Please note there are nine walks in and around Carrick Castle other than along the shore-side road.
There is a new one (to be photographed) which goes around Carrick Castle village that goes up from Carrick Farm by the car park just on the hill track and back down by the Carrick Castle Estate Lodge & Barn and back to the road. It takes about an hour to walk and has great views of Loch Goil and the village.
All distances and timings of walks are from the castle
Five are accessed from the north end of the village, beyond the river Carrick where you will find a small rough road that goes past some new houses. Go over the gate by the farmhouse and up onto the track heading up the glen towards the water treatment building. There is one track (Walk 3) that goes straight up the glen with the river on your left and the other two (Walk 1 and Walk 2) go off to the right as you go up this track. Walk 5 and Walk 6 are extensions to Walk 2. Walk 5 goes to the Lochan nam Cnaimh and Walk 6 goes up to the top of Cruach Mountain.
Each walk has its own page on the website. Walk 2 can clearly be seen from the visitors’ moorings cutting its way across the hillside towards Cruach Mountain to the north-west. Another walk (Walk 4) is accessed from the gate just over the new bridge south of the public toilets and takes you up alongside the river into the forest – this area is currently being felled in 2017/18. For the advanced walker, it is also possible to walk to Ardentinny. The path from Carrick Castle going south for the first part has now been restored (Walk 7). Full details of each of the walks are shown with photographs and directions from the castle. Click on the links below…
Carrick Castle Walk 1 is a 45 minute round-trip walk from the castle. This walk starts at the north end of the village and ends in one of the most spectacular views of Loch Goil and Carrick Castle. It is 54 metres high at the end of the track. See the photographs of how to get there…
Carrick Castle Walk 2 is approximately 2 1/4 hours round-trip walk from the castle to the end of the track. This walk starts at the north end of the village and ends up climbing the heights to the coire beneath Cruach mountain (606 metres) with great views of the surrounding mountains and on the way down of Loch Goil and Carrick Castle. See the photographs of how to get there… At the end of the walk call out and hear the echos! At the end of the track it is 180 metres high. For those wanting longer walks you can climb up the mountainside to the left of Cruach and go to the lochan (400 metres) or even to the top of Cruach (604 metres) but take a map…
Walk 2 – Looking back to the Arrochar Alps…
Carrick Castle Walk 3 is a 1 3/4 hour round-trip walk from the castle. This walk starts at the north end of the village and ends up towards the top of the glen at the Carrick River and has some excellent views of the area, Loch Goil and Carrick Castle. It is 130 metres high at the end of the track. If you wish to go beyond the river, great care must be taken in crossing it as there is no ford or stepping stones and the river is still quite fast at that point. See the photographs of how to get there…
Walk 3 – Looking back at the view of Loch Goil.
Please note that this walk is being changed as the Carrick Woodlands are being felled in 2016 & 2017. Once the trees have been felled this walk will be completely revised.
In the meantime there is is a new track to the left after going through the gate and although very steep it takes you up to the plateau and ridge.
Carrick Castle Walk 4 – The walk starts at the gate just on the south side of the new bridge that is south of the castle. This is a fairly steep track taking 1 hour round trip through the forest. Unfortunately there are quite a few trees that have blown down over the track, the first just 20 minutes away but currently you can’t get past them (2013 onwards). The path has now in 2014 been dug up with a ditch across it with a new track leading south to the left. The new track is worth walk up to see the views however it is very steep in parts. The end of the old track that used to go straight up is 175 metres high. The photos shown are ones of the old track and the second gate and sign have been removed (2015). You could previously walk on beyond the old track over a small bridge but you need a map and wellington boots. This walk will be revised once the trees have been felled and the walks re-photographed.
Carrick Castle Walk 5 is approximately 4 hours round-trip walk from the castle to the Lochan nan Cnaimh (400 metres). This walk starts at the north end of the village and ends up climbing the heights on the way up to Cruach nam Miseag mountain (606 metres) with great views of the surrounding mountains and on the way down of Loch Goil and Carrick Castle. Just after the pond on Walk 2 there is a track that doubles back to the left. (If you see the ‘old rubbish tip’ on the right of the track you have gone too far and missed the turning.) The track you turn off on to is a farm quad bike track that goes to the lochan. You need to take a map if you go this way in case the visability becomes poor. This track is the start to Walk 5 and from this point to the large lochan and back will take you couple of hours. From the lochan you can traverse the plateau towards Cruach mountain and climb up the mountain that will take you a further couple of hours round trip. There are fantastic views from the top but this walk requires you to be fit and prepared and it is not one to be done on the spur of the moment… See Walk 6 if you wish to extend your walk to Cruach nam Miseag. See the photographs of how to get there…
Walk 5 – Looking back over the view of Loch Goil.
Carrick Castle Walk 6 to Cruach nam Miseag mountain (606 metres) is an extension to Walk 5. Allow 6 hours round trip from and back to the castle. Altough Cruach nam Miseag is only 1 1/2 miles in a direct line from the village the round trip walk is 9 miles, so take plenty of water. Cruach nam Miseag summit is reached from the back of the mountain. The 20 additional photographs taken on this walk start from the lochan and go along the walk to the views from the top of Cruach nam Miseag. From the top on a clear day you can see the Paps of Jura, Ben More on the Isle of Mull, Cruachan, the Pap of Glencoe, Ben Nevis, Ben More by Cranlarich, Ben Lomond, The Firth of Clyde and much more!
Carrick Castle Walk 7 – It is also possible to walk to Ardentinny in about 4 hours (12.9 km / 8 miles one way, village to village). The first part of the walk after Ardnahein to the south of the village has now been restored. The Carrick Castle Amenities Association, in association with other organisations (Lochgolihead Community, Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park & Argyll & Islands Leader) obtained the funding for this project and work was completed in the spring of 2010 and officially opened on 9th May 2010 – See the Ardentinny to Carrick Castle official opening walk here.
Alternatively you can walk just the first part of this walk to the forestry road that takes about 1 hour to it and 3/4 hour back. We now have photographs of this part of the walk that starts from the castle.
Please note there is a ‘Geocache’ on this walk – for more information go to http://www.geocaching.com.
Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment. Search for a geocache below or learn more about getting started.
Walk 7 – From the castle head south on the road.
Walk 7 – Walk past the public toilets and slipway.
Walk 7 – Walk over the bridge towards Ardnahein on the private road.
Walk 7 – Looking back towards Carrick Castle.
Walk 7 – View towards the entrance to Loch Goil.
Walk 7 – Ardnahein Point.
Walk 7 – Ardentinny sign says 4 miles – go right just before the gate.
Walk 7 – Walk right up to the gate, that says to the left of it ‘Ardnahein Private’, and turn sharp right on to the new path heading towards Ardentinny. There is another sign ‘Ardentinny’ at the start of the path but it is not visible until you reach this gate. It takes 15 minutes to reach the start of the new path from the castle.
Walk 7 – The path goes round the back of Ardnahein Farm. The path undulates up and down for this next section.
Walk 7 – The path continues behind the buildings.
Walk 7 – Ardnahein Bay on the south side.
Walk 7 – Great view of Loch Goil and Cruach Mountain to the left when looking north.
Walk 7 – Wild Orchids can be seen along this path.
Walk 7 – The path runs around the back of Toll nam Muc (Swine’s Hole) a nice anchorage between the two red buoys.
Walk 7 – The path behind Swine’s Hole.
Walk 7 – Swine’s Hole looking north – It takes 30 minutes to walk to this point from the castle.
Walk 7 – The new path finishes just after the gate to join the old path.
Walk 7 – The path then crosses a small burn.
Walk 7 – The bridge was constructed in 1998.
Walk 7 – The path crosses a ford – plenty of stepping stones but beware when crossing the burn in spate.
Walk 7 – The path gets steep here – this photo is looking down on where you come up…
Walk 7 – View looking north over Loch Goil towards Cruach Mountain.
Walk 7 – View showing Carrick Castle, Cruach mountain and Loch Goil on a better day!
Walk 7 – The path continues up through the forest.
Walk 7 – The path through the forest.
Walk 7 – The path rises quite high at this point.
Walk 7 – View towards Loch Long.
Walk 7 – View of Loch Goil and Cruach Mountain looking north.
Walk 7 – Looking back at the path to Carrick Castle from the foresty road to Ardentinny showing the sign on the right. It takes 1 hour to this point from the castle, however only 45 minutes back due to going mainly downhill.
Walk 7 – To continue on to Ardentinny turn left on to the forestry road. Don’t turn right as it is a dead end 15 minutes up the hill.
Walk 7 – The forestry road zigzags downhill and on to Ardentinny.
There are currently no more photographs of the route to Ardentinny on this website.
Local facilities at Ardentinny include a hotel, cafe, shop and public toilets. Carrick Castle has only public toilets. There are also public toilets in the Forest Enterprise car park that is near Shepherd’s Point north of Ardentinny (these particular ones are open in the summer only).
This route is available in more detail with an associated map in the Footprint Guide to ‘The Cowal peninsula’ available from Tourist Information Centres. OS Map Explorer 363: Cowal East.
The Cormonachan Woodlands, situated on the west shore of Loch Goil half way between Lochgoilhead and Carrick Castle is in the Argyll Forest Park part of the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park.
The woodlands are ancient Atlantic oak woodlands with many oaks over 300 years old with areas of old coppiced hazel probably from 100 years ago. Much of the area had been under planted with Sitka Spruce by Forest Enterprise between 1950 and 1960. Many of those areas were felled in the late nineties and later in 2006 and 2017, new planting of oaks, rowan, hazel and Scots pine has taken place.
Rhododendrons and bracken has increased in quantity especially in the northern felled section of the woodlands, however a programme of clearance has reduced much of this in recent years.
Bluebells abound throughout the woodlands along with other woodland plants including; primroses, wild garlic, wood sorrel, lesser celandine, honeysuckle and ferns.
The most important wildlife to reside in these woodlands is red squirrels that are high on the agenda for protection.
A joint woodland project was started in 1997, with co-operation between Ardroy Outdoor Education Centre and Forestry Commission Scotland, who own the ancient Atlantic Oak Woodlands. Formal agreement was reached for the partnership to be responsible for managing 58.9-hectare sectionof the woodlands to improve their bio-diversity and also to develop them as an education resource. A new not-for-profit community organisation was set up in 2015 called Cormonachan Woodlands Association with AOEC Trust Ltd (Ardroy Outdoor Education Centre) and obtained its management agreement with Forestry Commission Scotland in 2016.
Over the last two decades the woodlands area has been transformed with long walking paths established for recreation with view points over Loch Goil, a red squirrel trail provided with information points, a resource centre has been built for educational purposes and many volunteers have cleared much of the area of old tree debris and rhododendrons.
Visitors who wish to visit the Cormonachan Woodlands should park their cars in the new parking area by the television aerial compound (2017). Please observe the Scottish Outdoor Access Code…
The woodlands are accessed from G.R. 196 975.
The short walk of 1 km is the Red Squirrel Trail to the south of the area and the long walk around the whole area is approximately 2 ½ km.
Please note the paths have several steep inclines on them but are rated as easy to moderate on the inclines.
Click the links below to download PDF maps:-
- Map of area
- Please abide by the Scottish Outdoor Access Code when visiting the woodlands and the Forestry Commission’s Forest Code
The forest code
- Guard against all risk of fire.
- Protect trees, plants and wildlife.
- Leave things as you find them, take nothing away.
- Keep dogs under control.
- Avoid damaging buildings, fences, hedges, walls and signs.
- Leave no litter.
Britain’s Atlantic Oakwoods are the most extensive remaining fragments of an ancient woodland type that was once more widespead around the oceanic western rim of northern Europe. Often described as ‘temperate rainforest’ due to their wet, humid climate and abundance of lower plants and ferns, they have a particularly high nature conservation and scenic value. In past centuries they were regarded as an important resource by local communities but have declined with the cessation of traditional management and the development of new threats during the 20th Century.
Within the European Union, ancient Atlantic Oakwoods are restricted to oceanic coastal fringes of the British Isles, France and Spain, with most of this resource occuring in Western Britain.
Atlantic Oakwoods have a long history of local management and utilisation and were highly valued by the people who lived in and around them for providing grazing and shelter for livestock, a renewable supply of firewood and timber, plentiful wild game, charcoal for iron smelting and bark for tanning leather.
By the beginning of the 20th Century this continuity of traditional management that helped to ensure their health and survival had largely ceased. As a result of this, together with increased grazing by deer and sheep, invasion by rhododendron and the planting of fast growing commercial conifer crops, the condition of most Atlantic Oakwoods has declined.
Walk 9 is a new walk around Carrick Castle. It is accessed from the new track up to Carrick Castle Estate Lodge and Barn near the Carrick River bridge.
Walk up this track and pass the barn taking the track to the right until you join the original track on Walks 1, 2, etc. where you turn left.
Continue up the path passing the water treatment building on the left and then take the next turning to the left that takes you down to a new bridge across the Carrick River.
This path then takes you over the hill behind Carrick Castle village and down to Carrick Farm where you come into the village car park by the castle.
The walk ranges between easy and moderate up and down the hill sections and takes about one hour.
Route photos to follow…
Looking down on the castle from the new circular walk
Walk 8 is another walk about 2 1/4 miles away at Cormonachan Woodlands just outside Carrick Castle on the road to Lochgoilhead by the TV aerial where there is a new car park (2017).
Cormonachan Community Woodlands – There are two easy to moderate walks of 1 km (circular Squirrel Trail with Red Squirrel Hide) and 2.5 km circular path. The Cormanachan Woodlands Association have added way marker posts to the paths in 2016.
Buses from Carrick Castle pass the woodlands 5 times a day each way, except on Sundays. The bus times are displayed in the bus shelter by the car park behind the castle.
This walk has it’s own website at Cormonachan Woodlands. There are various benches and picnic tables in the woodlands and beautiful views across Loch Goil with a Contemplation Shelter and a Red Squirrel Hide.
“We had a wonderful hike up from the North end of the village and over the top of the hill (got up 420M above sea level) then came down the glen track. The club website was useful in giving us some information for getting started, so thanks for that. The internet is much appreciated.”
Yacht Darwin Sound, 16th September 2010