Southend to Machrihanish
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Following the Atlantic CoastPhoto: Robbie Thurley, Macs Adventure
This final stage of the Kintyre Way is navigationally more challenging than any of the other stages so far. However, the views from the coast to Northen Ireland, Rathlin Island, Islay and across the Atlantic Ocean are stunning and more than compensate for any challenges along the way.
Begin in Southend and pass Dunaverty Rock, to follow a sandy beach for before taking to the minor coastal road that leads inland. After covering some kilometres by road, passing a number of farms, the route ascends steeply and crosses open moorland where you're quite likely to only encounter the odd deer and maybe a flock of wild goats. Once back to the coast the trail continues along the cliff tops above the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean to pass Binnean Fithich. A final ascent through Innean Glen and across more openland sees you arriving in Machrihanish and the end of the Kintyre Way - congratulations you made it!
The majority of this route crosses isolated land with the added danger of high cliffs once you're following the coastline. Check the weather forecast before heading out and bear in mind the new route for the Kintyre Way varies significantly in sections to what is marked on the map. Although there are the blue Kintyre Way markers they are fairly infrequent and can be difficult to spot, especially if visibility is poor.
Tips and hints
Points of interest
Once being the site of Dunaverty Castle many battles took place here with the Norwegians, the English and the Lords of the Isles. Its bloodiest occurred in 1647 when a Covenanter force besieged and massacred the Royalists within. Although the castle is long gone the rock upon which it stood was always the primary defense and little has changed about it. There are great views of the surrounding area and the rock itself can be climbed but do take good care if you choose to do this.
Food & Drink
Stock up on prvisions for the day in Southend at the tea room or store before making your way to Machniharish. There is nowhere enroute to stop for food or water so make sure you are prepared for the day ahead. On reaching Machniharish you'll find a couple of bars, restaurants and a shop.
0.00 km – Begin with your back to the door of Muneroy Tea Room and Stores and TURN LEFT to follow the road towards the coast.
0.45 km – TURN LEFT after the last cottage and follow the road through the golf course (look-out for golf balls flyign through the air if there's a game on).
1.30 km – Dunaverty Rock is now straight ahead, if you like you can take a detour to explore it or, TURN RIGHT to follow the sandy beach.
2.00 km – At the end of the beach go up the steps then TURN LEFT to follow the coast road.
3.10 km – On your right-hand side are the Keil Caves and St Columba’s Steps.
3.40 km – Follow the road to BEAR RIGHT and walk inland.
4.80 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON at the junction for Mull of Kintyre, passing by a farm.
5.10 km – TURN LEFT at the junction for Dalsmeron then follow this road for 4.3 km.
9.40 km – TURN LEFT to take the farm track. After 200m cross two bridges then TURN LEFT again to follow the river downstream.
10.20 km – Go through the metal gate then TURN RIGHT, cross the stile then, at the top of the short hillside, cross another stile.
10.30 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON across the field towards another stile. The ground can be very boggy from here on in so do take care.
10.50 km – Cross the stile and continue STRAIGHT ON to ascend steeply, following a faint path and intermittent blue way markers.
10.90 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON up the hillside keeping close to the fence.
11.20 km – Pass a picnic bench then cross a stile and continue STRAIGHT ON as you approach the top of Amod Hill (234 m). Forestry land is now on your right hand side.
11.30 km – The path now levels out slightly and undulates as it follows the ridge - continue STRAIGHT ON.
12.00 km – Go through the wooden gate and continue STRAIGHT ON following the trodden path as it ascends.
13.20 km – As the path descends again BEAR LEFT to bypass the forestry land ahead of you.
13.40 km – After a steep descent TURN RIGHT to cross a stile then follow the edge of the treeline.
14.00 km – Cross a stile then continue STRAIGHT ON to cross another on the opposite side of the field.
14.20 km – TURN RIGHT to follow the gravel vehicle track for the next 1.9 km.
16.10 km – TURN LEFT at the junction and cross a stile.
16.50 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON following the grassy track past a picnic bench.
16.90 km – TURN RIGHT towards the trees and stile next to a metal gate.
17.00 km – TURN LEFT after the stile to follow the treeline. You’re soon treated to views across the Atlantic Ocean.
17.60 km – Go through the gate then TURN RIGHT to ascend towards a stile. There are views of the north coast of Ireland from here, just 18 km across the water.
17.80 km – TURN RIGHT to begin ascending the slopes of Binnean Fithich, take good care around the cliffs to your left.
18.30 km – BEAR LEFT at the top as the trail begins to descend, then cross a stile.
18.40 km – The trail continues winding it's way downhill, quite steeply in places, stay on the trodden trail and close to the blue waymarkers.
19.50 km – At the marker TURN RIGHT to follow an old stone wall.
19.80 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON to cross a small stream.
20.40 km – TURN RIGHT at the old dry stone sheep pen then at its end BEAR LEFT towards a metal gate. TURN RIGHT after the gate to head inland to the top of the glen. (If you feel like a break and short detour, turn left here and you'll come across a bench with great views over Innean Beach before returning to where you left the route and continuing on).
20.70 km – BEAR LEFT to cross a small stream then carry on up the glen.
21.20 km – At the top of the glen continue STRAIGHT ON following a faint path across moorland. Keep an eye out for the blue markers, especially during low visibility as they can be tricky to spot.
23.20 km – Cross a stile and metal bridge then continue STRAIGHT ON to follow the gravel farm track.
24.00 km – Cross a stile then TURN RIGHT onto the farm track heading away from Ballygrogan Farm.
25.00 km – TURN LEFT to stay on the, now tarmac, road towards the coast.
26.70 km – The final stretch of the stage into Machrihanish runs directly along the coast, keep a look out for seals basking on the rocks.
27.40 km – Congratulations, you’ve just completed the Kintyre Way! Finish the route in the village of Machrihanish.
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