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Tarbert, Argyll

Tarbert to Claonaig

11 miles | 5-8 hours

Suitable for walking, running or cycling

(cyclists should avoid the castle paths and use alternative local paths)

If you’re setting off from Tarbert’s fishing port and yacht harbour, the Kintyre Way begins its journey down the East coast. Winding its way from historic Tarbert Castle, the route follows high above the coastline with panoramic views across the Kilbrannan Sound to the island of Arran.

 

A gentle path finally brings you to Skipness village where you can find the indomitable Skipness Castle and top up your energy levels at the Seafood Cabin or with treats from the village shop. 

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Your route in more detail

Tarbert is a small fishing village with one of Scotland’s outstanding natural harbours. It’s long and rich history dates back to Norse times and it was visited by Robert the Bruce and James IV of Scotland. 

Amenities include a small range of food establishments, supermarket, bank and cash machine, and a local bus service. 

Start your walk from the information board at the harbour’s head beside the junction of the A83 and A8015 roads. Walk northeast along the right side of Harbour Street, passing the shops and restaurants to the steps signposted up to Tarbert Castle.

At the top of the steps, a path leads across open ground, giving access to the castle. The trail continues north-eastwards, providing views of the castle before crossing the moorland. At a junction, the route continues straight on.

A few hundred yards beyond a sharp right, you can take in the views north to Loch Fyne. Higher still, you pass the Tarbert Millennium Cairn and join a forest road where you turn left.

The road leads east, then south and climbs until you cross a stream in a clearing. Follow the road as it rises and emerges from the forest to the edge of a broad plateau.

Look out for a sharp left turn onto a narrow path where you can see the rugged skyline of Arran ahead. The trail descends through a wide clearing and soon crosses two streams to meet a forest track.

Turn right at the junction. Soon after you pass a stone-walled sheep pen on the left. Further on go through a gate. The ruined stone buildings on either side of the track are all that remains of Glenskible. Close to the tree-lined Skipness River, the path leads down the wooded glen. The final descent to  Skipness on the coast is on a track and you’ll find the village shop on the right at the bottom of the hill.

To visit Skipness Castle turn left from the Kintyre Way along the minor road beside the shore. Continue past the lovely St Brendan’s Church and across a small stone bridge. After the information board at the car park, go through the gateway on the right, which leads to the castle.

To visit Kilbrannan Chapel, leave Skipness Castle grounds through a gate in its eastern fence. Go through the kissing gate and follow the track beside the shore that leads to the chapel.

To carry on to Claonaig from Skipnesss village, follow the B8001 road southwest to the Lochranza ferry terminal for Arran, where there’s another bus stop and car park. The Kintyre Way continues through Claonaig, following the minor road uphill for another half-mile to a T-junction.

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