Kerrera Island

Scotland, Oban

The trail:

  • Location: Scotland, Oban
  • Categories: Spring / Summer / Autumn / Marine west coast / Tundra / Highland / Mountain / Foothill / Plain / Coastal / Islands / Rural / Beach /
  • Duration: 3-6 hours
  • Distance: 5-12 miles

Walking the trail:

  • Summary: Jump on a ferry and head over to the peaceful Isle of Kerrera nestled between Oban and the Isle of Mull in Scotland. Go for a walk, ride a bike, sit on the beach, enjoy a coffee and exploring awesome castle ruins are the many things you can enjoy on this fantastic day trip. A hidden gem of an adventure not to be missed.

During a recent road trip around Scotland, this day trip out to the small island of Kerrera was most definitely my favourite day of new exploration. Hands down this island is just fantastic place! I arrived in Oban the previous evening after an afternoon in the mountains and had planned to have a relaxing/quiet day exploring the town. However, adventure was still on the cards! I picked up a tourist flyer for the island in a cafe during a morning coffee and decided to make a quick dash to the ferry which is a 5-minute drive from the town centre. Spontaneous adventures are generally the best ones which is the beauty of un scheduled road trips, especially in places like Scotland where you can always find amazing places wherever you go.

I love a day trip that involves a boat crossing, especially in a rural coastal location like this one. Parking around the Gallanach ferry slipway is limited (single track road with small parking area, postcode PA34 4QH) so a good idea would be to walk from town which I believe is about a mile and a half. The ferry leaves roughly every hour each side and costs just £3 for a return trip which is such good value. Timetable for the ferry below:

You can also take bikes onto the ferry and spend the day riding around. If the ferry demand is busy, they will just keep going backwards and forwards to suit demand. The trip is only 5 minutes so even if it's a big queue it won't take long!

The island of Kerrera is located west just of Oban. Its 4 miles long/1.5 miles wide and has a walking path that goes around most of the island, the main signpost tourist path being on the southern side. The islands landscape is beautifully rugged and hilly with some of the best coastal views in Scotland, especially on the western stretches as you look out towards the Isle of Mull.  The highlight has to be Gylen Castle in the south. Dating back to 1582, the ruins sit on top of cliffs overlooking the sea giving some dramatic views. Near the castle is the islands tea rooms which is perfect for a mid-walk tea/coffee and cake break which is always a good thing in my books! 

From the moment you step onto the island you can do what you fancy. Walking is just one of the many things to enjoy here. With no exact time to be back at the ferry you can spend as long as you wish enjoying this relaxing place.  I walked for about 10 miles which included the full tourist loop on the south part of the island and a part of the quieter northern section. There is apparently a seal colony on the north western stretch but unfortunately there was none to be seen during my visit. There are also great views of Duart Castle on the isle of Mull and Lismore Lighthouse in the distance along this northern stretch.  On the higher points of walking you get some fab views looking east towards Oban and the mountain range of Ben Cruachan (1126m)

When you are ready to head back to the mainland it's just a case of walking back to the ferry slipway and waiting for the next crossing. 

Another great day adventure in some beautiful Scottish countryside. if you're heading up to Scotland it's definitely worth taking a trip to Oban and enjoying this trip especially on a nice calm sunny day like I was lucky to have. Any questions please feel free to ask. 

GPX file of my route walked also available.