I always love to find a little hidden gem on our travels around Scotland. We ended up booking a caravan on the Cowal peninsula last weekend. Because we had been to Dunoon just a couple of weeks before, I wanted to see if I could find anywhere different on the peninsula we had never visited before.
And I discovered there was another peninsula on the peninsula called Ardlamont. (Which is no real surprise as Scotland is absolutely full of peninsulas!) And there was a beautiful beach called Ostel Bay, which is not only extremely photogenic, but it also has a mysterious set of train tracks leading into the water. Seemed like a good chance for a photo opportunity for us, as well as just seeing some new sights!
So on the Saturday morning we left our caravan in Ardentinny and headed towards Tighnabruaich, passing the amazing viewpoint which looks over the Kyles of Bute – I’d definitely recommend a stop-off there – and then on towards our destination.
The easiest way to find it is to plug “Kilbride Farm” into google maps as this is where you need to park. There’s a small layby there you can park in, and there’s not space for a massive amount of cars so having read up on this beforehand we went with the expectation, as we always do, that we might not be able to visit the beach and might have to make alternative plans. Thankfully in this case we were able to park as there was space – by the time we came back to the car though it was a little busier and people were starting to park in places they shouldn’t. Please don’t be that person!
There’s a small café and the path to the beach is next to it. It took around 15-20 minutes to walk to the beach from there, the first part of the road was pretty bumpy and stony, it then smoothed out before leading through a small wooded area then some small dunes.
The beach itself is stunning, with views over to the island of Arran and even though it was fairly overcast when we got there, the beach still looked gorgeous.
Now to find this railway track…
We thought we could spot something that looked like a track right at the left end of the beach, so we started heading that way. Although most folk on the beach were just sitting down having picnics or whatever, there were one couple who were quite far over to the left and were kind of wandering aimlessly. We thought they might be heading to the track too but they never quite made it. But because the tide was coming in and the part of the beach that remained over to the left was quite stony, we had to wait for them to start coming back and pass us if we wanted to ensure social distancing and all that jazz, which added on to our journey time slightly.
Because of this and the rocky underfoot (and one patch of terrifyingly slippery seaweed), it probably took us around 20-25 minutes to actually reach the track itself, and it felt like it was just getting further away at times, but I’m glad to say we eventually made it.
I’m not really sure of its purpose, but I did read somewhere it might have been used to launch mini submarines into the water during one of the wars, which seems to make sense given that the line stops at the water’s edge and it doesn’t really seem viable that a train would ever be on it!
Definitely worth a little visit if you have a chance!