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Exploring Taynish NNR

Exploring Taynish NNR

Postby denfinella » Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:28 pm

Route description: Taynish National Nature Reserve, near Tayvallich

Date walked: 21/09/2013

Time taken: 3.5 hours

Distance: 8.5 km

Ascent: 180m

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Just a quick write-up of a walk we undertook back in September whilst spending a weekend in Oban. The weather that weekend was really annoying - blanket very low cloud and constant drizzle around Oban, so not a good time for high-level walks. The pictures certainly aren't as good as in Susie's report, which put Taynish on the radar for me in the first place.

Driving down to Knapdale enabled us to escape the rain, but not the grey skies. Before heading to Taynish, we carried on a little further down the A816 to Carnasserie Castle - a striking building in the midst of Kilmartin Glen - home to hundreds of amazing historical sites, many of which we'd visited in June 2012. Carnasserie Castle had been missed though, and it was worth climbing up the track from the car park to have a poke inside and gaze out over the glen.





Off on a winding road to an early lunch in Tayvallich, optimistically described as a "Town/City" on Facebook. It does however have a picturesque setting on a sheltered branch of Loch Sween though. And a cafe / shop with good food.



After lunch we headed along the road to Taynish NNR - the end part of the access road is unsurfaced and potholed, although we've experienced worse. We had time to kill, so we decided to do all the extensions described in the walkhighlands route. Armed with some leaflets from the car park, and bright, brand new walking boots which were really too sturdy for this type of walk, we must have looked a little like out-of-place foreign tourists.

A path branched off from the main track, adorned with fungus, and soon led to the top of Barr Mor. It was much too misty to see Jura's Paps (or indeed, many of the closer hills), but it was still a fine viewpoint.




Back into the forest, past this funny looking thing:


The next detour took us down to a west-facing rocky bay on Linne Mhuirich, a tranquil place especially on a windless, cloudy day.



A longer spur of path took us down to the southern tip of the peninsula, where a narrow strip of water enables Linne Mhuirich to feed into Loch Sween. Apparently this is a good place to see otters.



This area is also home to, slightly randomly, an impressive set of ruined buildings which look far too ornate for their historical purpose - to house pigs. A stream was even diverted through the buildings so the pigs would have access to both water and to leftover food originally dumped into the water from the buildings upstream!



Returning to the main route, the path climbed gently over the peninsula interior towards the eastern shoreline, before heading north through the main section of woodland. This was one of the prettiest sections of the walk, in intimate, lush surroundings and on an undulating, narrow path, but for some reason we didn't take any photos. Eventually there's a short detour to a viewpoint on Loch Sween, near a picnic area complete with ruined mill and waterfall. The mill is in the process of being restored.


From here it was a short walk back to the car park, with nothing more to see except some very impressive mushrooms.




The whole circuit felt longer than the claimed 8.5km - perhaps that doesn't include all the detours? Before heading back to Oban, we went for a longer-than-expected drive around Loch Sween to visit the very isolated Castle Sween - extremely remote but annoyingly also set in the middle of an unwelcoming caravan park (blunt signs everywhere stopping castle visitors from parking inside the caravan park - forcing you to walk all the way along the long access road instead). Hey-ho, quite an impressive castle though.



Western Scotland gets a lot of grey, rainy days, and Knapdale is certainly a good destination to aim for if you're unsure where else to go.
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Re: Exploring Taynish NNR

Postby JimboJim » Tue Dec 10, 2013 5:10 pm

"Welcome to my world," as somebody once sang. A nice walk especially on a brighter day, but as you said, we do get our share of the wet stuff here. I hope you come back again. I have posted a few other local walks on site, if you want to head off track a bit.

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