Tarbert to Skipness

At the northern tip of the Kintyre Peninsula you will find the starting point for what will be an incredible and, hopefully, a thoroughly enjoyable 87 miles (140 km) worth of hiking southward from Tarbert to Skipness, surrounded by some wonderful views which have been provided by nature.

The beginning of the path starts in the centre of Tarbert. Take the harbour road and turn off when prompted to do so by a signpost that leads you to the right and towards Tarbert Castle. The signpost will be clearly marked “Kintyre Way” and other clearly marked signposts are placed as required throughout the entire route and are very distinctive due to the fact they are painted blue with a “swirl” symbol. The 13th Century ruins are all that remains of a once proud castle which acted as sentry to the area. It is possible to explore the ruins before continuing on with the walk.

After passing the castle, continue on the path marked by the blue signpost which will take off to the right. Follow this path along and take the left turning at the first junction before continuing straight over the second. You will have some excellent views of the harbour from here and the path will continue on to a wooden barrier. This was erected to stop locals bringing motorcycles through this area and should be passed to continue following the path.

You will come to a small clearing with a bench used as a viewing platform over the Rubha Badan, from here the path traverses a number of small footbridges which lead the way over several streams. Following the path you will soon come to the Millennium Cairn, which as its name suggests, was built to mark the new millennium.

The path is now travelling inland and heads towards a section of dense forestry. In and around the woodland you are likely to see some wildlife which will include grouse, rabbits, and Hen Harriers. The path through the woods is still relatively new and in very good condition which makes losing the spectacular view less painful. After passing through two woodland sections the path leads into some open moorland. This can be a very exposed area during inclement weather and leads onwards to the highest point of the walk at 600 metres.

Continuing along the Kintyre way you will have noticed by now that each mile of the walk is marked. After passing the 5 mile marker you will be about to reach another section of woodland. However, this section is not as dense or as long as the previous forestry and you will soon emerge from the trees with the mountains of Arran directly ahead of you.

The path will now be descending down the hills and the terrain will be a little rougher and possibly boggy, if it is or has recently been raining. The path is still easy to identify and travels through two gates before reaching some more woodland. Once you have past some stone ruins, follow the river downstream through the woodland. Eventually, the path will veer off to the right and heads downhill towards Skipness. This is the end of day one and a chance to replenish your supplies in the local shops and take the opportunity to rest.