Dunoon and beyond itinerary
A loop of lochs and glens
The landscape of south east Cowal is one of magnificent contrasts. Much of it is part of Argyll Forest Park. Follow this route and experience glorious gardens, magnificent hills and a cracking coastline, as well as the town of Dunoon.
There is loads to see and do, from gorge walks to mountain bike trails, as well as a host of places to eat and drink. The area is packed with history and culture too.
Dunoon – Blairmore – Ardentinny – Benmore – Dunoon
Dunoon is a lively place, with shops, restaurants and coffee shops aplenty. The town has a thriving cultural scene. Lots of artists live in the area and there are a number of galleries in the town, while Burgh Hall hosts some fascinating exhibitions. There’s also a good amount of history and heritage to explore. Castle House Museum, set in gardens opposite Dunoon Pier, is well worth a visit. Dunoon is surrounded by large tracts of forest that are great for walking and biking. The 20k Corlarach Loop starts at Bishop’s Glen and takes you through Corlarach Forest.
The next stage of your journey takes you along the shores of Loch Long passing the coastal communities of Kilmun, Blairmore and Strone along to Ardentinny. At Kilmun visit the Argyll Mausoelum, which was built in 1790 to house the remains of the Dukes and Earls of Argyll. Take a walk in Kilmun Aboretum, home to more than 150 tree species from around the world. At Blairmore check out the lovely gallery and Victorian Pier, before continuing onto Ardentinny where there’s a beach and woodland walks.
At Ardentinny take the old drove road to cut across to Whistlefield on the shores of Loch Eck and stop in at the Inn. It’s a stunning drive, through wild and rugged scenery. Follow the road along the shore of Loch Eck back to Dunoon, stopping at Benmore Botanic Garden on the way. This world-famous garden is a joy to behold, with its magnificent mountainside setting. Just across the road is Puck’s Glen, where you can walk up an enchanting gorge past tumbling waterfalls to a magnificent viewpoint.
From Dunoon, you can extend your journey south to Toward Point and continue along the shores of Loch Striven to visit the tiny communities of Port Lamont and Inverchaolain.
Top tip: Bring your mountain bike! There are some excellent places for off-road biking near Dunoon, including downhill trails in Bishop’s Glen and longer trails in Glenbranter and Glenmassan.
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 good bus service in the area operated by West Coast Motors.
There are two ferry routes from Dunoon connecting you to Gourock, the passenger-only Calmac Ferries and Western Ferries, which takes cars, from Hunters Quay.