Best walks in Scotland: Wemyss Bay Circular, Inverclyde

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.

By Peter McElwee, Inverclyde Ramblers

Start: Wemyss Bay station

Distance: 5.3 miles/8.5 kilometres

Time: Two-and-a-half hours, allowing for a few short breaks.

Terrain: Mainly well-formed paths with a few paved stretches.

Level: One short uphill section at the Kelly Burn. Trainers are fine.

Access: There are hourly trains from Glasgow. McGills 901/906 bus service runs every 30 minutes. Car parking is available at the station (£3 flat charge).

What makes it special: Railway history, spectacular views and plenty of gems along the way.

THERE is a lot packed into this short walk around the Wemyss Bay area. The route starts at the historic Wemyss Bay railway station completed in 1903.

This is one of the key gateways to the west coast due to the connection with the ferry service to Bute. It is worth taking the time to explore the station with its abundance of locally quarried red sandstone and wrought ironwork which has stood the test of time.

Route: Exit the station and head west along the main A78 road to the pelican crossing. Cross the road and head uphill at the Wemyss Bay holiday park sign. After 50 yards veer right and follow the path of the Kelly Burn.

HeraldScotland: The Wemyss Bay Circular walking route. Picture: Peter McElweeThe Wemyss Bay Circular walking route. Picture: Peter McElwee

This is a fairly steep sided, wooded gorge which can be quite spectacular when the burn is in full flow. Many of the towering trees here date from the 19th century. After a half mile or so take a sharp left turn. The Clyde Coastal Path waymarker shows the way.

After 200 yards you’ll reach a tarmac road. Take a left turn. After a few hundred yards turn right at the Kellybank Inn. Follow the road all the way to the red sandstone wall on the left of the road. At this point turn right.

The road proceeds in a northerly direction with stables on the right-hand side and caravans on the right. Proceed along this road until you reach a right turn (opposite two large byres) which heads towards the distant wind turbines.

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You’ll see a duck sanctuary at the junction and there is a farm gate to go through. Follow the stony access road for about two miles. There is farmland on both sides with some fine views of the river on your left and Leapmoor Forest to your right. You’ll pass through five farm gates on the way.

At the end of this section, you’ll pass Finnock Bog Cottage. Take a left turn onto Spey Road and proceed downhill and under the flyover. At this point turn left up the slip road and follow the A78 pavement for a quarter of a mile.

Take the first right onto Ardgowan Road and proceed (past the Spar store) to the crest of the hill. You should then take the forest trail for around a quarter of a mile (heading west). You’ll emerge at Cliff Terrace Road where you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the river and the surrounding islands and hills. Be sure to bring your camera.

HeraldScotland: The Wemyss Bay Circular walking route. Picture: Peter McElweeThe Wemyss Bay Circular walking route. Picture: Peter McElwee

After a few hundred yards turn right onto Wallace Road. Then, after a hundred yards take a left into the lane which leads onto Wemyss Bay Road. This is a coastal road with further excellent views of the river and the station/pier. At the end of this road turn right and return to the station.

Don’t miss: If sustenance is required, then Wemyss Bay is well served by the excellent Station Cafe and the ever-popular McCaskie’s Cafe.

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.

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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

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992