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Carradale Harbour by Sarah Moorcroft

Tayinloan to Carradale

16 miles | 6-9 hours

Suitable for walking, running and cycling

This section of the Kintyre Way is an incredibly varied and a very satisfying walk. From Tayinloan the trail heads west high into the hills. Deucheran Hill offers walkers open views of Kintyre and its coastlines, bringing you to Deer Hill (Cnoc na Gabhar) high above Carradale. 

Here you are rewarded with a stunning panorama taking in much of the east cost of Kintyre as well as the Arran mountains and Ailsa Craig. Carradale offers the perfect rest stop with abundant accommodation and eateries.

Your route in more detail

From Tayinloan, turn right down a minor road on the south side of a closed hotel. At a T-junction, turn right again, shortly bending left then left again. In 50 metres, turn right along a minor road, which turns into a vehicle track. Go through the gate on the left and follow the field edge to another gate. Continue along a fenced corridor across the field to the shore.

Bear left and walk along the beach to a small stream. Cross the bridge and turn left along a path beside the watercourse. Follow this, and just before reaching the A83, bear right along a path, running parallel to the A83 for a few hundred metres. There is a beech hedge on your left. A few yards further on turn left up a forestry road that climbs steadily, soon following the tumbling, tree-shrouded Killean Burn upstream. From near Kilmory, there are views of the isles of Jura, Islay, Gigha and Cara.

A few hundred yards beyond Kilmory, the road leads up into open moorland. About a mile above the A83 it levels out and you pass a path to the nearby ruins of Braids Farm on the right. Archaeology enthusiasts could divert a little further on, just short of a cattle grid, to inspect a cup-marked rock, 60 yards uphill on the rim of the slope. The shallow cup, possibly up to 4000 years old, is about three inches in diameter and partly covered with yellow lichen. The origin and purpose of these enigmatic features are uncertain, but they are plentiful in Kintyre. The forestry road continues, climbing steadily from one slight dip. Continue into Loch na Naich designated area, which passes the wind farm.

The forest road loses some height, passing a junction on the right to cross Drochaid Bum. It then rises, passing close to one of the wind turbines, leading to a crest beside another. From here you may see Ben Cruachan (3695 feet), the ‘Sacred Mountain of Argyll’, far to the north east. The forest road descends into the glen of Carradale Water, along a stretch of Tarmac. A few hundred metres on continue straight ahead at a junction. The road passes Auchenbreck Farm, crosses the stream and leads up to an intersection, where you turn right.

Carradale appears with some fine beech trees in the wood near Auchenfraoch. Here you can visit Brackley cemetery and chambered cairn. Turn right off the Kintyre Way along the track leading to Brackley Farm. With farm buildings on your right, go through the left-handed of two gates on your left and follow it to where you can enter the cemetery. The cemetery contains mainly 19th and 20th century headstones; in the field beyond its northern wall is a cluster of substantial boulders, all that remains of a chambered cairn about 3000 years old.

Resume the Kintyre Way and continue to a road junction where you turn right along the B842. Turn off at the Forestry Commission’s Grianain picnic area within half a mile. Take the middle track with the Kintyre Way marker of the three tracks leading east from here. Walk up the narrow track through mixed forest, steeply after a while, to a junction on the left. Continue straight along a forest road still climbing. Arran is soon visible to the east. Look out for the waymarked path leading steeply uphill. Emerging from the trees, it rises to a crest with unsurpassed views out over Kilbrannan Sound.

Here a short path to the left leads to a picnic table and benches where you can stop for a bite and enjoy the view. 

The path drops steeply at a junction on the right continue downhill, generally following the course of Allt na Callich. Eventually, turn right along a vehicle track. Just past the playing field, there’s a choice of routes. Bear left, and you soon come to a parking area after which it’s only 50 yards to the B879 road where you can turn left for the village of Carradale. Otherwise, the Kintyre Way continues for over half a mile along the forest track, descending to the B879 at the Network Carradale Heritage Centre and tea room.

Carradale lies at the head of Carradale Bay on the Kilbrannan Sound. Its name reflects its Norse origins and means ‘brush-wood valley’. To the west of the village is Carradale House, where Naomi Mitchison (1897–1999), the leading Twentieth Century Scottish writer, lived for more than 50 years.

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