Welcome to Bute’s ‘West Island Way’
Opened in September 2000, this long-distance waymarked path – the first on a Scottish island – encompasses some of the finest walking on the Isle of Bute. The West Island Way crosses a variety of landscapes; seashore, moorland, farmland and forest, all providing a continually changing picture of Bute.
The route offers great opportunities to glimpse wildlife – you may be lucky enough to see a Basking Shark offshore at the south end, an Osprey over Loch Fad near Rothesay town, or a Red Deer in the north end of Bute. The Way also passes many highlights of Bute history – from the medieval St Blane’s Chapel at the south of the island to the abandoned townships in Glen More at the north end.
The route is well marked, with frequent fingerposts and waymarkers, but use of a map for navigation is strongly recommended. To find your way round the West Island Way and along other walks, pick up a Discover Bute Landscape Partnership Scheme Map from Visit Scotland at the Discovery Centre (beside Rothesay Pier) or local shops. Also available from the publishers Stirling Surveys Footprint Maps: http://www.stirlingsurveys.co.uk/footprint.html
The path is mostly off-road and includes rocky coastline, beaches, farmland, moor and forest tracks. Only a few short sections follow the roadside but the roads are not busy and there is usually a grassy verge alongside. The thirty-mile trail divides naturally into 4 distinct stages, with the town of Port Bannatyne lying at its mid-point.
The Way is usually walked over two full-day walks or over four half-day walks.