At only 10-miles round and 127-meters high, exploring the Isle of Cumbrae on foot is the perfect opportunity to get those steps in. Did you know there were five main Cumbrae walking routes?
So, ditch the car on the mainland, stick on the FitBit, and get those boots strapped up. Here are the best walking routes on the island, complete with pre-loaded Google Maps route buttons.
Feel free to skip right through:
The Outer Circuit
As it says on the tin – the whole way round. Cumbrae is known as a cyclist’s paradise, and this route is exactly why. There’s nothing stopping you from braving the walk round though! This main Cumbrae walking route will take you around 3 hours and 15 minutes on foot.
Cumbrae is essentially a big 10-mile loop, but it’s certainly no chore to venture the whole way round, with the wonderful coastal views to be taken in on all sides.
Clockwise or Anti-clockwise? That is the hotly debated question! Some say clockwise is the best. Some say anti-clockwise. I say, if you’re walking, do whatever you want – you’re going the full way round anyway.
Our Top Tip – Always walk on the right-hand side of the road so you can see oncoming traffic. The locals are well used to walkers & cyclists and are great at giving you enough space, but always err on the side of caution and step in, just in case!
Prefer to cycle round? Scott Ferris of Mapes would always recommend going around anti-clockwise. That way, you avoid the Ferry traffic that heads straight to the town, and you can relax on the long way round the north and west sides of the island.
This way, you can stop in at the Fintry Bay Cafe halfway(ish) point for an ice cream and a juice, giving you that well-needed, and deserved, energy boost through the final stretch towards Millport town.
Check out our Guide to Cycling in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae.
Things to look for along the way…
Whilst en-route round the island, there’s a few things to keep your eyes pealed for!
1. The Cumbrae Rocks
The Isle of Cumbrae is home to a collection of quirky rock formations which are bound to catch your eye.
2. The Cumbrae Benches
The Isle of Cumbrae has hundreds of benches, with the majority of them found in Millport. Most of those benches have plaques acting as memorials. North Ayrshire Council has a project to protect Millport from sea flooding, and this means that that a lot of the existing benches along the seafront in Millport are going to be moved.
The aim of the ‘Cumbrae Benches’ project is to photo each bench (and plaque) before they are moved. North Ayrshire Council know most of the ‘owners’ of the benches, but there are a number they have no contact details for, the council has a list, which is reproduced at cumbrae-benches.great-site.net.
Latest Map with all benches so far..https://t.co/274QFn4eAb
— Cumbrae_Benches (@cumbrae_benches) September 24, 2021
3. Fintry Bay Café
You’ll find the Fintry Bay Café completely secluded on the West side of the Island and it’s an obligatory stop if you’re walking The Outer Circuit.
They have amazing ice cream and lots of great food options including wraps, sandwiches, soup and fresh home baking. Grab a quick bite while enjoying the best part which is the amazing views across to Arran & Bute. Check it out:
Also, if you walk for a few minutes North of the Fintry Bay Café and you’ll find a lovely, sandy beach! Why not bring some food or grab a takeaway from the cafe and have a picnic? It’s the perfect spot on a nice day.
Top Tip: Leave nothing but footprints!
Let’s keep Scotland’s landscapes litter-free. It should go without saying, but if there’s not a bin nearby, do the right thing by taking it with you. Also, please use recycling points where available.
4. Wildlife Watching
The island is a paradise for nature-lovers and wildlife watchers with over 125 species of birds, seal colonies, porpoises, and basking sharks.
Around Cumbrae’s coast it’s quite common to see grey seals and harbour porpoises. If you’re lucky, you may even be lucky to see Minke whales, basking sharks, and common dolphins – so keep an eye oot!
5. HMS Shearwater Memorial
This monument can be found on one of the most Northern points of the Island and was erected in memory of two young shipman who were killed in a boating accident.
In 1844 two boys, Charles Cayley & William Jewell, were out sailing on the North end of Cumbrae when a strong north easterly wind caught them and drove them under the waves. Another Government steamer witnessed this and unfortunately, despite extensive efforts, the boys were unable to be rescued.
As the story goes, the bodies were never found and all they were able to recover were the boys’ hats.
Oh, this might come in handy… Here are all of the public toilet locations around the Isle of Cumbrae.
Planning your visit to the Isle of Cumbrae?:
This blog post is part of our ‘Ultimate Guide‘ to the island. Check it out by clicking the link below:
The Inner Circuit
A trek around Cumbrae’s inner circle. Be sure to stop off at the island’s highest point – The Glaidstone viewpoint – for 360-degree panoramic views around the Clyde.
The panoramic views from the top are absolutely breathtaking. You’ll look over to the Isles of Arran, Bute, Cumbrae’s little brother ‘Wee Cumbrae’, and of course, back over to Largs on the North Ayrshire coast. On a clear day, you’ll even see as far south as Ailsa Craig!
If you’re up for a challenge, complete both the Inner and Outer circuits in one day!
Our Top Tip – This route is perfect for dog walkers. Just be careful of what’s coming around the bend and pop your furry friend on the leash when passing the many farms’ cattle.
The Farland Point Route
Easy on the legs with stunning sea views. This is one for the wildlife watchers!
Head right along Millport’s Victorian promenade, past Kames bay, and keep going a little further. If you hit the Field Studies Centre (FSC) you’ve gone too far.
Our Top Tip – Cumbrae is home to over 125 species of birds, seal colonies, porpoises and basking sharks. The Farland Point route is definitely one for the wildlife watchers! Look out for Oystercatchers in the skies, limpets and barnacles in the rock pools, grey seals, and our very own resident dolphin and porpoises in the ocean!
With all of this walking, you might build up quite the appetite.
The Targets Walk
Up close and personal views of Wee Cumbrae.
This is a nice easy one if you’re in need of a short burst of fresh sea air to perhaps cure a NostalGin hangover from the night before.
Our Top Tip – Save this blog page to your phone browser favourites so you have all of the route info and pre-loaded maps to hand when you get to the Isle of Cumbrae!
Oh, while I have you…
I’m working with my cousin to bring our ‘Alternative Eco Cabin’ concept to the Isle of Cumbrae.
We’ll be launching our business in early 2022! Check out the cabin concept:
Looks awesome right? Why not sign up to be the first to hear about our launch, and be in with a chance to win free stays?
The Fintry Bay Route
It’s pretty much Illegal to do this route and not stop in for an ice cream at the Fintry Bay Café.
From the town, head up to the Millport Golf Club and join the woodland walking route from there. At the most elevated point you’ll see a spectacular view of Arran’s ‘Sleeping Warrior’. I took this photo last time I was up there:
Follow the path down to the gate at the road and turn right towards the turning point at Fintry Bay. Grab your obligatory ice cream, and head back south towards Millport town via the pavement on the coastal road.
Well, there were the 5 best walking routes you can take while visiting Cumbrae. Hopefully, this article will help you get the most out of your island experience!
Ultimate Guide to Millport, Isle of Cumbrae:
For everything you need to know about planning your visit to the island, check it out our full guide: