After we’d visited Machrie Moor Stone Circle, there was still plenty of time left for more adventure, so we drove the short distance down the road to Torr Righ Beag, a coniferous forest by the sea. From here, we could walk down to the beach to explore the King’s Cave, but not before the customary check of the information board. Here, we found a circular walk which, for no particular reason, we chose to do clockwise. We made our way to a forest track on the left hand side of the car park.
Straying from the path and going exploring amongst the trees is something that both Rowan and I love doing, and today was no exception. I love the cool, calm feeling once you wander under the tree canopy, and the springiness of the floor under our feet. We look the mosses, feel the texture of the different barks and generally see what we can find (including occasional dinosaur footprints and claw marks). One thing I did notice, apart from the brilliant mushrooms, was the gorgeous colours – different greens, purples, yellows carpeting the floor.
We made our way back to the tree lined path, which climbed slightly as we continued onward. A break in the trees appeared to our right, and looking across a small pond, we could see the mountains beyond
After about a mile, we came to a gate, and as we padded through, the trees gave way to bracken and we were greeted with a view across the Kilbrannan Sound to Kintyre.
From here, the path was narrowed by the bracken and became quite steep. Rocky handled the walkers he met brilliantly – so proud of the little pooch. Ahead, we could see the impressive columnar cliffs at Drumadoon before we turned down the zig-zag path to the shore.
Once down on the rocky beach, it was time to explore the numerous caves, the first looking like a little grassed roofed house.
I had wondered if we would know which one was the King’s Cave, but when we arrived at a large gated opening, we knew this must be it. Putting on out head torches, we went inside to see what we could find.
The King’s Cave is said to be the location of Robert the Bruce’s encounter with the persistent spider, whose determination to complete her web inspired him to continue his campaign for the crown. He went on to win the Battle of Bannockburn. Other stories tell of Fingal the giant who, after building stepping stones between Arran and Kintyre, lived in the cave for a while. Whilst these tales haven’t been confirmed, what can be sure is that people have been making their mark in the King’s Cave for a long time. There are so many carvings, of varying age, and we spent a long time looking around with our torches to see what we could find.
The next cave we explored was just a fascinating – but for a different reason. Climbing up a short, gentle slope we discovered dozens of stone towers. We tiptoed to the back of the cave, being careful not to knock any over, to discover these little columns filled the cave. Rowan re-built one tumbled stack and we continued along the beach.
The rocky shore would have been a lovely place to stay and relax but time was ticking on, so we made our way up a path and passed through a gate. The path back to the car now skirted the edge of the woods.
Along the way, Rowan found blackberries to pick, benches to rest on and there were lovely views across the sea.
Unknown to us at the start of the walk, we had inadvertently picked the best (in my opinion) direction to walk this lovely route. Just before we reached the beach we’d had a brilliant view of Drumadoon cliffs from the zig zag path which we might have missed if we had been slogging up the slope in the opposite direction. Now, as we walked back to the car, we were afforded a fantastic panorama across Machrie to the mountains in the north of Arran.
Soon, the route turned round to the right and we found ourselves on a broad path through the trees that led back to the car park. We’d had two adventure in one day, this walk being just under three miles and climbing around 150 metres You can find the map here.