How long is the Cowal Way?
57miles / 92km
How long does it take to walk the Cowal Way?
Around three to five days, depending on your fitness levels, ability and leisure time available
Why is Cowal Way the most diverse long distance walk in Scotland?
Our tagline “Scotland in 57 miles” is used to try to portray our diversity. In 57 miles you will get to view what Scotland has to offer. Stunning coastlines, tranquil glens and forests, and hillsides with views as far as the eye can see. There is also an amazing range of wildlife, including the red squirrel, golden eagle and red deer – to name only three! The actual walking surface constantly changes too.
Does the Cowal Way ever get busy?
Many of our accommodation providers and other tourist businesses call this area the “Secret Coast”. This is because this Highland area is undiscovered for many. It is possible to walk all day on many parts of the Way and not see anybody! Compared to other walks such as the West Highland Way, this walk is very quiet.
Do I need to bring a map and compass?
We have erected 174 timber waymarkers and 6 double-sides timber section signs. There is no need to bring a map. However you may wish to download our free mobile app, or purchase our Cowal Way guide book from our online shop. The path does reach a height of around 500m between Lochgoilhead and Arrochar, and if bad weather occurs, visibility can be poor for 2 km, so a compass can be a good idea.
When is the best time to walk the Cowal Way?
This is a personal choice. April to June and September to October are popular months, though many people prefer the summer months. Walking the whole path in winter is only advisable for very experienced walkers, especially the Lochgoilhead to Inveruglas section
Is wild camping allowed on Cowal Way?
Under the Scottish Outdoor Access Code wild camping is allowed. We ask people to be responsible. For example do not camp in crop fields, or next to farm animals and buildings. Also, please do not leave any litter. Help us to keep our path tidy, so others can enjoy it too. If you want to camp at a camping site, please see our “see, eat, enjoy, stay” section or look for the camping symbol on the map
Can I cycle the Cowal Way?
We have made significant investment in the path, to improve accessibility for walkers and cyclists. You will be able to cycle over 90% of the Cowal Way on a mountain bike, depending on your fitness levels and cycling abilities. We have now removed all stiles with two-way gates. There is a small, 1km difficult section between Tighnabruaich and Glendaruel, where you will be on a stony beach and also a steep climb/descent through a forest. The Strachur to Ardgartan section also has some steep climbs and descents, but the views make this journey worthwhile!
Should I book accommodation in advance?
This is always advisable, especially in the summer months. Some parts of the Way do have limited accommodation choices.
Do you have baggage handling services?
Yes we do. The company that provides this dedicated service is called Balliemeanoch Baggage and they are located on the Cowal Way at Strachur. For more details check www.balliemeanochbaggage.co.uk
Is there a regular public transport service?
The Cowal Way is located in a very rural area of Scotland, but it is easily accessible from the central belt of Scotland. It is easier to bring your own transport. Alternatively, you can get a train to Gourock, take the 20 minute ferry to Dunoon, where you can pick up a bus at the ferry terminal to take you to Portavadie, passing Glendaruel and Tighnabruaich on the way. To start at Inveruglas you can board a Citylink bus from Buchanan Bus Station in Glasgow, which can take you to the start of the Cowal Way in approximately one hour. You want to get the Glasgow-Loch Lomond-Fort William/Skye bus (numbers 914/915/916). Get off the bus at Sloy Power Station. You can also get a train from Glasgow to Ardlui, which is a 2 mile walk to Inveruglas. To start your walk at Portavadie get a train from Glasgow to Gourock, take the 20 minute Argyll Ferries passenger service to Dunoon, where you can board a bus at the ferry terminal to take you to Portavadie. The bus passes through Glendaruel and Tighnabruaich and takes about one hour. See Travel & Transport page for more details