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West Island Way
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West Island Way

The 25-mile West Island Way runs the length of the beautiful island of Bute in Argyll. Opened in 2000, it's now classified as one of Scotland's Great Trails. The trail crosses a variety of landscapes, including seashore, moorland, farmland and forest. Bute is a place of great contrasts, from its stunning beaches to its fascinating historical sites. Walking the West Island Way is one of the best ways to discover everything that this Argyll island has to offer.

The route is fully waymarked and can be completed in two days, although it can readily be broken down into smaller walks. The traditional starting point for the West Island Way is at Kilchattan Bay. A scheduled West Coast Motors bus will drop you off there.

At Kilchattan Bay you can do a loop which takes you down to the southern tip of Bute, providing some spectacular views of Arran and Cowal. Don’t miss St Blane’s chapel. Alternatively, miss out this section and head north west to walk the short, flat, easy 2.5 miles to Langalbuinoch, enjoying the views over to Arran from Stavannan Bay.

The six-mile section from Langalbuinoch to Rothesay takes in a huge variety of landscapes. You’ll walk over moorland, through forests and next to lochs, with regular, conveniently placed benches. The section from Rothesay to Glen More (Ettrick Bay) takes you into the hills above the town, before dropping back down into Port Bannantyne. Then it’s onwards along the old tramway route until you reach Ettrick Bay. This beautiful mile-long beach is a top spot for a refreshing dip on a hot day.

The section from Glen More to Rhubodach sees the route winding inland through a tranquil glen that was once dotted with farmsteads. Leaving the moorland, the route enters a forest before emerging near the ferry terminal at Rhubodach. To complete the West Island Way, the route loops back to Port Bannantyne.

Header photo: Kilchattan Bay by MT Photography
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