A long-distance waymarked path traversing most of Bute

Isle of Bute PA20
West Island Way accepts dogs


Encompassing some of the finest walking on the island, the West Island Way crosses a variety of landscapes including coastal areas, moorland and forest,and skirts many of our most famous landmarks plus a few lesser-known beauties too.

A great way to immerse yourself in our varied wildlife - no promises of course, but walkers often come across seals and otters, sharks, porpoise, deer, hares and abundant birdlife from oystercatchers to golden eagles and everything inbetween.

Most folks tackling the whole walk will do so over two days, staying mid-way in or near Rothesay.

Key Services / Products

NOT Accessible

West Island Way is NOT wheelchair accessible. Please consider this before planning a visit if this is a concern.

More Details

West Island Way offers Stage 1: Kilchattan Bay Circular

Stage 1: Kilchattan Bay Circular

With amazing views across the Firth of Clyde, this section of the Way takes in the landmarks such as Hawk's Neb, the Rubh' an Eun lighthouse, Glencallum Bay and the beautifully atmospheric St Blane's Chapel ruins.

  • 5 mile walk (8km)
  • Moderate difficulty - fairly strenuous
  • Views over Arran and Ailsa Craig
  • Accessible by bus (490)
  • Common wildlife includes deer, otters, seals
  • Birdlife includes falcons, buzzards & guillemots
West Island Way offers Stage 2: Kilchattan Bay to Port Bannatyne

Stage 2: Kilchattan Bay to Port Bannatyne

Mixed coastal and inland terrains on this longer walk North towards Rothesay and then on to Port Bannatyne

  • 11.5 mile walk (18.5km)
  • Mostly easy walking with long gentle gradients
  • Views over Inchmarnock and Arran
  • Can be broken into shorter walks
  • Common wildlife includes roe and red deer
  • Birdlife includes ospreys, ravens and cuckoo
West Island Way offers Stage 3: Port Bannatyne to Rhubodach

Stage 3: Port Bannatyne to Rhubodach

A lovely walk over hills and through glens and forest to the Kyles of Bute and the northernmost point of the island

  • 8.5 mile walk (14km)
  • Moderate difficulty - some hills involved
  • Visit a decoy WWII village on route
  • Can return by bus if desired!
  • Wildlife includes roe / red deer and grouse
  • Golden eagles are occasionally seen near forests
West Island Way offers Stage 4: Rhubodach to Port Bannatyne

Stage 4: Rhubodach to Port Bannatyne

A coastal walk with a choice of difficulties - high moorland walks with outstanding panoramic views for the more adventurous, or a roadside verge walk for the more sedate

  • 5.5 mile walk (8.5km)
  • Moderate or low difficulty - choice of routes
  • Careful navigation needed in some sections
  • Beautiful views over Loch Striven and the Kyles
  • Roe & red deer and highland cattle can be seen
  • Curlew, grouse and hen harriers are common

Throughout each section there are plenty of waymarkers, and detailed notes are available from the West Island Way website. It goes without saying that you should always go prepared - suitable clothing and footwear, maps, mobile phone, water and provisions

When Colin visited West Island Way...

Colin the sheep visits West Island Way

Colin pictures are © Stephen Doak and used under licence
You can buy prints and other Colin merchandise from Picture Bute
... or for less than the price of a coffee you can become a Colin Patron

Recommendations for West Island Way

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See Also...

See details for Balnakailly Bunker Decoy Village instead

Balnakailly Bunker Decoy Village

Operation Starfish WWII decoy bunker

See details for Bogany Wood instead

Bogany Wood

Lovely mile-long walk through ancient woodland with stunning bay views

See details for Bute Community Forest instead

Bute Community Forest

Community forest with lots of woodland activities for visitors

See details for Gentle & Mindful Yoga for All instead

Gentle & Mindful Yoga for All

Yoga class meeting at Mill Cottage Hall on Monday evenings

See details for Isle of Bute Ramblers instead

Isle of Bute Ramblers

Bute's own walking group, part of the Ramblers' Association

See details for Leafield Alpaca Trekking instead

Leafield Alpaca Trekking

Walks and feeds with alpacas and Pygmy goats on Bute!

See details for Rothesay Leisure Centre instead

Rothesay Leisure Centre

Municipal leisure centre with 25m swimming pool, gym, sauna and steam room

See details for Rubh' An Eun Lighthouse instead

Rubh' An Eun Lighthouse

Unmanned lighthouse on the edge of stunning isolated Glancallum Bay

See details for Skeoch Wood instead

Skeoch Wood

Ancient woodlands on a steep hill climb overlooking Rothesay Bay

See details for SOMA Wellbeing instead

SOMA Wellbeing

Group and 1-to-1 therapeutic yoga classes

See details for Stag Fitness instead

Stag Fitness

Personal trainer, fitness instructor and gym

See details for The Old Tramway instead

The Old Tramway

A 2 mile coast-to-coast walk following the old tramway

See details for Validus Fit Coach instead

Validus Fit Coach

Professional PT & Remedial Massage Therapy Services based on Bute

See details for Yoga on Bute instead

Yoga on Bute

Yoga for Wellbeing-Private/ Group and Workshops.

What's New on Bute?

The information presented here is collected from the public domain or has been provided by previous customers, users of or visitors to West Island Way. It is presented in good faith but is not warranted to be complete or free from errors. E&OE.

The large image depicting West Island Way used at the top of this page is a derivative work based on an original image by OpenStreetMap Contributors published under CC-BY-SA 2.0 The original image was cropped. The derivative work may therefore be reused under CC-BY-SA 2.0.