Tighnabruaich to Portavadie

Cowal Way markers, TighnabruaichIt seems like months since Jazz and I have done a walk worth writing about.  A brief lull in the weather between Storms Gertrude and Henry gave us a chance to do the first section of the Cowal Way, although for boring reasons we did it in the wrong direction starting at the end of Tignabruaich and heading towards Portavadie where we were staying.

Tighnabruaich pier

Tighnabruaich pier

Kyles of Bute

Kyles of Bute

The walk along the shore-front at Tighnabruaich 1 was peaceful with only a Heron playing.  The village is strange: there are some lovely big houses with huge gardens from the days when this place was a major attraction, but there are also some buildings that are falling into decay and the feeling that the place is barely hanging on.  (As it is mainly a holiday home village, it isn’t going to look its best in January!)  The route keeps to the shore apart from a gratuitous hill-climb as we cross into the adjoining village of Kames.   At the end of Kames it doubles back on itself to climb up a very muddy path to the golf course.  The view of  the Kyles of Bute is worth the mud though: even on a dreich day like today it was picturesque.

Gunpowder memorial

Gunpowder memorial

Portavadie, end of Cowal Way

Portavadie, end of Cowal Way

Portavadie Marina

Portavadie Marina

Next is more mud as we follow the right of way over the golf course and along a field to emerge on the road at Millhouse with its memorial to people killed in the local gunpowder factory and on the cargo ship the Guy Fawkes 2.  Apart from some old ruins beside the stream there isn’t much to see.  On the other side of the village the path leaves the road and heads passed Ascog Loch then a slight climb to give a lovely view of Portavadie and Loch Fyne.  It then drops down through some nice native woodland before emerging beside the marina and Tarbet ferry slipway marking the end of the Cowal Way.

Mural, Polphail

Mural, Polphail

Polphail abandoned village

Polphail abandoned village

Mural, Polphail

Mural, Polphail

This short walk was a sandwich of two nice coastal parts with a pretty dull filling.  However, Portavadie is an interesting place with a nice marina complex beside the famous £14M hole-in-the-ground dug in the 1970s to be a concrete oil-platform construction yard but which was never used.  An abandoned workers’ village at nearby Pollphaill is well worth a detour to look at some seriously good graffiti and what government planning at its worse looks like.

Notes:

  1. The first syllable rhymes with “High” according to an information board in the village.  The name means House by the Slope of the Hill, appropriately enough.
  2. Someone had a sense of humour!
Distance:12km
Effort:
Scenery:
Do It Again:
Duration:3½ hours