walks and beaches

There are plenty of excellent walks on Argyll's Secret Coast, here are a few of our favourites.

Carry Farm

The track to the beach will lead you onto a circular walk around the point with views out towards the island of Inchmarnock and Arran  and the mountains behind Tighnabruaich to the north.  You can choose to walk along the shore where there are a couple of gates giving access to the fields and the circular route back to the farm, or stay on the track through the fields to meet Barney the donkey and our flock of hebridean sheep.  There is plenty to see on the walk if you keep your eyes open. Gannets dive off the point, an otter is regularly seen and likes to use our pond to freshen up, seals sunbathe on the rocks and if you are very lucky, basking sharks, minke whale, dolphins and porpoises have all been spotted from the shore.

Ostel Bay

A big sandy beach when the tide is out, perfect for swimming or a picnic.  Drive 3 miles round Ardlamont point until Kilbride Farm at the big fir trees.  Park in lay-by and walk down a very pretty  track for approx 20 minutes.  A good route for a buggy or bikes.

The Glenan Circular Walk

At Kames crossroads follow sign for Tarbert Ferry.  200 yards before the terminal at the right hand side parking can be found.  Picnic benches and maps showing various walks through the woods.  This circular route takes you through Glenan Woods, one of the few remaining native oak woodlands in the area, to Glenan Bay. 

Head across the grassy field and follow the path into the woods. At the junction, take the forest path and climb up until a view of the bay is revealed. Follow the path down until you reach another junction. Here, you can return via the bay and the shore. Glenan Bay is wild and rocky. It's a great place for a beach fire. 

If you’re feeling fit, you can carry on up the forest path to an old deserted village. It's a haunting place that dates back to 1309.

At Kames crossroads follow sign for Tarbert Ferry.  200 yards before the terminal at the right hand side parking can be found.  Picnic benches and maps showing various walks through the woods.  Very nice walk to Glenan Bay, very peaceful.

The Cowal Way

Established in 2000, the Cowal Way is Scotland’s most diverse long distance footpath. It runs the length of the Cowal Peninsula, passing through some of the most beautiful and varied landscape in the Highlands. The Cowal Way begins at Portavadie in the south of Cowal and winds its way up through the peninsula to end at Inveruglas at Loch Lomond, passing through the communities of Tighnabruaich, Glendaruel, Strachur, Lochgoilhead and Arrochar. The route makes use of existing footpaths, forestry tracks, hillsides, quiet roads and traditional rights of way. The views are varied and stunning, including shorelines, forests, hills and lochs. A quiet and enjoyable long distance walk, it also connects with the West Highland Way and Kintyre Way.

Caladh Harbour

This lovely walk is part of The Cowal Way 57-mile long-distance walk established at the turn of the century which runs the length of the Cowal Peninsula.

Drive to Tighnabruaich and follow the road to the end at the boatyard.  Park the car and walk along track round the point.  Approx 45 minutes walkwill come to a beautiful secluded harbour.  Miniature lighthouse on rocks. 

Kilfinan Community Forest

There is now a circular path within Kilfinan Community Forest which starts by the car park and winds up through the woodland to the waterfall, with an extra loop that carries on up the Allt Mor burn. If you’re walking this route, keep a lookout for local primary school pupils’ forest inspired artwork, as well as bird and squirrel boxes nestled high up in the trees! They also plan to provide tables and benches in a clearing by the waterfall where visitors can picnic and enjoy this local beauty spot. Bike racks are installed in the car park, to encourage our visitors to cycle up to the site and lower their carbon footprint!

Stillaig Loop

Start the walk at the derelict Polphail village at Portavadie. You then need to follow a path that climbs quite steeply up through a pretty birch forest. Out in the open, keep climbing and follow the well-worn path that’s marked by posts. After a short while the path descends to the right. If you want, take a quick detour up the hill to the left where you’ll get a bird’s eye view of Portavadie Marina. Double back and then follow the undulating path until you reach the standing stone. It’s almost 9ft tall and stands next to a much smaller one. They date back to the Bronze Age approximately 2,000 years BC and once formed part of a stone circle. Looking out over the loch you’ll spot the ferry ploughing backwards and forwards between Portavadie and Tarbert. Ravens nest in the cliffs close to here and you’ll probably see them flying above or perched on a rock. 

Carry on following the path. After a while it gets a bit indistinct, but basically you’re heading for Ascog Bay where you’ll see a wooden building which is the Boys Brigade hut. You can either cut across the headland or climb up to a heathery knoll, which is the highest piece of ground. The views of Ayrshire, Arran and Inchmarnock Island are fabulous and you can look down on Ascog Bay. Then head for the ruins below and pick up a path which takes you over a little bridge and down to the beach. A narrow isthmus separates two shallow bays, which are both great places to beach comb at low tide. Eilean Aoidhe is joined to the mainland via the isthmus. 

When you’ve finished exploring, pick up the farm vehicle access path and complete the loop back to the Portavadie road. 

Otter Estate

This is a fabulous walk in Otter Estate that takes you through open fields and woodland to a wonderful stretch of coastline at Kilfinan Bay. It’s a private estate, but walkers are cyclists are welcome. There are sheep around, so do keep your dog on a lead. It’s a decent wide track all the way to the beach. If you have toddlers, you could even attempt this one with an all-terrain buggy. 

Otter Ferry

Park at the Oystercatcher restaurant and walk south along the track towards the estate.  Beautiful walk with lovely views.  Buggy and bike friendly for children.  Finish the walk back at the Oystercatcher and enjoy a lovely lunch!  The walk can also be completed by walking along the shore for those more interested in beach combing.