Millhouse to Ostel Bay Walk
This is a wonderful walk that will take you along forest track, rough woodland path and fields to beautiful Ostel Bay. This is a walking-boot walk and not suitable for trainers if you intend doing the full circular walk. Please also note that if you intend doing the whole walk you must do so at low tide.
Start your walk at Millhouse Hall, where you can park your car. This is your start and finish point. From the hall, head up the road towards Portavadie for about 100 yards. The access to the walk is through a gate on the left-hand side of the road. Please make sure you close this gate behind you. Follow the rather wet track and take the right-hand fork when you reach the split in the track. You arrive at another gate into the forest but there’s a stile on the left-hand side.
Now you’re on a forest track and the walking is relatively easy along its length. The trees in this section of the forest are tall so there are not many views to be had in this first section but it’s a pretty walk with deer and a number of pools that abound with iridescent dragonflies in the summer months. About one and a half miles into the walk the track starts to descend and you discover the first secret of this walk – a house! Yes – in the middle of these woods there is a wooden, chalet-style house. It was built in the section before the trees were planted with clear views and is now completely surrounded by a huge, mature pine forest and is really quite extraordinary.
The path you now need is accessed by crossing the garden so please be thoughtful if the house is occupied and pass across quickly. The track is clearly defined and runs down through the trees and opens out into an open rough shoreline with Arran sitting right in front of you. After your long trek through the woods this comes as quite a revelation as the light and sea air floods your senses. It can be quite rough but there are natural tracks made by errant sheep or the deer which you can follow.
You’re heading down to the left to the open bay, as this is where you can cross at low tide. There are plenty of natural foot and handholds to aid you as you clamber up the rock face to reach to top. Now you’re in an open field and again you will find animal tracks to help you cross the field and head back to Ostel Bay which is waiting below you. Keep left as you cross the field and the tracks will bring you down towards the weir and the point you can cross the Allt Ostel Burn.
Ostel Bay is a shallow, sloping, horseshoe-shaped sandy beach and a great favourite with everyone all the year round. In the winter it’s just the best place for a bracing walk with the family and the dog. The spring tides and winter storms make Ostel Bay a wonderful beachcombing site and you can find a great variety of treasures for art and crafting tasks. In summer Ostel Bay comes alive with picnicking families and children playing, paddling and swimming in the gentle waters that are naturally warmed as the tide comes in over the sands.
You can pause for a paddle before you finish your walk back across the dunes, up the farm access road to Kilbride Farmhouse then left back along the road to Millhouse.