Walk with the Courier: High Lossit to Killypole

The view from Killypole cottage across the loch towards Davaar Island.

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Words and pictures by Mark Davey

Shopper-Aide sponsored walkers joined by the Courier strode out on a fine, roughly 5km, circular walk.

Kintyre Antiquarian and Natural History Society member, Liz Kennedy, devised the trek which started at High Lossit, above Machrihanish, where cars maybe left or better in the car park at Ballygroggan.

An alternative approach would be to use the West Coast Motors bus 442 or 200 service to Machrihanish.

From the village follow the Kintyre Way markers to High Lossit, walk up the steep road to where the Way goes right and cross a stile on the left.

The entire route, except for one short section, is on good forest tracks maintained for Lossit estate’s shoots and in dry weather stout walking shoes would give ample protection.

For three Campbeltown youngsters, Lileigh Allen, 7, Lucy McNair, 7 and Lynsey MacPhee, 8, last Sunday morning’s walk turned into a nature trail as soon as the road was left behind.

In no time they were catching and closely examining butterflies, looking at myriad varieties of wild flowers and at Killypole cottage they found a tiny, dark brown frog.

Ascending the initial steep track, Liz Kennedy talked about some of the characters associated with the cottage, which was the home of the McShannons.

Ms Kennedy said: ‘Killypole was a shepherd’s cottage. I am sure the last occupants were Jamie McShannon and his wife Pauli.

‘When I came to Kintyre, in 1967, Pauli was still alive and living in Machrihanish.

‘The McShannon name is famous because they were great singers in Kintyre. They carried the folk song tradition and I think Hamish Henderson, founder of the school of Scottish Studies, came here.

‘There’s a great story about Hamish, he was wandering about the hills here just at the start of the war and he knew he was going to be posted abroad.

‘He thought it would be Germany so he practiced his German. It got him arrested in Kintyre because someone reported that a German spy was wandering about making notes.

‘Until they cleared up who he was he spent the night in jail.’

On a clear day, from the pass above Killypole cottage looking across Killypole Loch, shaped like the Isle of Man, it is possible to see Davaar island which looks like a range of hills.

The group halted from a refreshment break at the cottage and its former cast iron washing tub was pointed out to the youngsters.

Approaching the dammed loch, Liz Kennedy said that formerly it was used to supply MACC base unti the RAF moved out.

A short patch of untracked open hillside followed, slightly downhill to cross a stream and re-enter the forest, on the OS 1;25,000 Kintyre South sheet, at GR 183647.

A brief walk through the trees leads to another well defined track which is followed back to High Lossit.

The view from Killypole cottage across the loch towards Davaar Island. 25_c23walk12

A tiny frog found at Killypole cottage. 25_c23walk11

Lileigh Allen, 7, Lucy McNair, 7 and Lynsey MacPhee, 8 look at the Killypole wash tub. 25_c23walk14

Dragonflies spotted mating by the track. 25_c23walk04_dragon_flies_mating