Crinan To Oban
ROUTE LENGTH: 53 MILES
Retrace your route from Crinan as far as Cairnbaan. Turn left on to the A816. Bear right into Bridgend and to Kilmichael Glassary. Then back to the A816 as far as Dunadd. Turn left for the Dunadd car park.
Back on the A 816 continue to Kilmartin and to Carnasserie Castle (a short walk from the car park). Continue on the A816 until, after passing the head of Loch Craignish, turning left on to the B8002. Go through Ardfern to the car park, after which it’s a mile further on foot to Craignish point itself, overlooking the Dorus Mhor (the big door) tidal race. Retrace your route to the A816, turning left when you reach it. Divert on to the B844 to go to Kilninver. The A816 then takes you right to Oban.
Leave Crinan on the path beside the canal, as far as Cairnbaan. You will now follow the same route as cars to Oban with the exception of 2 alternative stretches.
1). Leave the A816 at Ballymeanoch to join NCN 78. You rejoin the main road at Kilmartin. Continue north on NCN 78 before branching left on to the A816.
2).Leave the main road at Kilmore. Follow the minor road past Loch Nell until you rejoin NCN 78, turning left to follow this in to Oban.
Retrace your steps along the canal to Cairnbaan, and then after a short stretch on the road you can walk to Dunadd, though this route does miss out Kilmichael Glassary. Alternately, enjoy the shorter walk up to Dunadd from the car park.
Walk from Kilmartin to Carnasserie castle, returning by the same route or along the main road.
There is a track (a heritage path http://www.heritagepaths.co.uk/pathdetails.php?path=115) connecting the road at St Columba’s cave to the road at Kilmory chapel. The Steallair Dubh path (http://heritagepaths.co.uk/pathdetails.php?HPath=HP116) starts from nearer to Achahoish.
By Public Transport
This section of the route is served by the Crinan to Lochgilphead and the Ardrishaig to Oban bus services.
To check times go to Traveline Scotland and click on Plan your Journey on left side of page.
From Crinan you turn north into an area of Argyll whose concentration of sacred sited is unrivalled except perhaps in Orkney. On the left hand is the citadel of Dunadd, where kings were inaugurated, and on the right Kirkmichael Glassary with its ancient Church of Kilbride. Columba participated in the inauguration at Dunadd of Aedan, Dalriada’s most famous ruler.
Next comes Kilmartin Glen with its complex of cairns and standing stones; then Kilmartin with its carvings, church and museum. Above Kilmartin lies Carnasserie Castle where John Carswell, the first Protestant Bishop of Argyll and the Isles, translated John Knox’s liturgy into Gaelic.
Whatever the twists and turns of historical circumstance, the overwhelming impression is of an all embracing sacred landscape, which may be pointing us further north. Each year brings new discoveries and a deepening sense of the many generations who have left their markers here for us to contemplate and ponder.
A roll call of beauty and historical interest lies ahead with the villages of mid-Argyll from Ardfern and Craignish to Kilmelford and Kilninver. A detour to the inner islands of Seil and Luing reminds us that the sea is ever present. Rocky Scarba looks onto the Corryvreckan whirlpool, while on the Garvellachs the beehive cells of the early contemplatives still stand. Both can only be reached by small boat. The association here is with St Brendan rather than Columba, but there is a common desire- the hunger for solitude on the edge of the ocean.
May we walk with reverence
For the ground we tread is holy
May we talk with discretion
For the way we travel is ancient.
May we listen with joy
To the songs of the stones
And receive with gratitude
The whispers of Creation.
Waymarkers of the Spirit,
Pathways of faith. Blessed
Trinity, be our Guide,
Past, present, future-
But one journey.