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24/07/2018

Unbeatable Kintyre - enjoy the journey by bike

Action bike handlbars

The allure of the Kintyre peninsula is undeniable. Atlantic swells combine with glorious beaches and hills and glens all melt together to form a stunning landscape. On top of all of that, the whole place gives arguably Scotland's finest viewing platform, with Arran vying mighty impressively with the islands of Jura, Islay and Gigha for top billing. Paul McCartney understandably waxed lyrical about the place and it's always worth the journey. Yet there's no doubting that the road to get here is long, and for many has large parts going in completely the opposite direction! Heading north up the side of Loch Lomond does feel strange and can be a frustration. Well now, that journey just got a lot more manageable and with CalMac's sailing from Ardrossan to Campbeltown, there really are no more excuses not to visit unbeatable Kintyre.

Activities for all

It may be a far-flung location, but Kintyre boasts a wealth of ever growing things to do for all abilities and ages. The Kintyre Way is one of Scotland's very finest long-distance walks. At 100 miles in total distance, it's a multiday journey for most with several perfect stop-off places en route. At its southern end, it starts in the village of Machrihanish, on Kintyre's rugged south west coast, and ends in Tarbert. In Machrihanish, if golf's your thing, you'll be blown away, perhaps even literally here. The first hole is often voted the best opening hole in golf - an incredible accolade - and it's not difficult to see why as you hit your tee shot across the Atlantic surf. Just to the north of Machrihanish lies Westport beach which regularly provides some of the best surfing conditions in the country, as the carpark often shows with its surfboard laden vehicles, but its vast expanse of beach means there's plenty of room for everyone. Further north up this coastline, the swell lessens, and the bays provide perfect and safe swimming spots. Back to the Kintyre Way and from Machrinhanish as the route heads south and around the remote southern edge of the peninsula, this is hugely atmospheric end-of-the-earth stuff.

Don't forget the east!

Cyclist on ferry

Not to be outdone, the eastern side of the peninsula is markedly different yet equally worth visiting and soaking up the unique atmosphere. To the north of Campbeltown on this eastern side is Torrisdale with its impressive castle and grounds providing excellent self-catering facilities for weary walkers. The Kintyre Way passes straight through here making it an ideal stopping off point. With its famous gin distillery, perhaps take a bit longer to sample the delights on offer at this point! A mile further up the coast is Carradale, where its golden beach and idyllic harbour never disappoint. Although the Kintyre Way from here heads up and over to the western side of the peninsula, the road continues north to hug this eastern coastline. It's an up and down affair and one that's dominated by the view of Arran in all its glory to the east across the water. At Claonaig, you can give in to temptation and head across by ferry to Lochranza on Arran. For those of you partial to a bit of road biking, the options here to return to Ardrossan from Brodick on Arran provide a challenging and very memorable day's outing.

Fancy a race?

Kintyre Way 1

From Campbeltown, the Kintyre Way itself winds its way the remaining 70 miles north to Tarbert, in doing so zig zagging across the peninsula and giving those famous views. A perfect stop-off place is Tayinloan from where you can take the short ferry to Gigha, a perfect island day out. For those of you who fancy raising the heart rate even further, at the start of May you can run or cycle large parts of the route in the Kintyre Way Ultra Races - The running race goes from Tayinloan back to Campbeltown. At 35.5 miles long and with 1300 metres of ascent, it's a serious undertaking and attracts competitors from all over the UK and beyond. For those who fancy giving shorter parts of it a go, there's a relay option for teams of three. There is also a 75-mile bike race, starting in Tarbert and ending in Campbeltown. This bike race is perfect for the fastest growing form of push biking in the UK - so called gravel or adventure biking - which is essentially using racers with wide tyres. The wide variety of off road terrain makes the Kintyre Way the perfect stage for an epic adventure. In 2018, across the races over 200 competitors took part.

Connect with Kintyre

So whether it be walking, running, cycling, golfing, surfing, swimming or of course simply enjoying those world class views, Kintyre really has an activity for everyone to help them connect and immerse themselves in this most special of landscapes. Your adventure planning possibilities in Kintyre are truly endless.

 

Book your sailing from Ardrossan to Campbeltown here

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