A weekend around Argyll: Part 3July 26th, 2008
Sometimes, it’s just very hard to get oneself home from a very beautiful location and, if the weather’s being very exceptional, then it’s so much harder. That’s how it felt on leaving Oban to head south again on the bank holiday Monday. Add to that the feeling that I had I had not made the most of what had been granted to me and a certain heaviness of heart results. I did have some good walking in that tramp from Inverarnan to Dalmally and the views that I encountered on my Sunday ambling were superb but it’s amazing what perfect weather does to you.
That maelstrom going on in my mind caused me to leave Oban early to allow a stop in Taynuilt to savour a bit more of the area before I completely left it. I planned a two hour stopover and a stroll in the general direction of Glen Noe on the shore of Loch Etive got me as far as Inverawe Country Park. If I had allotted more time, then I might have reached Glen Noe and made the journey to Glasgow smoother than was the case.
My plan was to go to Glasgow via Tyndrum and that’s what I did. A change of coach was needed in Tyndrum and it’s here where things started to unravel; the onward connection was full and couldn’t carry me. It’s being the 11:00 from Fort William on a sunny bank holiday easily explained what happened and I suppose that I should have thought of that. That left me with next to two hours to spend and I didn’t waste a minute by wandering over and back along the West Highland Way. The Crianlarich hills appeared so beguiling that they thwarted any notions of catching the 14:00 train to Glasgow Queen Street.
Like a cat with nine lives, I was left with other options. Chief among these was the 14:20 Citylink service but that didn’t arrive because of a problem with the vehicle. It was cutting things a bit fine but the 15:20 would have conveyed me to Glasgow with plenty of time left to catch the first train on a southbound railway relay that would have got me to Macclesfield at a not insensible time. However, the bank holiday jinx struck again with heavy traffic on the A82 north of the Balloch roundabout putting paid to that idea. It is little wonder that a campaign to upgrade the said road is under way.
Nevertheless, I discovered a late evening service that would get me all of the way to Manchester. There was a wait before it departed so I enjoyed the evening sunshine in George Square before setting off. Once in Manchester, I made my way to its airport and picked up a reasonably priced taxi home from there. My arrival time was much later than intended but I was home anyway and enjoyed some snatched opportunities to savour more of Scotland’s wilder country at its best. I had left wanting more, never a bad thing.
All in all, this was a return journey that was anything but smooth. It was almost as if Scotland was using everything in its power to hang onto me: fantastic weather, wonderful countryside and a busy transport system. I have been left wondering if a better plan for any bank holiday excursion to Scotland would be to add a day off to the break and use that to return home. The traffic should be lighter and I might even enjoy an extra day’s walking in brilliant sunshine while everyone else is stuck in the traffic.