There are some excellent short walks near Toward Quay, in South-East Cowal about 7 miles south of Dunoon. Toward is easily reached using the A 815 coastal road, passing the village of Innellan on the way. There are regular buses (nos 482, 485,) from Dunoon, with Toward Quay as their destination.
To access the walks, it is best to start from Ardyne Car Park, which is located on the right-hand side of the road just under a mile from Toward Yacht Club/Toward Quay, on the somewhat narrower road heading inland towards Loch Striven. There is a good map of the local paths at the car park, showing various routes.
Many of these are circular, affording fine views south over the sea to Bute and Arran. Many walks take only about an hour and a half, but longer walks are also possible.
One recommended route (2 hours) includes ascending Toward Hill (Buachailean, 346m high) a delightful viewpoint, with wonderful views all round. For this route leave the car-park and turn first right at the first path junction to head gently uphill (north eastwards). Follow the main path for ca 40 minutes (without turning right) as far as the forestry track, at about a height of 210m. There are already fine views south from here.
Turn left here on to this track for 300 metres, then turn right uphill on to a fainter path across grass heading directly for the hill, which looms ahead. Continue upwards, staying close to an old ruined stone wall until shortly beneath the summit, where the path heads to the right (briefly crossing some damp ground) after which the going becomes much steeper. Follow the path for the summit, now just 400 metres away.
From here the views south are wonderful. Arran can be seen ‘over’ Bute, while further to the southwest, the Kintyre Peninsula is highly visible. To the west Loch Striven can be seen; to the east, the coast near Largs; and to the north- east the hills around Loch Lomond and beyond.
On return follow the same route to the forestry track, but if time permits, it is enjoyable to trek further south (left) along the track, before turning off right onto a signposted path. This takes you back via the ‘Chinese Lakes’, with their old bridges (and picnic place) - an interesting landmark of the original Castle Toward Estate.
The car-park is reached after a descent of about 25 minutes from this point.