Location: Kilcreggan and Rosneath, Firth of Clyde

Distance: 4.7 miles/7.3km

Time: 2-3 hours

Grade: Easy coastal walk

Sitting in the lounge of the little ferry that links Gourock and Kilcreggan, we wondered if our plans for the day were going to come to nought. A thick mist was blanketing the Firth of Clyde and it seemed very reluctant to clear. The ferry skipper then announced that he would “give it a go” and we crept out into the Firth.

Twenty minutes later the pier at Kilcreggan appeared out of the mist, spot-on navigation and a safe crossing. We would get our walk after all.

And what a grand wee stroll it turned out to be. The going underfoot varies from tarmac to rough tracks to a mazy footpath but could always be followed and we were reassured by a couple of venerable signposts pointing us towards Rosneath.

Kilcreggan and Rosneath both grew as settlements through the prosperous years of the mid-19th century when there were fortunes to be made in engineering, shipbuilding and other trades and professions in and around Glasgow.

Seeking a more pleasant environment for their families and a weekend escape from factory or forge for themselves, the barons of business commissioned leading architects of the day to build them handsome villas “doon the watter”, on both sides of the Clyde.

Several of the houses in Kilcreggan were designed by Alexander “Greek” Thomson, and details of these, and others, can be found in the excellent Heritage Trail leaflet available locally.

We were, however, more intent in trying to see what there was on and offshore. The mist played games with us, coming and going in a frustrating manner until it finally conceded defeat to the sun.

By then we were well into our journey and having enjoyed a stroll through the majestic mature trees in Greenisland Plantation we were happy to discover a delightful little path winding through the trees close to the shore, after passing Appin Cottage. It was far nicer than simply following the main track. The low headland here is called Robert Ness, which sounds more like a person than a landscape feature.

The path rejoined the track at a gate into Rosneath Castle Holiday Park, a large caravan site that is beautifully kept and commands superb views across the Firth to Helensburgh and Rhu. A memorial stone marks the fact that US Navy forces were based here during World War Two.

The final section was up the road into Rosneath, another attractive village on the Firth from where we got a bus back to Kilcreggan, and a second visit to the truly excellent Café at Kilcreggan, just up from the pier.

The return ferry trip over to Gourock was in conditions of utter perfection. With the broad Firth opening up into long and lovely lochs and the green hills beyond, we could have been in the Mediterranean. And to think we nearly missed out because of a capricious fog.

Roger Smith


Map: OS 1:25,000 Explorer sheet 347 (Loch Lomond South).

Distance: 4.7 miles/7.3km.

Time: 2-3 hours.

Start: Kilcreggan Pier (GR: NS242804).

Finish: Rosneath (GR: NS255834). Return by bus.

Public transport: Regular ferry from Gourock (no Sunday service). Details from 01475 721281 or www.spt.co.uk/kilcreggan-ferry . Bus 316 from Helensburgh (this bus is used for the return to Kilcreggan). Operated by Wilsons of Rhu, 01436 820300 or www.wilsonsofrhu.co.uk

Information: Helensburgh TIC, 01436 672642 or https://visitkilcreggan.org

Refreshments: The Café at Kilcreggan, 01436 842022, www.cafeatkilcreggan.co.uk


From pier, TR on road. Pass boatyard and take next road on R. It follows the shore and becomes a track. Where it bends L take small path to R of house (old signpost). Follow field edge and then newish track, which becomes fainter. Keep to field edge. At fork go L then R on broad farm track. At next fork go R on surfaced track through woods (signpost). Just after Appin Cottage go R on smaller path that winds through woods close to shore. Rejoin main track at entrance to caravan park. Walk through caravan park, generally keeping R, to shop and reception area. Leave by park access road and in 1km go R on B833 road into Rosneath.


All walks are subject to current restrictions