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The Cowal Way in May

The Cowal Way in May

Postby andrewl7642 » Tue Jun 09, 2015 11:29 pm

Route description: Loch Lomond and Cowal Way

Date walked: 23/05/2015

Time taken: 3 days

Distance: 80 km

Ascent: 500m

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The Cowal Way runs for around 90 kilometres along the length of the Cowal peninsula. It begins at Portavadie in the southwest, where the ferry runs from Tarbert in Kintyre, and includes forests, waterfalls, the shore of sea-lochs and hill-passes along the way to end at Inveruglas on the shores of Loch Lomond. It passes through rugged countryside rich in wildlife. From Inveruglas a ferry across the loch enables a link with the West Highland Way, so with the possible link to the Kintyre Way via the Portavadie Ferry, the Cowal Way could be one link in an epic walk through Scotland. Another option is to link from Arrochar with the Three Lochs Way which leads to Balloch.

The route was devised by Jim McLuckie of Glendaruel and Colintraive Community Council.

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Friday 22 May 2015

We caught the Citylink bus from Glasgow to Tarbert. The journey took about 3 hours.

Once arriving in Tarbert our first mission was to find somewhere suitable to camp. We head up to the old castle which overlooks the harbour.

Once at the top of the hill, we enjoyed a Beer or two, taking in some bonny views over Tarbert harbour while we decided whether or not to camp there or head down to the ferry terminal. We chose the later option, which was of course the wrong decision as we ended up sleeping under the wooden shelter, which was pretty uncomfortable.

Tarbert Castle

Tarbert Harbour by night

Saturday 23 May 2015

Saturday morning, we caught the 8am ferry to Portavadie where the Cowal Way begins.

The ferry journey took 25 minutes and upon arrival in Portavadie, we first took a side trip to the ghost village of Polphail before starting the Cowal Way just after 10am. On our first day we walked as far as Glendaruel (20 miles approx) where there is a campsite. We passed through the villages of Kames, Tighnabruaich and Clachan.



The walk along the coast from Kames to Tignahbruaich and beyond.


Squeezing through the rocks on the lochside path

Finally pitched up at Glendaruel campsite.

Sunday 24 May 2015

On Sunday We made our way from Glendaruel to Lochgoilhead passing through the village of Strachur, covering about 21 miles. We arrived on the outskirts of Lochgoilhead quite late, about 10pm and wild camped by the side of a private road close to the loch.

Descending to Lochgoilhead


Monday 25 May 2015

Our final day was spent rushing from Lochgoilhead to Arrochar in a bid to catch the 2.10pm train to Glasgow.
We made the train with about 10 minutes to spare, after a jog through the woods from Arrochar to Tarbet.
Then it was back to Glasgow for a wee wander before catching the bus home.
Last edited by andrewl7642 on Mon Aug 22, 2016 1:21 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: The Cowal Way in May

Postby Gordie12 » Sun Jun 21, 2015 10:31 am

Thanks for posting this.

I'm interested to know what you thought of the Cowal Way as I haven't read much about it and I fancy linking it with the Kintyre Way - decent paths, hilly, navigation issues, easy to stock up on grub????
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Re: The Cowal Way in May

Postby smiffysmc » Fri Jul 31, 2015 10:16 pm

Excellent to see some pictures of the Cowal Way. I stay in Dunoon but have yet to tackle this.

For some reason I've came up with the idea of doing this in a day. Will be taking my mountain bike to try and get the miles in since there's a bit of public and forestry road involved. Of course there will be a few sections I'll need to carry or push my bike.

Perhaps you could advise on a few sections.......

Portavadie to Millhouse crossroads then the cemetery to tank landing (concrete area at shore). Is any of this fit for cycling?
Caladh estate through to Ormidale lodge. Shore walk and rock squeeze look a bit of a pain to be escorting the bike through ?
Lochgoilhead to Coilessan,the hill pass. Is this steep enough to make me cry as I drag my bike up. :crazy:

Thanks in advance,

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Re: The Cowal Way in May

Postby Sack the Juggler » Tue Jan 22, 2019 3:24 pm


sorry for the stupid question, but is there a train from Tarbet to Glasgow?
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