Kintra and Braighcriech
The picturesque village of Kintra is a two-mile, fairly flat, walk from Achaban House along a quiet road. On leaving Achaban, turn left and follow the main road for about 500m and then turn left again at the sign for Kintra at the ruined blacksmiths bothy. There are scattered croft houses along the road with extensive views back to Achaban, Loch Pottie and Fionnphort. There have been good bird sightings on the road to Kintra, in particular hen harrier are often seen patrolling the land for a tasty vole. Keep to the metalled road where you will soon see views out to sea before reaching the village of Kintra, which is very pretty with its few houses arranged around the horseshoe bay with a tidal island in the middle. If you make your way around the east of the bay over rough ground to the jagged rocky coastline, you will be rewarded with great views out to sea and back to the village.
In Gaelic, Kintra is Ceann Traigh, “head of the beach”. It was founded in the 1770’s by the 5th Duke of Argyll as part of his efforts to create a fishing industry in the Ross, with little success. For a while in the mid 1800’s, many of the men were employed at local Torr Mor quarry which was in its heyday – in 1851 there were 100 residents in Kintra.
Return by the same route and on the way you will pass the turn off on the left for the remarkable Crofters Kitchen which is well worth a visit. A sheltered valley produces a range of seasonal vegetables, fruit and eggs. All are for sale from the small farm shop depending on availability, as are local meat, preserves, baking and ready meals made on the croft. Other brands of organic and eco-products are also available and some meat products from other local crofts. Shortly after the Crofters kitchen you have the opportunity to extend your walk to the ruined township of Braighcreich. As the road turns sharp right you will see a gate ahead of you with a tarmac road leading straight ahead to some modern houses. Keeping the wall on your right, head down a grassy slope to a second gate. Be aware that the going might be wet underfoot for the rest of the walk. Pass through the gate and over a bridge and shortly the first of the ruined houses, MacGilvray’s ruin comes into view. Continue on the path to reach the ruins of the stackyard and winnowing barn on your right and MacCormick’s ruin and the smiddy on the left. Ahead of you is the Galloway Dyke, a thing of beauty commissioned by the Duke of Argyll to help provide income for his tenants during the potato famine. Go through the next gate, from here there is no clear path so continue ahead until you reach three aligned stones on your right known as the “Father, Son and Holy Ghost”. Heading left through rough ground, cross a wooden footbridge and find a track on your right which leads you to more ruins, almost hidden in the bracken. Walk a little further to the final ruin called Tochta McPhee’s ruin where the walk ends. Return by the same route to the Kintra road and then back to Achaban House.