Bob Law’s Blog: Isle of Bute – walking and cycling

rothesay barone hill

One of my favourite islands for many decades has been the island of Bute sitting in the Firth of Clyde. It is a green fertile island and although nearby neighbour mountainous Arran draws the eye and is a magnet for adventure seeking walkers and rock climbers Bute usually enjoys better weather, a quieter network of roads for walking and cycling, yet still has rugged and challenging day outings. Another added bonus is one thing you do not get on Arran… a view of it from Bute.

the arran ridge from bute

The Arran Ridge from Bute

Once you have arrived from Wemyss Bay to Rothesay on the ferry pleasant local walks on the island are plentiful. Rothesay to Port Bannatyne along coastal pavements is a fine easy walk, extended inland via Kames Bay past Westland Farm And Ballochgoy through rolling arable countryside.

pasoral scene st blanes hill isle of bute

Blanes Hill

Another is Rothesay through Bogany Wood to Bogany Point and back along the coast for an easy but spectacular stroll. Rothesay to the top of Canada Hill is another easy jaunt as is a circular walk around Kirk Dam via a causeway which can include Loch Ascog  or a lovely traffic free path network via the Birgidale Crieff Butts rising moorland for a longer but worthwhile excursion.

Approaching Mount Stuart

Cycles and walks further away but still easy day trips include the magnificent Mount Stuart, an elaborate grand house and surrounding gardens reached by local bus, foot, or bike.  The West Island Way from Kilchattan Bay to Garroch Head returning via St Blanes Hill and or Suidhe Chatain. Either reached by local bus or fit cyclists can walk a bike round this rugged beautiful peninsula, carrying it in a few places over rocks and inclines. ( trying to cycle round this section in the saddle would not only be dangerous but quickly destroy the beauty and solitude of it, trashing the grass paths into mud but walking round it rolling a bike beside you would be OK as local buses are not that frequent.

flowers rothesay

Flowers in Bloom

Cycling on the Isle of Bute

You can hire bikes on the island but it is cheaper to take your own.  The best circular bike tour of the island is from Rothesay to Kerrycroy to Kingath, St Blanes chapel, Tarmore Hill Viewpoint, Ettrick Bay  and back to Rothesay. Spectacular views and usually quiet roads. Best visited in May or June  for the spring colours but enjoyable throughout the year.

Bob Law, January, 2023

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This section: Bob Law: photographer, walker and writer, Pat's Home Page Blog, Walks

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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