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Love walking? We’ve got Argyll all mapped out!

Love walking? We’ve got Argyll all mapped out!
With forests, hills, glens and a stunningly varied coastline, Argyll & The Isles offers some of Scotland’s best walking. From gentle strolls to epic long-distance routes, there’s something for all levels of walker. And you’ll discover so much as you amble along. Marvel at the Highland scenery, wonder at the wildlife and see ruined castles, ancient sites and natural splendours en route. Isn’t it time you dusted down your walking boots and hot-footed it to Argyll for a walking holiday?

Epic trails
Argyll & The Isles is criss-crossed by a network of ancient paths and drove roads, and there are dozens of well-marked long-distance routes, including some of Scotland’s Great Trails, traversing the awe-inspiring landscape. For a spectacular coastal trek try the Kintyre Way or Cowal Way (or join the two together). The world-famous West Highland Way dips into Argyll, while the Three Lochs Way is a stunning journey through southern Argyll linking Loch Lomond, Gare Loch and Loch Long in four stages. The John Muir Way, which opened in 2014, is a fabulous long-distance route running through central Scotland and linking Helensburgh in Argyll in the west to Dunbar in the east. Many of these trails link up so you can join them together for one epic route through Argyll!

Heady heights
Argyll & The Isles has a wealth of magnificent Munros, from Ben Lui in the Southern Highlands to the splendour of Ben More on Mull. The peaks of the Arrochar Alps are also hugely popular. The most famous hill within this group is Ben Arthur, commonly known as The Cobbler. This is a classic Scottish hill walk to tick off your list. At 884 metres (2,900ft) in height it's only a Corbett, but it has an impressive summit and the views from the top are stunning. Another classic Argyll hill walk is scaling the Paps of Jura. The full round is about 16km, but give yourself a good nine to ten hours to complete it. Or how about taking on the MacPhies (over 300ft) of Colonsay and Oronsay? There are 22 of them on the islands which can be bagged in a single 20-mile walk.

Forest forays
The forests of Argyll & The Isles offer wonderful woodland walks. Argyll Forest Park, which stretches from the Holy Loch at Dunoon to the jagged peaks of the Arrochar Alps, is an excellent place for a forest walk. Take a gentle stroll through magical Puck’s Glen or try longer trails at Ardgarten and Glenbranter. You’ll also find some wonderful walks in the ancient oak woods of Argyll. Glenan Wood near Portavadie, Glasdrum Wood and Glen Nant near Oban and Taynish near Tayvialliach are all beautiful examples with way-marked paths.

Wildlife walks
Islay’s RSPB reserves are great for walking and birdwatching. The Oa RSPB Reserve at the southern end of the island has wild sea cliffs and open moorland, making it the perfect habitat for birds of prey. Loch Gruinart RSPB Reserve at the northern end of the island is the place to watch the wintering geese arrive. Or how about taking a stroll along the Crinan Canal, ‘Britain’s most beautiful shortcut’? You’ll pass Moine Mhor (the great Moss) National Nature Reserve. This lowland raised bog is one of Europe’s rarest and most threatened wildlife habitats and is home to dragonflies, hen harriers, curlews and other moorland and wetland species. If you want to get up close and personal with a Eurasian beaver in the wild, take a walk in Knapdale. At Barnluasgan you’ll find scenic trails which will allow you to see the work of this shy creature and possibly even spot one!

Island adventures
Argyll’s myriad islands offer some truly spectacular Scottish walking. The West Island Way runs the length of the beautiful island of Bute. Tiny Iona is a lovely island where you can wander free. It’s only 1.5 miles wide by 3 miles long, so it’s small enough to explore on foot and you would struggle to get lost! Discover beautiful bays, panoramic views and historic sites. On Gigha you can pick up the ‘Walk Gigha’ booklet from Gigha Stores or Gigha Hotel. It describes in detail (with maps) the 12 designated off-road walks. Many of the walks start and end at the centre of the island, not far from where the ferry comes in, so are perfect for foot passengers visiting for a day.

Argyll walking festivals
If you’re new to walking or fancy attempting some more challenging hikes, then why not try a walking festival? CowalFest runs from 6th to 15th October 2017. Choose from a huge range of guided walks taking in some of the Cowal peninsula’s most famous beauty spots as well its undiscovered corners.

Grab those gators, pack your map and blaze a walking trail in Argyll & The Isles. Find out more about walking in Argyll & The Isles.

Photo: Kintyre Way
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