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Sunday, 22 April 2012

Day 11 - Ardrishaig Loch Fyne to Stranraer

Actual Miles Driven Today - 265

Allt-na Craig Hotel - Ardrishaig
My route today would take me over part of the road that I used to use when working in Campbeltown. 

It would take me from the Hotel to Inverary initially and then on towards the Rest and Be Thankful pass. 

I would leave this road at the village of Cairndow on Loch Fyne and follow the loch southwards until I reach the Oystercatcher Inn at what is called Otter Ferry. 

There has been no ferry there since the 1960's though.

The Crinan Canal -Loch Fyne End
My first stop in Lochgilphead was for yet another Daily Tank Fill. 

While waiting to pay, both I and the manager saw a young woman use my pump and fill a plastic fuel tank and then get into her car parked off court and drive off. 

My bill had already been registered so it did not affect me.

Through Lochgilphead
This was the garage that my old work colleague Harry Rea and I would stop on a Friday on the way home and buy a Magnum Ice Lolly for our journey to Glasgow Airport. 

Like most of the old haunts in Kintyre they have been re developed. This one has been turned into a Tesco Garage, handy for other things, thus I was in a queue for the till when the Petrol Magpie struck.

Towards The Loch Fyne end at Inverary
My Photoshoot position
As I drove along and into Inverary, my memory of the road was coming back making the drive even more enjoyable. 

Unlike some of the Locals, who must overtake everyone even at risky places, I prefer to just cruise at a reasonable pace giving me time to take my snaps on the move.

Looking Along the Loch Side
At Inverary Harbourside I was joined by a large group of Toyota MR2 owners who were touring Scotland in the opposite direction to me. 

They were from all over the UK and Ireland and quite a few of them showed interest in what I was doing to the extent that some banknote donations were made. 

I was parked in a prohibited area for my Photoshoot until an approaching Warden was spotted so I bid my farewell and headed off.

Waiting at the Narrow Bridge
As I have not posted this blog yet – I can now tell you that in extracting my H4H Tin to take some donations, I propped my 'Boat Bag' with Tonneau inside on the front of my suitcase. 

As I drove off quickly to avoid said Traffic Warden, it must have slipped off and is now Lost!!!!  
I am hoping the one of the Toyota Drivers saw it and still has it so that I have a chance of trying to recover it. 

The Bag is designed to be strapped on but, as my High Brake Light Cobra has come loose again for the umpteen time, I have been keeping the bag in the car.*#*#*#*

Inverary Castle from the Top of The Bridge (Duke of Argyll) 
Exiting Inverary on the Glasgow road is a traffic light controlled Hump Back Bridge. Pausing at the top gives a very clear shot of Inverary castle, the home of the Dukes of Argyll, much to the annoyance of the car following me. Hey! Ive been in worse fixes! (could have been trying to tell me about my bag???)

It is not far round the Loch Fyne end that the right hand turn to Dunoon appears. I would be returing along this same road after my circuit of the Cowal Peninsular. Here most of the roads are single track with passing places with lots of blind summits and quite a switchback so much concentration is needed to drive at pace. 

I nicknamed the Mog 'Road Eater'after yesterdays debacle on the Mull of Kintyre. I noticed this morning that my offside headlamp glass is cracked and holed. 

I could kick myself as I intended to fit protection grills to them but with the negative pressure from SWMBO about the stickers I decided not to.

At Otter Ferry
Owners Dog
At the Oystercatcher where I stopped for Elevenses, I met a local Gentleman, dressed in Scottish Tweeds, who had been a Morgan owner in the past. 

His knowledge of Morgans was far greater than mine so we conversed for about 20mins around the car until he realised that my coffee was going cold on the outside table. 

It was gloriously sunny and warm there.

Towards Dunoon

He tipped me off not to proceed along the short peninsular road due to blockages and mess caused by forestry work in process. 

So I intended to cut across but missed the turning and followed my original route anyway without any bother to the Kyles of Bute shoreline village of Tighnabruich.

A Dunoon Ferry
I arrived at Dunoon after a fabulous run down a very long and windy steep hill – Fabulous. 

I don't remember climbing up that high. It must have been gradual over a long distance? 

I drove south through the town before turning to drive back north again along the waterfront to the Famous Hunters Quay, where the J Class Racing Yachts of the 1930's used to be built, and then around the smaller Holy Loch.

Hunters Quay in the distance
The A815 back to the Glasgow road is another easy fast drive all on one level along the side of landlocked Loch Eck.


On the Glasgow road the next part is the Best Part as the road passes between mountains to reach the 'Rest and Be Thankful' pass before what was a great run down into the village of Arrochar at the top of Loch Long. 

http://www.arrocharheritage.com/HistoryOfRABT.htm

I stopped at the top in two places for photos. The parking area has now been turned into a multi staged car park complete with Burger Van.

The Rest & Be Thankful

Looking Back towards the West

The run down the hill was spoilt for me today as there were more landslide road works half way down the best part. 

At Arrochar, I would turn off of the Glasgow road to take the road to Helensburgh on the east side of Loch Long and then Gair Lock which also passes the Faslane Nuclear Submarine base.

I had planned a photo stop there but when I saw the high security in operation I just went on by, very quietly. I noticed the New Age Travellers 'Peace Camp' in the bushes on the opposite side of the road.

Along the Faslane fence
The driving fun was over. It was School Run time in Helensburgh and Dumbarton and the traffic was hell. A 45min crawl to get back onto the Erskine Bridge Road. I was now very late against my planned times.

A Wedding in Full Highland Dress
The Old Jackie Stewart Family Garage at Dumbuck
I crossed the Erskine Bridge with ease and turned onto the M8 West towards Greenock and the Ayrshire coast.

On the Erskine Bridge
Shipyard Cranes in Greenock
The Giant Landmark Crane

Once at the end of the M8 there was more heavy traffic led by the Camper Van that wants to drive at 15 mph below the limit. 

Now, I was totally fed up.

Over the Shoulder Shot of Largs Lighthouse
 At the first opportunity, I turned onto the A77 at Prestwick for a faster run to Turnbury.

Resting near Turnburry
Ailsa Craig - Home of  the Curling Stone Boulders
Now we are moving!
A Colourful Welcome to Stranraer

The Ferry to Ireland
Here at last - What a 3 day Slog.
That was a good move as I was back onto driving roads with very light traffic. 

I arrived in Stranraer in no time at all, clawing back over 45 mins.

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