Bounded by Loch Fyne on the west and to the east by Loch Long and the Firth of Clyde, the Cowal Peninsula has long been famed for the leisure opportunities it offers on both land and sea. While no longer hosting royal parties or wild boar hunts, the peninsula is home to the beautifully restored Victorian Dunoon Pier as well as Argyll Forest Park, the oldest in Britain.
Today, the annual Cowal Highland Gathering is the world’s largest Highland games and features the oldest pipe band competition anywhere in the world. To the southwest of the peninsula, Argyll’s Secret Coast boasts sparkling sea lochs and world-class yachting and sailing, with islands, natural harbours, anchorages and onshore facilities as well as a marina and sailing school in the village of Tighnabruaich. The Argyll Sea Kayak Trail continues to draw adventurous visitors to the clean and wildlife-rich waters around the Cowal Peninsula.
A special place in the memory of generations
Generations of people in west central Scotland and around experienced their very first holidays by heading ‘doon the watter’ from Glasgow aboard the beloved Waverly. The world’s last sea-going paddle steamer continues to make regular spring and summer calls to the pier in Dunoon, where a statue of ‘Highland Mary’ still gazes south towards the Ayrshire home of her lover Robert Burns.
Onshore, the Cowal Peninsula offers a superb range of walking and hiking trails to suit all levels of experience. The 57-mile Loch Lomond and Cowal Way is one of the nation’s best-loved long-distance routes, while the popular trail through Puck’s Glen offers an enchanting exploration of overhanging mosses, tumbling waterfalls and fantastic ferns. Nearby, the Benmore Botanic Garden showcases 150-year-old redwoods, and the Kilmun Arboretum is home to more than 150 global tree species as well as spectacular views over the lochs and mountains. A network of dedicated trails makes the peninsula a popular destination for cyclists and mountain bikers. The towering Munros in the north, known as the Arrochar Alps, offer a section of fine challenges for the more experienced hillwalker.