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Amanda MacDonald January 25 2016

My latest research trip took me to investigate the recent changes to the end of the Kintyre Way, where the last two stages of the walk have been slightly amended.

This beautiful trail was established in 2006 and runs for 100 miles – criss-crossing the length of the Kintyre peninsula from the picturesque village of Tarbert in the north to Machrihanish in the south. More island than mainland, I discovered a beautifully unexplored part of Scotland with hidden coves, deserted beaches and friendly, welcoming people.

Part of the charm of the Kintyre Peninsula is that it is not en-route to anywhere. It takes a little effort to get there, and you need to go with a purpose. With this in mind I thought I’d take the scenic route, and what better way than via another of Scotland’s highlights – the Isle of Arran.

“The journey not the arrival matters.” – T. S. Eliot

My first day consisted of an easy drive from Edinburgh over to Ardrossan to catch the ferry to Brodick – the capital of Arran. The ferry is a fun experience in itself, taking just under an hour and offering beautiful views of this picturesque part of Scotland. As soon as I reached dry land I knew I was going to love it! It didn’t disappoint and Arran is an outstanding piece of the world tucked away.

The afternoon was spent driving along the coast, taking in spectacular views and eventually reaching my destination for the night – Brodick – where I stayed in the lovely Dunvegan Guest House.

The evening in Brodick provided plenty of entertainment, good food and great company. The Brodick Bar & Brasserie and The Fiddlers’ Music Bar & Bistro did not disappoint and I’d highly recommend them both.

 

‘Mull of Kintyre – My desire is always to be here’

A short but sweet ferry journey from Lochranza on the Isle of Arran transported me to the Kintyre Peninsula – where more beautiful scenery and surroundings awaited me. On arrival I made my way to Campbeltown – my home for the next 3 nights. Located on a deep bay sheltered by Davaar Island and the surrounding hills, Campbeltown is an ideal base for exploring the Kintyre Way. Whisky lovers may be interested to know that there are 3 distilleries in the town – Glen ScotiaGlengyle and Springbank.

With a variety of dinner options in the area I was spoilt for choice – eventually choosing the Argyll Arms Hotel. After an early night to prepare for the day ahead, I woke up to lovely sunshine and looked forward to my walk from Campbeltown to Southend!

 

First steps on the Kintyre Way

Leaving Campbeltown behind and following the coastal path, I enjoyed some great views of Davaar Island. The walk was fantastic with breathtaking scenery as I climbed higher and higher.

Today I was to observe changes in the route which now incorporate some lovely walking on the beach and through farmland. This cuts out some of the road walking which can be tough on the feet. Reaching Southend I was pleased with my day and the variety of experiences it gave me.

 

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Onwards to Machrihanish

The last stage of the walk is now done in reverse and it is a challenge I won’t forget anytime soon. It begins as a road walk and then veers off on to some farmland where the climb begins. I would recommend very strong boots and walking poles for this strenuous last day of the new 100 mile walk.

Not forgetting the amazing views along the way – this was a difficult stage to navigate. However, the natural beauty cannot be ignored and as per the day before I was spoilt with all kinds of spectacular views and special moments. It is worth noting that if you plan to do this walk, be prepared for some challenges in terrain and conditions. The day is mostly spent quite exposed to the elements and there are times you may be faced with very challenging ground.

You will get a tremendous sense of achievement after completing this day and the fact that it is the last stage makes it all the more special!

 

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The Finish Line!

Reaching Machrihanish, it is worth pausing here to celebrate your achievement and again take in some more fantastic views. I walked for only 2 days – a small part of this fantastic path – however this particular day was a huge achievement in itself. Back to Campbeltown and a luxurious last night at The Royal Hotel.

From my experience on the Kintyre Way, this is a walk I would highly recommend. Please do not hesitate to call or email us for further information.

Amanda MacDonald

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