Glen Iorsa Boathouse Walk, Dougarie
Distance: 7.5km Time: 3 hours
Terrain: Rough earth footpaths and tracks. Beware: there is a ford.
Explore the Beautiful Glen Iorsa in Arran:
Fun Hiking Adventure to the Boathouse
Nestled in the heart of the enchanting Isle of Arran lies a hidden gem waiting to be discovered – the picturesque Glen Iorsa. With breathtaking views and a serene loch, this charming glen is a paradise for hikers and nature lovers.
Get ready to leave the hustle and bustle of daily life behind and embark on an unforgettable adventure. Follow our guide and immerse yourself in the beauty of Glen Iorsa, where every step is a new opportunity to marvel at the wonders of nature.
Are you ready for a hiking experience like no other?
Stage 1: Off the Beaten Track
Forget about the main entrance track – Dougarie Lodge has provided a well-signposted footpath for a more scenic route. Start at the layby adjacent to the A841 at NR881369, and follow the surfaced track uphill until you reach a ladder stile. Cross it, and turn left along an obvious grassy path that leads you through pleasant deciduous woodland and dense bracken.
Keep an eye out for boggy patches!
Stage 2: A Bypass and a Bridge
You’ll eventually reach the main estate track into the glen, but not before bypassing the old shooting lodge. Cross Allt na h-Airighe via a wooden footbridge and enjoy the well-made track beyond. Take in the breathtaking views down the glen to Beinns Tarsuinn and Nuis.
Stage 3: Follow the River
As you move further along the glen, you’ll pass through a deer gate and cross a ford over Scaftigill Burn. Unfortunately, the footbridge was swept away during a storm, so watch your step. You’ll be accompanied by Iorsa Water, one of Arran’s two salmon rivers, for the early part of the walk. The river is divided into 16 pools over two beats by a series of weirs.
Stage 4: The Summit and Lochs
Look out for a small path on the left marked by a tiny pale cairn just after crossing the shallow ford. This path will lead you over rough moorland to the summit of Sail Chalmadale, passing a couple of pleasant mountain lochs along the way. Continue along the obvious track along the broad, empty glen for a further 1.5km until you reach the boathouse at the foot of Loch Iorsa. A path continues alongside the loch, but it’s particularly boggy and soon disappears. Instead, take the time to enjoy the stunning scenery before retracing your steps back to the start.
As we conclude our journey through Glen Iorsa, we are left in awe of the stunning Scottish landscape. From the rugged paths and rocky steps to the serene lochs and broad, empty glens, we have witnessed the beauty and diversity of this hidden gem. Our trek has led us through dense forests, shallow fords, and boggy terrain, with each step revealing new challenges and breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.
As adventurers, we have been privileged to explore this magnificent environment, but it is our duty to protect it for future generations. The beauty of nature is a treasure to be cherished and safeguarded at all costs. Let us continue to seek out new paths, new adventures, and new discoveries while always remembering to respect and appreciate the natural world. We must do our part to ensure that future adventurers can experience the same majesty and wonder that we have encountered on our journey through Glen Iorsa.