Traverse the trails at Carradale
Take a stroll around the village and out along the shore, or choose from a selection of trails in Carradale Forest. For the energetic there are two routes to the craggy summit of Cnoc nan Gabhar, with spectacular views across Kilbrannan Sound to Arran, or a short easy stroll that explores the woodland below. The forest is a haven for wildlife, so look out for deer, red and black grouse and many birds of prey.
There are public toilets and a selection of places to eat, drink and shop in Carradale. There’s also a tea room with tourist information at the Carradale Network Centre – check for their opening hours.
Deer Hill Trail
Enjoy an eagle’s eye view over Carradale Bay and Kilbrannan Sound from the rocky summit of Cnoc nan Ghabar.
Prolonged steep slopes for up to 600m. Uneven grassy paths with rough, narrow and muddy sections.
3 ¾ miles / 5.9 km Allow 2½ hours
This strenuous route leads you through woodland and open moorland dotted with bright rhododendrons to the summit of Cnoc nan Ghabar. Enjoy a magnificent panorama over Carradale Glen, Kilbrannan Sound and Arran. Spot Ben Cruachan, Argyll’s highest point, to the north. This is called Deer Hill for good reason – look out for red, roe, fallow and sika deer, as well as moorland birds amongst the heather, and golden eagles and hen harriers overhead.
A full circuit of Carradale Forest with varied views of Kintyre and Arran, and opportunities to see birds of prey over the quieter parts of the forest.
Firm gravel surface with some grassy sections. Includes some narrow, rocky and muddy parts. Long steep slopes for 400m.
6 ¼ miles / 10.2 km Allow 4 hours
Mountain biking trails
Watching wildlife at Carradale
Conifers have been planted, grown and harvested here for their timber over many years. As a result, there are trees of different ages across the forest, creating a mix of habitats for wildlife. Look out for red and roe deer amongst the mature trees and butterflies and sika deer in open sunny glades around the younger trees. These grassy areas are also home to voles, the favourite food of birds of prey like buzzards and kestrels.
Head up onto higher ground to find moorland birds amongst the heather and perhaps see a golden eagle circling overhead. Alternatively, visit Carradale village and stroll beside Kilbrannan Sound, where you might be lucky enough to see basking sharks or leaping salmon.
Explore Carradale on long distance trails
Carradale is on the route of the 100 mile (161km) Kintyre Way, a waymarked long distance trail that criss-crosses the lovely Kintyre peninsula between Tarbert and Dunaverty. Take on the full challenge on foot or by bike over several days or sample a section here on the Kirnashie Trail.
You can also explore the Kintyre peninsula following National Cycle Network route 78, which passes close to Carradale. This major route links Campbeltown in the south of Kintyre to Inverness via Oban, Fort William and Fort Augustus.
Carradale was once a busy fishing village and a popular holiday destination, served by the Clyde steamers from Glasgow. A small fishing fleet is still based here, but forestry has become an important industry locally since tree planting began in the 1950s.
How to get here
The best place to start exploring Carradale Forest is the Port Na Storm car park. You can also park at Grianan and at the Carradale Network Centre.
The Port Na Storm car park is beside the B879 between Bridgend and Carradale. Turn onto the B879 from the B842 Claonaig to Campbeltown road. Look for the turning to Port na Storm car park on the left after about a mile (1.6km) at grid reference NR 811 382.
The Carradale Network Centre is also beside the B879. Turn off the B842 and look for the car park on the left after about 300 yards (300 metres) at grid reference NR 800 382.
The Grianan car park is beside the B842 Claonaig to Campbeltown road. You’ll find it on the left, about 2 miles (3.2km) south of Grogport, at grid reference NR 795 412.
PA28 6SB is the nearest postcode for Port na Storm car park.
PA28 6QG is the nearest for Carradale Network Centre.
PA28 6QJ is the nearest for Grianan, but about a mile south of the site.
There are regular buses from Campbeltown to Carradale. Find details at Traveline Scotland.
Carradale Network Centre
Find out all about the history of farming, fishing and forestry in the area at the Centre, which is also the start of Sally’s Trail. There’s a tea room with tourist information here, and you can hire bikes and buggies. It’s open daily from Easter to October: check for opening hours at other times.
Why not explore Kintyre further and visit Tarbert. Climb up high above the pretty fishing port, with its medieval castle, for spectacular views of the area.
Our guide to the forests of Mid Argyll and Kintyre will help you explore more wonderful woodlands.
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