I spent the day walking round the Ardgarten Peninsula. It’s around 24 miles of forest track, high open moorland trails, with views of quiet lochs and seldom trodden peaks, plantation and indigenous woodland with incredibly rugged hillsides, there’s constant interest. There’s even a half way pit stop at Lochgoilhead.
I had a few reasons for being there, all of them WHW related: trying out some of the new kit with weight over a distance; seeing what my legs were like and trying the SPOT Tracker out (as some will now know, it works fine). But within a few paces from the motor if became a nice day out and I forgot to check and adjust the gear. This is a good thing, it means it fits right in immediately. I used the LIM45 pack and I like it very much, I wore the LIM Ozone for half the day and it’s also very nice. They both felt familiar which I didn’t expect.
But it was the trail which was the star of the day. I wandered blithely through the “Timber Operations No Access” which was interesting, it’s amazing how much mess they make. By the time I got to the Corran Lochan the temperature had dropped regardless of the bright sunshine and I layered up for the Dukes Pass, the high trail over the Southern point of the peninsula. As I headed towards Loch Goil the snow came in, a gentle soft snow, very pleasant. This is the best section of the walk, it’s single track, feet or mountain bikes only. It feels remote, I love it up here and Lochgoilhead is reached all too soon.
The man I met a mile or so outside it with no map and a panicked look stayed in my mind though. He was doing the same circuit as I was, but anticlockwise. “How far is it to Ardgarten?” “You’re about half way around” “Oh…”. I nearly gave him the SPOT, I think he needed it more that I did.
Tea by the wee harbour reset my legs to attack mode again and I was off towards the Rest and Be Thankful. Walking under the huge ice encrusted crags of Ben Donich with diminishing light was fantastic, the Gleann Mor section is a close second to the Dukes Pass. By the time I got to the Rest it was nearly dark, by the time I left it after a quick cuppa it was black. I did wonder about the uneasy hiker going the other way, did he have a headtorch?
It’s forest tracks all the way down to the carpark. On a mountain bike it’s a different prospect, a few minutes of teeth clenching, brake melting, hysterical laughing and you’re down. On foot is so much slower, epecially in the dark. Although with
a car head light the new Myo XP on my head there wasn’t much in the way of difficulty.
As I left the car park at 2100 the other car still parked there was very much on my mind. Did he get back okay?