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5 reasons why the only way is the Cowal Way !

5 reasons why the only way is the Cowal Way !
Flanked by Loch Long and Loch Fyne, the Cowal Peninsula is a rich landscape of contrasts, ranging from the dramatic peaks of the north to the mellow scenery of the south. And there’s no better way to explore this undiscovered corner of Argyll than on foot. The Cowal Way runs for 57 miles (92 km) across the Cowal Peninsula, starting at Portavadie on Loch Fyne and ending at Inveruglas on Loch Lomond. Here are five reasons why you should grab those walking boots and make your way to the Cowal Way!

1. It’s the most diverse route in Scotland
The Cowal Way is known as ‘Scotland in 57 miles’. In those 57 miles you’ll get a tantalising taste of everything the Highlands has to offer, from cracking coastlines to tranquil glens and forest to imposing hills and moorland. You’ll pass 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, so you’ll find the terrain very varied too!

2. Dramatic scenery
You’ll be blown away by the natural beauty and attractions that you see along the Cowal Way. The coastline along the first sections from Portavadie to Glendaruel is simply stunning. Enjoy views of the beautiful Kyles of Bute as you stroll along the coastal road through Tighnabruaich. Struth Ban Falls – between Strachur and Lochgoilhead – is one of the highlights. These falls are truly a wonder of nature. Some walkers have been brave enough to shower in them! Ben Arthur, commonly known as The Cobbler, is another magnificent natural feature. At 884 metres (2,900ft) in height it's only a Corbett, but it still has an impressive summit and the views are spectacular from the top. It’s well worth a detour if you have the energy!

3. Rich heritage
Cowal is rich in Highland history. It’s dotted with fascinating ancient sites, ruined castles and historic houses, many of which the Cowal Way passes. Look out for the ruined Ascog Castle on the shores of Ascog Loch. It dates back to the 15th century and was the ancestral home of the McInnes Lamonts. There’s not much left of the castle today, but it’s a beautiful, haunting place. The Kilmodan Stones, a group of fascinating historic west Highland carved grave slabs exhibited in a burial aisle within Kilmodan churchyard near Glendaruel, are also well worth a visit. Strachur Smiddy is another highlight. This old smiddy was worked by four generations of blacksmiths and has now been converted into a museum and craft shop.

4. Abundant wildlife
The coastal waters, woodlands, hillsides and rivers of Cowal are home to an incredible range of flora and fauna. You’ve a good chance of spotting ‘Scotland’s Big Five’ – the otter, red squirrel, Golden eagle, common seal and red deer – as you walk the Cowal Way. In the coastal sections, look out for porpoises and a huge range of seabirds including oystercatchers, red breasted mergansers, eider ducks, herons, cormorants, shags, gannets, fulmars and gulls. In the woodland and field areas, you might see pine martens, badgers, barn owls, roe deer and, of course, red squirrels. While out on the open hillsides and moorlands of the northern sections of the walk, keep your eyes peeled for golden eagles, buzzards and other birds of prey. The open hills are also the domain of red deer which graze in small herds on high ridges.

5. Peace and quiet
This is a remote, undiscovered part of Scotland. Many people come here to escape the hustle and bustle of life and experience the beauty of the landscape. It’s possible to walk all day on many parts of the Cowal Way and not see anybody! Compared to other walks such as the West Highland Way, this walk is very quiet indeed.

The Cowal Way is currently being upgraded and there are 150 new waymarkers in place and other path improvements. Most of it is suitable for cycling. The official guidebook for the Cowal Way has been written by Michael Kaufmann and Jim McLuckie, and is published by Rucksack Readers. This trail guide contains all you need to plan and enjoy your walk with detailed route descriptions, background information, side-trips and planning information for travel by car, ferry, bus and plane. There are plenty pf great places to eat and drink along the Cowal Way.

There are ferry links to the Kintyre Way and to the West Highland Way, and then to the Great Glen Way. So you can do an epic route from the Mull of Kintyre all the way to Inverness! Find out more about the Cowal Way and more about things to see and do in Dunoon and Cowal. Find out more about the Cowal Way.
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Iain Johnston Iain
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Ascog CastleView from Tighnabruaich shoreLooking down the Kyles of Bute
Sruth Ban Falls The Cobbler Clan of Glendaruel
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