walkhighlands

Scotland's Great Trails

The West Island Way

The West Island Way was Scotland's first official island long distance footpath and was opened in 2000 to celebrate the turn of the millenium. You could walk it in one epic, two or three days.

The route is waymarked, taking in most of the Island of Bute in around 45 kilometres. It crosses a varied landscape, with a fascinating stretch of coastline, beaches, rich farmland, moors, forests and fine views of Arran and the Cowal peninsula.

We describe the route split into 3 sections; both the first and last stages being circuits and the middle stage linking the two. However it is possible to descend from the route at several points to reach services or accommodation in Rothesay or elsewhere, and the bus services on the island further help you divide the route into the sections that suit you best.

Stage descriptions Length Time Done
1: Kilchattan Bay circular 8km 2½-3½ hours
2: Kilchattan Bay to Port Bannatyne 18.5km 4½-5½ hours
3: North Bute circuit 20.5km 5 - 6 hours

THE CHALLENGE

The West Island Way is fairly well waymarked but gives rough going in places, also with some boggy stretches underfoot.

BOOKS AND MAPS



ACCOMMODATION AND SERVICES ALONG THE WAY

The Isle of Bute is a popular destination and offers a wide choice of accommodation options.

Kingarth (near Kilchatten Bay) and Port Bannatyne both have hotels, whilst there is a much larger choice of both hotels and guest houses off route in Rothesay.

It is also possible to break the second stage by making a short detour into Rothesay. It may be convenient to use Rothesay as a base for the entire walk and use public transport to get to and from each stage; the town also has self catering options.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

There are two ferry routes to the Isle of Bute. The main service links the capital, Rothesay, with Wemyss Bay, which in turn has a rail link to Glasgow. At the northern end of the island a second ferry runs between Rhubodach and Colintraive on the Cowal peninsula.

On the island itself the east coast is served by buses, with both Rhubodach (via Port Bannatyne) and Kilchatten Bay linked by bus to Rothesay.

Timetables for all the routes can be found on Traveline Scotland.

Users' walk reports for the West Island Way

There are 96 Walkhighlanders who have completed the West Island Way, including you. Our users have contributed 3 public walk reports for the route. These are ordered below with the most popular ones first.

Title AuthorDate walked Likes
  01/08/2014  3
  02/06/2011  2
  14/01/2012  1

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Walking can be dangerous and is done entirely at your own risk. Information is provided free of charge; it is each walker's responsibility to check it and navigate using a map and compass.