Lochgoilhead is a picturesque coastal village located at the northern tip of Loch Goil. One of the three sea lochs on the Cowal Peninsula, Loch Goil runs into Loch Long and is enclosed by steep mountains and forests, giving it a real sense of remoteness and isolation. The rugged landscape is reminiscent of the Norwegian fjords and is a haven for marine wildlife.
In Scots Gaelic, Lochgoilhead is known as Ceann Loch Goibhle.
The important historic boundary between the early historic kingdoms of Dalriada and British Strathclyde is claimed to have been located on the watershed in eastern Cowal. There is a standing stone called Clach a’Bhreatunnaich north-east of Lochgoilhead which said to mark this boundary, and other boundary markers may exist in the form of cairns or stones.
The settlement developed in the 1750’s with the arrival of steamers in the Clyde estuary. The ruins of Carrick Castle (privately owned and not open to the public) lie a few miles south of the village. This 15th-century fortified tower house is of classic Scottish design and was once the hunting lodge of James IV.
In the 1840’s tourists would visit the area by steamship. Today a visit by boat or kayak is still a great way to see Loch Goil’s wildlife.
The area is rich in wildlife – red squirrel, pine marten, otters, red deer and badgers are common, as well as eagles and buzzards on the hills.
The very nature of the area’s sea lochs with their deep basins, shallow sills and sheltered shores make them ideal habitats for a wide variety of wildlife. If you travel around the loch, look for seals and porpoises, sea birds like guillemots and gannets, or go rock pooling to find crabs and sea anemones.
Although a coastal settlement, the location of the village at the head of the sea loch, enclosed by steep mountains and forests create a remote and almost isolated character.
There are many popular local walks including the 4 km (2.5 mi) Donich Circular and parts of the Cowal Way. At the north end of the Cowal Peninsula is the Argyll Forest Park, which is the UK’s first ever designated forest park (1935). There are many opportunities to explore the Forest Park via the Forest Commission Scotland’s network of trails, starting from Tarbet, Ardgartan, Lochgoilhead, Glenbranter, Ardentinny, Kilmun and many more..
Lochgoilhead was used for the filming of scenes for the James Bond classic ‘From Russia with Love’.