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Hiking trail recommended route

Loch Gruinart to Ardnave Point

Hiking trail
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  • RSPB Visitor Centre entrance signpost
    / RSPB Visitor Centre entrance signpost
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure
  • / The road out to Aoradh Farm
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure
  • / A rusty bike beside one of the cottages along the road
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure
  • / The fields beside Loch Gruinart
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure
  • / Kilnave Chapel
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure
  • / The loch beside Aoradh Farm
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure
  • / Sheep on Aoradh Farm
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure
  • / Mist rolling in off the sea from the dunes of Ardnave Point
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure
m 50 40 30 20 10 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 km
A linear walk ending with a loop of the beautiful dune landscape of Ardnave Point before returning to the RSPB visitor centre at Gruinart. 
Distance 17.1 km
4:30 h
42 m
64 m
Begin at the Loch Gruinart RSPB nature reserve visitor centre and follow the quiet minor road and the scenery transitions from the woodland and moor to fields, and finally to the dune machir landscape beyond the loch and farm at Ardnave.  At Ardbanve Point follow sandy and grassy tracks on a short loop around the coast before returning on the road to Gruinart. 

Author’s recommendation

If you are interested in spotting any birdlife you might like to take a short detour on the signposted woodland trail where you can spend some time in a hide looking out over the moor for hen harriers, waders and geese.  Keep an eye out for golden eagles as you walk to Ardnave Point as well!
Profile picture of Catherine Allan
Catherine Allan 
Update: September 17, 2018
Highest point
47 m
Lowest point
9 m
Best time of year

Safety information

The loop at Ardnave passes through a working farm so please do beware of livestock and avoid any fields with calves and bulls.  The route is also a coast one with access to beautiful beaches so paddling is certainly endorsed but there are strong currents in the area so please do not swim here. 

Tips and hints


Points of Interest

RSPB Nature Reserve Loch Gruinart

For those interested in the island’s wildlife the visitor centre is great place to begin this walk out to Ardnave Point.  Although there is no café, the centre has many information boards, checklists you can take with you to tick off the species you see and provides some information about the working farm on the reserve.  Depending on the time of year you could see (or are more like to hear) the elusive corncrake, hen harriers, barnacle geese, and lapwing. 

Kilnave Church

A thin stone cross stands beside Kilnave Chapel, although weathered by the elements historians have dated it to the 5th century.  The chapel itself dates to the 13th or 14th century, you can take a short detour off the road to reach the chapel and graveyard to have a look around and enter the ancient chapel, which wonderful views over Loch Gruinart and out to the sea in the distance. 

Ardnave Point

The land on Ardnave Point is part of Aoradh Farm, which is nestled between the dunes and a small loch.  You will share the walk with livestock, sheep, and sometimes cattle, so please heed the information on the farm notices and take care not to disturb the animals unnecessarily.  Follow the sandy path from the loch to the dunes for excellent views of Killinallan Point, Jura, Colonsay and Nave Island. 


Food & Drink

There is nowhere to eat or find refreshments along the route so please bring all the water and food you’ll need.  You can buy provisions for a packed lunch at the Spar convenience shop in Port Charlotte before leaving.  There are a few places to eat in Port Charlotte on your return e.g. The Port Charlotte Hotel. 


RSPB Visitor Centre, Loch Gruinart (33 m)
OS Grid
NR 27553 67213
55.821052, -6.351291
55°49'15.8"N 6°21'04.6"W
29U 665935 6189337


RSPB Visitor Centre, Loch Gruinart

Turn-by-turn directions

0.00 km – With your back to the visitor centre doorway in the farmyard continue STRAIGHT ON out of the square and descend to the crossroads. 

0.08 km – At the crossroads continue STRAIGHT ON the minor single-track road.  Beware of traffic and step aside onto the grassy verge to let vehicles pass. 

0.24 km – BEAR LEFT where the road splits and follow a signpost for a car park for trails and hides to ascend slightly. Continue STRAIGHT ON this road for 4.4 km. 

4.60 km – Here you can take an optional detour (total 500 m) to Kilnave church down on the right-hand side.  To take the detour TURN RIGHT to pass through the gate down the track heading straight towards the church and graveyard.  There are great views out over the sea loch.  If you don’t wish to make the detour then continue STRAIGHT ON the road for 700 m. 

5.30 km – Cross the cattle grid onto a gravel track and continue STRAIGHT ON with a large farm building on the right and a small loch ahead on the left.  Follow the gravel track on the right-hand side of the loch to reach a small car park and info board in 700 m. 

6.00 km – BEAR RIGHT at a wooden signpost and low info board for Ardnave Point to join an ascending sandy track. 

6.30 km – Stay on the track to TURN LEFT and follow the coastline with a fence on your left-hand side. 

6.60 km – Pas through a metal side gate into a field (there may be cows in this field so please take care and pay attention to the notice).  Continue STRAIGHT ON the track and follow the signpost for Ardnave Point.  Follow the sandy track for 1.1 km. 

7.70 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON following the track as fades to a grassy path.  Follow the path as it curves left to skirt the headland. 

7.90 km – With a fenced square ahead BEAR RIGHT to follow the track towards a gate and wooden signpost.  In 100 m go through the gate and TURN LEFT to follow a grassy path beside the fence in the direction of the Powerhouse Ruins. 

8.30 km – After a dip in the ground BEAR LEFT at the corner of the field to rejoin a sandy track.  Continue to follow this track. 

8.60 km – Where the rough track ends continue STRAIGHT ON across the grass to reach a gate ahead in the fence.  Pass through the gate and continue.

8.80 km – Rejoin a track then TURN LEFT to cross a stream and pass through another gate.  Continue STRAIGHT ON a narrow grassy path between the dunes then in 100 m where the path fades again continue STRAIGHT ON to regain a sandy path ahead. 

9.00 km – Where the track splits BEAR LEFT to ascend slightly. 

9.20 km – TURN RIGHT sharply on the track then follow it to the left. 

9.60 km – As a track joins from the left TURN RIGHT on a well-defined track and continue to follow it to the farm.  [If you look down to the right here you should be able to spot the beach.]

9.70 km – Ignore the track on the right and continue STRAIGHT ON to follow two wooden posts. 

10.10 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON the track and pass through the gates passing a large farm building on the right, and the farmhouse on the left-hand side before descending between stone walls to the Lochside again. 

10.60 km – TURN LEFT onto the track beside the loch and follow it back to the car park and info board.  In 500 m TURN RIGHT in the car park and follow the track with the loch on your right. 

11.90 km – After passing the large farm building on your left continue STRAIGHT ON through the gate as the gravel track becomes minor road.  Follow the road back to the visitor centre to meet your taxi for collection in the visitor centre car park. 

17.10 km – You are now back at the RSPB visitor centre.  While you wait for your taxi transfer you can take a look around the centre and check out the recent sightings on the board. 


all notes on protected areas


OS Grid
NR 27553 67213
55.821052, -6.351291
55°49'15.8"N 6°21'04.6"W
29U 665935 6189337
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


Although this is a relatively short walk the loop at Ardnave Point is exposed to the elements so we recommend you take waterproofs and spare warm layers along with plenty of water and snacks/picnic lunch for the day. The ground is mostly even so poles aren't necessary unless you prefer to always use them, and if the weather has been dry then a good pair of walking shoes will sufficient (rather than heavy boots).  

Basic Equipment for Hiking

  • Sturdy, comfortable and waterproof hiking boots or approach shoes
  • Layered, moisture wicking clothing
  • Hiking socks  
  • Rucksack (with rain cover)
  • Protection against sun, rain and wind (hat, sunscreen, water- and windproof jacket and suitable legwear)
  • Sunglasses
  • Hiking poles
  • Ample supply of drinking water and snacks
  • First aid kit
  • Blister kit
  • Bivy / survival bag  
  • Survival blanket
  • Headlamp
  • Pocket knife
  • Whistle
  • Cell phone
  • Cash
  • Navigation equipment / map and compass
  • Emergency contact details
  • ID
  • The 'basic' and 'technical' equipment lists are generated based on the selected activity. They are not exhaustive and only serve as suggestions for what you should consider packing.
  • For your safety, you should carefully read all instructions on how to properly use and maintain your equipment.
  • Please ensure that the equipment you bring complies with local laws and does not include restricted items.

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17.1 km
4:30 h
42 m
64 m


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