(10) Ettrick Smiddy
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Rothesay. Port . Ettrick Bay.
Miles = 10.00} depending what route is taken.
Kilometres = 16.00}
This is a continuing walk from “Rothesay. Port B. Walk.”
It is a two way walk, with one using a good section of the West Island Way, and the other on the coast and pavements and footways, and the way, and Tramways Walk.
Go to image number (5) , on the Rothesay Port B Walk, then on to this new one below.
“(1) Rothesay. Port. Ettrick Bay. Walk “and go left, and that is you on the right track, which is also the “West Island Way” for most of the way to Ettrick Bay.
You are now on the Bannatyne Mains Road , with the farm on your right taking the same name. Turn right on to the Garrison road which is now just a narrow track. Carry on till you reach the Castle Brae Road, and then you will see Kames Castle, and further to you right Wester Kames. Carry on the pavement, with plenty of hedges and Rosebay Willow Herb to keep you occupied with Butterflies and the like, and it is also the favourite plant for the Elephant Hawk Moth Caterpillar which, as the name implies it has what can only be described as a trunk, but it is one that is, “Now-you -see-it Now you -don't”. it can be black or brown and variable of both colours.
You are now at the end of the pavement, so cross over the road, and you are now on the “Tramways Walk”.
This was the route that the Trams took on their way from Rothesay to Ettrick Bay many years ago, but I will not go into detail as there are books to be had that will tell you all about them, so if time allows, go into the Discovery Centre and start searching.
This section is one of my favourites, as it has everything from Butterflies, Moths, Caterpillars, Wee bugs galore to keep me interested , and plenty of flowers to brighten up your walk, like Scentless Mayweed, which is on either side of the walk for a great distance, and even encroaching on to the path, making it very narrow, but those in command let it last its life out before trimming it back which I and many others appreciated. Also is the Sea Radish which has yellow flowers and then beaded seed pods which are sought after by Greenfinches.
There are now two stone seats on this section (Feb 2011) with more to be built soon, so you will be able to have a rest, but as they may be very cold, even in the summer, take “Piles” of newspaper with you to keep your posterior warm and save a visit to the doctors. I myself always carry a square of close cell material which folds in half, so that if the seat is wet, it folds over into itself, keeping the wet sides together, and your backpack dry.
On your right there are three farms, West. Mid and East St Colmac's. ( Discovery Centre again). Then you will come to a double cottage which as you might guess are called ,Colmac Cottages. On a bit and you will come to The Ettrick Smiddy, unused for many years, but was recently opened up for a day, and it was just as it had been many years ago , ready for action, and it was fired up by a farrier and used for a day.
You are now within minutes from your halfway mark, with Ettrick Bay now in sight, and you are now leaving the West Island Way, so obseve this waymarker for future walks?
Coffee, sarnies, full meals, ice creams, homemade tablet and macaroon, all can be had if you have not carried any with you. Now all you have to do now is wait for the others in your group that have taken the coastal route, or vica -versa.
Now for the alternative way.
Leave Rothesay Pier, turn right, head past the Discovery Centre, or visit it, then head along the coast till you come to the junction with Arbeg Road and Marine Place, where you will notice an old fountain, which is called the “Thomson Fountain”, this will ensure that you are at the right spot. (16) Easy Route.
Either carry on the coast way or head inland, meeting the coast again in under a mile, but the coastal way is better with Golden Eye ducks, Curlews, Turnstones, Cormorants, Shags, and as you come to and old pier, look out for a pair of Little Grebes, which have been nesting here for many years.
Carry on till you come to the Public Toilets, and either go the Port Loop ( which can be a bit damp) or carry on the pavement till you come to the Castle Brae, where you will see a pair of smart gates with Saltires on them (St Andrews Flag) , and up the hill a short distance and you will join the route taken by the others , if any have went that way.
Onwards and upwards for a few minutes, then the pavement levels off then stops,so then you now enter the Tramways Walk,so head along this till you come to Ettrick Bay. Meet the others, then back to Rothesay, going in any which way that suits you, but as you come to the Port Bannatyne War Memorial the choice is yours, as these roads join in a wee while back at the Thomson Fountain
I hope that you have enjoyed this walk whatever way that you went, as I do it very often, and still enjoy it.