Walk 100 -Millport Inner Circuit, Isle of Cumbrae – 7 miles

This walk is along tarmac surfaces making it ideal for buggies, although prepare yourself for plenty of uphill sections! 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 Crocodile Rock! 

buggy-friendly-image  Buggy friendly walk

parking-available-icon  Car parking available at the ferry terminal in Largs (KA30 8BG)

viewranger-image  Click HERE to view or follow a map of the route

route-image  Route:  Turn left from the ferry slip on the Isle of Cumbrae and walk along the B896 for a short distance, until you reach a road on your right signposted ‘Broomy Knowes‘. From here the road continues gently uphill past some farms to a fork. Turn right to follow the 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 marked by a trig point and there is a footpath leading up to it a short distance off the tarmac road. Loch Minnemoer can be seen off to the left of the road 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, 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). The road descends and you will see your first glipse of Millport below, as well as the windfarm across on the mainland. Winding it’s way down and past a farm, go straight on at a crossroads to join College Street.  You will reach the Cathedral of the Isles on your left and a short de-tour is recommended if you would like to see it in more detail (de-tour is not buggy friendly). 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 to continue along the route. At the end of the road turn left onto Glasgow Road/B896, the main street through Millport. You will pass the iconic Crocodile Rock on your right. On reaching Kames Bay, leave the coastal path and pass alongside the multi-coloured houses leading onto Ferry Road. This minor road links back up with an earlier fork, and leads you back down to the B896. Turn left to return to the ferry slip. 

 

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….

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The view that greeted us on arrival to the island!
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Uphill pretty much from the offset, tarmac all the way
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The route passes several (smelly but pretty) farms
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Gorse bush still in bloom in December!
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View across the farmland to Largs and the pointed summit of Knock Hill
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The Millport Mineral Well. I was amazed how it has weathered; holes forming in the stone as though it was being constantly bashed by sea water.
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The road up to the Glaid Stone (looking back towards Largs)
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Summit of the Glaid Stone, the highest point on Cumbrae at 127 m / 417 ft above sea level
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Lake Minnemoer
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Wee Minnemoer
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Looking down to the island of Little Cumbrae
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First glimpse of Millport!

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.

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College Street, leading to the main road through Millport
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The beautiful white sands of Newton Bay, Millport

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….. 😮 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!

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Millport’s iconic Crocodile Rock! No visit to the island is complete unless you have had your photograph taken atop said rock!
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This stone jetty sits just behind Crocodile Rock and beautifully leads the eye across to the small islands within Millport Bay
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Kames Bay
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The start of the walk along Ferry Road. It was generally a quiet road, with the occasional flurry of 5-6 cars which coincided with the ferries!
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A local person had obviously been hard at work making the place look festive!
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Returning to the ferry slip, the final stretch of the walk
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Our ferry coming in to dock to take us on the 10 minute crossing back to Largs. And more flowering gorse bush! A lovely day was had by all!

If you liked the sound of this walk, check out this article from Xplore Alba which really shows off the incredible views which can be found from this route on a clear day. We weren’t so fortunate but it does make me want to return one day!

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