Friday, 24 June 2011


In my last post we started on the journey down the eastern side of the Mull of Kintyre, and left off about midway, between Tarbert and the tip, at the harbour village of Carradale. Recommencing our trip, along the almost deserted B842, we enjoyed the views across Kilbrannan Sound to the Isle of Arran.
We stopped to walk Buzby again at a small inlet near Saddell (pictured above) but couldn't stay long because it was lunch time and the nearest food was in the Mull's capital, Campbeltown, which was still a few hungry miles away.

The town was very busy and very picturesque. We quickly found a cafe by the harbour and had full Scottish breakfast. Full of grub we wandered about the harbour for a while and then did a tour of the town in the car.
I don't mind walking but we hadn't got a lot of time to spare. Our destination, which was the tip of the Mull was still some distance, so we would have to push on. In my next post we will reach the tip of this wonderful peninsular and start our journey back up the west coast. I'll leave you with a picture of Campbeltown harbour.

If you want to find out more about me, my books please please click here You may be interested to find that I have made major changes to the website (this is my new logo)
and it now incorporates a gallery for my pyrography.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Mull of Kintyre

Hi all,
Thursday came around very quickly and although we were tired from all the exertions we'd made so far, we decided that today we would go even further and see the rest of the Mull of Kintyre Penisular.We left our base near the Crinan Canal and followed the same route we'd done the day before and arrived at Tarbert; the place where the Mull of Kintyre starts.
We drove straight through the town and also West Tarbert, where the ferries leave for the Isle of Islay. At this point we were following the banks of Loch Tarbert along the main A83, but we soon turned left and struck off for the other side of the Peninsular, taking a quiet B road(B8001)that was more to our liking.
We climbed the foothills(in our car) of Cnoc A Bhail-Shois and stopped for a while at the top to take in some wonderful scenery. It was a shame about the weather because when we reached this point the weather was very windy with lots of low cloud. Undeterred, and hoping that the wind would blow the clouds away we descended to Claonaig, which contained not much more than a telephone box and a sign pointing Skipness Castle.This was a dead end, but we decided to take a detour as the map showed the road ran along the side of the Sound of Bute and our dog, Buzby, was in need of a walk.
When we reached the end of the road we saw the signs for Skipness Castle, but decided to give it a miss. It was too windy to walk far, and architects in the olden days always seemed to build Castles on the top of hills, which is pretty thoughtless and damned inconviniet for elderly tourists like me. Anyway, on the way way back to Claonaig we got fed up with Busby whingeing about going for a walk, so I gave him a little walk along the foreshore despite the weather.
It was very windy and I could only admire the courage of those who were queuing up, a few hundred yards away, to catch a ferry that would take them across a wild sea to North Arran. We soon recommenced our long journey down the east Side of the Mull, following the side of Kilbrannan Sound and as we did so the clouds gave way to sunny periods. I suppose we'd travelled about 10 miles down this almost deserted road when we came to a bridge that crossed a gorgeous stream, so we got out of the car to take a closer look.
The wind wasn't as bad here because we were in the shelter of some low growing trees, so we wandered about the stream for a while, taking lots of photographs and revelled in the fact that it was all free of charge, free of noise and free of litter. If this water fall and stream was in England it would cost £5 to see it and you'd be surrounded by ice-cream stalls and souvenir shops.Having had our fill of quiet serenity and beauty, two commodities rarely found together, we carried on along the lonely road to Carradale, a village with a quaint working harbour. There were no shops or cafes here, so we sat in the car and had a cup of tea from our flask and admired the view.

I'll leave this post here, but in my next one we will carry on down to Campbeltown which is the main settlement on the Mull of Kintyre.
Before I go I would just like to remind my readers that my first book in The Fishing Detectives series which is entitled Carp Rustlers in now available on Kindle and As a special offer to my blog readers and those who frequent my website, I am making a special offer of 25% off the cost of the book. If you go to Smashwords, (click here)
and put in the following coupon code, YX49Y when prompted, you will get the 25% discount, but you will have to be quick because the offer ends next Thursday. You will get a complete book for about the same price as a good daily paper.

If you want to find out more about my other books or my pyrography work please click here

Friday, 10 June 2011

Tarbert and back

Hi all,
Don't Wednesdays come around fast when you're on holiday. It seemed like we'd only just got to our lodge, but we were already halfway through our holiday on the banks of Loch Sween. During the last few days we'd noticed a steady stream of traffic passing our lodge and because it is a dead-end we were curious about where they were going. Now when I say steady stream, I'm not talking A34 at tea time, in this neck of the woods a car every half hour is considered a traffic jam.

Anyway, before we set off to see the harbour town of Tarbert which sits at the entrance to the Mull of Kintyre, we decided to follow the dead-end road that passed our lodge to see where it went to. The answer was a village called Kilmory which had a splendid house which can be seen above. About half a mile later the road came to a sudden stop on a headland above the Point of Knap. From here we took in a stunning view of the Paps of Jura before returning whence we came. During this short trip we also passed the ruins of Sween Castle and noted that there was a campsite almost adjacent, so that was where all the traffic was going.

We soon passed our lodge and followed the Crinan canal back to its source at Ardrishaig and carried on along Loch Fynne to Tarbert. We were impressed with Tarbert and especially the full Scottish breakfast we had in a cafe that overloooked the harbour. Above is a photo of Tarbert with its multi-coloured houses. Having filled ourselves up with grub and looked around a few shops we left Tarbert and went on a circular tour, down the north side of Loch Tarbert where we could see ferries heading out to sea bound for Islay, and around Kilberry Head and back to Ardrishaig.

It was a wonderful trip with sea and coastal views on one side and rolling hills and forest on the other. Here and there we came to deserted beaches where we stopped for a while to drink tea from our flask and walk the dog. It was a long day and by the time we got back to our lodge we were both knackered. However, knackered we may have been, but we were also both full of pleasant memories.

If you would like to see more pictures of Scotland, or some of our art work which now includes pyrography please click here.
If you would like to know more about me and my books please click here.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Snake in the Grass

Hi all, this post is a detour from my tour of Scotland because I have a couple of interesting things to tell you about.
The first thing of interest was something that I recently came across in my garden when I was weeding the borders. It gave me quite a fright until I realised what it was. My wife photographed it for me and you can see the photo below.

It was about a foot long and my first thought was that it was a snake. However, closer examination and a reference book revealed that it was just a slow worm. It is interesting to note that the reference books also said that slow worms are common throughout England. If that's true, how the hell did I manage to reach 60 without seeing one somewhere before. Have any of you ever seen one? Anyway, just to make matters more complicated, although it is called a worm, it is in fact a legless lizard. If ever you come across one, the tail gives it away. The tale of a slow worm is not so pointed as that of a snake. having said that, you should always be careful with reptiles and if you come across one with a zig zag pattern down its back, don't even bother sizing up its tale because it will be an adder, they are poisonous and will bite you on the ass.
If you do find a slow worm in your garden please don't bash it with a spade. Although they look like snakes they are completely harmless and eat slugs so really they deserve a big kiss.

The second item of interest is that my latest book Carp Rustlers is now available on amazon's kindle and in other ebook formats through (The kindle cover is pictured on the right.) If you fancy reading a detective story where the main character doesn't have the cliche 'attitude' you might enjoy it. It is the first book in The Fishing Detectives series and although fishing is fundamental to the plot you don't have to be an angler to enjoy it.

(The picture on the left is the Smashwords cover.) Now you may well ask how I finished up with two covers? The simple answer is that I couldn't decide which looked the best. If you have any views I'd be pleased to hear them.
If you would like more details or a free sample download for you pc please click here.

In my next post normal service will be resumed with the tour of Scotland

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Ardrishaig and Ellary

Hi all,
Time flies when you are on holiday and it was Tuesday already. Yesterday we went north, so today a change of direction was called for, so we decided to go south and explore the top end of the Mull of Kintyre. We did a little shopping in Lochgilphead and then followed the bank of Loch Gilp to Ardrishaigh. We took a short stroll along the front and then went in search of a venue for lunch.As it happened we didn't have to look far as a nice little restaurant called the Grey Gull, which sat in an elevated position overlooking the loch, caught our attention. We soon found ourselves at a window table and after we'd chosen from an extensive menu we watched a gang of gannets plunging into the loch looking for some food of their own. We had the Moroccan lamb and it was delicious. Fully satisfied, we carried on along the bank of Loch Fynne and then turned right, to head across the peninsular. This was a single track road and the area was very sparsely populated. We stopped often to stretch our dog's legs and take photographs of the scenery and anything else that caught our attention.
By the time we'd reached the small village of Lochead, we'd seen some wonderful scenery which in places was saturated with primroses.
Eventually we came to the tip of Loch Caolisport where we picnicked in perfect isolation and took photos of a clutch of cormorants as they stretched there wings to dry.
Having had our batteries charged, by nothing more than peace and quiet, we carried on along the loch to Ellary which is a small hamlet in a very special setting. Remote would be a good description, with a large proportion of the the few cottages being used for holiday lets. As we turned and headed back along the road whence we came I couldn't help but wonder why the road hadn't been continued around the headland and into loch Sween. We were only a few miles from our holiday lodge as the crow flies, but there was only one road into Ellary and it stopped there. We'd just have to take the thirty mile journey back the way we came and take in the beautiful scenery from the opposite direction and I'll leave you with a picture of that.
If you would like to see more photos of Scotland or see our artwork please click here.
If you would like to find out more about my books please click here.