THIS column is dedicated to walking and ramblers' groups from across Scotland, where they can suggest the best routes to enjoy. See the panel at the end of this story if you want to get involved.

Dunardry Forest Trails, Crinan, Argyll

By Lawrie McMillan, Scottish Women's Walking Group

Start: Dunardry car park.

Distance: 3.5 miles, can be made shorter to suit.

Time: Allow 2 hours.

Terrain: Clear waymarked trail, some steep sections and uneven path to trig point.

Level: Easy to moderate.

Access: Clearly signposted forestry car park with no parking charge. The No 426 bus from Lochgilphead drops off at the canal basin, and also Crinan Cottages.

What makes it special: The panoramic views from Cruach Mor on a clear day are well worth the short steep climb.

IF you are seeking a route to suit all the family, then look no further. Dunardry Forest Trails promises spectacular scenery, wildlife-spotting opportunities and plenty of rich history.

This walk takes in both the yellow and orange trails, making for a longer route and allowing you to enjoy the best aspects of this forestry park, as well as the views. Shorter routes can be followed to accommodate all ages and fitness levels.

HeraldScotland: The scenic route of the Dunardry Forest Trails, Crinan, Argyll. Picture: Lawrie McMillanThe scenic route of the Dunardry Forest Trails, Crinan, Argyll. Picture: Lawrie McMillan

Route: Starting from the car park, the beginning of the walk is clearly marked with a gentle uphill incline that initially follows the orange trail.

Soon a fork is reached. Take the orange waymarked forest road on the right, initially going downhill, but soon afterwards the path will gradually rise up again to reveal glimpses of the Crinan Canal below. This section is currently undergoing replanting, but walking is not affected.

After the road gently curves, a grassy path through woodland is revealed on the left. Again, gently inclining uphill and possibly slightly muddy if wet, this section has a magical feel to it, with a long narrow stretch through the towering trees.

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Information signs placed throughout the route tell the history of the Knapdale Forest, a relic of the Atlantic oakwood which began spreading when the last Ice Age ended. The area is home to red squirrels, deer, pine martens and sparrowhawks.

Once the grass track comes to a forestry road, turn right and begin to follow the yellow trail. This passes by the ruins of former croft buildings on the left – look closely in order not to miss them hidden within the undergrowth.

Shortly after this section, an obvious path – albeit not signposted – appears on the left. Take this short-yet-steep track with large uneven steps to reach the top of Cruach Mor Dunardry Trig Point.

HeraldScotland: The scenic route of the Dunardry Forest Trails, Crinan, Argyll. Picture: Lawrie McMillanThe scenic route of the Dunardry Forest Trails, Crinan, Argyll. Picture: Lawrie McMillan

Here you will be rewarded with panoramic views over Moine Mhor and the Crinan Canal, and across to Scarba, Mull and even the Paps of Jura. It is a great spot to stop for a quick snack on the small bench and soak up the scenery.

Returning back down the track and turning left on the road, the gravel soon gives way to tarmac. Turn left before you reach a bridge to follow gently along the Dunardry Burn and gorge.

From here many routes intertwine. Continuing to follow the yellow path, you will pass benches, willow seats and waterfalls. Two stone benches offer views down to the traditional cottages lining the canal banks.

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You will soon come downhill onto the initial path not far from the start, turning right to reach the car park and picnic stop. Here you can picnic and watch the Crinan Canal traffic during the summer months.

The canal remains popular with tourists. In 1847, Queen Victoria passed along the waterway on her way to holiday in the Highlands, sparking a tourism boom with many wanting to follow in her royal footsteps.

HeraldScotland: The scenic route of the Dunardry Forest Trails, Crinan, Argyll. Picture: Lawrie McMillanThe scenic route of the Dunardry Forest Trails, Crinan, Argyll. Picture: Lawrie McMillan

Don't miss: Enjoying a picnic as you watch the canal traffic from the car park picnic tables, or taking a gentle stroll along the canal to see working locks in action.

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Useful information: Scottish Women's Walking Group meet and walk together all over Scotland. Membership is free and open to all ages and abilities. For details of how to join, visit swwg.co.uk

Do you have a walk you would like to suggest? Email susan.swarbrick@theherald.co.uk