In the footsteps of faith on the Cowal peninsula

A dynamic network of pilgrim routes has been created to showcase the rich religious heritage of Argyll’s spectacular Cowal peninsula, just 90 mins west of Glasgow.

A total of fifteen historic sites are included with all playing a significant role in the birth of Celtic Christianity. Intended to encourage visitors to explore faith and landscape, the walks offer a mix of forestry roads, woodland tracks and existing heritage trails as well as more challenging terrains for serious hikers.

Featured in detail at www.faithincowal.org and collated by Faith in Cowal, a Church of Scotland funded project to promote pilgrimage in the area, the network of walks covers 200 miles in total involving 19 trails divided into 5 loops that criss-cross the peninsular.

Dan Romani of Faith in Cowal explained: “The routes we’ve developed highlight the strong religious and spiritual heritage of Cowal as well as the stunning beauty of this part of Argyll. Each route takes visitors on a real pilgrimage to ancient Christian landmarks, through remote and impressive landscapes.

“Whilst Faith in Cowal is a Christian organisation, the routes are open to people of all faiths and none and provide the perfect way to connect with the wild beauty that Cowal has to offer. Some of the sites that book-end each trail date as far back as the 5th and 6th centuries as well as more ancient landmarks such as Auchnaha Cairn that are thought to be Neolithic in origin.

“The walks take in locations close to the major settlements and population centres of Cowal including Strachur, Dunoon, Kilfinan and Colintraive but they’re unlike any other path you’ll find. These are not all neatly manicured and waymarked trails. We have deliberately kept them dynamic and wild by making use of forestry roads and ancient heritage paths. Many of the routes require short, improvised hikes between paths so you’ll feel like a real pilgrim forging your way through the landscape. 

“There are detailed guides on our website as well as downloadable GPS tracks. We hope as many visitors to Cowal as possible will take this opportunity to step in the footsteps of ancient pilgrims and travellers, enjoy the wonderful scenery of Argyll and explore fascinating sites of genuine spiritual and religious importance,” added Dan.

For more information please visit www.faithincowal.org.