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Walks in Lochgoilhead & Area Climb to the Tower above Inveraray Combine a Loch Lomond Cruise with the West Highland Way


Introduction by Leonard Gow
 from Lochgoilhead Holidays Scenic, excellent marked trails, wild and hilly, Lochgoilhead is simply sensational for walking.

The routes included in this guide are based on local knowledge. These are the ones that don’t usually make it into printed guides. These are the ones that you may well stumble across when you are here. Before you arrive this is the guide that will help you plan your walks in make the most of what this wonderful area has to offer.

Ideal for families, dog walkers and hikers looking for a longer trek. Starting with the local favourite dog walking spots, and working up to some longer walks. You choose, morning, afternoon, or even a whole day.

This guide will point you in the right direction and give you an intro as to what to expect. They are not meant to give you detailed step-by-step instructions. Get out and explore, its all part of the fun. Most of the walks are signposted - and with the loch visible on many of them this area is easy to navigate around.

Bring your binoculars, bring your camera, but most important, bring your walking shoes.


LOCHGOILHEAD 1, ARBORETUM & PLAYGROUND 2. INVERLOUNIN ROAD 3. DUKES PATH 4. DONICH (FALLS) CIRCULAR 5. GLEANN BANN 6. DRIMSYNIE CIRCULAR 7. TOM A CHUILG 8. STEEPLE HILL 9. POLE STRAIGHTS 14. 2 GATES CIRCUIT

IN THE AREA 10. SQUIRREL TRAIL 11. CARRICK TO ARDENTINNY 12. REST TO POLE 13. DRIMSYNIE BEG 15. CORRAN LOCHAN 16. LOCHAN NAN CNAIMH 17. GOIL TO ARDGARTAN 18. BEN DONICH 19. TOWER AT INVERARAY (DUN NA CUAICHE) 20. CRUISE LOCH LOMOND



1

ARBORETUM, PLAYGROUND and walking information boards Time: You choose Distance: You choose Footwear: Normal Grade: Easy The No.1 dog walking spot in the village, and no wonder. Off-road parking, an excellent playground for the children and a number of paths through the forest which are flat and perfect for a gentle stroll. Walks can be extended along the forestry road and over the River Goil bridge out towards the main road coming into the village. There are fields, usually with sheep, and a bit further along you’ll usually come across some Highland cows. Head south, through the gate and follow the forest road to a seat which is a good spot for taking pictures and watching what is happening on the loch Information boards and display maps at the entrance.


2

INVERLOUNIN ROAD to the shores of Loch Goil Time: 1 hr Distance: 4km Footwear: Normal Grade: Easy Don’t be put off by the Private Road sign - this is an easy and popular walk following the west shore of Loch Goil. Start at the village car park, and keeping the loch on your right, walk down past the jetty to the beginning of Inverlounin Road. It’s a tarmac road all the way, but being primarily for access to the houses there is very little traffic so it makes for a pleasant stroll for families with children, buggies and dogs. Look out for the original Victorian Villas built as holiday homes by well to-do Glasgow merchants. Loch Goil, being a sea loch, made it easy travelling from the Firth of Clyde and up Loch Long. As you reach the far end the views open up down the loch to Carrick Castle and you have access to the shoreline.


3

DUKES PATH forest walk above the village Time: 1:20hr Distance: 8km Footwear: Normal Grade: Easy A combination of tarmac, paths and forestry roads, this circular walk is most visitor’s introduction to climbing from loch level and start enjoying the views. Park in the village and keeping the loch on your right walk down Inverlounin road until you come to the entrance to the Dukes Path walk (pictured above). A short and steepish climb to the way marker where you turn left and take the forestry road back in the direction of the village. Mostly forested, there are glimpses of the loch, but as you get closer to the village the view opens up. There is a seat here to take some time and watch whats happening on the loch and in the village. There are often Highland cows at this point so care should be taken if you have a dog with you. At the next junction turn left and head down towards the village.


4

DONICH CIRCULAR for the impressive Donich Falls Time:1hr Distance: 4km Footwear: Walking Shoes Grade: Moderate Start at the village car park or the Arboretum. Some tarmac, but mostly paths. Start walking up towards The Steeple Hill and you will come to a junction. Take the route uphill with the forest on your left and Steeple Hill on your right. Tip: This is an easier walk first time going anti-clockwise. Depending on how wet its been, you may well hear the Donich Falls before you see them. Follow the path round towards the falls and as you climb there is a picnic table. Carry on and you will head back in the direction of the village. There is a steep downhill part of the path (hence the tip) that brings you out on to a forestry road which takes you back to the Arboretum and village. The hills on this walk make it a bit more of a stamina challenge - but well worth it.


5

GLEANN BAN WALK for a quick trip into the hills
 Time: 1hr Distance: 3.9km Footwear: Walking Shoes Grade: Easy Starting at the entrance to the Drimsynie Estate Office this linear walk will take you through Corrow Farm and up into the hills. Good forestry road all the way, it twists and turns up towards the backdrop of Beinn Lochain. At the furthest point there is a picnic table as well as a hill stream with a footbridge. You have the option to extend this walk up onto the Drimsynie Beg to Lettermay forestry road. A short walk, good for a dog, which takes you well away from the road, buildings and people.


6

DRIMSYNIE CIRCULAR for views above the holiday park
 Time: 1hr Distance: 3.86km Footwear: Walking Shoes Grade: Easy 
 Start at the Drimsynie House Hotel & Leisure Centre Car and follow the signs. This circular walk takes you up above the holiday park, and for very little effort, rewards with wonderful views across to the village and down the loch. The Estate have put in landmark display signs at various points so you can name the mountains and the main features. There is also a picnic table towards the highest point. Carry on round to Corrow Farm and return off the road weaving your way through the holiday home park. A good walk for the dog, and well within most people’s stamina level. Join in on an escorted walk for this route. Check at the Leisure Reception.


7

TOM A CHUILG WALK for views above the village
 Time: 2hrs Distance: 11km Footwear: Walking Shoes Grade: Moderate This is an extension to the Donich Circular (Map 4) walk. Start and finish at the Arboretum. Follow the Donich Circular walk to it’s highest point and you will see a marker and a wide path heading up the hill through the forest. You come out into a cleared forested area and the views open up. Take the path to the top where you will come onto a forestry road. Turn left and follow the path as it meanders its way downhill. Back into the forest and then out again and the view is the picture above, looking back towards the village and the head of the loch. Carry on over the cattle grid. Pay attention looking for a post which is the start of a zig-zag path down to the main road. Easy to miss. Walk into the village via the forestry access road and then back to the Arboretum and car park. You’ll know you’ve done a hill walk when you finish this.


8

STEEPLE HILL the iconic hill behind the village
 Time: 1hr Distance: 4km Footwear: Walking boots Grade: It’s a scramble Sitting 1,236ft above the village, Steeple Hill is well worth the effort to climb. For one third of the walk up there is a path, and then you scramble over the hillside to reach the top. I have shown a circular route, although you can go up and down the same way if you prefer. For the first time the easier route is to take the good path up towards the Donich Falls. Before you get to the style at the forest go right and work your way up to the top. There is a faint path in parts, but you’ll probably end up picking your own route. From the top the whole of the head of the loch and the village lies below your feet. What a place to catch your breath. It can be wet underfoot and you have to take care coming down.


9

POLE STRAIGHTS for an alternative doggie walk
 Time: 30min Distance: 2.2km Footwear: Normal Grade: Easy As you drive along Pole Straights heading in or out of the village this walk is easy to miss. A popular flat doggie walk for villagers in the know. Park at the entrance to the forestry road where there is a sign showing the distance round the whole of the Ardgoil Peninsula. Take the flat forestry road as it runs parallel to the main road. The view from the walk is to the high peaks at the head of glen.


10

SQUIRREL WALK for a trip through native woodlands Time: 45min Distance: 3km Footwear: Walking Shoes Grade: Easy Also known as the Cormonachan Woodland Walk. Between Lochgoilhead and Carrick Castle you come across a television aerial by the side of the road. There is off road parking here for a couple of cars. This is a circular woodland walk with Atlantic oaks. Bluebells abound throughout the woods along with other woodland plants including, primroses, wild garlic, wood sorrel, lesser celandine, honeysuckle and ferns. This is a good walk to look out for red squirrels. The woodland area has a path with view points over Loch Goil, as well as a red squirrel trail provided with information points. To be fair, the path is no longer maintained and the information boards have seen better days, but this is still a pleasant and no too demanding walk in a true woodland setting. There is a movement afoot to take on the maintenance of this walk, so things should improve.


11

CARRICK CASTLE PART WAY TO ARDENTINNY for a 2 loch view
 Time: 1:10hr Distance: 5km Footwear: Walking Shoes Grade: Moderate You can take this hill path route over to the village of Ardentinny on Loch Long, which is good if you have arranged to be picked up. My preferred option is to start at Carrick Castle and take the hill path to the top, turn around, and come back. Why? To me, as you look north up Loch Goil from it’s entrance off Loch Long, it is just stunning. There is no better view on the rest of the walk, this is the picture moment. Park next to the tenement type building (not easy to miss in the village) and take the tarmac road keeping the loch on your left until you come to Ardnahein Farm. Ardentinny is signposted from there. Although there is no shop, pub or coffee shop in Carrick Castle village, there are picnic tables on the grassy area by the castle, and there is a good bit of shoreline that the children will enjoy exploring.The path undulates along the shoreline before climbing. Most pleasant.


12

REST AND BE THANKFUL TO POLE STRAIGHTS an easy downhill stroll Time: 1:20hr Distance: 7km Footwear: Walking Shoes Grade: Easy Part of the route round the whole of the Ardgoil Peninsula, this linear section needs a bit of forward planning so you don’t have to return to where you started. Park a car at the bottom of Pole Straights and take another one to the Open Hill Access parking area just before you get to the Rest and be Thankful. Take the good forestry road all the way down the glen with the mighty Ben Donich on one side and the twisting single track road towards Lochgoilhead on the other. Beautiful mountain scenery all the way with a no uphill sections on the path. At the bottom carry on round the forestry road to the end of Pole Straights to where you parked a car.


13

DRIMSYNIE BEG TO LETTERMAY - the highest forestry road in the area
 Time: 2:20hrs Distance: 11.5km Footwear: Walking Shoes Grade: Moderate Another linear walk best done by being dropped off at Drimsynie Beg which is the junction leading out to Hells Glen. Arrange to be picked up at Lettermay or back at the village. Good forestry road all the way, this walk meanders far into the hills as it climbs high above the glen. Forestry clearing over the last few years have opened up the views as you come around a bend and find yourself above the Drimsynie Estate and the head of the loch. Keep walking and it goes back into the hills and then brings you out at the road end at Lettermay. Get picked up here or walk along the road back into the village. An excellent long walk on the highest forestry road at the head of the glen.


14

2 GATES CIRCUIT with a challenging uphill section Time: 2 hr Distance: 8km Footwear: Walking Shoes Grade: Moderate Starting in the village, walk down Inverlounin Road and take the Dukes Path to the top of the first section. At the top follow the forestry road on your right. Eventually you will see large yellow mooring bouys on this side of the loch. Carry on walking until you see a small sign saying ‘Lochgoilhead’. Opposite the sign there is an entrance to a path. Take that path and be prepared for a steep uphill section which brings you out on the higher level of the Dukes Path. You are between 2 sets of gates - hence the 2 gates nickname. Turn left and follow the path through the forest until you come to a large cleared area. This is one of the best views in the whole area - look south to Carrick Castle and north to Lochgoilhead - you have the whole of Loch Goil below you. Carry on down to the lower forestry road and head back into the village. You can do this walk the other way, but you have to be careful coming down the steep section of path as it can be slippy in the wet.


15

CORRAN LOCHAN to the heart of the Ardgoil Peninsula
 Time: 2:30hrs Distance: 14km Footwear: Walking Shoes Grade: Moderate A pretty little hill lochan high up in the hills at the end of the Dukes Path section of the Ardgoil Peninsula circuit. Leave Lochgoilhead on the path above the village and you’ll come to a sign post pointing towards Corran Lochan. Carry on up the zig-zag path to the higher path. You soon come to a clearing which has excellent views, and a bench. It’s a straight path, just keep walking until you come to the lochan. On the way back you can divert off up to the summit of The Saddle (not signposted) or carry on back to the village.


16

LOCHAN nan CNAIMH - hillwalking and fishing or fishing and hill walking
 Time: 4 hrs Distance: 9km Footwear: Walking Boots Grade: Moderate Starting at Lettermay/Corrow people park in a lay-by rather than a recognised parking spot. Follow the route of the Cowal Way. Forest extraction is going on in the area and the plus side is the views are opening up - and what views. The sweep of Beinn Bheula, the waterfall on the Cowal Way and Beinn Lochain are really impressive. DO NOT take a new forest road on the left - it is a dead-end. Keep walking down towards a river and turn left there. Eventually the road turns in a path through the forest. Follow that until you come to a steam coming down the hill. Climb through the trees by the stream and you will come out into the open with the Lochan laid out before you. Wild, remote and nestled between the hills. A wonderful spot. Seemingly its free fishing.


17

LOCHGOILHEAD TO ARDGARTAN on the Cowal Way long distance path Time: 4 hrs Distance: 11km Footwear: Walking Boots Grade: Challenging This next section of the Cowal Way is possibly it’s toughest. Take the Donich Falls walk out the village, the path is signposted just below where you start to climb to the falls. This section climbing up through the forest is muddy. You eventually come out onto the open hillside. There are white way marker posts to follow that take you deep into the hinterland of the Ardgoil Peninsula. Truly wild and remote - this is a an enjoyable section. Follow the markers back down to the forest and take the good path and road from here to Ardgartan where hopefully, you’ve arranged to be picked up. You can carry on walking back to Lochgoilhead via Glen Croe and the forestry road - add another 3 hours.


18

BEN DONICH - feel on top of the world above Lochgoilhead Time: 2hrs Distance: 6km Footwear: Walking Boots Grade: Challenging Climb Ben Donich and tick off the highest climb above Loch Goil. Ben Donich, at 2,778 ft / 846m, towers over the village of Lochgoilhead. It makes for a wonderful hill walk best accessed via a good hill path from the Open Hill Access car park towards the Rest and be Thankful. This is a hill walk. It demands respect. You will need a map. There is a bit of a scramble section towards the summit where you need to be careful but apart from that the path is easy to follow. The views from the top are of the Arrochar Alps, down Loch Goil to the Clyde Estuary and west towards the unmistakable Paps of Jura in the Inner Hebrides. Wonderful. Return the same way being careful to keep to the same path.


19

DUN NA CUAICHE WOODLAND WALK on the Argyll Estate Time: 2hrs Distance: 5km Footwear: Walking Boots Grade: Steep Silhouetted against the sky on a hill above Inveraray Castle sits a decorative tower built in 1748. This makes for a grand walk from the car park at Inveraray Castle. Follow the blue arrows. £2 parking charge. If the castle is closed you may have to park in the town and walk through the estate to start the walk. It is a good path all the way with possibly a few muddy patches. Forest clearing has taken place so the views open up as you head up the back of the hill. If you walk for the views then this one delivers in spades. From your lofty position at the top you see across the Castle and beyond to Inveraray and down Loch Fyne. There are a couple of benches at the top and you’ll appreciate them after what is a steady climb. Gift Shop, Coffee Shop & Toilets at the castle.There are gentler walks on the Argyll Estate all of which are well worth it at any time of year.


20

LOCH LOMOND CRUISE AND WEST HIGHLAND WAY WALK 
 Time: Full Day Distance: 7ml walk Footwear: Walking Shoes Grade: Moderate Cruise Loch Lomond offer an 8.45am departure from Tarbet to Rowardennan with return sailings from Inversnaid at 2.45pm or 5pm. Their West Highland Way Rambler 1 tour combines a scenic trip across Loch Lomond and then you hike the forested 7 mile stretch of the the famous West Highland Way (Top 20 Treks in the World - National Geographic) from Rowardennan to the Arklet Falls and the Inversnaid Hotel. Ample time for a picnic en route. The route is clearly marked along the east shore of the loch which is only accessible on foot. Dogs are welcome. This is an excellent family day out if your children are up for longish walk. Prices are/were £15 adult, Child £9, Family (2 ad + 2ch) £43 Check all times and prices direct with Cruise Loch Lomond on 01301 702 356


On the 2 Gates Circuit above Loch Goil - Map 14

Bowater, 3 Douglas Pier, Lochgoilhead, Argyll, PA24 8AE Tel: 07823 554508 E: info@lochgoilheadholidays.com Contact if you want to suggest a walk or make any comments on what is in this guide.

Disclaimer: Every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information in this guide.
 The maps are not to scale and are for information purposes only. Enjoy your walk.


Walking Guide for Lochgoilhead