The Best of Argyll
Offering a selection of excellent walks across Argyll, based in Oban, this hiking holiday is designed to give a taste of the best walking on both mainland and island Argyll.
We start with a fairly easy walk on the Isle of Kerrera, which is situated in the mouth of Oban Bay and which acts as a natural breakwater for this important west coast harbour. Although it is close to the bustling tourist centre of Oban, with only 40 residents it is a world apart. Cars are banned on the island except for the inhabitants own vehicles. A historically and geologically interesting island, each successive turn of the Kerrera's coast offers up intriguing new views . A highlight is the sudden appearance of Gylen Castle.
We next turn to wild Glen Coe, where we will walk into the Coire Gabhail - also known as the ‘Lost Valley’ - concealed on a high meadow behind massive rockfall. The MacDonalds used to hide stolen cattle in this glen in the times before the massacre of 1692. In addition to offering one of the most stunning views in Scotland, Glen Coe is also known to be one of the best preserved examples of caldera subsidence. Most of the major peaks within the glen consist of lava flows and approximately 1200m of mostly volcanic sequences have been identified.
Later in the week we will walk on the island of Lismore, explore Glen Stockdale and delve into Argyll’s earliest history in Kilmartin Glen, heartland of the first Gaelic-speaking Scots, with a unique concentration of prehistoric remains, such as cairns, a stone circle and rock carvings. There are several impressive medieval and later castles here, including Carnasserie, and much else besides.
The week ends with a rough but spectacular walk around Jura’s wild north shore beside the swirling Corrievreckan. Red deer are guaranteed and we should keep an eye open for golden eagles, sea eagles, otters, porpoises and seals.
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.
Sunday: Island of Kerrera
A circuit of the south end of the Island of Kerrera via the dramatically situated Gylen Castle. Scenically beautiful, with new views opening out as we follow successive turns of the coast clockwise from the ferry landing, there's a lot of historical and geological interest on this walk. The confined Sound of Kerrera gives way to more open views south towards the islands of Seil and Scarba, followed in turn by the sudden appearance of Gylen Castle, its prominent silhouette backed by the hills of Mull across the wide Firth of Lorn. Turning north yet more new views appear towards Lismore and the hills beyond, which line the long, straight rift where Loch Linnhe leads towards the distant Great Glen.
8 miles/13km, 700ft/200m of ascent
Monday: Glen Coe
Northwards to Glen Coe where a walk into the 'Lost Valley' takes us into the heart of this wild mountain land beyond Rannoch Moor. The Lost Valley - properly Coire Gabhail, or the corrie of booty - is a dramatic glaciated 'hanging valley' situated between two of Glen Coe's famous 'three sisters' ridges. Hidden from the world behind massive piles of tumbled rock that fell from the vertiginous mountainsides late in the Ice Age, it is reputed to have been the place where the Glen Coe MacDonalds hid their stolen cattle if the original owners came looking.
Min. 6 miles/9 km, 1100ft/350m of ascent
Tuesday: Kilmartin Glen
Southwards today to see the best of the prehistoric monuments around Kilmartin, in Mid-Argyll. We start the day with a visit to Kilmartin House Museum and some of the Neolithic monuments in the Glen, including Dunadd, the hill fort capital of the first Gaelic-speaking Scots. Our walk will take us into the hills between Kilmartin Glen and the shore with excellent views towards the isles of Jura, Scarba, Mull and the little inhabited islands closer to the coast.
7 miles/11km, 1000ft/300m of ascent
Wednesday: Isle of Lismore
We take the ferry to Lismore for a walk on the island. Lismore, Lois Mor in Gaelic, means Great Garden and that is just what it is. But don't think the walk will be all path and track, because our route takes us along a coast with cliffs and arches. We pass sheltered bays and blowy hilltops with marvellous views. Our first stop is Tirefour Castle, a Pictish broch on the east coast of the island. It is believed to have been constructed around BC 500. On a clear day there are great views from the broch to Ben Nevis, Ben Cruachan and the Paps of Jura in the south. We then walk across the island to the west coast which we follow to the ruin of the 13th century Castle Coefin. Other places interest during the walk are a faithfully restored thatched cottage and a number of limekilns.
7 miles/11km, little ascent
Thursday: Glen Stockdale
Glen Stockdale is a beautiful wooded glen north of Oban which runs parallel to Loch Linnhe. A band of metamorphic limestone runs through the glen. As a result burns (small streams) disappear underground and reappear further down the hill. There are also sinkholes and caves. During the 1745 Jacobite Uprising and in the aftermath of it, the caves were used as refuges.
Our walk starts in Appin from where we follow the track into the glen through native woodland. Soon spectacular views open up south towards the islands in the Firth of Lorn, including Lismore, Mull and Kerrera.
We will leave the track and go uphill, through the limestone crags, to the ridge and continue our walk along this ridge, enjoying fine views up and down Loch Linnhe and the Firth of Lorne, towards Ben Nevis and Glen Coe to the north, Ardgour and Mull to the west and the Inner Hebrides to the south. We will continue north along the ridge before descending back into the glen and the path back to Appin.
8 miles/13 km, 1640ft/500m of ascent
Friday: Isle of Jura
By hired boat from Craobh Haven to the north end of Jura for a rough but spectacular walk around the wild Corrievreckan shore. Red deer are unmissable and we should keep an eye open for golden eagles, sea eagles, otters, porpoises and seals. If wind and tide are right then the overfalls in Corrievreckan make one of the most stirring sights of all the world's oceans, with one of the biggest of all standing waves. Do try not to fall in.
8 miles/13km, 1000ft/300m of ascent.
Saturday: Oban - Glasgow
Journey back to Glasgow.
Click on the picture to enlarge.
This walking holiday is designed for people who are fit and used to walking all day. We will walk up to 11 miles/17.5km (6 hours plus stops) per day with an average 1150ft/350m of ascent. On one day it might be as much as 3000ft/900m but there are also easier days. Our routes sometimes traverse pathless glens, climb mountains or thread remote passes and there may be some scrambling. On most days as much of our time is spent off path as on it. Scotland can be very wild and tough going: 10 miles here is often much harder than 10 miles elsewhere. All that said, we don’t want to break any speed records, especially not when going uphill and you’ll have all the rewards of walking in the most beautiful and fascinating parts of the Highlands and Islands.
If you're still not sure whether or not you can cope after you've read this and the details of the week's programme, please get in touch to discuss it further.
You will need to bring boots with a good tread that provide adequate ankle support, warm clothing, waterproofs (top and over-trousers) and a rucksack big enough for your spare clothes, a packed lunch and whatever else you normally like to have with you (binoculars, a camera, etc.).
Boots are especially important. They don't have to be particularly heavy, but wearing ultra lightweight ones may mean your feet get wet and trainers definitely aren't adequate nor, on some of the rougher and steeper going, however short it may be, are they safe. Trekking poles can be very useful, especially for anyone with knee problems.
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 2 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.
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.
|Description||8 days (Saturday to Saturday), accommodation in Oban in carefully selected B&B or guest house.|
|Walking||6-11 miles (10-18 km) daily, with a mix of rough going and path. Four days with longer walks and two gentler days.|
|BA61||28 May - 4 June 2016||£820||Single room: £70 extra|
|BA62||24 September - 1 October|
|Groups of 4 or more can book other dates, please ask.|
The price includes:
and most especially
For general information and booking, please click here.