(18) The end is in sight
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Ettrick Bay to Kilmichael Chapel
Miles = 4.
Klms = 6.4
Take Bus (summertime) or car, and park at Ettrick Bay beside the bus turning area. It is beside the Tearoom and restaurant, but there is no sense in showing you that as you can see it on the Rothesay to Ettrick Bay walk.
Walk along the road looking out for breeding Oystercatchers, Ring Plovers etc., as they will be nesting just above the high tide mark, so if you decide to walk along the beach, go below that mark and all will be well, but watch on the way down and up. Coming to the bridge, look out for small fish especially at high tides, and sometimes you will see wild brown trout, but not very often. One year there was lots of salmon escaped from a fish farm and a few of them ended up in this stream, then into even more frying pans.
Turn left and pass the small hamlet of Kidavanan Cottages, one of which was a Primary School. Then on to Scarrel Shores which is great place to see wildlife out on the sea, so if it is summertime look out for Basking Sharks, Porpoises and Seals. This shore is made up of lovely rounded white Quartz stones getting there shape with the constant movement of the tides., and were a favourite for people to gather them for their gardens which, if the Game Keeper from the Bute Estate caught you taking them you would be in trouble, but nowadays they seem to be left alone, at least from errant gardeners, but as I looked recently, tractor digger marks were in abundance? Along to your first seat of the day, but you should not need it at this point as you have just started your walk. A five yards further on you will see a path which takes you to a second seat, which depending how may there are in your party may be utilised on your return.
You are now entering a bird watchers haven as there are Ravens, Buzzards, and occasional Golden Eagle coming from the mainland to feed, and having trees on either side of you which are always full of small birds, like Chaffinches, Warblers etc.
Carry on passing another seat and then another and a few yards on? Another! There is also another hidden from view at the end of the Tarry road beside the Info Board, but due to Gale force winds 20011 access to this one if well-nigh impossible.
On to that Landrover track which will take you past a winter residence for young cattle. If it is summertime that way will be dry an easy, but during winter, very wet and muddy plus other liquids from these cattle. You should have a set of Gaiters just in case, as you will at the last leg, be going through two fields and if it is wet and the grass for silage is long, well you have been warned.
Look out for the Speckled Wood Butterfly, and there are plenty more other species to see during the summer, and also Moths in abundance.
The alternative walk (Carnbaan) will take you to a cairn which is high up in the woods, which you may visit this time or another, but that means extra mileage, plus it is uphill!
You are now approaching the part where you head uphill to Kilmichael Cottage, so observe the fantastic Dry Stane (Stone) Dyke, which I think is the best on the Isle of Bute. Carry on till you see Kilmichael farm in the short distance, and just before you reach it there is a gate on your left with three steep steps to help you alight on the fields. Follow the fence line, going through a gate, keeping to the same fence line to the end then go left to the Chapel ruins.
I don’t know much about them but if you go to the Museum in Stuart Street (South of Rothesay Castle), then you will find all that you need about it. If you don’t know your North from your South, stand at the car entrance for the Ferry. Turn around and head uphill till you come to the Castle railings. Follow them up and when they go to the right, so do you, and a few yard on is the Museum.
I hope that you have a nice walk there, and on the return, and there is no charge for sitting on the seats, no matter how long you sit for.
ps my apologies for being cheeky, but I could not resist it