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West Island Way South

West Island Way South


Postby kmsharp » Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:37 pm

Route description: West Island Way

Date walked: 14/01/2012

Time taken: 1 days

Distance: 23 km

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I was on Bute for the weekend visiting family so I decided to take advantage of the benign weather forecast and spent Saturday walking the southern half of the West Island Way from Kilchattan Bay to Rothesay.

The weather was very overcast with a smir of rain when I was dropped off at the bus turning area at the southern end of the B881, I immediately decided that full waterproofs would be the best decision - given the mud I later encountered this was a good decision. The path set off south along the coast and it became apparent that the winter weather and herds of cattle had turned the path to a muddy bog. There is the occasional scramble along this part of the path, but it's not that difficult - easier than the section of the West Highland Way along the north half of Loch Lomond. Eventually I reached the lighthouse at Rubh' an Eun.

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The lighthouse at Rubh' an Eun


The path then contours around the southern end of the island, unfortunately the cattle have been roaming here as well, so the trudging through the mud continued.

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Looking across Glencallum Bay to Torr Mor


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Looking across to Garroch Head


Turning north west the path skirts the edge of Loch na Leighe, to avoid the mud I left the path and walked along the small ridge. Passing St Blane's Church the landscape changes from the more rugged coast to rolling farm land.

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St Blane's Church


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Looking back at the more rugged southern end of Bute


The path skirts around Suidhe Chatain, however I detoured to the summit. On a better day you would be rewarded with good views across Bute, Arran, and the mainland, instead I had a quick refuelling stop and then headed down the path back to Kilchattan Bay.

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Kilchattan Bay from the Suidhe Plantation


Along with the rest of Scotland Bute has been battered by high winds over the last few weeks. There is extensive storm damage across the island, including fallen trees blocking the path and damage to to wooden footbridges,

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Tree blocking the path


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Storm damaged bridge


The path skirts Bute International Airport (aka a grass landing strip) and the golf course towards Stravannan Bay on the west coast of the island.

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Looking across the golf course to Stravannan Bay


Heading inland again the countryside is rolling farmland, dotted with sheep and cattle.

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Green rolling fields


The path swings back to the north passing Loch Ascog before crossing the B881 where the bright lights of Rothesay come into view.

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Loch Ascog


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Rothesay comes into view


From the B881 the path crosses what has to be the muddiest field in the world as it drops down to the causeway across Loch Fad.

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Loch Fad


After crossing the causeway the West Island Way follows the minor roads round the outskirts of Rothesay which is where I finished for the day.

Overall the southern half of the West Island was is a pleasant walk. In better weather I'm sure that there would be excellent views of the surrounding islands, in particular Arran. Be warned that the cattle damage to the path has rendered the going very muddy throughout. You should also think twice about taking a dog on this walk as you do cross open fields containing cows on a number of occasions. Navigation is relatively easy with plenty of signs and way marks, however some of these have been damaged in the decent bad weather.

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West Island Way sign



West Island Way South.GPX Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

kmsharp
 
Posts: 93
Munros:2   Corbetts:8
Grahams:25   Donalds:82
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Joined: Aug 3, 2011
Location: Glasgow, Scotland

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