Argyll's Secret Coast itinerary
A cracking coastal route
Discover sparkling sea lochs, romantic ruins, ancient forests and friendly communities. This coastal route takes you though some of the most stunning parts of Argyll’s Secret Coast, a magical undiscovered corner of Cowal.
Look out for local wildlife, including red squirrels, birds of prey, deer and otter, as you explore the area. You'll also find plenty of great places to eat and drink along the way.
Glendaruel – Otter Ferry – Kilfinan – Tighnabruaich – Glendaruel
Start your journey in Glendaruel, a tranquil glen sitting to the north of Loch Riddon. There are lovely walks here and opportunities galore to spot wildlife. Pop into Kilmodan Church to see the Kilmodan Carved Stones. Your next stop is Otter Ferry. You can either head over via the Bealach an Drain taking a windy but scenic singletrack road or take the longer coastal route via Strathlachlan. Both offer incredible views of Loch Fyne. If you go via Strathlachlan, take a short stroll to Old Castle Lachlan, a magnificent ruin sitting on Lachlan Bay.
Otter Ferry sits on the eastern shore of Loch Fyne. Walk along the pebbly beach to the Otter Spit to watch the seabirds and then head back to the local pub, which sits overlooking the beach and old pier. You’ll then pass through the village of Kilfinan – home to a fine 13th-century church and a large lime kiln – before reaching Millhouse. From here you could make a short detour to Portavadie, home to a luxury spa and leisure complex. You could also stroll in Glenan Wood, a wonderful ancient oak woodland.
Back at Millhouse, check out the remains of the Millhouse Gunpowder Works before heading around the Ardlamont Peninsula. It’s worth making the short walk to Ostel Bay, a stunning stretch of golden sand. Back on the road, your next port of call is the pretty seaside village of Tighnabruaich, home to a number of hotels, shops and cafés, as well as a lovely art gallery. Finally head out of Tighnabruaich and back to Glendaruel via the B8003. Stop at the National Trust viewpoint to take in the views of the Kyles of Bute. It must be one of the finest, yet most easily accessible, views in Scotland.
Top tip: look out for the Secret Coast Trails, a network of way-marked walks throughout the area.
The easiest way to follow this tour in by car. If you're very fit, it's also possible to do this route by bike, although it's a good day's cycling. There is a very limited bus service in the area.
There are two ferry routes from Argyll's Secret Coast connecting you to other areas. The CalMac ferry from Portavadie will take you across Loch Fyne to Tarbert on Kintyre while the CalMac ferry from Colintraive will take you to Bute.