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Starting at the ferry slip on the Isle of Cumbrae, you will head uphill to the Glaid Stone, the island’s highest point, before descending into Millport. From here you can either use the local bus service to return to the ferry slip (this makes the walk 4 miles), or walk back via the quiet Ferry Road (total walk length 7 miles). Along the way enjoy the views across to the Isle of Bute, Isle of Arran, Little Cumbrae and the hills of Ayrshire. You will pass several small lochs, a mineral well and the Cathedral of the Isles (Britain’s smallest cathedral). Not forgetting the famous Crocodile Rock. This walk is along tarmac surfaces making it ideal for buggies, although prepare yourself for plenty of uphill sections!
Buggy friendly walk
The route is designed to be walked from the ferry slip on Cumbrae, returning to the same point. To take the ferry to Cumbrae you embark at Largs where there is chargeable car parking available at the ferry terminal (KA30 8BG). Largs train station is also only 300m from the ferry terminal.
Route: Turn left (South) from the Isle of Cumbrae ferry slip. Walk along the B896 for 700m then turn right (South West) onto B899/Ferry Road – signposted ‘Broomy Knowes‘. From here the road continues gently uphill for 1.5km past some farms to a fork. Turn right (North West) to follow the minor road marked for ‘Millport via Glaid Stone Hill‘. Enjoy the views across to Largs and then further round the Isle of Bute. The Glaid Stone Hill is reached after 1.5km of uphill walking and is marked by a trig point. There is a footpath leading up to it a short distance off the tarmac road. Go back to the road and turn right (South). Loch Minnemoer can be seen off to your left-hand side and further round you will pass a smaller loch – known as Wee Minnemoer – on your right with a tiny cottage at the far side of it. Heading downhill from here for 1.8km, the island of Little Cumbrae starts to come into view, followed by Cumbrae golf course down to the right with it’s two reservoirs (Upper Cumbrae and Lower Cumbrae Reservoirs). As the road continues to descend you will see your first glimpse of the town of Millport below, as well as the windfarm across on the mainland. After going past a farm you will come to a crossroads. Stay on the main road (South West) to join College Street. You will reach the Cathedral of the Isles 300m along the road on your left and a short de-tour is recommended if you would like to see it in more detail. If you wish to do this, turn left at the Cathedral and follow the track which passes behind it, to emerge at the other side at the top of a tree-lined staircase. This takes you back to College Street where you turn left (South) to continue along the route. At the end of College Street turn left (East) onto Glasgow Road/B896, the main street through Millport. You will pass the iconic Crocodile Rock 150m along on your right. Continue around the water’s edge until you reach Kames Bay, at which point turn left (West) to return to the road. Turn right (North East) on B896 to walk past the multi-coloured houses to a fork. Turn left (North East) at the fork onto Ferry Road/B899. Follow this minor road for 1.8km to link back up with an earlier fork at the ‘Millport via Glaid Stone Hill’ signpost. Keep right (North) to stay on Ferry Road for 1.4km and return to the B896 fork at the ‘Broomy Knowes’ signpost. Turn left (North) to return to the Isle of Cumbrae ferry slip, 700m away.
WALK REPORT: 10th December 2016
My 100th walk of 2016!! A challenge I set myself back in February and was concluding today, along with friends and family who joined me to celebrate :-) I wanted my 100th walk (notice I do not call it my final walk!) to be a bit special but at the same time accessible for everyone so I chose this 7 mile loop on the Isle of Cumbrae (with an option to stop after 4 miles for anyone who so wished). I had cycled round the island many times and had even walked the Ferry Road between Millport and the ferry slip before, but not the whole Inner Circuit. It also appeared to be buggy friendly, meaning that my 3 year old could join me and I could open up the invitation to friends with young children too. In fact what I decided to do (actually I was given the idea by a friend) was to invite everyone who had joined me on one of my previous 99 walks to join me for the 100th. I knew that given the proximity to Christmas and the short notice I was providing, it would be difficult for most people to commit but I loved the idea and when the day came I was delighted to share the experience with friends and family alike.
We were treated to a rain-free day and even a spot of sunshine from time to time. Since the route took us away from the coastal road and up onto the higher parts of the island, the views were stunning even with the cloud. As a result, most of the route was uphill, something I hadn’t factored in when describing the route to my buggy-pushing companions, oops! Well…. I am pretty sure I also never told anybody that it was a flat walk…… So I should be forgiven I think… :-) It was also possibly one of the smellier walks I have done, thanks to the numerous farms we passed! That fresh country air that is apparently so good for us….
On descending towards Millport, Britain’s smallest cathedral, The Cathedral of the Isles is very prominent so a few of us decided to take small de-tour (described above) to have a closer look at it. It is a very short loop round behind the building and then down some steps to return to College Street. We even saw a friendly pony and young horse! Despite what the signs say, the horse did not bite me, rather it was quite happy for me to clap it’s nose.
Very unusual for me to do this, but we actually stopped mid-walk in Millport to have a bar lunch (as you do!) before commencing the return leg. Facilities on the island appear to be very poor for babies and toddlers, with local cafes displaying “sorry no buggies” and “sorry no toilets” signs (The Ritz). Even The Royal George Hotel didn’t have any baby change facilities, and my friend was offered to change her 18 month old on the floor of a corridor next to the restaurant….. As a vegetarian, I also cannot recommend the bar lunch menu either unfortunately. My options were as varied as a choice between mac & chips or a veggie burger. Let’s just say if I return I will try the veggie burger….. :-o On the plus side, the hotel was very accommodating and even provided my 5 and 3 year olds with paper and pens to write a letter to Santa which they then replied to (in the form of a personalised handwritten letter from Santa) a week later. The kids were delighted and I just loved the personal touch! It certainly trumps Royal Mail’s effort which was a boring old standard printed card which could have been for anyone. Gold star for effort goes to The Royal George!
It was refreshing to walk back from Millport to the ferry slip via a route other than the main drag, which I’d done many times either on foot or by bike. So the aptly-named Ferry Road gets the thumbs up from that perspective. It is also a shorter route (hillier though), a fact known by the locals and regular visitors it would seem from the occasional flurry of traffic coming along it with each ferry arrival.
Enjoy my collection of photos from the day!