The Cowal peninsula to the northwest of Glasgow has recently seen an upsurge in popularity. The scenery is magnificent and there are plenty of opportunities for sailing. Long narrow lochs extend from the Firth of Clyde far into the peninsula which enjoys a favorable climate. Glacial action has created a shape which on a map looks like a hand. If coming from Glasgow, cross the Firth of Clyde by ferry from Gourock to Dunoon. It is possible to take a trip around the peninsula starting at Arrochar at the northern end of Loch Long.
The lively resort of Dunoon (pop. 9,300) is the main town on Cowal. It boasts an attractive promenade, an 18-hole golf course and the Royal Clyde Yacht Club.
Royal Clyde Yacht Club
The Royal Clyde Yacht Club, is well known among amateur sailors, particularly for the two- week regatta which is held every year in July.
The marina is full of brightly-colored yachts and the busy harbor is used by pleasure boats from Rothesay (Bute), the "Waverley" steamer and ferries from Gourock.
Dunoon is noted for its Highland Gathering that takes place at the end of August in the sports stadium.
The Kilmun Arboretum with a host of rare shrubs and trees is situated on the northern bank of Holy Loch (7mi/11.2km). Several members of the Campbell family are buried in the medieval church (15th century), including Archibald Campbell the first Marquess of Argyll who was executed by Charles II in Edinburgh in 1661 for high treason.
Younger Botanic Garden
Take the A815 northwards past Holy Loch and on to Benmore and the Younger Botanic Garden (7mi/11.2km). These gardens at the southern end of Loch Eck are an outstation of Edinburgh's Royal Botanic Garden. More than 250 different species of rhododendron and azaleas flourish here. The avenue of giant Californian redwoods makes a splendid sight.
Argyll Forest Park
Established in 1935 Argyll Forest Park was the first of its kind in Great Britain and with its network of footpaths covering 186mi/300km, it offers nature-lovers plenty of beautiful countryside to explore.
Entrance fee: FREE
Typical Visit: 5 hours
Appin - Lettershuna Riding Centre
The center offers cross-country rides on trails looking over Loch Linhe and Shuna Island.
Argyll Castle Riding Centre (closed)
ATTRACTION IS CLOSED.This center offers a variety of riding holidays, with tr4eks through local hills and forests and along long stretches of beach. The Wild Boar trail is 150 miles long and runs through Argyll. There are opportunities to ride to nearby castles, gardens, prehistoric settlements, heritage centers and the Argyll Wildlife Park. Shorter rides are also available. Tuition is also offered at the center, by certified instructors and unaccompanied children are welcome.
Strone House Gardens
Strone Garden at the northern end of Loch Fyne near Cairndow claims to have the tallest tree in the country, the 190ft/58m "Grand Fir". In spring the displays of primroses and narcissi attract many visitors.
Loch Long - Rest and be Thankful
"Rest and be Thankful" is the name given to the highest point on the A83 (803ft/245m) between the northern end of Loch Fyne and Loch Long. Further east, as the road passes through pretty Glen Croe, the full beauty of the Cobbler or "Ben Arthur" (2,891ft/882m) can be appreciated. A plaque by the A83 commemorates the soldiers who repaired the road in the 17th century.
The scenic A83 reaches Arrochar (pop. 600) at the north end of Loch Long only 2mi/3.2km from Loch Lomond. The tiny village makes a good base for climbing the "Arrochar Alps" north of Glen Croe, with Ben Ime at 3,318ft/1,009m the greatest challenge. For hill walkers aiming to complete the "Monros", those summits in Scotland higher than 3,280ft/1,000m, this range has three other peaks in that category, plus the Cobbler.
Loch Fyne, Castle Lachlan
The ruins of Castle Lachlan stand to the southwest of Cairndow by the banks of Loch Fyne. The medieval castle was begun in the 12th century Loch Fyne is noted for its oyster beds.
Kyles of Bute - Tighnabruaich
South of the junction between the A886 and the A8003 the sailing center of Tighnabruaich occupies a picturesque location by the waters of the Kyles of Bute. On the east side of the inlet at the end of the A886 lies the little village of Colintrave, where a ferry operates from the jetty to Rhubodach on the island of Bute.
Cowal Pictures View All