About Argyll Walking Holidays

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Walking Level 2Galloway & Argyll

This walking tour takes you to two very distinct parts of Scotland with different landscapes and historical links. The holiday is a mixture of easy walks together with visits to places of interest. This is your chance to get to know two Scotlands in just one week.

Highlights

  • Hiking around Loch Trool, Galloway Forest Park
  • Visit to Threave Castle in the river Dee
  • Walk through Puck's Glen with its cascading waterfalls, Argyll
  • View down Loch Fyne from Dun na Cuaiche, Inveraray
  • Hiking a section of the West Highland Way along Loch Lomond

Introduction to your walking tour in Galloway and Argyll, Scotland

Galloway
We start the holiday in southern Scotland - in Galloway, a tranquil countryside of serene hills and moors, tall woods, and long rivers. Galloway Forest Park is Britain's largest and covers an area of almost 800 square kilometres. There is also a spectacular coast of estuaries, rocky headlands, sandy beaches and cliffs with caves along the Solway Firth.

Inveraray

Inveraray and Loch Fyne, from Dun na Cuaiche

Celts, Britons, Romans, Angles, Vikings and Normans have all left their marks on the landscape, customs and traditions. Robert the Bruce began his campaign to free Scotland from English rule in Galloway. His first victory over the English was by the shores of Loch Trool in 1307. We will explore both countryside and coast and delve into the long history of this region.

Argyll
The second half of the holiday will be spend in Argyll in the west Highlands. Argyll has a long and broken coast line next to rugged and rocky hills. Its deep glens are threaded by rapid rivers, and scattered with many lochs, both large and small.

The very name 'Argyll' - translated from the Gaelic as 'Heartland of the Gael' - tells of a unique cultural tradition. The names of places, hills and glens - even of people - continue to express the uniqueness of Argyll.


Day-by-day Programme

The programme will be subject to variables such as weather and the abilities of the group and changes may also be made to take account of lambing, deer stalking, etc. Any such alterations will always take into account the need to maintain the overall character of the holiday.

Hiking tour Galloway & Argyll, Scotland

 

  1. Saturday: Glasgow - Galloway
  2. Sunday: Galloway Forest Park
  3. Monday: Cairnholy Cairns, Threave Castle and coastal walk
  4. Tuesday: Journey to Argyll, Benmore Gardens and Puck's Glen
  5. Wednesday: Crinan
  6. Thursday: Ardkinglas House and Inveraray
  7. Friday: West Highland Way: Inversnaid to Ardleish
  8. Saturday: Argyll - Glasgow


Saturday: Glasgow - Galloway

We will meet you in the city centre or at Glasgow International Airport in the afternoon. We will travel by minibus to Newton Stewart, our base for the first half of the week.

Walking Loch Trool Galloway
Loch Trool, Galloway

Sunday: Galloway Forest Park
We will explore Galloway Forest Park, the largest forest park in Britain. But before we go into the park we will have a short walk in the Wood of Cree,  the largest remaining native woodland in southern Scotland. It is thought to date back over 5000 years to the last ice age.

After this first introduction, we will travel into the heart of the forest park where we will walk around Loch Trool, the site where Robert the Bruce won the first battle over the English in 1307. Loch Trool is surrounded by the highest peaks of the Galloway Hills.

6 miles/9.5 km and 935ft/285m of ascent

Threave Castle Galloway
Threave Castle in the river Dee

Monday: Cairnholy cairns, Threave Castle and coastal walk
We will start in the Neolithic period by visiting the superb Clyde-type chambered cairns at Cairnholy. There are a substantial number of cup and ring marked rocks around the cairn.
From there, we continue to the River Dee to visit the ruins of Threave Castle which is on an island in the river. This is a massive 14th century tower built by Archibald the Grim, Lord of Galloway. To get to the island, we must ring the bell at the jetty and the boatman will come across from the island to ferry us to the castle.

Our afternoon walk will be a coastal walk along the Solway Firth which will take us onto high cliffs. In May and June these cliff areas are alive with nesting sea birds jostling and noisily contesting for prime sites. There are colonies of kittiwakes, fulmars and herring gulls and on the lower slopes the guillemots and razorbills make their homes. Further round there are many cormorants nesting. There will also be an abundance of wild flowers clinging to the cliffs. And if you are bored with all this natural beauty, you can gaze across the Solway Firth towards England, the Isle of Man and Ireland.

Up to 6 miles/9 km, limited ascent.

Tuesday: Journey to Argyll, Benmore Gardens and Puck's Glen
Today we leave Galloway and travel to the Scottish Highlands, taking the ferry across the Clyde.
We will visit Benmore Botanic Garden for a guided tour of the garden. The garden lies in a magnificent mountainside setting on the Cowal Peninsula. Benmore’s 120 acres boast over 300 species of rhododendron; Bhutanese and Chilean plantings and a spectacular avenue of Giant Redwoods.

Today's walk will include Puck's Glen. This is one of the hidden gems of Cowal. After a ascent through an ancient pine forest, we will descent through this magical glen, which is actually a gorge filled with gushing waterfalls and enchanting rock pools. It brings you into a different world hidden in the deep, rainforest-like depths of the glen, and there is the chance to see a wealth of wildlife, including dipper and red squirrel.

Up to 4 miles/6 km and up to 720ft/220m of ascent.

Walking Inveraray
Inveraray

Wednesday: Crinan
We will start the day with a visit to Auchindrain. Once, Scotland had thousands of "townships", small farming communities where groups of families worked together. Auchindrain was the last to survive, until 1963. Today it is far and away the best remaining example of a type of settlement that was once typical and common.

We will continue to Crinan for our walk. The Crinan Canal, which was built around 1800 and connects Loch Fyne with the Atlantic. Near Crinan we will walk in ancient woods that are home to a wide variety of ferns and lichens. Climb high above the sea, enjoying stunning views of the Isles of Jura, Scarba, Mull, and the Argyll coastline. En route, we visit an Iron Age Dun and a deserted village.

Up to 4.5 miles/7 km and up tp 835ft/255m of ascent.

Thursday: Ardkinglas House and Inveraray
In the morning, we will have a tour of Ardkinglas House, designed and built in 1907 by Robert Lorimer one of Scotland's leading architects. Lorimer was allowed a free hand and the result is a large neo-baronial style mansion of over 80 rooms set in its own gardens with some of the tallest trees of Scotland.

Inveraray Castle is set in elegant planned grounds and, beside the equally planned and equally elegant white-painted 18th century town, has excellent walks in the estate. Perhaps the best of these - all on path and track - takes in the riverside and some varied woodland on its way to the 700 feet / 220m high top of Dun na Cuaiche. The view from the watchtower here is the very best there is of Inveraray, the castle and Loch Fyne.

Up to 6 miles/9 km and up to 1150ft/350m of ascent.

West Highland Way Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond

Friday: West Highland Way: Inversnaid to Ardleish
We will take the passenger ferry across Loch Lomond to Inversnaid and walk one of the best sections of the West Highland Way. Leaving Inversnaid we pass through ancient oak woodland and walk past Rob Roy's Cave. The path is rough with numerous ups and downs but we will be rewarded with superb views. In Ardleish a boat will ferry us back to the west shore of the loch.

5 miles/8 km and 650ft/200m of ascent

Saturday: Argyll - Glasgow
We drive across the 'Rest & Be Thankful' pass to Loch Long and along Loch Lomond back to Glasgow, where we will arrive in the late morning.



Galloway & Argyll walking tour photos

Wood of Cree

Wood of Cree

Cairnholy, Galloway

Cairnholy, Galloway

Threave Castle, Galloway

Threave Castle, Galloway

Solway Firth, Galloway

Solway Firth, Galloway

Puck's Glen

Puck's Glen

Inveraray, Argyll

Inveraray, Argyll

View from Dun na Cuaiche

View from Dun na Cuaiche

Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond


Am I fit enough?

This walking tour is an excellent introduction to hiking in Scotland for people with good basic fitness. The holiday combines walking with visits to places of interest. Daily distances won't exceed 6 miles/10km plus varying amounts of ascent, and we don't expect to hike for longer than 4 hours (plus stops). Most of the hiking will be on paths, tracks or quiet roads, although the surfaces can be wet and rough. There will be some steep sections along the way, but no climbs greater than 1200 feet/365m, even in total.

If you're still not sure whether or not you can cope after you've read this along with the details of the week's programme, please get in touch to discuss it further.


Accommodation

This is either in carefully selected Bed & Breakfast accommodation or Guest Houses. You can rely on the quality of the accommodation that we find for you - its comfort, its food and the professionalism and welcoming nature of those who run it. The B&Bs and guest houses we use are more personal and the quality of the accommodation is as good or even better than of hotels in the same category. Double and twin rooms that are occupied by two people always have an en suite or private bathroom.
If you have particular requirements or prefer to stay in a 4-star hotel, please let us know so that we can do our best to meet them.
Details of where you will be staying will be sent to you well in advance of your holiday.

Evening meals
Dinner is not included in the price, but your guide will take you out for supper every evening. We usually eat in a different place each evening, giving you the opportunity to try a range of Scottish dishes and ambiences.


Dates & Prices

Description 8 days (Saturday to Saturday), accommodation in Galloway (3 nights) and Argyll (4 nights) in carefully selected B&Bs or guest houses.
Walking An attractive, well thought out walking programme; never more than 6 miles (10 km) in a day, and mostly on paths or tracks - though paths may be wet and/or rough in places. An equally attractive programme of visits to places of interest complement the walks.
CodeDatePriceRemarks
GA71 17-24 June 2017 £905 Single room: £87.50 extra
GA72 2-9 September 2017
We may be able to book groups of 4 or more on other dates, please ask.

The price includes:

  • The services of our well-qualified, well-informed and welcoming guide.
  • Small group - usually between 4 and 8.
  • An attractive, well-thought-out walking programme (6 walking days); never more than 6 miles or 4 hours in a day, and mostly on paths or tracks - though paths may be wet and/or rough in places.
  • An equally attractive programme of visits to places of interest to complement the walks. Some of these visits may themselves involve a short walk from the nearest available parking.
  • Carefully-selected accommodation (sharing a double/twin room), breakfast and picnic lunches on walking days.
  • Transport by minibus, train, ferries and boats, as needed, throughout your holiday and from / to Glasgow / Glasgow airport, at its beginning and end.
  • Entrance fee to museums, if visited.
  • Short evening get-togethers to set the scene for the next day's walking.

and most especially

  • Personal care and attention in all that we do for you.

For general information and booking, please click here.