Location: Cnoc nan Gabhar, Argyll

Grade: Easy hill walk

Distance: 3.5 miles/6km

Time: 1.5-2 hours

I have many fond memories of the Argyll village of Carradale. That was the base of our Sea Scout summer camps, away back in the 1960s when we’d sail down the Firth of Clyde to Campbeltown.

As Sea Scouts our focus was mostly on water sports – sailing and canoeing – but rising above the village, beyond the ancient trees, lay the local high point, Cnoc nam Gabhar, the rock of the goat, although it’s signposted locally as Hill of the Deer.

I recall being hauled up the hill as part of a little expedition for some Scout badge, but it was nice to visit it again with more enthusiasm and see how Forestry Scotland has turned the route into a lovely wee hillwalk.

We parked at the Port na Storm car park, which you’ll find by turning left just before you enter the village of Carradale.

Hoping the name of the car park wasn’t a forecast for the weather we set off with waterproofs on because of a thin west coast drizzle that had drips coming off every branch on the trees. It wasn’t cold though and as we climbed the weather slowly improved.

As I mentioned this walk is marked on local maps as Hill of the Deer and is waymarked with red-topped signposts. We passed through a gate and followed a broad forest track as it climbed fairly gently above the approach road to Carradale.

We soon passed a track that fell away to our left. This led down to the excellent Carradale Network Centre and cafe and would be an alternative start point, although the parking isn’t as spacious as the Port na Storm car park. However, it you wanted a brew and some great cake after your walk, this is the place. Check for reopening details first, though.

Shortly after this junction we left the main path and started to really climb, up a narrow footpath between areas of bracken and thinning trees. It wasn’t long before we were above most of the forest plantations and the feeling was more of a high moorland walk.

Views were improving too and we could gaze behind us over Carradale Bay and towards the dim outline of Ailsa Craig.

The footpath remains pleasantly narrow and rough as it climbs, sweeps to the right and descends for a while before swinging left again and climbing towards the summit rise.

At a junction, take the rather muddy path off to the left and follow it to the summit trig pillar with wonderful views across Kilbrannan Sound to Arran with the big hills like Cir Mhor and Beinn Tarsuinn rising prominently. Further north you can follow the coast of Kintyre up towards Claonaig.

The best way to descend is to return down the muddy path to the main path and follow it north again; it descends through rocky ground to meet up with the Kintyre Way at a signpost. Turn right here and follow the Kintyre Way path back towards Carradale until you reach the gate you passed through at the beginning of the walk.

Don’t go through the gate this time but turn left and follow the path to the car park.

Cameron McNeish


Map: OS 1:50,000 Landranger sheet 68 (South Kintyre & Campbeltown); 1:25,000 Explorer sheet 356 (Kintyre South).

Distance: 3.5 miles/6km

Time: 1.5-2 hours

Start/Finish: Port na Storm car park, Carradale (GR: NR811383).

Public transport: Bus no 445 runs from Campbeltown to Carradale. Details from West Coast Motors, 01586 552319, http:://westcoastmotors.co.uk

Information: Tarbert TIC, 01880 820429, www.visitkintyre.info ,

Route: Turn L out of car park, ignore gate on R, and reach a junction with a signpost. The Hill of the Deer path is waymarked by red-topped posts. Turn L here, go through a gate and follow the track as it rises gradually. Ignore turnings to L and at a signpost turn R onto a hill track that climbs steeply onto more open moorland. Follow track as it swings R, drops down for a while, then swings L again to climb towards the summit. At a junction go L to reach the trig pillar. Descend back to the junction, turn L and continue to descend to where the path meets the Kintyre Way

at a signpost. Turn R here and follow the track back to the gate you went through earlier. Turn L before the gate and return to the car park.