The West Island Way | Day 3

The West Island Way | Day 3

Evening everyone

Wow… Eve was fire today! I couldn’t slow her down. I was repeatedly having to ask her to slow down, but it was always my fault, as I should have been keeping up with Eve 🙄😂 I didn’t find it annoying having to call her back, I think it’s a good thing! However I did have to raise my voice and shout, when she went out of sight! Eve immediately stopped, said sorry before hitting Mach 3 within 2 steps!

We (Sarah and I) have a few very basic rules for Eve when out hiking or when we are doing any outdoor activity. One of the basic rules is that Eve should never leave our (my) sight, and I (we) should never leave Eve’s sight. I don’t think that’s much different to most parents.

Today was a short day walking, with only about 5 to 6 miles to complete. We actually only walked or in Eve’s case jogged 5.3 miles. A super easy day that was quite literally a walk in the park!

The hostel (Bute Backpackers in Rothesay) was brilliant. It’s functional and the only other people staying were 2 young ladies.

Whilst eating breakfast we got talking and they both knew each other from childhood and have remained friends despite very different life choices. One was an art technician/adult education teacher whilst the other was a Marine Biologist with a PHd who works on research ships.

We didn’t leave the hostel until about 9.30am which is late, even by our standards. Walking out of the hostel it was cool and cloudy but felt lovely. Apart from my hands we have no issues in keeping warm all day.

The first thing to do was to retrace our steps out of Rothesay back to where we had left the West Island Way yesterday. I used Google Maps whilst Eve remembered exactly where to go! Luckily Eve has inherited Sarah’s sense of direction, as I have none! Eve didn’t make a single wrong turn and even told me what was coming up!

The route out of Rothesay was all uphill, but it was the only incline we had all day. The rest of the route was flat as a pancake. Incidentally we had pancakes for breakfast!

Getting back to the start we continued up a very slight incline following a country lane. We didn’t have any cars drive past us and before long we turned off onto a grassy trail that is used by farmers.

We really like paths like this as we can walk beside each other talking without fear of tripping up. Being soft also helps our knees and feet. Although we don’t do huge miles each day, walking every day with backpacks on still takes it's toll!

All the time whilst walking Eve was pushing on hard, creating gaps between us that I just couldn't close. In the end I had to keep telling her to stop or slow down with various responses, all telling me to ‘hurry up’. I think it was starting to annoy Eve!

We came up to a large steel gate, that looked like something you would see at a zoo. I took several pictures of Eve looking through the gate trying to make it look like she (or I) was in an animal enclosure. I was trying to get Eve to roar or make hands like claws but she wouldn’t. Eve just told me to “stop being silly”, that was me put in my place! 🤣

As we walked the trail took us along some farmers fields using some lovely tracks and trails that were never boring. It was lovely and easy and all flat!

After a short while we came across a wooden bench, that I decided to take a break on. Not that we needed it, I just took the opportunity to sit still so I didn’t have to keep telling Eve to slow down. There was a fence to continue that I told Eve not to go through, she sat with me all the time asking me “when can get walking?”

I succumbed and before long we were walking again, following a short, rocky path. Eve had to slow down on that path much to my relief before we reached the road on the edge of Port Bannatyne.

A few metres up the road we began walking along a forest trail covered in a thick bed of leaves. It was more like autumn than March! It was lovely and we could start to see the marina and Kames Bay through the trees.

Port Bannatyne is the end of the West Island Way, but first we have to complete the loop around the north of Bute.

From Port Bannatyne the trail heads straight west across to the other side of the Isle of Bute. The route follows the A844 for about 1/3 of this section, but the path is wide and the road quiet so it wasn’t that bad.

Walking along the road you could see the ruins of a church that looked impressive and would have made a great location for a break. Eve had other ideas, we kept walking!

Although the route follows the road all the way to Ettrick Bay, the West Island Way route leads you away from the road to follow a very well made and new looking path with dozens of gates to go through. Every single one of the gates worked perfectly, unlike some trails where the gates can require a degree in engineering to work out how to open and close them.

Walking along we could see Ettrick Bay come into view and it looked stunning, with the mountains of Aaron to one side on the horizon. It was stunning.

As we walked we passed the right turn to follow the West Island Way but we kept going towards Ettrick Bay where we are staying this evening.

One of the best things is that Ettrick Bay has a cafe. When we arrived it was busy, really busy. We found a seat and looked at the menu. We finally decided to have scrambled egg on toast from the kids menu. Yes, I had the same from the kids menu as the kids portions are usually not that much smaller than the adults. We were not disappointed. Eve also had a chocolate milkshake as an alternative to the usual ice cream!

I know I have said this already, but thank you to everybody who has donated to us through Buy Me a Coffee. It makes these decisions to treat Eve so much easier, thank you so much!

We enjoyed our meal very much then left, not staying to long as it was so busy. I think we were both finding it a bit much! We walked the short distance to where we are staying the night and settled in.

The weather outside is definitely picking up. It’s getting cold and windy with snow forecast over night turning to rain tomorrow. I hope it’s not too bad tomorrow but we will deal with whatever we have thrown at us and take each day as it comes.

As for us, we’re off to bed to get an early night ready for a big day tomorrow as we’ve got 11 tough miles to cover

Sleep well and keep safe.

Ian & Eve