Connel to Oban

By Colin Hogarth

When you tackle this linear walk from Connel to the west coast port of Oban, the best idea is to get a train out of Oban to Connel Ferry - the station serving Connel - and then walk back.

After your short trip on the scenic West Highland Railway, set off from Connel Ferry station, through the car park and down into the village. At the shop and Post Office, follow the road left until you reach the main A85 road on the waterfront.

Take in the views across Loch Etive and then head east along the road, going under Connel Bridge. The steel cantilever structure was completed in 1903 and carried a branch railway north to Ballachulish. From 1914, rail traffic shared the bridge with road vehicles and these days it is only used by the latter as the line closed in 1966. Running beneath are the Falls of Lora, a turbulent stretch of water caused by the difference in the water levels of the tidal Firth of Lorne and Loch Etive.

Continue along the main road as it rises out of the village. There is a pavement, but make sure you stay well back from the road and take care as vehicles travel at quite high speeds here.

Immediately before the national speed limit signs, a tarmac track heads off to the left. Take this as it rises away from the road and crosses a cattle grid made from old rails. The good track continues over open land before passing along the back of a strip of mixed woodland on the private Dunstaffnage Estate. At the end of this small forest, the track meets up with the railway and the two run parallel through the open countryside.

In due course the track arrives at a roadway and the railway emerges briefly from trees before disappearing into a deep cutting alongside a pair of cottages. Go through a gate here, then follow the road as it heads downhill into Glen Cruitten. The railway curves away to the south here and you leave it.

After you pass a golf course on the left, the road meets up with another road at a junction where a sign points back to Achavaich. Just before this, a track branches off to the right past a couple of cottages. Follow this stony way as it skirts up and over open moorland.

Beyond a shoulder that follows the ruin of a walled-in building, turn right along a grassy path. A wooden sign a short way on marks this as a bridlepath and it takes you down to a gate and track within a band of trees. Go through the gate, turn left and follow the road down into Oban, passing a picturesque little lochan and then the West Highland Hospital.

Turn right at the junction just below the hospital - take care as there are no pavements. Follow the A816 north to a wide roundabout. The exit to the right of the Clydesdale Bank on the far side takes you to the waterfront, railway station and bus stops.


Distance 6.5 miles/10.5km.
Map OS Landranger sheet 49.
Start/parking Connel Ferry station, Connel. GR: NM 916340.
Grading Low level walk suitable for all ages and abilities over good tracks and sections of minor road.

Connel Bridge and Falls of Lora Open country near Connel Pond near Oban

McCaigs Tower, Oban conneltoobanmap