Crinan Canal Walk

A linear walk along “Britain’s most beautiful shortcut”: the Crinan Canal, Argyll. Starting at the Crinan Basin, the walk takes you to the Cairnbaan Hotel along a tarmac footpath/cycle track, making for very easy walking. Watch the Locks being opened and closed and wave to the people on-board the passing yachts.

Technical sheet
No. 24890037
A Argyll and Bute walk posted on 04/08/22 by Gillian's Walks. Update : 05/08/22
Calculated time Calculated time: 4h25[?]
Distance Distance : 14.84km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 50m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 50m
Highest point Highest point : 35m
Lowest point Lowest point : 0m
Easy Difficulty : Easy
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Location Location : Argyll and Bute
Starting point Starting point : N 56.089836° / W 5.55712°
Download : -
Crinan Canal


(D/A) From the Crinan Canal Basin car park walk north towards the canal basin then turn left (North West) to follow a footpath around the edge of the water.

(1) Just past the coffee shop turn right (East) to cross the water at the lock then continue along the path towards the lighthouse.

(2) At the lighthouse turn right (South) to continue along the edge of the water.

(3) Turn left (East) to meet up with the start of the canal itself.

(4) From here it is simply a case of following the canal all the way until you reach Cairnbaan Hotel. The canal should be on your right-hand side.

To return to the Crinan Canal Basin car park, simply retrace your steps back along the canal (D/A)

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. 23m - Crinan Canal Basin car park (PA31 8SW)
1 : km 0.14 - alt. 9m - Right turn after coffee shop
2 : km 0.21 - alt. 4m - Right turn at lighthouse
3 : km 0.24 - alt. 6m - Left turn to join canal
4 : km 7.37 - alt. 18m - Cairnbaan Hotel
D/A : km 14.84 - alt. 23m - Crinan Canal Basin car park (PA31 8SW)

Useful Information

For more information and a walk review visit Gillian's Walks


  • Parking available at Crinan Canal Basin car park (PA31 8SW)
  • Local bus service from Lochgilphead to Crinan, where the walk starts. Lochgilphead can be reached by bus from Glasgow (journey time 2h30)

Surfaced path/cycle track

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

  • Crinan Canal - 9 miles long between Crinan on its western end, and Ardrishaig on its eastern end. It provides a "shortcut" between the Hebridean islands and the Clyde. There are 15 locks along the canal and it is used by sailboats, kayakers, canoes... and walkers and cyclists make use of the canal tow path.
  • Wildlife-rich area including deer and many different species of bird
  • Crinan village - toilets, cafe, hotel, lighthouse
  • Cairnbaan Hotel - picnic benches, accommodation, refreshments, food (dog-friendly)

The GPS track and description are the property of the author.