Summary

The route follows quiet minor roads round the coast and over the highest point of the island. You pass a number of sites of local historical interest, and the coast gives great opportunities for wildlife viewing.
Difficulty:
Leisurely
Distance:
9.9 miles (15.9 km)
Walking time:
04h 00m
Type:
Circular

Start location

Cumbrae Slip, Creat Cumbrae Island, Scotland.

lat: 55.7867281

lon: -4.8987178

Map

Elevation

Route

1 of 0

Getting there

The route is easily accessible by public transport.

Buses from Ardrossan and Greenock go to Main Street in Largs town centre. There is also a direct bus from Glasgow. There is an hourly train service from Glasgow to Largs railway station in Main Street. The ferry terminal is at the end of Main Street. Detailed public transport information is available from Traveline Scotland .

There is a car park by the ferry terminal, but this fills up rapidly on sunny weekends.

Take the ferry across to Great Cumbrae. Ferries leave from the ferry terminal  four times an hour during the summer and twice an hour in winter - but check the timetables (www.calmac.co.uk) as there are gaps in the schedules at various times during the day.

Waypoints

1

Leave the ferry and turn right. Follow the road round the coast to the island’s only town, Millport. Look out for seabirds: curlews, oystercatchers, wigeon, eider, red-breasted mergansers and common gulls along the shore; and, in the hedges and fields along the road, stonechats and sedge warblers. Further out to sea you might see gannets and seals, or, if you are very lucky, a basking shark or a minke whale. (A) The monument at Tomont End is a touching memorial to two young sailors who lost their lives here in 1844. (B) During World War Two these two buildings housed equipment used for submarine detection. Because of the secrecy surrounding the base, it was given the name ‘the Hush-Hush’. The buildings were renovated in 1991 as part of the TV series ‘Challenge Anneka’, and it is now a conference and holiday centre. A little further along the coast there is a red bench, and a short distance – about 150m – beyond that there is an iron ring embedded in a rock. This is said to have been used for anchoring one end of an anti-submarine net which stretched across to Bute. (C) The imposing stone building surrounded by parkland in the centre of Millport is Garrison House, which marks the site of a barracks, constructed in 1745, for the crew of the revenue cutter ‘The Royal George’. The building was burnt down in 2001, has been restored, and now houses a café and a small but very worthwhile museum.

2

After Garrison House turn left up College Street. (D) The elegant building with the spire on your right is the Cathedral of the Isles, dating from 1851. It is the smallest cathedral in Britain. At the crossroads after Breakough Farm, turn left, signposted ‘Inner Circle Walk via Glaidstone Hill Viewpoint’. Climb up to the triangulation point and viewfinder on the highest point of the island.

3

Continue along the road, ignoring the first turning on the left which leads to Figgatoch farm. The road swings to the right back towards Millport. Turn sharp left at the next junction. Caution: there can be fast moving ferry traffic on this last part of the walk. Walk down to the shore road, turn left, and walk along the coast back to the ferry slip.

Problem with this route?

If you encounter a problem on this walk, please let us know by emailing volunteersupport@ramblers.zendesk.com. If the issue is with a public path or access please also contact the local highways authority directly, or find out more about solving problems on public paths on our website.

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Sharing

Join the Ramblers and enjoy

  • unlimited free access to 50,000 Ramblers group walks
  • a library jam-packed with thousands of tried-and-tested routes
  • a welcome pack teeming with top tips plus our quarterly Walk magazine
  • exclusive discounts from our partners
  • knowing your support is opening up more places to walk and helping more people discover the joy of walking