Traversing the foot of the Cowal Peninsula between the two key ferry ports of Dunoon and Portavadie, this scenic route not only provides cyclists with access to the iconic Caledonia Way on the Kintyre Peninsula, but also offers a taste of the many hidden delights of Argyll’s ‘Secret Coast’.
From the quiet coastal town of Dunoon, which is well serviced with cafés and accommodation options for every budget, take the coastal road north via Sandbank for dramatic views across Holy Loch. Before turning west at Dalinlongart, consider taking a short detour north to the dramatic Benmore Botanic Gardens, renowned for its fine collections of Rhododendrons and ferns, or stop off and take a stroll around Puck’s Glen where a magical trail winds along a Victorian walkway, up the dramatic rocky gorge that is said to be home to mischievous spirits.
Heading West from Dalinlongart, challenging climbs are rewarded with exhilarating descents, and views of dramatic coastal seascapes. For the more adventurous, a detour to Colintraive and the ferry link to Rhubodach offer the opportunity for a challenging ride around the Isle of Bute, which forms part of the longer ‘5 ferries cycle challenge’. For a more relaxing alternative, admire the carvings on the late-medieval sculptured ‘Kilmodan Stones’, exhibited in a burial aisle within Kilmodan Churchyard at Clachan of Glendaruel.
As you continue towards Tighnabruaich, be sure to pause for breath at the Kyles of Bute Viewpoint, where you can gaze across the East and West Kyles and the Isle of Bute, to the rocky profile of the Isle of Arran beyond - one of the most famous and photographed views in Scotland!
Pause for refreshments at one of the cafés or browse the art gallery in the pretty shoreline village of Tighnabruaich, before the final stretch through open countryside on lightly trafficked roads to Portavadie, where you can pass some time at the Marina restaurant and bar, before boarding your ferry across the mighty Loch Fyne, to Tarbert.
We have taken all responsible steps to ensure that these routes are safe and achievable by people with a reasonable level of fitness.
However, all outdoor activities involve a degree of risk. To the extent permitted by law, Sustrans accepts no responsibility for any accidents or injury resulting from following these routes.
Walking and cycling routes change over time. Weather conditions may also affect path surfaces.
Please use your own judgement when using the routes based upon the weather and the ability, experience and confidence levels of those in your group.