The Loch Lomond & Cowal Way begins at Portavadie in the south of Cowal and winds its way through beautiful Scottish landscapes to end at Inveruglas on Loch Lomond. The route is known as ‘Scotland in 57 miles’, because it takes in so much diverse scenery. As you walk the route you’ll experience everything from mellow coastline to ancient woodland to majestic mountain scenery. You’ll also visit the vibrant communities of Tighnabruaich, Glendaruel, Strachur, Lochgoilhead and Arrochar. And it’s in these welcoming villages that you’ll find some cracking places to eat and stay.
Portavadie to Tighnabruaich
This first section is six miles long and takes you through some of the finest scenery on the Cowal Peninsula. You’ll be treated to wonderful views of Loch Fyne and the famous Kyles of Bute.
Right at the start of the Loch Lomond & Cowal Way you’ll find Portavadie, Loch Fyne, where there’s a huge choice of accommodation from luxury apartments to self-catering cottages. The Lodge is perfect for walkers. Get a good night’s sleep in the relaxed, contemporary rooms and enjoy a full Scottish breakfast. You also get free access to the Leisure Experience complete with sauna, spa pools and outdoor infinity pool looking across Loch Fyne. That should set you up for the walking adventure ahead! Portavadie has three dining options: The Lodge Kitchen & Bar for informal meals, the Marina Restaurant for 2 AA Rosette award-winning cuisine and the Leisure Café for delicious pizza.
At the village of Millhouse don’t miss the opportunity to pop into Botanica at The Barn (opens 1st February 2019) for a coffee. The fantastic café serves up speciality coffee that’s locally roasted (just one mile down the road in Kames!) by Argyll Coffee Roasters. The lunch menu features lots of other locally produced and foraged food.
In Kames you could grab some coffee or lunch at The Kames Hotel. This fantastic hotel has a spectacular seaside location. On a sunny day sit outside in the beer garden and enjoy the views across to the island of Bute. You can dine on delicious home-cooked, locally sourced food in the dining room or friendly pub. It’s a great place to the stay the night too, with a selection of individually designed rooms.
You’ll pass Kames Village Store, which is the perfect place to pick up a picnic or some snacks to take with you on your walk. You’ll find a fine selection of local produce, meats, cheese, cakes, bread and more.
If you’re looking for B&B accommodation in Tighnabruaich, you can’t beat Tregortha B&B. It’s a lovely Victorian villa where breakfast is served in the sunny conservatory overlooking the Kyles of Bute. There are pubs and cafés within easy walking distance of Tregortha. The Royal An Lochan sits right on the seafront and is a great place to tuck into some delicious food or enjoy a coffee with a view. It also provides lovely hotel accommodation.
Your camping option in this section is at Carry Farm, 60 acres of coastal wilderness about three miles south of Kames. Eco-camping is available right on the shore by prior arrangement. Camping is only available to people who are arriving by foot, bike or kayak – perfect for Loch Lomond and Cowal Way walkers!
Tighnabruaich to Glendaruel
This 11-mile section takes you along a coastal path from Tighnabrauich to Glendaruel. Look out for porpoises and otters as you walk, at times, just a few feet from the water’s edge. You’ll need to take drinking water, snacks and lunch with you as there is nowhere to buy refreshments along this section of the route.
Glendaruel Camping and Caravan Park is the perfect place to pitch up for the night on the Loch Lomond & Cowal Way. This remote, 22-acre camping escape sits surrounded by trees at the foot of the glen with the pretty River Ruel babbling by. There are 10 pitches for tents, as well as a Camping Lodge and two larch-clad bothies that sleep up to four people.
Another option is the self-catering accommodation at Eco Nature Holidays in Glendaruel. This award-winning family-run business provides a range of self-catering options in a fabulous barn conversion. The location in the heart of the glen is simply stunning. There’s a two-night minimum stay, but you could easily spend a day exploring the area and checking out the local wildlife from the wildlife hide.
Glendaruel to Strachur
This section is 16 miles long, mainly on forestry or farm tracks and woodland trails. You’ll be ready for a comfy bed and delicious dinner when you reach Strachur!
Balliemeanoch Breaks B&B is a great choice for B&B accommodation. Situated near Strachur, it is a beautifully restored farmhouse providing spacious and comfortable accommodation, great home cooking and a really friendly service.
There are a few good options for eating in Strachur, including Out of the Blue Bistro (which also has a post office and shop attached to it for stocking up on snacks!) and the Clachan Bar. Further down the road is Creggan’s Inn. This historic hotel is a great place to rest your head for the night or tuck into some excellent food. There are two dining options; the relaxed MacPhunn's Bar & Restaurant and the 2 AA Rosette Loch Fyne Dining Room.
Strachur to Lochgoilhead
You’ll need a good night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast before tackling this nine-mile section of the Loch Lomond & Cowal Way. It includes some challenging uphill terrain, but the rewards are the rugged scenery and dramatic views.
Lochgoilhead sits at the northern end of Loch Goil and there are a number of options for eating and accommodation. There are a few B&Bs to choose from in village, including Rowan House B&B and The Shore House.
Argyll Holidays’ Drimsynie Holiday Park offers everything from lodges to hotel accommodation. You can even treat yourself to a hot tub lodge fitted with all the mod cons. The park also has a swimming pool, golf course, children’s play areas and much more. Drimsynie has two dining options on park, with the Rob Roy Lounge serving traditional pub grub and The Bistro upstairs giving guests a more intimate dining experience.
The Goil Inn in the village is another great place to eat, offering traditional pub favourites with breath-taking views across Loch Goil.
Lochgoilhead to Inveruglas
The final section of the Loch Lomond & Cowal Way from Lochgoilhead to Inveruglas is 15 miles long and includes the highest climb of the route.
In Arrochar you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation. There are lots of B&Bs and hotels to choose from. Ardgartan Hotel, Arrochar Hotel and Loch Long Hotel are all good options. There are also good pubs to eat in, including the Village Inn. Ben Arthur’s Bothy is a great place to meet other walkers and climbers. The pub serves up hearty food in a convivial atmosphere. There’s a self-catering apartment as well.
At Inveruglas you’ve reached the end of your Loch Lomond & Cowal Way adventure. Toast your achievement with some delicious coffee and cake at Café Lochan. Inveruglas is also home to Loch Lomond Holiday Park. And after spending so much time on your feet, why not treat yourself to a boat trip on Loch Lomond with Cruise Loch Lomond?