white horse logo

Loch na Leighe with St. Blane's Hill on the left seen from the low point where the path crosses the ridge, Isle of Bute
Loch na Leighe with St. Blane's Hill on the left seen from the low point where the path crosses the ridge

Menu:

National Parks

| 2001 walks | 2002 walks | 2003 walks | 2004 walks |
| 2005 walks | 2006 walks | 2007 walks | 2008 walks |
| 2009 walks | 2010 walks | 2011 walks | 2012 walks |
| 2013 walks | 2014 walks | 2015 walks | 2016 walks |
| 2017 walks | 2018 walks | 2019 walks | 1993-2000 library |
Find a Route | A few Routes to print out | Request a Route...|

Route No. 742 - Friday 28 September 2018
Kilchatten Bay, West Island Way, Lighthouse,
Loch-na-Leighe, St Blane‘s Church,
Suidhe Chatain(157m) circuit - 8km
Isle-of-Bute, Scotland . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer 362 Cowal West & Isle of Bute


An early morning start on Stage 1 of the West Island Way from Kilchattan Bay
An early morning start on Stage 1 of the West Island Way from Kilchatten Bay

spacer spacer

Following the road along the sea front to the bus turning area
Following the road along the sea front to the bus turning area

The first stage of the West Island Way is a circular route around the southern tip of the island and that is our walk for today. We parked off the road at a little parking area at the southern end of Kilchatten Bay by a small jetty at map ref. NS 103 550. From our parking spot we set off along the road heading south east away from Kilchatten Bay with the sea on our left. It was a lovely bright sunny morning. After about 400m the road came to an end at a turning area for the buses.

My wife and I are having a holiday in Scotland staying a few days at several locations. Just now we are staying for a few days on the Isle of Bute near Rothesay. Today the weather forecast is good for this morning but deteriorating during the afternoon. So we managed to make an early start and drove south to Kilchatten Bay near the southern tip of the island. This is the start of a walking route called "the West Island Way"!

View across Kilchatten bay from the road
View across Kilchatten bay from the road

Finger post sign at the bus turning area
Finger post sign at the bus turning area

Grassy track above the shore heading towards Hawk's Nib
Grassy track above the shore heading towards Hawk's Nib

Looking back along the path in the morning sunshine
Looking back along the path in the morning sunshine

There were several ships on the sea channel of the Firth of Clyde. About 1.7km from the end of the road we passed a striking rock formation called Hawk's Nib. The colours of the rock strata were picked out by the low morning sunshine.

From the turning area at the end of the road a good path continued following the rocky shore on our left. There was a finger post, the first of many, showing the route of the West Island Way.

Path along the rocky shore from the end of the road
Path along the rocky shore from the end of the road

Shipping on the Firth of Clyde
Shipping on the Firth of Clyde

Walkers‘ gate across the path
Walkers' gate across the path

Hawk‘s Nib above the path, smaller due to recent rock falls
Hawk‘s Nib above the path, smaller due to recent rock falls

Following the path from Hawk's Nib towards the lighthouse
Following the path from Hawk's Nib towards the lighthouse

Narrow awkward path through the boulders
Narrow awkward path through the boulders

Steep path over a rocky spur as we neared the lighthouse
Steep path over a rocky spur as we neared the lighthouse

At the top there was the Rubh' an Eub lighthouse ahead of us. Near the lighthouse we found a flat rock to sit on for a drink and just to take in the view. As we sat there a naval ship made its way along the channel and out to the open sea past the lighthouse. I looked it up on 'Google' when we got home and it was a fleet auxilliary used to supply the fighting ships of the navy at sea.

We continued along the clear grassy track heading south towards the lighthouse. Soon the path became narrower and rocky. There was a boulder field from the hillside on our right down to the shoreline on our left and for a few hundred metres the going was quite rough and awkward as we picked our way through the rocks. We followed the narrow path up, over a rocky spur.

Narrow awkward path through the boulders
Narrow awkward path through the boulders

Narrow awkward path through the boulders
Narrow awkward path through the boulders

The Rubh' an Eun Lighthouse
The Rubh' an Eun Lighthouse

Naval Fleet Auxilliary vessel making its way through the Firth of Clyde towards the open sea
Naval Fleet Auxilliary vessel making its way through the Firth of Clyde towards the open sea

Walking around Glencallum Bay away from the lighthouse
Walking around Glencallum Bay away from the lighthouse

Starting the climb to the SW of Glencallum Bay
Starting the climb to the SW of Glencallum Bay

We climbed up through the bracken and at the top we sat on a rock to have a look at the view from this vantage point. This was as far south as the walk would take us and we could see across Glencallum Bay to the lighthouse and across the Firth of Clyde.

From the lighthouse we followed the path shown by the now familiar finger posts heading around the shore of Glencallum Bay. On our right we passed another finger post indicating a path, for the more adventurous, to climb the hill called Torr Mor. As we reached the western side of Glencallum Bay the path began to climb the steep hillside.

Following the path round Glencallum Bay
Following the path round Glencallum Bay

Climbing the hillside to the SW of Glencallum Bay
Climbing the hillside to the SW of Glencallum Bay

Looking across Glencallum Bay & the Firth of Clyde near the top of the climb
Looking across Glencallum Bay & the Firth of Clyde near the top of the climb

The last steep bit of the climb from Glencallum Bay
The last steep bit of the climb from Glencallum Bay

Continuing along the path round the headland
Continuing along the path round the headland

Path following the contour around the hillside
Path following the contour around the hillside

The path was now heading for a low point in the ridge on our right. As we reached the ridge we could see Loch na Leighe in the bowl of land below us with the ridge from Torr Mor to our right and St. Blane's Hill (Suidhe Bhlain) on our left. Another lovely view.

After the final short climb, the path now bent round to our right following the contour of the hillside and ahead of us was a lovely view across the sea to the mountains on the Isle of Arran.

Rubh' an Eun lighthouse seen from the top of the climb
Rubh' an Eun lighthouse seen from the top of the climb

Mountains on the Isle of Arran
Mountains on the Isle of Arran

Path climbing gently up to the a low point in the ridge
Path climbing gently up to the a low point in the ridge

Loch an Leighe with St. Blane‘s Hill on the left seen from the low point in the ridge
Loch an Leighe with St. Blane‘s Hill on the left seen from the low point in the ridge

The path down to Loch na Leighe
The path down to Loch na Leighe . . .

the rocky ridge going north from Torr Mor on our right
. . . & the rocky ridge going north from Torr Mor on our right

Grassy tracks from Loch na Leighe towards The Plan farmstead
Grassy tracks from Loch na Leighe towards The Plan farmstead

Our right turn off the track to The Plan farmstead
Our right turn off the track to The Plan farmstead

Just through the gate we turned left again prompted by a finger post route marker. We followed the path climbing gently up the hillside above the farm at The Plan. Here there was yet another lovely view of the mountains on the Isle of Arran.

We followed the path over the low point in the ridge and dropped down along the side of the loch. There was a clear path with the route marked by finger posts. Our route turned right off a track heading to a farm called The Plan and after a few metres we came to a gate across the track.

St. Blane's Hill on oiur left
. . . with St. Blane's Hill on our left and . . .

Grassy tracks from Loch na Leighe towards The Plan farmstead
Grassy tracks from Loch na Leighe towards The Plan farmstead

Track heading towards The Plan farmstead
Track heading towards The Plan farmstead

We turned left up a gentle climb just through the gate
We turned left up a gentle climb just through the gate

Looking over The Plan farmstead to the mountains on the Isle of Arran
Looking over The Plan farmstead to the mountains on the Isle of Arran

Nearing the ruined church of St. Blane
Nearing the ruined church of St. Blane

Site of a monastary & ruins of St. Blane‘s Church
Site of a monastery & ruins of St. Blane‘s Church

The path away from St. Blane‘s Church
The path away from St. Blane‘s Church

After our break at the ruined church we continued along the path beside a wood and then climbing up a grassy track over a small hill that is the northern end of the ridge running north west from Torr Mor. On the way up the slope there is a little swing finger post with some information about the old farming settlement here at Kingaven.

With The Plan below us we continued along the path for around another 250m to the ruins of St. Blane's Church. We sat on the flat stone of the old boundary wall here for a drink and a sandwich and to enjoy just being here.

The ruined church of St. Blane
The ruined church of St. Blane

Site of a monastary & ruins of St. Blane‘s Church
Site of a monastery & ruins of St. Blane‘s Church

Path from the woodland edge to a grassy track up the hillside
Path from the woodland edge to a grassy track up the hillside

Grassy track climbing up the hillside towards Glen Callum
Grassy track climbing up the hillside towards Glen Callum

Our right turn down into Glen Callum
Our right turn down into Glen Callum

Starting to climb out of Glen Callum
Starting to climb out of Glen Callum

Footbridge at a dip in the path
Footbridge at a dip in the path

At the top of the field the ground dropped down again to a small wooden footbridge and then continued to climb out of the glen. There was another swing finger post here with information about an old ruined settlement called Branser. We followed the path over the shoulder of Suidhe Chatain and we were greeted with the view over Kilchatten Bay.

From the top of the hill we were looking across the northern end of Glen Callum. We followed the path down to cross the bottom of the glen and begin the climb up the other side through a field with a large herd of cattle with well grown calves. Ahead there was the summit of Suidhe Chatain.

Heading down into Glen Callum
Heading down into Glen Callum

Path heading for Suidhe Chatain from Glen Callum
Path heading for Suidhe Chatain from Glen Callum

Path climbing over the shoulder of Suidhe Chatain
Path climbing over the shoulder of Suidhe Chatain

View over Kilchatten Bay from the shoulder of Suidhe Chatain
View over Kilchatten Bay from the shoulder of Suidhe Chatain

My wife waited here as I climbed to the top of Suidhe Chatain
My wife waited here as I climbed to the top of Suidhe Chatain

The trig point on Suidhe Chatain
The trig point on Suidhe Chatain

Kilchattan Bay from the trig point
Kilchattan Bay from the trig point

I enjoyed the fine panorama that from the trig point for a few moments before returning down the steep grassy hillside to the stile to rejoin my wife.

The summit of Suidhe Chatain was up to our left. My wife opted to sit on the stile and enjoy the view while I climbed up to the trig point on top of the hill.

Stile to the trig point on Suidhe Chatain
Stile to the trig point on Suidhe Chatain

Looking west to Arran from the trig point
Looking west to Arran from the trig point

Heading back down the steep slope to my wife at the stile
Heading back down the steep slope to my wife at the stile

Starting the steep descent down to Kilchattan Bay
Starting the steep descent down to Kilchattan Bay

Path down steeply to Kilchattan Bay
Path down steeply to Kilchattan Bay

Start of another steep section down the hillside
Start of another steep section down the hillside

Turning left into the woodland
Turning left into the woodland

After about 500m in which we had dropped about 80m, the path turned left and led us into the woodland. The final part of the descent through this woodland seemed to be even steeper and we made our way down some wide steps to a lane at the back to the houses in Kilchatten.

From the stile we started the long steep descent back down the hillside to Kilchatten. The first part of the descent was through bracken and rough grassland along the edge of some woodland.

Path heading down to Kilchattan Bay
Path heading down to Kilchattan Bay

Heading for Kilchatten Bay through the bracken
Heading for Kilchatten Bay through the bracken

Woodland path down to Kilchattan Bay
Woodland path down to Kilchattan Bay

Lane between the houses out to the sea front at Kilchattan Bay
Lane between the houses out to the sea front at Kilchattan Bay

The Millennium monument by the people of Kilchattan Bay
The Millennium monument by the people of Kilchattan Bay

After about 150m we were back to our parking spot by the little jetty and the end of our walk. The whole route had been just a fraction over 8km and it had taken us around three hours including our many stops to admire the wonderful scenery and our lunch stop at St. Blane's Church.

The West Island Way turns left at this lane to start Stage 2 of the route bet we turned right and followed the lane out between the houses to the road at the shore. At the road we turned right and walked along the road next to the shore.

Weather vane by the jetty where we had parked
Weather vane by the jetty where we had parked

Returning to our parking spot by the jetty at the end of our walk
Returning to our parking spot by the jetty at the end of our walk

Top of Page