First footing! Eight ideas for an Argyll walking holiday in 2019

Argyll is a top destination for a walking holiday, with hills, glens, forests and miles and miles of glorious coastline to explore. Discover incredible wildlife, a fascinating history and stunning scenery as you roam through this magnificent part of Scotland. Enjoy everything from gentle strolls to epic hikes among mountain and lochs. Follow a long-distance route, blaze your own trail or join one of Argyll’s many experienced and passionate guides who can help you get off the beaten track. Grab those walking boots and have a walking holiday in Argyll this year. Here’s how!

Head for the hills

The Arrochar Alps provide some of the best hill walking and climbing in Scotland. You could happily spend a holiday here scaling the various peaks, including the ‘Cobbler’, Ben Ime (the highest mountain in this range), Ben Narnain, Ben Vane, Ben Vorlich and Ben Bhuidhe.

Oban is a brilliant base if you fancy a Munro bagging break, with over twenty Munros within striking distance, including Ben Nevis. From Oban you could even hop on the ferry to the island of Mull and scale Ben More. It’s the highest peak in the Inner Hebrides apart from those on the Isle of Skye. Oban town itself is packed with great places to eat and drink, so you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to evening celebrations.

The Cobbler Arrochar

Island adventures

If you hanker after a gentler walking holiday, then you could explore some of Argyll’s smaller islands on foot. Gigha is a tiny Hebridean island that sits off the west coast of Kintyre. It’s a fabulous place to walk. Pick up the ‘Walk Gigha’ booklet from Gigha Stores or Gigha Hotel and explore the beaches, standing stones and secluded coves of this gem of an island. Beautiful Colonsay also makes for a wonderful walking holiday. How about  ‘bagging’ the MacPhies of Colonsay and Oronsay? A MacPhie is defined as a point over 300ft on the islands and there are 22 of them. Iona, Coll and Bute are also wonderful islands to explore on foot. The West Island Way is a 45km route that takes in most of Bute.

West Island Way

Marvellous Mull

The Hebridean island of Mull is simply made for walking holidays. The landscape is hugely diverse, with forests, moors, hills, beaches coastlines and glens to explore. Plus, there’s Mull’s famous wildlife to spot while you’re out and about. You could spend a happy week doing a variety of walks on Mull, from the magical walk along Calgary Bay, to the coastal walk that links the remote settlements of Carsaig and Lochbuie on the Ross of Mull. Or how about walking to to the edge of the wilderness to discover a 50-million-year-old fossil tree? Mull is also home to some excellent companies offering guided walking and wildlife holidays, including Mull Magic Wildlife Walks and Tours.

Cracking Cowal

Cowal is another area of Argyll that offers fantastic opportunities for walking holidays, just an hour’s drive from Glasgow. Argyll Forest Park covers much of Cowal, stretching from the Holy Loch at Dunoon to the jagged peaks of the Arrochar Alps. It’s Britain’s oldest Forest Park, established in 1935 to promote and encourage hill walking and forest recreation. You’ll find a host of fantastic walking trails traversing this wild and rugged hill country. Try Puck’s Glen, Glenbranter and Ardgartan. There’s also some great walking around Lochgoilhead. You can order a Lochgoilhead walking guide that outlines 20 stunning walks in the area. Another option for a walking holiday in Cowal is to take on the Loch Lomond and Cowal Way, which runs for 57 miles across the Cowal Peninsula. About Argyll Walking provides off-the-beaten track walking holidays in Cowal and beyond.

Loch Lomond and Cowal Way

The bonnie banks

Loch Lomond sits at the heart of the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. Just 30 minutes from Glasgow, this iconic area of Argyll offers some of the best walking in Scotland, from loch-side strolls to epic hill walks. The Three Lochs Way is a 34-mile trail linking Loch Lomond, Gare Loch and Loch Long in four stages, while the John Muir Way takes you from Helensburgh to Balloch. A great way to enjoy a walking holiday in Loch Lomond is to use the waterbuses. A number of operators offer . A number of operators offer scheduled waterbus services, with routes to the Loch Lomond islands, Balloch, Luss, Inversnaid, Balmaha, Rowardennan and more.  You can hop on and off as you please, linking walking routs and beauty spots. Loch Lomond Guides offer private guiding services to help you find the really special places on your walking holiday.

Three Lochs Way (credit John Urquhart)

Walking and wildlife

One of the best things about walking holidays in Argyll is the wonderful wildlife you might encounter along the way, from red squirrels to roaring stags. There are a number of tour operators in Argyll who provide wildlife walking holidays and guiding. The Heart of Argyll is a great destination for wildlife guided walks. Join Heart of Argyll Wildlife Organisation rangers for guided wildlife walks throughout Knapdale and Kilmartin. One of the highlights is observing the wild beavers. Wild Argyll also offers walking journeys through the Heart of Argyll. Wild Argyll guides are specialists in natural history, and there's every chance of an encounter with otters, seals, deer, sea eagles and red squirrels. On the island of Bute, join Wild Bute guides for walking wildlife tours with the chance to see seals, buzzards and osprey. And on the island of Islay you can go on wildlife walks with Islay Outdoors.

An epic Argyll walking adventure

Argyll is home to some incredible long-distance walking trails, many of which are linked. Why not join them together for one epic walking holiday through Argyll? The Kintyre Way is linked to the Cowal Way by the CalMac ferry from Tarbert to Portavadie. The Loch Lomond and Cowal Way joins the Three Lochs Way at Arrochar. You can even add on the West Highland Way, which is linked at Inveruglas, Inverbeg and Tarbet by ferry.

Walking festivals

If you’re new to walking or fancy taking on some more challenging hikes, then why not try an Argyll walking festival this year? Walking festivals offer walks for all abilities led by local guides, who can teach you about the history, wildlife and geology of the local area. The Walk Islay Festival (21 to 26 April, 2019) is a week of walking on Islay, Jura and Colonsay. Walks vary from the easy to the extreme. CowalFest Argyll is another great option. This ten-day walking and outdoors festival takes place in October and is a cracker. You’ll find a huge range of guided walks on offer, taking in some of the Cowal peninsula’s most famous beauty spots.