A long-distance waymarked path traversing most of Bute
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.
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
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
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
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