The Duke’s Pass with Loop Extension
Distance: 10km | Time: 2 – 3 hours
“This is possibly my favourite walk in the area. It combines a good section of a steep climb on a track with some truly wonderful views along the whole length of Loch Goil. The 2 Gates Extension is my name for the route – it is not a recognised walk – but that for me is what these locally recommended walks are all about.” Recommended by: Leonard Gow, Lochgoilhead Holidays.
This circuit is a grand tour of a part of the wild, rugged and remote Ardgartan Peninsula in the section above the east shore of Loch Goil. The route is mostly on forest roads and a section of path plus the approach and finish on the private Inverlounan public road.
• Start in the Lochgoilhead village car park and walk up Inverlounan Road keep the loch on your right. Carry on for about 1 mile until you see the start of the hill path (signposted Duke’s Pass) on your left.
• Climb up through the forest until you reach another signpost. For this loop walk I carry on down the forestry road to the right. Carry on for a considerable distance until you reach the part opposite the four large yellow buoys in the loch.
• Keep your eyes peeled because it is easy to miss the small sign on the right of the path showing the direction to Lochgoilhead. Opposite this sign on your left is a path that is not marked. You follow this path and before long you will start a steady but serious climb which only the fittest will be able to tackle first time without stopping. The path can be eroded depending on how much water has used it as the quick way down the hill. This is a real test of stamina but great fun.
• At the top of the climb you come into the path which is part of the Ardgartan Peninsula Loop. You are between two games – hence the name. Turn left through the gate and head back in the direction of Lochgoilhead.
• Eventually you come into a large area of cleared forest. This is the real reward for this walk. Towards the far end is a ruined cottage complete with a seat and a ‘home sweet home’ sign carved into a tree trunk. Clearly a present from some forester with a sense of humour. Take the time to sit and take in the view. Often there are boats on the loch. From here I have seen submarines, frigates, the Waverley and even a cruise ship.
• Refreshed you carry on down the path back to the junction with the lower forestry road. Do a short zigzag which takes you back to the cross roads sign you saw at the top of the forestry track leading up from Inverlounan Road. Retrace your steps from here back to the village.
The lower foretry road as you approach the start of the climb
Part of the steep climb
One of the 2 gates as you head back to Lochgoilhead
The view south down Loch Goil
The view north to Beinn Bheula over Loch Goil
There are buses to the village car park from Dunoon and Helensburgh.
The route description and comments provided here are intended to complement and not replace the descriptions found in official guidebooks. There are walking guides and leaflets available from the Tourist Information Centres and you can find further information online.