Bute and the Cowal Peninsula - part 1

Cycle Routes

    Despite being near to Glasgow Bute and the Cowal Peninsula are surprisingly quiet.

    This is a weekend ride, but could also be the start of a longer tour from Glasgow.

    From Wemyss Bay, catch the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry to Rothesay on the island of Bute, a thirty minute crossing. Ferries depart from Wemyss Bay at hourly intervals. Train service from Glasgow Central, taking a bike on this train is not a problem.

    Route Description

    Rothesay has a nostalgic air, the days of trippers from Glasgow going 'doon the water' on paddle steamers are mostly past. Bute Museum in Stuart Street is well worth visiting as it has a wealth of information about the history of Bute.

    Somewhat off-route is Mount Stuart, a spectacular Victorian house and garden the ancestral home of the Marquis of Bute. In Rothesay you'll pass Rothesay Castle which is 13th century, this is also open to the public.

    From Rothesay bike south on the B811 (past the hospital), then get to Port Bannatyne by travelling north on the west coast road. This gives dramatic views of Arran.

    There is a good beach cafe at Ettrick Bay, for this turn left to a track crossing the bay after a sign for Largievrechtan.

    The ferry at Colintraive is a five minute crossing, in summer frequent to about 9pm. The hotel on the Colintraive side does bar lunches, there is no other food stop between here and Tighnabruaich.

    Continue north on the A886 but fork left just after Colintraive, to go by the sea on the B866. Shortly after this ignore the B836 on the right but turn left on to the A8003, to go south towards Tighnabruaich.

    There are some interesting carved grave slabs a mile north of this junction, the Kilmodan Sculptured Stones, are in a churchyard at Clachan. Going south however there is a stiff climb then a spectacular view of the Kyles of Bute. The mountains of Arran and the Clyde stretch away in the distance.

    After this it's a fast descent to Tighnabruaich. There are several hotels, a number of B&Bs, but no tourist office. The tourist office on Bute or Dunoon would help.

    Tighnabruaich has a sailing school. There are a few small shops, unlikely to be open if you arrive late and leave early.

    If you have plenty of energy left, the minor road which loops south from here offers unsurpassed views of Arran and the Sound of Bute.

    Opening Times
    Open All Year
    2015 Opening Times
    1 Jan 2015 - 31 Dec 2015


    • Varied


    • Rural

    Type of Ride

    • Road Cycling


    • Miles 34


    • Tarmac

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