Walking the Kintyre Way in Scotland

One of our walkers, Christine Harrison, recently walked along the Kintyre Way for the first time - exploring the Kintyre Peninsula from Tarbert to Dunaverty. Famous as ‘Scotland’s only mainland island’, the remote Kintyre peninsula has all the usual Highland ingredients - magnificent scenery, abundant wildlife, a wealth of history and famous whiskey distilleries - but with the added attraction of being one of the least explored corners of Scotland. See what Christine made of this fantastic trail.
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What was your overall impression of the Kintyre Way before you did it? Having visited Arran twice and looked across at Kintyre, it was a place I wanted to visit. Having referred to guide books and our itinerary I was very excited at the prospect of seeing all the places mentioned. Did the trail’s reputation put you off or was it part of the reason you wanted to undertake the walk? – if not, what was the reason? I was not put off at all, in fact I had heard very little about the trail itself and did not know anyone who had done it. Perhaps that is why I wanted to walk it. What were the locals you met like? What was the funniest/strangest/most insightful thing a local said or did? We met very few other walkers. Our hosts were all very welcoming, friendly and full of good advice regarding the conditions we should expect and what to look out for. The advice to detour and visit Saddell Abbey was much appreciated. Our taxi driver (baggage carrier) pointed out many interesting places and gave local information which was very helpful. What was your favourite section of the trail? My favourite section of the walk was from Clachan to Tayinloan, walking down the coast. We had our first glimpse of Gigha and as the clouds rose the Paps of Jura appeared in the distance - amazing. Walking along the shore was not as difficult as we had been led to believe. What was your most memorable moment? Most memorable for me was the moment we reached the top of a climb to see the hills of Arran seeming so close. Also finally arriving in Dunaverty after a very long, hard day's walking. You did the last stage of the trail backward – did this interrupt the flow of your hike? Was the official end a better conclusion, or did mixing things up work out fine? The trail had been extended in length to 100 miles after we had booked with you, hence the reason for doing the last stage backwards. This did not bother us at all and the views as we arrived in Dunaverty were stunning. As well as lengthening the walk the new route avoids some road walking. The Kintyre WayWhat was the most surprising thing you saw or did? Some of the surprising things we saw were prehistoric standing stones aligned to a burial cist and the grave carvings at both Skipness and Saddell. Also we spotted a golden striped dragonfly which appears on the mosaic at the beginning of the trail in Tarbert. It was relaxing by a lochan and the situation and weather conditions were exactly as we had read in a wild life book. What was the scariest moment (if there were any)? Only one scary moment. The last day's walk was partly in the worst weather of the whole walk. Visibility on the tops between Machrihanish and Dunaverty was minimal and the waymarkers only occasionally loomed up out of the mist. Scary as we were warned about high, almost vertical cliffs dropping to the sea on our right! How was the food – any favourites? The food on the whole was very good. The favourite all round was the Hebridean chicken stuffed with haggis and in whisky sauce served in our B&B in Clachan. Delicious! What advice would you give to other people who want to undertake a walk along the Kintyre Way? Be aware of weather and take advice from your hosts. Maps are essential even though the route is well waymarked. Allow time to deviate from the route to visit Skipness castle and abbey and Saddell abbey. It is also well worth staying an extra night in Tayinloan and having a day on Gigha. We hired bikes, best hire bikes we've ever had, and managed to cycle the whole island easily with stops in 6 hours.

Holiday Highlights

  • Admiring the wonderful views towards Gigha, Jura, Islay and Ireland on a clear day.
  • Watching the variety of wildlife, including otters, basking sharks and eagles.
  • Walking along the white sands of Machrihanish Beach and breathing in the fresh sea air.
  Click HERE for more information on the Kintyre Way Kintyre Way

Originally published 02/10/15

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Routes on this trail

Kintyre Way
6 to 9 nights
102 miles
Moderate / Demanding+
From £705 per person
A walk from Tarbert to Machrihanish exploring the lesser-known beauty of the Kintyre Peninsula. Find Out More
Kintyre Way - South Section
4 to 5 nights
55 miles
From £470 per person
Carradale to Machrihanish along the coastline of Kintyre and through its glen and forests. Find Out More
Kintyre Way - North Section
3 to 5 nights
48 miles
Moderate / Demanding+
From £355 per person
Tarbert to Carradale through the rich farmland and beautiful coastline of Kintyre. Find Out More