As I hadn't been to this part of Scotland for a few years, and it's very handy for Glasgow being only a 30 minute drive from my house, in mid-September I felt it was time for a return visit. Like most other places if you haven't visited for a few years you notice the changes straight away; in this instance it was the new one way system on Gourock's main street and an introduced three hour time limit in the seafront car park. Although this is still free you have to buy a ticket from the shops and that's not much good for all day visitors. I parked along the esplanade instead as I was intending to cycle around Dunoon after getting the red Western Ferries across.
The ferry runs every half hour and costs £4:50 adult single per passenger but pedal bikes go free so it's a cheap day out. The Argyll passenger ferry offers a car free service from Greenock to Dunoon, (town centre to town centre) which might be better for ordinary walkers not wishing a longer hike.
The Firth of Clyde was as beautiful as ever with plenty of activity out on the water in the shape of various large cargo ships and oil tankers. I was even treated to a low level fly past by two Hercules bombers celebrating 50 years service in the skies.
I usually go cycling around a magnificent scenic loop from Dunoon itself past the Holy Loch to Strone Point then Ardentinny then up over Glen Finart to Loch Eck and back to Dunoon. A five star classic and really enjoyable cycle taking around 4 or 5 hours easy pace but as I've done it over half a dozen times I decided to stay around the town this time and explore the back streets instead.
I love exploring new urban districts as much as wild places and there was plenty to discover walking or cycling within the town limits as Dunoon's residential area climbs the hillside with several winding streets, many more straight ones and lots of interesting views.
There used to be a large American Naval base stationed in Dunoon, which helped put money into this large isolated town but nowadays it has to rely on tourism more and I did notice several shops and offices had closed along the busy main street. Having said that it's still an excellent and different place to visit with a central small hill and castle gardens providing great short walks. There's also a variety of higher level back streets with interest there as well, including the hidden Port Lamont area and the beautiful Ardnadam Glen and Ardenslate Road all of which were new to me.
I had a great time and hopefully you will as well. Pick a nice day winter or summer. It's an equally beautiful place with the surrounding mountains covered in snow under crisp sunshine and blue skies
Free maps of Dunoon are usually available at the Tourist Office on the seafront in the centre of town.
Bob Law, September, 2016