps before bearing off to Port Logan where I stayed at The Logan Inn who were generous in their support for my walk. Lovely views. I could see Northern Ireland clearly.
Wednesday 3rd August 2011 Walked along roads to Portpatrick under sunny skies. I arrived at “The Waterfront Hotel” and immediately felt at home. What a lovely place. Discovered that this week-end was a major fundraiser for the RNLI so decided to hang around for a couple of days and collect donations for Alzheimer Scotland from the crowds as well!
Thursday 4th August – Sunday 7th August 2011 Stayed at the beautiful “Waterside Hotel” and enjoyed the RNLI and Air Sea Rescue fundraising events along with raft races etc… The collection tin filled up accordingly!
Monday 8th August 2011 After my lovely stay at The Waterfront Hotel, I headed up to Stranraer where I joined the local Rotary Club as the guest of Tom Stephenson and talked about my walk to its members. My thanks to the Club for its generosity and support. Then onto the local Alzheimer Scotland office for a photo for the local paper and chat with the office’s staff.
Tuesday 9th August 2011 I was due to update BBC Radio Solent on my walk at 6.30 this morning. They called me instead to postpone the interview until tomorrow because of the rioting and looting . I was met after breakfast by Tom Stephenson and we set off along “his” new path – “The Loch Ryan Coastal Path” which he had helped to create. At lunchtime we were met by a path maintenance volunteer called Alistair and together they went off to work on maintaining the path elsewhere whilst I tucked into my packed lunch, before continuing along the path to Ballantrae.
Wednesday 10th August 2011 Ballantrae to Girvan (15 miles Satmap). Despite the weather forecast, the day was mainly dry. I followed the Ayrshire cast path which basically runs along the A77 with a couple of stretches which run slightly inland. Used a luggage transfer service today and enjoyed the lighter load on my back.
Thursday 11th August 2011 6.30 am radio interview with Julian Clegg at BBC Radio Solent. Then walked in the rain up to “Maidens” where I stayed in the “Malin Court Hotel” who made a generous contribution to my walk.
Friday 12th August 2011 Walked 16.3 miles (Satmap) from Maidens to Ayr. A little bit of beach walking and then a beautiful section round past “Culzean Castle”. I had a chat with a guy who was renting a cottage on the shore who told me he had spent the previous evening watching an otter swimming around just off the shore. In Ayr I stayed at the “Daviot House” B&B.
Saturday 13th August 2011 Explored the town of Ayr and walked up the River Doon where I met two fishermen, George and Geoff, who had caught a salmon each.
Sunday 14th August 2011 (16.4 miles Satmap) from Ayr to Irvine. Dry and sunny. Plenty of beach walking and saw a dead seal pup. Stayed in an un-manned guest house where access is gained via door codes, money left in an envelope and then posted into a safe box etc… It worked well!
Monday 15th August 2011 (11 miles Satmap) from Irvine to Ardrossan. Stayed at “The Lauriston Hotel” who have made a generous contribution to the walk. Visited the local Alzheimer Scotland office and met Susan Maxwell and Suzy Ogston who work for the charity.
Tuesday 16th August 2011 Took the ferry over to Brodick on the Isle of Arran. Very excited to get onto this beautiful island with its rolling southern lowlands and its spectacular northern mountains including Goatfell which is a little short of Munro status. The stunning “Douglas Hotel” provided me with free accommodation.
Wednesday 17th August 2011 Walked from Brodick up the east coast of Arran, and steadily fell in love with the place! I squeezed through the mountains on the northern part of the isle passing rivers and waterfalls to Lochranza and stayed at “The Lochranza Hotel”.
Thursday 18th August 2011 Took the ferry from Lochranza across to the mainland again and Kintyre. I met “Caroline and Simon” on the ferry who had been passing me regularly as I had made my way along the coast and had met in Brodick. They agreed to take my kit to the “Carradale Hotel” so I was able to walk with a lighter load along quiet roads and then a forestry track where I found an adder basking in the sun and also started to attract the attention of the first “proper” midges I had encountered on the walk.
Friday 19th August 2011 Decided to have a rest day and explored Carradale which has three hamlets linked together by tracks.
Saturday 20th August 2011 After breakfast, I packed up and was told that the hotel’s housekeeper would be glad to drive my kit bag to Campbeltown. The weather was lovely – sunny with a cool breeze. This afternoon I saw my first otter on the whole walk. It was while I was having a tea break in Ardancros Bay. I spotted him swimming along the shore just beyond the small waves breaking on the beach. Thrilled!
Sunday 21st August 2011 (15.2 miles Satmap) from Campbeltown to Southend. Staying at the “Argyll Arms Hotel”. Lovely to walk some of the way along the shore. As I head down towards the Mull of Kintyre the area is feeling more and more remote. No mobile signal anywhere!
Monday 22nd August 2011 Walked from Southend to the Mull of Kintyre along the road with cars heading for the same destination. Some of the drivers stopped and placed money in the tin. At Keil Point I spotted my second otter. I visited the “Chinook Memorial” dedicated to those who died in a helicopter which crashed into the Mull of Kintyre in 1995. Then continued down the steep and winding road leading to the lighthouse. At this point, Northern Ireland is only 13 miles away. On the return leg back to Southend, I received more donations from drivers who had spotted me heading to the Mull of Kintyre, and now saw mr for a second time on my return! Midges were out and about again but not too bad.
Tuesday 23rd August 2011 Walked from Southend back up to Campbeltown and stayed in the “Argyll Arms Hotel”. A useful contact in the local area is “Mari Graham” who runs a local luggage transfer service.
Wednesday 24th August 2011 Walked along the A83 from Campbeltown across Kintyre to its west coast. A lovely sunny afternoon. Sandy bays. Enjoyed watching the mullet cruise around crystal clear pools behind the reefs and rocks. Arrived at the "Argyll Hotel” in Bellonchantuy which is delightful. I had a window overlooking the beach towards Islay. Spectacular thunderstorm and subsequent sunset.
Thursday 25th August 2011 A dry day with sunny periods. Walked from Bellanchantuy to Clachan and staying at “Dunultach” B&B surrounded by bleating sheep. Lovely views across towards Islay, Jura and Gigha.
Friday 26th August – Monday 29th August 2011 Walked from Clachan to Tarbert, having interviewed my host and his friend about their respective flying careers in helicopters. Arrived in “Tarbert” and staying at “The Anchor Hotel”.
Tuesday 30th August 2011 Bus from Tarbert to Glasgow. Visited the Alzheimer Scotland centre at Glasgow and had a chance to meet most of the local Charity team there who are doing incredible work in the local area.
Wednesday 31st August 2011 Train from Glasgow down to London. I will return to Glasgow on 12th September and continue onto Tarbert on 13th September from where I will continue along the coast until the Scottish winter stops me until the spring!