Islay Walks: Ardnave

Sand dunes and beach

Islay walks

and with spring in the air I highly recommend you head for a walk round Ardnave Point. Ardnave is around forty minutes by car from Persabus Farm. Be sure to pack a picnic or a thermos flask of hot tea or soup and enjoy sitting beside turquoise seas, watching the ebb and flow of the tidal currents. It is a great place for spotting seals and the occasional pod of dolphins.

person walking on sandy track

RSPB Loch Gruinart

Close by, on the way to Ardnave you pass the RSPB centre at Loch Gruinart. It is definitely worth stopping and popping in for a visit. Walk through the woods to the hide, and watch a variety of Islay’s fabulous bird life, as they land on the salt marsh flats.

Lunch or Tea and Cake

When we are feeling peckish our car always seems to take a right and drive us to The Oyster Shed restaurant. It is on the way to Ardnave, but involves a slight detour, cut off and head along the single track road to Killinallan. At the Oyster Shed, I always tuck into fresh local oysters, farmed on the shores of Loch Gruinart, but they also do amazing pulled beef, home made soups and breads, crab, lamb, and fabby home baked cakes.


The single track road to Ardnave leads onto a track alongside the loch. This track leads to the carpark at Ardnave. We like to head straight for the beach along the track marked at the carpark, but you can always walk up to the farm, head through the farmyard, past the agricultural sheds and do a round walk along the coastline.

Shimmering sea

As we headed down through the dunes,

There were wild rabbits darting between their burrows. The walk led us onto the golden sands at the head of the Loch.

The rock formations around the coast are quite something. Beautiful sandy enclaves and coves are tucked between the smooth rock surfaces.

person walking on beach

Nave Island

As we ventured further round we could see Nave Island. Uninhabited, you can still see the ruins of the old chapel, with the first recorded mention dating back to 1549. The island is thought to evidence signs of early organised Christianity.

A gulley between steep rocks

On our hike we enjoyed those fantastic views as they continued to unfold. Finding a spot to sit and enjoy hot tea from our thermos was not difficult. As we sat in the sunshine, enjoying the solitude. The turquiose seas shimmering in the sunlight. The gentle sound of the waves breaking on the shore. The views across the bay to Islay’s dramatic north coast. The Isle of Colonsay gleaming in the afternoon sun and suddenly it really is not hard to see why Islay is such a magical place.

Definitely take good boots, as these are ideal for clambering over the rocks, but the ground is not too rough for walking. Keep dogs on a lead until you are on the beach, and even then be vigilant as sheep roam freely across the rolling farmland.

Person walking on beach

Tidal currents make swimming and water sports incredibly treacherous and dangerous on this coastline, but to walk is enough.

If you enjoyed this walk why not check out some of other walks we recommend you try? Visit our guide to walking on Islay and Jura.