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Hiking trail recommended route

Tarbert to Clachan

Hiking trail
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  • Tarbert Harbour - start point of the Kintyre Way
    / Tarbert Harbour - start point of the Kintyre Way
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • / Arran ferry arriving at Cloanaig
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • / Arran views
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • / Crossing the moors
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • / Forest trails
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • / The Kintyre Way route markers
    Photo: Macs Adventure
m 300 200 100 -100 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 km
A long walk taking in all Kintyre has to offer; coastline, moorland, forest, lochs and country lanes.
difficult
Distance 35.6 km
7:30 h
937 m
920 m
The Kintyre Way commences at the picturesque harbour of Tarbert. Climbing out of Tarbert, passing the castle, and then through forestry and open moorland with views over the sea. The descent to Skipness passes through old oak and birch woodland, with stunning views over to Arran. Following a short section of road walking the route climbs across open moorland before descending through forestry plantations. Several lochs are passed before the route reaches the small, attractive village of Clachan.

Author’s recommendation

It would be a good idea to stock up on supplies in Tarbert as there are very limited options for shops until you reach Campbeltown. 
Difficulty
difficult
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
352 m
Lowest point
-1 m
Best time of year
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Safety information

This route covers forestry tracks used by heavy vehicles to always take to the verge to let them pass. It also crosses a lot of land with little to no phone signal so do take extra care when moving in more remote areas, especially around the moorland as you're very exposed to the elements on these sections.

Tips and hints

 

Points of interest

Tarbert Castle

Tarbert Castle was a strategic royal stronghold during the Middle Ages and one of three castles at Tarbert. The castle overlooks the harbour and although pre 14th century in construction, the tower dates back to 1494 and the visit of James IV to the Western Highlands. With its surrounding hertiage park including views over the harbour and loch Fyne there are great photographic opportunities wherever you look.

Arran

The Isle of Arran is the largest in the Firth of Clyde at 432 square kilometres. The island boasts a brewery, two distilleries, fine local cuisine (especially the seafood), many picturesque villages, a spectacular coastline and dramatic landscape. Perfect for walking, cycling or enjoying the clear waters. There are daily sailings from Cloanaig to Lochranza.

 

Food & Drink

There are a few small shops and cafes in Tarbert, a small store in Skipness then nothing until you reach Clachan's service/gas station.

Start

The steps to Tarbert Castle (4 m)
Coordinates:
OS Grid
NR 86641 68706
DD
55.864174, -5.411243
DMS
55°51'51.0"N 5°24'40.5"W
UTM
30U 349105 6193591
w3w 
///optimists.harvest.hopes

Destination

Clachan

Turn-by-turn directions

0.00 km – Starting at the bottom of the steps towards Tarbert Castle, head uphill through the metal gate then past the castle and follow the trail continuing uphill through Tarbert Woods.

0.39 km – At the split in the track, BEAR LEFT.

0.92 km – TURN LEFT at the junction.

1.20 km – The trail continues to climb as you steadily weave your way up the hillside.

2.00 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON across three small footbridges.

2.20 km – TURN RIGHT as you pass the large Tarbert Millennium Cairn.

2.30 km – At the junction with the stone forestry track TURN LEFT. Beware of large trucks that occassionlly use this route.

4.30 km – Continue on the track to BEAR RIGHT.

7.20 km – After crossing open land TURN LEFT off the track at the blue marker to follow the smaller grassy/stony trail through the conifer plantation.

8.40 km – On your left you now pass Loch na Machrach Moire and continue STRAIGHT ON.

9.10 km – Cross the wooden bridge and continue STRAIGHT ON.

9.90 km – Now cross the forestry track and continue STRAIGHT ON.

10.80 km – TURN RIGHT then follow the grassy vehicle track.

11.00 km – At the junction of the two tracks continue STRAIGHT ON to descend.

11.70 km – After a large stone sheep pen on your left you now gain views of the hilltops of Arran.

12.30 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON to follow the banks of the Skipness River.

14.10 km – At the split in the track continue STRAIGHT ON.

14.50 km – Passing by a large grey building on your right side you now descend towards the coast and Skipness directly ahead.

15.10 km – TURN RIGHT at the junction in Skipness to join the main road and pass by the Skipness Store. This is a good place to pick up a coffee or any snacks you may need for the rest of the walk.

15.40 km – As you pass the village hall BEAR LEFT to continue following the road alongside the coast.

18.40 km – On your left you now pass by Claonaig Ferry pier, which has sailings that connect to Lochranza on Arran.

19.10 km – At the junction in Claonaig TURN LEFT to follow the sign for Campbeltown on the B842 and cross over a stone bridge.

20.80 km – TURN RIGHT at the blue marker just before a stone bridge to leave the road and follow a gravel track alongside the woods.

22.10 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON uphill as you pass a small Lochan on your right.

22.50 km – The track now BEARS LEFT as the land opens up to moorland. It can be extremely windy and exposed here.

23.90 km – After a short descent cross a small stream and through a metal gate then TURN LEFT to follow a faint track directly across the moorland for the next few kilometres.

27.10 km – Cross the small wooden stile then in 100m cross another as you now skirt the southern edge of Lochan Fraoich.

27.90 km – BEAR LEFT away from the water and head through the woods.

28.50 km – BEAR RIGHT to follow the track as you reach the shore of Lochan a’Chreimh, now circling an area of deforested land.

28.80 km – TURN RIGHT onto the stone forestry track and follow it down hill through Achaglass Forest.

30.80 km – TURN LEFT onto the dirt road and continue STRAIGHT ON.

31.20 km – At the split in the road BEAR RIGHT onto a small track as you head towards to trees.

32.00 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON to leave the gravel track as you reach Loch Ciaran. Now following the shore via a faint grassy trail.

32.90 km – TURN LEFT at the blue way marker to follow another grassy trail with large trees on your right hand side.

33.10 km – Cross the small wooden stile on your LEFT and continue following the trail as it BEARS RIGHT after the blue marker.

34.70 km – After a short ascent, cross two sets of wooden steps and through a metal gate (close this behind you) then STRAIGHT ON through the woods on a muddy track.

35.00 km – After a steep descent, once out of the woodland, TURN LEFT across a wooden boardwalk.  The village of Clachan is now directly ahead of you.

35.20 km – TURN RIGHT onto a gravel farm track and head down hill towards the main road.

35.30 km – Finish your walk next to the information sign at Clachan and the junction with the Campbeltown to Glasgow main road.

Note


all notes on protected areas

Coordinates

OS Grid
NR 86641 68706
DD
55.864174, -5.411243
DMS
55°51'51.0"N 5°24'40.5"W
UTM
30U 349105 6193591
w3w 
///optimists.harvest.hopes
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Equipment

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!

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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Difficulty
difficult
Distance
35.6 km
Duration
7:30 h
Ascent
937 m
Descent
920 m

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