Sunday, October 27, 2013

Great Cumbrae - A Walk Around the Island

The next day I returned to Great Cumbrae. But this time, after walking off the ferry, I turned right to start my journey around the island, a total distance of about 11 miles. A half-mile into the walk I passed this monument on the north tip of the island. It was a memorial to Charles Cayley and William Jewel, two sailors on HMS Shearwater who drowned 'by the upsetting of their boat' in 1844.

Just past the monument I came to White Bay, and a sign that marked it as a point on the Cumbrae Sensory Trail. The sign is one of five around the island, and if you touch all five you'll have good luck, or so the sign said. I decided I would try to find all five. I needed some luck, as the weather had to be good the next day for the boat trip to Wee Cumbrae to happen. 

A short distance beyond White Bay I reached Stinking Bay. The tide was out and piles of rotting seaweed lay on the beach. The smell was not too bad, but I would not want to linger there on a hot summer day. With a great view over to the island of Bute I carried on to the south, passing Skate Bay and Bell Bay, where I passed what's called 'Indian Rock'.

'Indian Rock'
Next came Fintray Bay, where I touched the second Sensory Post before stepping into the tea room to get a coke. From there I carried on south to Sheriff's Port, where I found the third Sensory Post before reaching the southernmost point of the island. Wee Cumbrae was now tantalizingly close, just a half-mile to the south. And I was wondering if I'd be able to get there the next day. I then passed through Millport. I had been there the day before; a Wednesday when most of the shops were closed. But on this Thursday they were open and busy. 

I walked through town and then made my way to Farland Point, the SE tip of the island. There I found another great view to Little Cumbrae and the fourth Sensory Post. 

From Farland Point I started north up the east coast of the island. At the Marine station I found a memorial to the Scottish Antarctic Expedition of 1902, and shortly after that I crept carefully past Lion Rock (fortunately he was looking the other way).

Lion Rock
A mile later I came to Ballochmartin Bay, where I touched the fifth, and final Sensory Post. I was now assured of good weather for the following day (and it would be good). I then passed Stinking Goat Bay. There was no sign (or smell) of the odoriferous goat, but what I could see was the ferry terminal. I had made it all the way around the island. As I waited for the ferry back to Largs I did not know for sure if I'd be returning to the island the next day to get a boat trip to Wee Cumbrae, but I would.

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