Stillaig Loop Walk
This walk has got everything: stunning coastal views, wildlife, standing stones, a beach and loads of wide open space. What’s more, you’ll probably have it all to yourself.
Start the walk at the former site of abandoned Polphail village. You then need to follow a clear path that climbs quite steeply up through a pretty birch forest. Out in the open, keep climbing and follow the fairly well-worn path that’s marked by posts. After a short while the path descends to the right. If you want, take a quick detour up the hill to the left where you’ll get a bird’s eye view of Portavadie Marina.
Double back and then follow the undulating path until you reach the standing stone. It’s almost 9ft tall and stands next to a much smaller one. They date back to the Bronze Age approximately 2,000 years BC and I heard that they once formed part of a stone circle. Looking out over the loch you’ll spot the ferry ploughing backwards and forwards between Portavadie and Tarbert. Ravens nest in the cliffs close to here and you’ll probably see them flying above or perched on a rock.
Carry on following the path. After a while it gets a bit indistinct, but basically you’re heading for Ascog Bay where you’ll see a wooden building which is the Boys Brigade hut. You can either cut across the headland or climb up to a heathery knoll, which is the highest piece of ground. The views of Ayrshire, Arran and Inchmarnock Island are fabulous and you can look down on Ascog Bay.
Then head for the ruins below and pick up a path which takes you over a little bridge and down to the beach. A narrow isthmus separates two shallow bays, which are both great places to beach comb at low tide. Eilean Aoidhe is joined to the mainland via the isthmus.
When you’ve finished exploring, pick up the farm vehicle access path and complete the loop back to the Portavadie road. There are often sheep and cows around here, so be careful if you have a dog!
You’ve probably worked up a bit of an appetite, so why not head to Portavadie for a hot drink and some homebaking?