Puck’s Glen with Pocket Mountains

pocket mountains cowal walks
pocket mountains cowal walks

Distance – 3.5km Time 1 hour 30 
Terrain – waymarked winding path above  a burn, stone steps which can be slippery ­– care needs to be taken with children 
Map – OS Landranger 56
Access – regular buses from Dunoon to Benmore Botanic Garden – follow signed footpath to Puck’s Glen

Pocket Mountains – this edition a walk in the Cowal Peninsula.
Steeped in a magical atmosphere, Puck’s Glen is a short and popular excursion alongside a tumbling burn. Green moss hangs heavily from the trees and the dappled light gives the glen a mystical air. The walk is made more enchanting by a series of bridges and stone steps. 

The car park for Puck’s Glen is south of Benmore Botanic Garden, off the A83 heading towards Dunoon. This route follows the red waymarkers along a section of the old road at first. After passing the chalets, turn right up the path signposted for Puck’s Glen. 


The path was originally constructed by the Younger family who owned the Benmore Estate and are more commonly associated with their eponymous brewing company which has been brewing beer in Scotland in various forms since 1749. 

The company merged with McEwans in the 19th century and today is part of the Scottish and Newcastle giant.

After falling into disrepair, the path was restored in 1986 and now takes a winding course up beside the burn, crossing it many times on wooden footbridges, each revealing a different view of small waterfalls and shady pools. The path is unfenced and there are steep stone steps in places which can be slippery, so care needs to be taken and children supervised.

Higher up the glen, the small gorge deepens and the sides are clothed with dark green ferns and mosses, overshadowed by the dense tree canopy above. After a steep climb, a junction is reached. Here you can turn right to take a shortcut directly back to the car park or continue up the glen. The route descends slightly before heading upstream and crossing yet more bridges. Originally, a decorated hut stood here, typical of the period and the enthusiasm for creating magical atmospheres in places like this. The hut now stands in Benmore Botanic Garden, which is well worth a visit, though a decent amount of time has to be taken to enjoy all Benmore has to offer.

The Return Walk

Eventually, the path reaches a forestry track. It is possible to extend the walk by turning left and then choosing any of a number of different paths. All lead back down to the old road. To continue this shorter loop, turn right here and then take the first right onto the return path marked with red waymarkers. If you have the time, you can detour slightly further along the track. Turn left to visit a wildlife hide which is well placed overlooking a series of small pools. On the downhill path, a seat is reached, where you turn left to return to the car park.

For Pocket Mountains, Cowal walks or other walks, the series is available from –

Waterstones, Byres Rd
BluebellGray, Hyndland Rd
Hyndland Bookshop, Hyndland Rd
Velvet Moon, Argyle St

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