Leave Southend behind and head to Machrihanish with stunning coastal scenery and a feeling of remote isolation with no settlements or roads visible for much of the day.
This final stage of the Kintyre Way is navigationally more challenging than any of the other stages so far. However, the views from the coast to Northen Ireland, Rathlin Island, Islay and across the Atlantic Ocean are stunning and more than compensate for any challenges along the way.
Begin in Southend and pass Dunaverty Rock, to follow a sandy beach for before taking to the minor coastal road that leads inland. After covering some kilometres by road, passing a number of farms, the route ascends steeply and crosses open moorland where you're quite likely to only encounter the odd deer and maybe a flock of wild goats. Once back to the coast the trail continues along the cliff tops above the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean to pass Binnean Fithich. A final ascent through Innean Glen and across more openland sees you arriving in Machrihanish and the end of the Kintyre Way - congratulations you made it!
Remember a map and compass on this stage (or keep your smartphone handy with the GPX tracks) as today's stage crosses open ground which can be difficult to navigate in poor weather conditions.
The majority of this route crosses isolated land with the added danger of high cliffs once you're following the coastline. Check the weather forecast before heading out and bear in mind the new route for the Kintyre Way varies significantly in sections to what is marked on the map. Although there are the blue Kintyre Way markers they are fairly infrequent and can be difficult to spot, especially if visibility is poor.
Tips, hints and links
Points of interest
Once being the site of Dunaverty Castle many battles took place here with the Norwegians, the English and the Lords of the Isles. Its bloodiest occurred in 1647 when a Covenanter force besieged and massacred the Royalists within. Although the castle is long gone the rock upon which it stood was always the primary defense and little has changed about it. There are great views of the surrounding area and the rock itself can be climbed but do take good care if you choose to do this.
Food & Drink
Stock up on prvisions for the day in Southend at the tea room or store before making your way to Machniharish. There is nowhere enroute to stop for food or water so make sure you are prepared for the day ahead. On reaching Machniharish you'll find a couple of bars, restaurants and a shop.
A sturdy pair of hiking boots, along with your usual kit for a day walking in the elements are essential. Make sure you pack an extra layer, a wind/waterproof in case the weather closes in, suncream and midge repellant spray just incase!