Today is going to be predominantly road walking around the Rosneath Peninsula which juts out into the Firth of Clyde, bounded in the east by the Gare Loch and in the west by Loch Long. No need to worry about public transport today as my route will take me on a long circular walk back to my car. It is a beautiful sunny autumnal day, with little wind and a crisp clear visibility as I drive to the car park observation point at Whistlefield above Garelochhead. All of the Arrochar Alps are visible, including their tops. It is a great morning to be walking in Scotland.
I am walking in a clockwise direction today as I drop down on the B872 into Garelochhead to pick up the B833, which runs around most of the way around the Peninsula. There is no footpath along the road and the traffic is not too busy, I keep on the verges as often as I can. Walking along the road is still quite pleasant with the only noise coming from across the loch at Faslane, with the punctuated sound of small arms firing at the military firing range.
As I am walking due south I walking directly into the sun, although for most of the way I am sheltered by the canopy of trees lining the roadway. I pass through the hamlets of Mambeg, Rahane and Clynder before coming into the small village of Rosneath, from which the Peninsula gets its name. The village of Rosneath is quite new, but during the Second World War, was a large naval base, which was taken over by the Americans who had a huge base here. There is little left of the base which was demolished 50 years ago, but for a few tin sheds and oil tanks.
After about 2 hours I leave the road and turn into a large caravan park. It’s quite difficult to navigate through the park, but I manage to find the small lane leading to Green Island plantation which was part of the large American naval base with some 6000 servicemen stationed here. The walk around to Culwatty Bay through the trees is delightful. I emerge from the plantation and am now walking through grass pastures below Gallows Hill. I am now standing on the southern end of the Peninsula looking across the Firth of Clyde to Greenock and Gourock. I sit on a large boulder on the beach and eat my lunch. I spot a Royal Naval vessel out in the Firth. using my binoculars I see it is has the Number P282 – which I later find out is HMS Severn (a river that runs 3 miles from my home) – River Class Vessel used for enforcing UK & EU fishing regulations. It is a fantastic spot for taking in the view up and down the Clyde towards Arran, Bute and Dunoon.
I finish my lunch and walk into Kilcreggan just as the rather noisy passenger ferry service is arriving from Gourock. Kilcreggan blends into the adjacent hamlet of Cove and stretches for about 3 miles along the B833.
The houses along this road section are amazing, quite huge with some fantastic features. As I continue along the road, the fifth or six police car passes me again, giving me the evil eye. I suspect they are MOD police, although they look like ‘ordinary’ police, they have slightly different badges, which are different to the local Constabulary. I had a few “words” with their Civil Nuclear Police colleagues earlier this year at Hinkley Point.
I am now heading north along Loch Long. The road is quite quiet, apart from the odd police car! I know that when I reach Coulport I will have to turn inland as there is a large naval base on the shoreline here. The road I am now on for the next three and half miles goes up the hill from the base and is MOD Property. It is some road, really wide, with wide grass verges all mown, no apparent speed limit and has crash barriers either side for most of its length. Most of the vehicles, including the Police, travel up and down the road at speeds you would normally see on a German Autobahn! I am glad to get to the end of this road as it had become a soulless plod. I reach the roundabout and exit the MOD road and walk about 400m down the B872 back to the car.
Still, a nice walk, just a shame about the finish.
NB: I also publish all my Scottish Blog entries on the excellent Scottish Hills website, I use the same narrative, but larger photos and a few extra ones. They can be found here:
Distance today = 22.5 miles
Total distance = 2369.5 miles
2 thoughts on “143. Garelochhead – Rosneath Peninsula”
I did wonder if you’d take the ferry over to Arran and miss out this section of the coast, but I see you’re doing it properly! Sounds like a good walk, despite the road-walking.
Hi Ruth, I had planned to only use the Corran ferry across Loch Linnhe (about 40 walking days up the line), but ive decided to not use a single ferry in Scotland. There are a couple of interesting challenges coming up on the next couple of trips. The first one, is that in 2012 I completed climbing the Corbetts (hills between 2500′ to 3000′ high), since then however, a mountain has been reclassified ( re-measured more accurately) a Corbett (its called Cnoc Coinnich) and it will be just off my next route> I therefore intend to include this hill and Beinn Reithe into my next section on the walk to Lochgoilhead. Scotland was/is always going to be the toughest in logistic and endurance terms. This part of Scotland, The Clyde Sea Lochs, is slightly frustrating with all the ups and downs, but its worth it. And then after this comes, Kintyre, disappearing over 100 miles back down south!