Discover Argyll on foot this autumn! Take the path less trodden with a walking festival

Argyll offers unbeatable walking, from gentle strolls through ancient woodland to bracing walks along windswept beaches and epic hikes among hills and lochs. Autumn is a great time of year for a walking adventure – the weather’s often good, the undergrowth has died back and you can enjoy a seasonal blaze of colour across the countryside. If you’re new to walking, if you fancy attempting some more challenging hikes or just need some motivation to get your boots on, then why not try a walking festival?

There are some cracking walking festivals taking place in Argyll this autumn. They offer walks for all abilities led by local guides, who can teach you about the history, wildlife and geology of the local area. What could be more enjoyable than discovering Argyll’s stunning landscapes in the company of like-minded people?

Kintyre and Gigha Walking Festival, 20th to 26th September 2016
This new walking festival is a great way to explore the Kintyre peninsula – a strikingly beautiful part of Argyll – and the Hebridean island of Gigha that sits just off its shores. Choose from 12 walks across six different areas, including Torrisdale, Campbeltown, Skipness, Southend and Largieside. There are two walks on offer each day, with an easier walk where you can see some fantastic scenery and learn more about the history and heritage of the area and a more strenuous walk which will take you up into the hills and across some more challenging terrain. Visit Achamore Garden, walk part of the Kintyre Way, see St Columba’ s Cave & footprints and more.

CowalFest, 7th to 16th October 2016
This well-established ten-day walking and outdoors festival has something for everyone. You’ll find a huge range of guided walks on offer, taking in some of the Cowal peninsula’s most famous beauty spots as well its undiscovered corners such as Argyll’s Secret Coast. All tastes are catered for, with walks covering interest areas of wildlife, bird watching, drama, photography, art, history, heritage, folklore, gardens and architecture. There are some great hill walks too, including a strenuous walk to the summit of Beinn Mhor near Dunoon. Walk the Cowal Way, explore the area’s lochs and forests or try something new like Nordic walking. You could even take part in an overnight bothy adventure. There are lots of other events and activities taking place, from a mini beer festival to a a fiddle workshop. Don’t miss the Kelpie Maquettes. These three-metre high horse head sculptures were made by Andy Scott as models for the Falkirk Kelpies. Located on the breakwater, they will be lit up at night throughout most of CowalFest.

Guided walks
You don’t need to go to a festival to find some great guided walks in Argyll. There are a number of organisations offering ranger-led rambles throughout September. Discover the natural treasures of mid Argyll with the Heart of Argyll Wildlife Association walks and events programme. See if you can spot a beaver at Loch Coille-Bharr, walk to the abandoned settlement at Arichonan and stroll along the Crinan Canal towpath to watch wildlife. The Mull and Iona Ranger Walks will introduce you to the magic of Mull. Enjoy a walk at Tireragan nature reserve, take an archeological tour of Baliscate and look out for marine mammals from the headland at Kintra. If you fancy something more urban, guided walks of Helensburgh town centre with members of the Helensburgh Heritage Trust take place every Saturday in September.

Put a spring in your step…
If these autumn options have whetted your appetite for walking in Argyll & the Isles, then here are some spring dates for your diary. The Walk Islay Festival (10th-15th April 2017) is a wonderful week of walking on Islay, Jura and Colonsay. Walks vary from the easy to the extreme, with rambles through RSPB reserves to treks over the famous Paps of Jura. The Colonsay Spring Festival (1st to 21st May 2017) also has some guided walks as part of its programme.

Take a look at our walking and climbing pages for more inspiration about walking in Argyll & the Isles.