Total distance – 3.1 Kilometres
Ascent – 10 metres
Walking conditions – Sand and rock underfoot. No difficulties.
Nearest town – Mallaig
My wife was born and bred in a west of Scotland seaside town and is therefore an expert on the Gulf Stream. Being regular visitors of Largs my wife never misses the opportunity to inform me that the abundance of palm trees is a result of the Gulf Stream. I must confess that I am now losing the ability to display surprise and wonder at these revelations. Fortunately, our recent trip to Morar allowed my wife to enlighten me on a Gulf Stream fact that I am less familiar with. As it turns out the beautiful silver sand of Morar originates from the other side of the Atlantic and is transported by the Gulf Stream. And what a sight!
For this particular walk you don’t really need a route map as it’s basically a walk along one of the most breath-taking and magnificent beaches in Scotland. But for what it’s worth, we set off at the car park which is next to the public toilets on the B8008 a few hundred metres west of the A830 on the south bank of the estuary of the River Morar. From there, follow the short, sandy footpath straight to the beach. At this point, just turn left and walk across the sand in the direction of Muck, Rum and Eigg which you’ll see in the distance. Depending on the tide you’ll be able to walk for about 1 kilometre or so until the coastline bears left in a SW direction. At this stage you’re as well climbing a few feet onto one of the rocky outcrops for sandwiches and an uninterupted view of the islands. It’s then just a case of retracing your footsteps back to the car.
Make sure you visit the village of Morar whilst you’re there. If you’re lucky you might catch the Jacobite steam train at the station. And just next to the station across the level crossing, if you take the footpath to the left it takes you on a quick 30 metre ascent up to a fantastic viewpoint featuring a large cross.
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Total distance – 8.2 Kilometres
Ascent – 220 metres
Walking conditions – Well defined dirt footpaths and forest tracks. Some walking on pavements beside roads. No difficulties.
Time required – 2.5 to 4 hours
Nearest Town – Helensburgh
The fire at the Glasgow’s School of Art may well have destroyed some of Charles Rennie MacKintosh’s greatest work, but certainly not all of it. I’m reliably informed that Hill House is a shining example of the genius of Charles Rennie MacKintosh, but more importantly, it is the starting point of a delightful walk from Helensburgh to Rhu which provides fantastic views of the Firth of Clyde for most of the way.
Start at the footpath next to Hill House which is heading in a WNW direction. Continue on this path for about one Kilometre. Take the second footpath on the right (don’t take the first path that travels along the tree line up the hill or you’ll probably end up in Loch Lomond) for around 300 metres then go left. The path will now take you on a very gentle descent for about 1.5 Kilometres down to Rhu. This provides fantastic views of the Gare Loch and the Firth of Clyde. After you’ve wound your way through the residential area walk along the shoreline for about half a Kilometre when you’ll see a swing park and public toilets right next to the water. This is an ideal place to stop for a sandwich. It’s probably best to then double back about 100 metres into the residential area then ascend up through Duchess Wood to meet the footpath you started on, then make your way back across to Hill House.
Make sure you take the time to go for a wander around Helensburgh Town Centre. It’s got a large pier which is a fantastic spot to get tucked into a tasty Helensburgh fish supper!
Total distance – 6.5 Kilometres
Ascent – 50 metres
Walking conditions – Well defined dirt footpath. No difficulties.
Time required – Around 1.5 to 2.5 hours.
Everything’s an adventure when you’ve got small children. This exact thought occurred to me when I was jumping around excitedly on the top deck of the scheme bus from Anstruther to Crail trying to get a great family snap because it’s been a while since I’ve been on a bus. I then briefly re-considered my complete over-reaction to being on a bus, before taking another dozen photos. Personally, I can’t think of a better plan than to jump on a bus only to walk all the way back to where you got on the bus. Especially if you’re at a particularly nice part of the Fife Coastal Path. Not to mention the bus stop being right next to an award-winning chippy, so the reward of a Fish Supper is on the cards.
From the bus stop in the centre of Crail, make your way towards the coast. You can’t miss it. We went down to the water right in the centre of town. however, the rocks and boulders were quite awkward to walk through so it’s probably best joining the coastal path at the Southern end of the town. The walk on the well-defined footpath is really straight forward and it’s just a case of following it back to Anstruther and you’re beside the sea the whole time. Highlights include some the very distinct rock formation that is known as ‘The Coves’. There is also a picture perfect play-park which is ideal for the kids just as you’re walking into Anstruther.