Walk: Kerrera - jewel in the Firth of Lorne
|[Gylen Castle with the Isle of Mull beyond]|
Protecting Oban from westerly gales, the island of Kerrera is described by the Scottish tourist board as "a jewel in the Firth of Lorne". Despite it's proximity to a popular holiday resort, the island doesn't get overrun and is the perfect size for exploring in a day, with a handsomely restored castle and a monument to David Hutcheson (father to the CalMac ferry company) in addition to great natural beauty. If Kerrera is a jewel it's an unpolished one: tracks don't quite go all the way around the wonderfully varied coastline, which leaves a couple of boggy bits and a few inland detours to join the dots. Visiting in summer adds the possibility of refreshment in two seasonal cafes (one at each end of the island and both on the route) - look out for the random mugs and quirky signs pointing the way to the southern one.
|[The island's east coast has great views over to Oban, backed by the great peaks of Ben Cruachan]|
Name: Walk: Kerrera - jewel in the Firth of Lorne ★★★☆☆
Length: 18 km / 11 miles
Ascent: 400 metres
Points of interest: Kerrera coastline; Gylen Castle; Oban Marina; Hutcheson's Monument
Start / finish: Ferry terminus, south-west side of Kerrera, G.R.: NM 830287 / entitles judge parrot. Alternative start point at Oban Marina, which is also served by a ferry.
Route: Start - Horseshoe bays - Lower Gylen - Gylen Castle - Ardmore - Barnabuck - track junction near Barr na Gile - Oitir Mhòr - Ardantrive - Oban Marina - Hutcheson's Monument - return to Ardantrive - Port an Fhearna - start
Terrain: Mostly good, fairly level tracks but some rougher or steeper sections, especially after Ardmore and after Barnabuck. Path is intermittent and briefly a bit wet after Gylen Castle; there's also a short pathless, boggy stretch near Port an Fhearna.
Wildlife today: Lots of sheep, wild goats, rabbits; geese at The Little Horse Shoe bay; Highland Cows near Oitir Mhòr.
Weather today: Sunny with scattered clouds and a strong breeze where exposed; a few degrees above freezing. Ground partly frozen with snow on hills on the mainland and Mull.
|[Coastal views are wonderful throughout]|
There are two regular passenger ferries serving the island, both of which only take a few minutes and have multiple services daily. One runs from Gallanach to Ferry House on the south-east side of the island. The other, which must be booked in advance, links Oban town centre to Oban Marina in the north (which is, confusingly, on Kerrera).
|[Highland Cow sunbathing at Oitir Mhòr]|
Route credit: Walkhighlands