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.
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 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.