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Rucksack Readers => General issues => Topic started by: Stottie on December 30, 2009, 06:54:57 pm

Title: Coastal connections in southwest Scotland
Post by: Stottie on December 30, 2009, 06:54:57 pm
I’m looking beyond the present snow (literally and figuratively) towards hikes I’d like to do in summer. I’m considering walking north from Stranraer (accessible by ferry from Ireland and by rail from anywhere else in the UK) to join the Ayrshire Coastal Way, and then linking up with other west coast walks.

Would it make sense to sail from Wemyss Bay to the Isle of Bute and then cross to Cowal at Colintraive? Or is it better to go from Gourock to Hunter's Quay? In either case, I'd then want to connect with the Cowal Way. Any thoughts you may offer will be gratefully digested.

A further thought on connections to Stranraer just came to mind. The Southern Upland Way, which starts/ends between Edinburgh and Newcastle upon Tyne, goes near Stranraer. Come on, you east coast lads and lasses! Get yer boots on! Cut across country and then go up the coast, across to Arran, Kintyre, Islay, Jura …

Title: Re: Coastal connections in southwest Scotland
Post by: Jacquetta on December 30, 2009, 07:49:23 pm
Hey Stottie

It all depends on how much of the Cowal Way you want to walk, and whether you want to visit the Island of Bute and its capital Rothesay.  The 35-minute ferry from Wemyss Bay to Rothesay makes perfect sense.  Once there, it would be shame to miss out on the palatial gothic fantasy of Mount Stuart (accessible from Rothesay) and the attractions of town itself, from Rothesay Castle to the Victorian plumbing of the Gents Toilet at its pier. Then walk the West Island Way (or take a bus) to Rhubodach in the north: see map on p56 of our guidebook The Cowal Way (  The 5-minute crossing takes you to Colintraive, from where you face about 8 miles to pick up the Cowal Way at Glendaruel, at first using a delightful coastal road but thereafter you take your chance beside the A886 or perhaps take a bus.  It looks like the 477 goes from Rothesay to Rhubodach then from Colintraive to Portavadie, if so it's a rare bus route that crosses the water ???  However, please check this as I'm just looking at the map and guessing!

The alternative is the CalMac ferry from Gourock/Dunoon (the Hunter's Quay ferry is from McInroy's Point, run by Western Ferries and less suited to pedestrians/public transport though I prefer it when carborne).  Dunoon has good bus connections with Portavadie (start of the Cowal Way) and other parts of Cowal: check page 15 of our guidebook ( and also the SPT website (

For what it's worth, if it comes down to a choice between visiting Rothesay and Dunoon, two fine Victorian seaside resorts, I'd suggest that Rothesay has more eccentric points of interest and also lets you sample the West Island Way on Bute.

Title: Re: Coastal connections in southwest Scotland
Post by: Stottie on December 31, 2009, 11:10:11 am
Thanks, Jacquetta
That's tremendously helpful - saved me a lot of basic research and shown me where to dig deeper