4 ways to enjoy the Cowal peninsula from the water

Cowal is a beautiful peninsula flanked by Loch Long to the east and Loch Fyne to the west. Stunning stretches of water characterise the area’s magnificent coastline, from the sparkling sea lochs of Loch Goil and Loch Striven to the enchanting Kyles of Bute. Here are four fantastic ways to explore the Cowal Peninsula.

Discover the Cowal Peninsula

Many visitors to Cowal will arrive by boat, ferried across the Firth of Clyde to the bustling town of Dunoon. But if you want to experience more of the Cowal peninsula from the water, there are plentiful opportunities beyond this ferry crossing. 

Waverley Excursions

Paddle steamers used to bring throngs of Glaswegian holidaymakers ‘doon the watter’ to Cowal. Today, you won’t find any crowds, but you can still explore the Cowal coastline on board the PS Waverley, the last sea-going paddle steamer in the world. It’s been magnificently restored with towering funnels, timber decks, gleaming varnish and burnished brass. If you can drag yourself away from the views, then head down to see and hear the mighty engines. Trips run from Dunoon to Tighnabruaich, the Kyles of Bute and Loch Goil throughout the summer. 

Set sail

Cowal’s coastline is a world-class sailing country. Sailors flock to the area for the scenery and varied sailing grounds. A whole season could easily be spent exploring the area, with islands, inlets, quiet anchorages and pub moorings all adding to the magic. You’ll find marina facilities at Holy Loch Marina and Portavadie, Loch Fyne.

Fancy learning the ropes? Tighnabruaich Sailing School has been teaching people to sail in the sheltered waters of the Kyles of Bute for over 40 years. With dinghy-sailing courses for adults, children and beginners. You’ll be sure to find something to suit your abilities. If you’ve never sailed before, by the end of the week they’ll have you confident in your ability to manage a dinghy in reasonable conditions.

Tighnabruaich Sailing School offers course for all levels.
Tighnabruaich Sailing School offers course for all levels.

Go paddling

Kayaking is a brilliant way to explore the coastline of Cowal. With secluded beaches, white sands and deserted islands, this area is a paddler’s paradise. Sea Kayak Argyll, based in Dunoon, provides kayak coaching and guidance for all levels, from day courses for beginners to multi-day expeditions for more experienced kayakers. There’s a range of tempting trips, including ‘Explore The Holy Loch’, ‘Castles of Loch Fyne’ and ‘Kyles of Bute’. Or how about ‘Kayak, Catch & Cook’, where you can try your hand at catching fish and foraging shellfish and edible seaweeds? You’ll then paddle to a scenic spot to light a driftwood fire and cook your lunch.

Take a boat trip

Climb aboard, relax and view the Cowal coastline from a completely different perspective. A boat trip is a great way to see the area and spot the local wildlife. Try Loch Fyne Sea Tour for spectacular views of the seal colony and coastline. Or fancy taking a powerboat ride on the Clyde or scuba diving some of the oldest shipwrecks in Scotland? Wreckspeditions provides exhilarating powerboat tours from the beautiful town of Dunoon.

Take a boat trip with Wreckspeditions.
Take a boat trip with Wreckspeditions.

Find out more about things to See & Do in Argyll & the Isles.