Rothesay To Luss By Kilmun

Bute To The Trossachs

ROUTE LENGTH: 88 MILES

By Road

Take A844 and A886 north of Rothesay to Rhuboach.. For the ferry to Colintraive, no advance booking is necessary on the above routes. Simply turn up at the port of departure, buy a ticket, and go on the next available sailing.

From Colintrave, continue onto A886 (5.3m), then turn right onto B836 (10.6m). Eventually, you will reach a crossing, to reach Dunoon, turn right onto A815 and follow to A885. To go to Kilmun, turn left instead onto A815, and then right onto A880.

From Kilmun, travel back along A880. Turn right onto A815. Benmore Gardens and then Loch Eck will be on the left. Stachur will be beyond Lock Eck, mainly on the right. To reach Cairdndow, follow A815– on the left will be the Tinker’s Heart – then turn left onto A83. Kilmorach Church will be on the right.

From Cairndow, return along A83, and carry straight on to Arrochar and then Tarbert.

By Cycle

Take the A844 and then A866 north from Rothesay to Rhuboach (about 8 miles in total). For the ferry, simply arrive and take a ticket. It takes 5 minutes. Continue straight onto the A886 for 0.7miles, then left onto the B866 for 2.8 miles, left onto the A886 for 1.9 miles, right onto B836 for 10.6 miles and right onto A815 for 1.4 miles. You will continue into the A885. To reach Dunoon, continue as it becomes the High Road and enter the town. To go to Kilmun, turn left instead onto A815, and then right onto A880.

From Kilmun, travel back along A880 and then right onto A815 to Stachur (about 14 miles). From Stachur, follow the A815 until you reach an unmarked road on the left that follows the coastal line, rather than the more inland route of the A815. Follow this unmarked road to Ardkinglas, turning right, then left, then left, and ride along the west side of the Strone Estate into Cairndow where the Kilmorich Church will be on the right side of the road.

To reach Tinker’s Heart, instead of taking the coastal side road, follow the A815 along a bit. The Tinker’s Heart will be accessible on the left. Then follow road to A83, turning left for Cairndow, orright for Arrochar. Alternatively, travel along the A83 from Cairndow, and then turn right onto the A815. It will be on the right then.

From Cairndow, return along A83, and carry straight on to Arrochar and then Tarbet.

By Public Transport

The 479 goes from Rotheay via Rhuboach ferry terminal to Dunoon (about an hour and ten minutes in total). From Dunoon, take the 489 to Glenfinart to Kilmun. From there, either walk or take the 489 to Toward, stopping at the Botanic Gardens entrance slightly up-valley. From there, take the 486 to Cairndow and Kilmorich Church (about 50 minutes bus time). From there, walk to Road End junction and get the 926 to Glasgow, getting off at the 4th stop at Ballyhennan Crescent in Tarbet.

To check times go to Traveline Scotland and click on Plan your Journey on left side of page.

Go due north from Rothesay by Kames to reach the Colintraive ferry over to Cowal. This wide hill-girt peninsula of Cowal is remarkable for the number of early Christian sites still occupied by present day churches, including Kilfinan, Kilmodan and the Church of the Three Holy Brethren at Lochgoilhead. By contrast, north of Colintraive, Fearnoch Chapel, set in a hidden dell 500m west of the main road, is a fine example of Cowal’s many lost religious sites.

Our route however goes east towards the Holy Loch on which are sited Cowal’s main port and holiday town at Dunoon, and the ancient religious settlement of Kilmun. ‘Mun’ is an abbreviation of Finntan (in Irish Fiontan) Munnu an important early saint who came to Iona after Columba’s death, but stayed on in Argyll to found churches in his own right. There are other Kilmuns in Argyll, all associated with Clan Campbell, which suggests that Fintan Munnu may have been the patron saint of that clan before the conversion of their chiefs to Protestantism. This Kilmun however was the saint’s major foundation and a centre of early learning, surviving later as the parish church. According to one account Fintan Munnu became a leper, ‘a warrior, religious, and tortured with pain’. He was buried in north Argyll, in the lovely island in Loch Leven named Eilean Munde.

The journey continues by the Benmore gardens and Loch Eck to Strachur, and to St Catherine’s and Kilmorich Church at Cairndow. Just off this route at the junction with the Hell’s Glen road to Lochgoilhead is the Tinker’s Heart, a pattern of white quartz stones, celebrated by Scotland’s Travelling People as a place of meeting and ceremony. Staying with this road offers a scenic short cut to Rest and Be Thankful or a diversion to Lochgoilhead. The main route continues by Ardkinglas through Glen Croe to Arrochar and then Tarbert on Loch Lomond. We have reached the land of Kessog.

Ask living things that move in the waters
which linger on land
which soar through the air,
ask the souls that are hidden
and the bodies that feel and see,
visible things that must be steered,
invisible things that guide-
Ask all these things, and they will answer,
‘Look, see, we are lovely.’
Their loveliness is their confession.
And these lovely but ever changing things,
who has made them, except beauty unchanging?
( St Augustine )

Pilgrim Journeys

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