This easy walk coveres 6.84 miles or 11 km and
will take around 3 hours. Start by catching the bus from the town
centre in Lochgilphead to Crinan Car Park.
This is a busy area with cafe, pub, seafood restaurant and craft
shop. In the basin you will often see small fishing boats which
trawl around the islands for scallop. Cross the sea lock and walk
straight ahead, passing a second lock on your right. Initially, the
canal is quite narrow because it was hewn from solid granite. To
the left is the estuary of the river, which stays with the canal
almost to the swing bridge at Bellanoch where the canal opens into
the Bellanoch marina.
Continue along the canal. At the 3 mile point there are five
locks, lifting the canal to its 64ft summit at Dunardry. One
unusual item here is a roller bridge over the chamber of lock 11.
This was built in 1900 to replace a traditional swing bridge. The
summit level is short and the walk soon reaches the next locks.
The four locks at Cairnbaan start the descent towards Loch Gilp.
Again, views to the west through the gap that the canal has
followed are breathtaking.
The next bridge is another swing one. This is called Oakfield.
Once, it was known as Miller's after the keeper who worked here in
the early days. There was a wharf just beyond the bridge at which
goods for Lochgilphead were unloaded. This is also the limit of the
walk alongside the water. Leave the towing path now by turning
sharp left and walking down to the road. To the left of straight
across is the road which leads back into Lochgilphead.