THIS column is dedicated to walking and ramblers' groups from across Scotland, where they can suggest the best routes to enjoy from their areas and further afield.

Lunderston Bay to Inverkip, Inverclyde

By John McIndoe & Thomas Jones, Inverclyde Ramblers

Start: Lunderston Bay

Distance: 5 miles/8 kilometres

Time: 2.5 to 3 hours

Terrain: Established and well-maintained coastal path finishing with a short forest walk alongside the sandy Inverkip beach to reach the Kip Marina.

Level: Suitable for almost everyone. A flat level walk along the coastal path – no hills.

Access: Lunderston Bay is easily accessed by McGill’s 901 Largs bus departing from Glasgow or 547 McGill’s bus from Gourock Railway Station (sometimes this is an open top bus). If travelling by car follow the A8 to Greenock and A78 towards Inverkip, turning off at the A770 towards Gourock. Lunderston Bay has a large car park but can be busy at weekends.

What makes it special: Wildlife, coastal views and nautical-themed gems.

HeraldScotland: The scenic route from Lunderston Bay to Inverkip, Inverclyde. Pictures: John McIndoe and Thomas Jones, Inverclyde RamblersThe scenic route from Lunderston Bay to Inverkip, Inverclyde. Pictures: John McIndoe and Thomas Jones, Inverclyde Ramblers

LUNDERSTON Bay has the nearest sandy beach to Glasgow and is part of the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park. In the 1920s, Lunderston Bay was the summer home to more than 1000 families who escaped from the city smoke and slums to enjoy the fresh air at the seaside as part of an annual highly organised church mission camp.

Nowadays, the bay is a popular beauty spot and visitors can enjoy the coastal walk and make use of the picnic benches and toilets … or build a sandcastle and go for a paddle. The water quality is monitored by SEPA and last year the water quality was graded as “excellent” but please be aware there are no lifeguards.

Route: The walk starts from the left-hand side (west side) of Lunderston Bay where a coastal path meanders along the river’s edge skirting the fields of the Ardgowan Estate, the historical home of the Shaw-Stewart family.

The magnificent 18th-century stately house offers fine dining and a luxury stay. It is nicknamed “Scotland’s Downton Abbey” with the estate used during the filming of TV shows including Still Game, Taggart and Agatha Christie’s Ordeal By Innocence.

The coastal path is part of the National Cycle Network Route 753 and follows the shoreline to Kip Marina and is popular with walkers, joggers and cyclists all year round.

READ MORE: Best walks in Scotland: Newark Castle to Finlaystone Burn, Inverclyde 

Spectacular views across the Clyde to Arran, Bute and Cowal are enjoyed from every turn as well as frequent sightings of seals or seabirds, especially cormorants and gannets following fishing boats upriver.

You may see ships of all sizes and yachts with their colourful spinnaker sails racing out on the river, as well the occasional naval frigate or submarine. The walk finishes at the sandy beach at Kip Marina. Return by retracing your steps back to Lunderston Bay.

Don’t miss: The Cardwell Garden Centre (on the opposite side of the Lunderston Bay car park) is one of the biggest in the UK with an extensive nursery, shops, a self- service restaurant with excellent toilets and a large car park.

READ MORE: Best walks in Scotland: Whiteash Hill Woods and Duchess of Richmond Cairn, Moray

When you reach the Kip Marina, stroll through the marina village to see the many luxury yachts and stop for a delicious meal or drink at the red-roofed restaurant, The Chartroom, or continue into the marina entrance to enjoy a coffee at the welcoming Cafe Riva.

Head over the footbridge to visit the historic village of Inverkip and enjoy the friendly hospitality of the Inverkip Hotel.

Useful information: To view the current walks programme for Inverclyde Ramblers, visit: inverclyderamblers.org.uk/programme/

Non-members can call the walk leader to book (details listed on each walk). Everyone can try out three introductory walks prior to joining, then annual membership is £36.60 for individuals or £49 for couples.

READ MORE: Best walks in Scotland: Beinn Lora near Oban

READ MORE: Best walks in Scotland: The Newstead Circular and Rhymer’s Stone, Melrose, Scottish Borders

Families are welcome. Children under 18 can join a walk for free with their parent, grandparent or guardian.

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