Hill: Windy Hill
Date: Saturday 25th January 2014
Company: Just myself
Distance: 12.2km, Ascent: 400m
Time: 3Hrs 20Mins
The weather this morning was awful. The rain was so heavy in Arrochar that the wipers struggled to clear the rain from the windscreen. The cloud was also well below the summits. I therefore abandoned plan A, plan B, plan C … and opted for plan Z!
After checking the Calmac app, to confirm the ferry was running, I drove from Arrochar to Colintraive to catch the ferry across to the Isle of Bute.
Despite the rain, the drive round to Colintraive was enjoyable. This was my first visit to this part of Scotland. Argyll is probably the area of Scotland I know least well. It took circa one hour to drive from Arrochar to Colintraive.
On arrival in Colintraive, I was a little surprised at the proximity of the Isle of Bute to the mainland. The ferry crossing only takes a matter of minutes.
Colintraive Ferry Terminal:
Ferry from Colintraive to Rhubodach, Isle of Bute:
On arrival in Bute, I travelled several kilometres along the A886 to Shalunt, with a view to undertaking a direct up and back ascent of Windy Hill. However, as I approached Shalunt, I had a change of mind. I decided instead on the longer approach from Ettrick Bay.
On arrival at Ettrick Bay, I discovered that the car park marked on the map belongs to a café, and the café has a sign advising that walkers are not permitted to park in the car park. I therefore parked next to the bus turning circle. After getting suited and booted, I set off walking in the rain.
From Ettrick Bay, I walked approximately 300m along the B875 until reaching a sign marked “West Island Way” with a single track road opposite. I then walked along the single track road past Lower Ettrick to Upper Ettrick. On reaching Upper Ettrick, I had a look at the map and saw what looked like a horseshoe of hills. I therefore continued on to Kilbride for an attempt of the horseshoe.
Road leading to Upper Ettrick:
At Kilbride, I climbed over a gate to gain access to a field of grass leading up Kilbride Hill.
Lower slopes of Kilbride Hill:
At the top of the first field I found the remains of an old rusty Renault.
An old Renault, at edge of field:
I then went through one gate and climbed over another gate to gain access to a second field ascending Kilbride Hill. Much of the walk was very wet underfoot.
Looking back to Ettrick Bay during ascent of Kilbride Hill:
Once beyond the two fields, I passed through two large gates containing an area of newly-planted saplings.
Ascent of Kilbride Hill:
Looking back from Kilbride Hill:
On reaching the top of Kilbride Hill, I continued on towards The Lyeing Hill. This section of walk was quite unpleasant. The ascent of The Lyeing Hill involved walking through an expanse of burnt heather and bog.
Heading for The Lyeing Hill:
Looking across to Windy Hill from the top of The Lyeing Hill:
The descent from The Lyeing Hill to the col between it and Windy Hill was even more unpleasant. This was through knee-high grass interspersed with more bog. At the col, I had to climb over a barbed-wire fence with very wet ground either side. Once beyond the fence, the ascent of Windy Hill was straight-forward.
Ascending Windy Hill:
It was nice to get some views as I made my way up Windy Hill. The rain stopped for circa thirty minutes
Kyles of Bute:
At the summit of Windy Hill:
From the summit of Windy Hill, I continued on towards Kames Hill. During the descent from Kames Hill, I had to cross over a number of parallel ditches. The col between Windy Hill and Kames Hill was extremely wet. Wellies would have been preferable to hillwalking boots as at one point the water came in over the top of my gaiters.
Heading for Kames Hill:
Looking back to Windy Hill from ascent of Kames Hill:
It was worthwhile heading out to Kames Hill as it provided a view down to Port Bannatyne and Rothesay.
At the top of Kames Hill:
Port Bannatyne and Rothesay (zoom):
From Kames Hill, I continued on to Muirton Hill, once again in pouring rain. From the top of Muirton Hill, I made my way down the wide ridge towards Ettrick Bay. On reaching a very muddy vehicle track, I decided to follow it downhill. However, the vehicle track eventually disappeared so I descended via two fields to reach Upper Ettrick.
From Upper Ettrick, I walked back along the single track road then the B875 to reach Ettrick Bay.
Looking back to Kilbride Hill and Muirton Hill:
On reaching Ettrick Bay, I walked across the beach to the sea to clean some of the mud off my waterproof trousers which was literally up to my knees. Once clean, I drove round to visit Rothesay.
Rainbow in Rothesay:
Rainbow in Rothesay:
While in Rothesay there was the most incredible hail and thunder storm. I’m glad I was off the hill during this storm.