Argyll & Butt, Scotland
Start: Tarbert Harbor
End: Dunaverty Bay
Distance: 87 miles (140 km)
Surface: Long-Distance Path
The Kintyre Peninsula in Western Scotland is roughly 30 miles (48 km) long and 11 miles (17.7 km) wide, but it seems more island than mainland. Prized by settlers for generations, even before the arrival of the Vikings, because of its rich, fertile coast and hinterland, the peninsula has the waters of the Kilbrannan Sound to its east and the wild seas of the Atlantic to its west beyond a spine of hilly moorlands. Since 2006 it has also provided the backdrop for the Kintyre Way.
The Kintyre Way is a year-round destination, thanks to the warm waters of the North Atlantic and the temperate climate it bequeaths this hidden corner of Argyle. It begins in Tarbert at one of Scotland’s most beautiful sheltered harbors, and from there heads south, crisscrossing the peninsula on its way to Dunaverty Bay, with its crescent-shaped beach. Leaving Tarbert, you cross a plateau with fabulous views back to Arran through forests of birch, elm, and willow before a descent into Skip fess, with its thirteenth-century castle. Turn right and keep going till you reach Ronachan, where you follow the coast southward, walking over shingle beaches and past tern rookeries with views over the water to Gig ha, the southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides and a destination in its own right, accessible by ferry. Cross the peninsula again, ascending as you head eastward before a winding descent on forest tracks to Carradale. From there it’s on to Campbeltown, the peninsula’s largest town and a center for whiskey production, and across the ditch again to one of Scotland’s finest beaches at Machrihanish before the final tough, but most spectacular, segment to Dunaverty Bay.
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