With its romantic shorelines and impressive mountain ranges, Argyll is the perfect place for outdoor enthusiasts. From expert hike trails to scenic rambler circuits, there’s a route to suit all levels of experience. We’ve pulled together a list of 10 of the best Argyll walks.
1. Ganavan Sands and Dunstaffnage Castle
For a shorter walk, a quick bus journey from Oban can take you up to Ganavan Sands for a picturesque coastal Argyll stroll. The route includes a pass by 13th century Dunstaffnage Castle, an impressive structure captured by Robert the Bruce and handed over to the crown. Parts of this path are boggy with a few steep sections, however, it is relatively manageable for all levels.
For those looking to extend their roam, this route can be done as a circular walk, returning via the path/cycleway from Dunbeg to Ganavan. For those who don’t want to take the bus, the journey can be lengthened by starting from Oban and walking on the old carriage-way to Dunollie.
2. Taynish National Nature Reserve
The Taynish National Nature Reserve offers a collection of pleasing woodland paths and loch-side rambles. As one of the largest original oakwoods remaining in Britain, there’s a walking route for everyone here. Paths with ascents can be taken to add a bit of challenge to your day, whilst those looking for something more peaceful can omit sign-posted detours and simply enjoy the scenery.
The woodlands of Taynish are complimented by a warm, wet climate brought about by the Gulf Stream. As a result, they are often described as a ‘temperate rain-forest’, providing wonderful conditions for thriving ferns, mosses and other fauna.
3. Isle of Luing and the Slate Quarries
Looking for a day of exploration? Hop on a ferry over to the Isle Luing to investigate what was once the centre of a slate quarrying industry. Starting from the South Cuan ferry terminal, this route is roughly 4.5 miles long and flits between grassy coastlines and pathless patches (sometimes across boulders and alongside minor roads). The slate quarry itself is now an impressive pool that a lot of brave visitors have frequented for a spot of wild swimming.
4. Ben Cruachan and Stob Daimh
For those up for a sturdy walk, Ben Cruachan is often hailed as one of the finest Munros in the Southern highlands of Scotland. The hillside route opens to views down onto the famous Loch Awe, the longest freshwater loch in Scotland. The climb is made even more enjoyable by-passing streams and a number of waterfalls.
The pointed peak of the Munro delivers fantastic satellite views of Scotland below. This is complimented by a ridge walk to Stob Diamh for a great circuit around the Cruachan reservoir. For experienced Munro baggers, Stob Daimh and Ben Cruachan can be combined with an ascent of Beinn a’Chochuill and Beinn Eunaich.
5. Ardcastle Point circuit, Loch Fyne
Animal lovers will rejoice in the abundance of Scottish wildlife associated with this circuit and its surrounding area. One of our favourite Argyll forest walks, this trail has three waymarked routes to explore the coastline of Loch Fyne by. Seals, otters, pine martens and deer are just some of the common sights of the neighbourhood.
6. The Kintyre Way
South of Oban, covering the length of the Kintyre peninsula, runs a 161 km route starting at the charming Tarbert village (in the North) to Machrihanish in the South. The circuit is a wonderful way to scout this often-unexplored area of West Scotland, passing through many a tiny fishing village, vast moors, beaches and delightful stretches of coastline.
The tracks of this route are very well psoted, with distance markers at each 1 mile. Castle hunters will be delighted at the generous list of structures nearby – Torrisdale, Sadell, ,Tarbert, Stonefield and Skipness castle are all within visiting range.
7. Kilmartin Glen
Kilmartin Glen is thought to have the most important concentration of Neolithic and Bronze Age remains in mainland Scotland. Without being too taxing of a walk, the 3-mile jaunt from Kilmartin Village gives visitors a good preview of some of the 350 historic sites in the small area. Start of at Kilmartin House Museum to get more info about the sites along the route and the glen itself.
8. Pulpit Hill and Gallanach, Oban
For those looking for an enjoyable, but perhaps less strenuous walk, this route takes a look at the countryside directly South of Oban. The full walk is a 4.5-mile circuit; however, it can also be done as a one-way journey with a bus back. The start of the route includes a manageable uphill walk to Pulpit Hill, notorious for its admirable views over Oban.
9. Kilchurn Castle, Loch Awe
The walk around Kilchurn Castle is another one for less experienced Argyll walkers, or those looking for a more peaceful pace. At only 1.25 miles, it’s a great place for a stroll and offers great views of the ruined castle against Loch Awe.
10. Ben Arthur
The hike up Ben Arthur has become so popular that its paths have been improved in recent years. The mountain is known for its distinctive shape, its peculiar rocky summit named “The Cobbler” due to its appearance. Half the fun of this mountain is the way in which you reach the summit; climbing through a hole in the rock and then scrambling along a sloping ledge at the back. Very good fitness is required for this 7-mile climb, as is sure-footedness.
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