David Kerr's 2008 Notes on The Stevenson Way
There is certainly the start of a track going east and then north up the coast from Lochaline, but I honestly don't know how far it actually goes. However, the terrain is such that I don't think it should prove any great obstacle to any reasonably fit person as far as the Glensanda Quarry, and from there on it does (or so I'm told) go on up the coast and round the head of Loch Corrie to Camasnacroise.
From Camas, choice of route will depend a lot on the water level in the river and the state of the tide! If both are suitably low, it's no bother to cut across the bay by fording the river at most points behind the beach and then start going up the coast. As the coastline is rocky, though, I'd suggest just sticking to the B8043 until you can walk along the grass on the E side of the road, but again your choice will depend on the state of the tide. Keep an eye open up Meall nan Each, the hill on your left, for the wild goats that have inhabited that area for decades (and probably centuries).
I think the coastline from Kilmalieu up to Inversanda should be OK as long as it's treated with due respect and you avoid the boggy bits, but the road curves inland there and you can't see the coast from it, so I just don't know.
From Inversanda to Ardgour, there should be no great problems as the coastline does flatten out quite noticeably.
From Corran to Ballachulish, the foreshore is walkable as long as the tide's out: once you're round the point south of Bunree Caravan Site, you should have no further problems.
Erik de Boer's 2004 Notes on The Stevenson Way
This year (2004), we finally visited Scotland, and had a wonderful time. We discovered several rather important facts that could be interesting for your Stevenson Trail.
1. We started in Fionnphort on Mull. The tide enabled us twice a day to come and go to the island of Erraid, which we did. Nowadays, part of the Findhorn Foundation is based on the island, which is owned by two Dutch brothers. As a small detail, the lady we stayed with at Fionnport was called Catriona, the same name as the girlfriend of David Balfour in the second book.
2. David Balfour followed the route from Erraid to Torosay by walking across country. Few will want to imitate hime. But if you follow the route from Fionnphort to Pennyghael then to Balevulin, Bainahard, Knock, Salen, Garmoy, Craignure and Torosay it is so beautiful that it makes a good alternative. Then we had to go back a little to take the ferry from Fishnish to Lochaline.
3. Near Torosay Castle there is a small bay at Rubh'Ghuirmein, with a marvellous view of real Scottish highland cows and of Duart Castle. We think this is undoubtedly the point where the rowing boat ferry from Torosay to Kinlochaline in "Kidnapped" started over the Sound of Mull.
4. In Morvern it is very difficult to travel along the coast of Loch Linnhe, and it must be doubtful if Balfour did so either. But there is a wonderful minor route along the coast from Camashacroiase (Kingairloch) to Inversanda (Kilmalieu) and then on to Corran. From somewhere along this route Balfour sailed with a fishermen to the coast of Appin. We had to rely on the current Corran Ferry, and then went on to Ballachulish.
5. A visit to the memorial cairn between Ballachulish and Kentallen is, of course, a must for fans of Stevenson and Balfour. It is not easy to find, but the difficulty of finding it is part of the enjoyment.
6. In Glencoe, we met David Balfour and Alan Breck! In a very, very small museum they were resurrected as statues of wax. In that tiny museum was also a map showing the probable route of David and Alan! This was accompanied by photographs. It was a great surprise!
7. Caolasnacon, where Alan was looking to help, is not a hamlet any more. It is just one house and a campsite! A shame indeed.
8. From Kinlochleven there are plenty of walking routes into the surrounding hills, to give an impression of the difficulties that David and Alan met on their walk. And they had no waterproofs, or boots, or reasonable food or accommodation! Unbelievable!
9. The place of the "meeting of three waters", along the road between Glencoe and Kingshouse, must be a place of pilgrimage for all Stevenson fans. Somewhere near here, David and Alan escaped from English soldiers. (In the tiny museum in Glencoe. There is a photograph of the rock with the top like a bowl in which David and Alan hid from the soldiers. This suggests that the rock must really exist.)
10. The onward route to Loch Ericht and Loch Rannoch, is not for the fainthearted. But near Balquhidder, we found our friends David and Alan again at the beautiful church where the relatives of Rob Roy made a grave for the hero. Someone lays fresh flowers each day on his grave.
11. Simple minded tourists like us will believe that Bridge of Allan is home to the bridge over the Allan Water where David and Alan found their path blocked by soldiers. There is indeed "a little sandy islet, overgrown with burdock, butterbur and the low-like plants that would just covers us if we lay flat" where David and Alan should have passed the night.
But no! The bridge they found blocked is in Stirling. This is a beautiful bridge, with little towers at each end. Near that bridge is a newer bridge. This was designed by the father of Robert Louis Stevenson. (As an aside, Stevenson's father was also the designer of a small lighthouse on Erraid. This no longer exists, but it undoubtedly explains Stevenson's knowledge of tide times on Erraid.)
12. After Stirling you arrive in the more developed parts of Scotland. Only one really important visit on the journey remains, in Limekilns. This is the place from which David and Alan were rowed, in the night, to South Queensferry by a beautiful young girl.
We stayed the night in Limekilns at Judy Walker's bed-and-breakfast. The name of her house? Breck house! Judy showed as an old letter from her grandmother. In it, her grandmother said that Breck house was in former times a real inn, on which Stevenson borrowed his inspiration for the inn in "Kidnapped". The grandmother wrote that the name of Judy was taken from the name of that beautiful young girl in the book. However, when I read that passage again, I couldn't find the name.
But I hope I have made a small contribution to the idea of making the Stevenson Trail!
Erik de Boer