Every ‘Places for Pilgrims’ page on this website includes information on how to get there. That seems useful for those who want simply to get there.
But for some people the journey is as important as the destination. So here we have included some interesting or attractive journeys, with some description of the routes, attractions and opportunities you might find. These all connect in some way to one or more of the Places for Pilgrims sites, but may be useful for those who want to start by looking for a good walk or a good cycle-ride, rather than simply how to get to a particular place.
This map shows how most of these places relate to each other, and where the roads are between them. You may prefer to improvise your own journey around the eighty-mile ‘circuit’, or to and from various places on it or on its ‘tempting tangents’. If you want to do that, you will find the Ordnance Survey Explorer maps (sheets 362 and 363) very useful – if not absolutely necessary.
EAST COWAL – ON THE SHORES OF LOCH LONG & LOCH GOIL
1: Dunoon to Lochgoilhead, via Carrick Castle, for walkers and cyclists (with an alternative route for drivers or by bus).
2: Dunoon to Inverchaolain (via Castle Toward) for walkers, cyclists and drivers.
WEST COWAL – ON THE SHORE OF LOCH FYNE
3 Portavadie to Kilfinan. A short journey for walkers, cyclists and drivers.
5: Kilfinan to Kilmorie (Strathlachlan). For walkers, cyclists and drivers – perhaps continuing after the short the Portavadie-Kilfinan trip.
6: Kilmorie to Kilbride chapel. A short coastal walk – a shame to miss this out if you are in Kilmorie anyway, and have an extra couple of hours.
7: Kilmorie to Strachur. For walkers, cyclists and drivers.
8: Kilmorie to Kilbride. For walkers only, a two- or three-hour round trip.
MID-COWAL – AROUND LOCH RIDDEN, LOCH STRIVEN AND GLENDARUEL
9: Kilmodan to Colintraive, Loch Striven and Coustonn. For walkers and cyclists, 12.5km to Colintraive, and another 8.5km to go all the way to Coustonn.
10: The Cowal Way. This a well-established and well-maintained 57-mile walk up the whole length of the Cowal peninsula. It will be described here as a single journey, though it would take several days to walk the whole length of it. Some sections comprise long or remote walkinng, while other parts are very easy – those in SW and Mid-Cowal – are a bit easier.
11: The Cowal Way. Part of this long walking route goes through North Cowal, including some of its higher and wilder parts.
TRAVELLING BY CAR
The Old Castle Lachlan Trust has some nice suggestions for car-drivers, with recommended tours and information about places to stop and look around, though it is not particularly aimed at pilgrims or ‘faith tourists’. See their attractive website.
And the eighty-mile circuit on the map above might be a helpful starting-point if you want to explore this pilgrimage landscape by car. Pick and choose the sites you would like to go to.
Bear in mind that taxi-drivers in Dunoon know the area well. If you are yourself with some of the Faith in Cowal leaflets, you could ask a taxi-driver to take you to some of them. Get three or four people together and share the cost of an afternoon hire.
OTHER GREAT WALKS IN COWAL
A fine web-site called Explore Cowal has some great ideas for walks around Cowal (and bike-rides and kayak-trips). As they say, “Take nothing but pictures; leave nothing but footprints; kill nothing but time.” Wise words. It is a site well worth consulting if you fancy some trips that are not related to our pilgrimage sites – and even for some that are. Their ‘route cards’ and guides to ‘walking Cowal’ are particularly worth looking at.