Rhubodach to Rothesay, Bute

Kyles of Bute

A beautiful autumn day was correctly forecast so we decided to finish off the West Island Way on Bute.  We did the first stage in the spring, the second in the summer, and so it seemed fitting to finish off in autumn colours.  Logically we should continue south-to-north, but with public transport on this section (let’s be generous) a bit sparse, I wanted to know I wouldn’t be marooned at the end of the island.  So sparing no expense, we took a taxi to Rhubodach. After laughing at how I mangled the name, the taxi driver told me that the locals call it Rub-a-Duck – an idea that appealed to Her Jazzness.

Kyles of Bute

The path starts into woodland and climbs steadily.  The path is signed and takes a different route to that on the OS map: we decided to trust the signs 1. When it emerges from the trees we are crossing the soggy moorland of Windy Hill and onto Kames Hill. We are nicely above the gorgeous Kyles of Bute and the views are terrific which is compensation for the awful path.  The “path” is marked by the green WIW posts but they are just too far apart and you have to play hunt the post.  It’s a very unpleasant hour tramping through bog.  Apart from sheep, the only company we had up here was lot of Fox Moth caterpillars.

Port Bannatyne from Kames Bay

Rothesay and Port Bannatyne from Kames Hill

So it was good to get back onto a decent surface as we followed the track to Kames Bay at Port Bannatyne where we could have lunch after wringing out my socks.  This is a nice spot with the bay lined by trees all in their autumn finery.

Path through Rullechedan woods

We are now on the final leg into Rothesay taking the track up over Rullechedan woods and along quiet farm tracks.  This was a pleasant afternoon saunter.  Today’s walk was strong on views but poor on paths.  Overall, I loved the West Island Way and will certainly be doing the southern part again; the northern part I’ll give a miss – I’ll just have to find another way of seeing the Kyles of Bute.


  1. As you’ll read, this was a mistake – instead take the loop and go through Glen More.
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