“Can you see that watch tower on the hill?!” I exclaimed excitedly at my partner as we were driving into Inveraray along the shores of Loch Fyne. Do you ever see something, in particular a summit of a nearby hill, and every bone in your body wants to visit it in that second!? Well, our visit to Inveraray in Scotland was supposed to be a gentle stroll in the charming village of Inverary. However, I managed to convince my partner and his brother to join me in walking up to the Dun Na Cuaiche Watchtower in Inveraray. The view from the watch tower is one of the best views in Argyll. Breath-taking lochs, snow-capped mountains, mossy forests, ancient watch tower and spectacular views – what else do you need on a Highland hike?
This is a guide to hiking to Dun Na Cuaiche from Inveraray. It is not a particularly difficult hike and rewards those who do climb to the Inveraray watch tower with an epic view over Loch Fyne, Inveraray Castle and the town of Inveraray. This hike is well sign posted, on even paths and is one of the nicest easy hikes in Argyll.
- Hiking Guide to Dun Na Cuaiche
- Where is Dun Na Cuaiche?
- What does Dun Na Cuaiche mean?
- Where to stay near Dun Na Cuaiche
- What time of day is best to hike Dun Na Cuaiche?
- What time of year is best to hike Dun Na Cuaiche?
- Facilities near Dun Na Cuaiche
We were staying in nearby Lochgoilhead and had spent the morning wandering around the pretty village of Inveraray. It was a cold November day meaning that very few tourists were about. After lunch we headed towards Inveraray Castle. To our dismay, the sign read that the castle was closed. Inveraray castle closes during the winter months. We left the cars in the Inveraray harbour car park and decided to stroll around the castle instead. Afterall, it was a nice dry November day.
Autumn is a magical time in the Scottish Highlands. An explosion of colour passionately takes over the magical woodlands. The crisp air helps clean your lungs and puts flurries of snow on the surrounding mountains.
All of us wondered around the castle, over the old bridge and went through the woodlands. Yet only a couple of us were in hiking boots. Therefore, when the path began to head steeply upwards everyone wanted to turn back. However, I managed to convince my boyfriend and his brother to continue on the path upwards. I was certain that the watch tower that I had seen on the drive must be at the top.
Hiking Guide to Dun Na Cuaiche
This is a guide to hike Dun Na Cuaiche. This is an easy hike in Argyll with spectacular views over Loch Fyne. The walk to Dun Na Cuaiche is through beautiful scenery and can be completed within an hour or so.
Starting the hike to Dun Na Cuaiche
The hike to Dun Na Cuaiche starts just after the Inveraray castle car park. Yet it would be a shame to start hiking without admiring the neo gothic architecture of Inveraray castle.
Inveraray castle is a brilliant example of early gothic architecture. The present-day castle replaced an earlier castle and work began in 1743. The entire village of Inveraray was moved in order to give the castle a more secluded feel. You may recognise the castle from the Downton Abbey Christmas special.
The Duke of Argyll still lives in the castle today. You can admire the castle from the side of the loch before embarking on your hike up to Dun Na Cuaiche. It is great that visitors can see the castle without paying admission fees first. If you would like to go inside there is a great collection of armoury and the gardens are very picturesque.
After taking a few photos of Inveraray Castle, head towards the very ornate Frew’s Bridge. This bridge was built in the 18th century and spans the River Aroy. What a grand start to our Highland hike!
With the Inverary castle and Frey’s bridge behind us we head into the dense woodlands. There is a path heading diagonally into the woods. The route is well sign posted. Just look out for the blue arrow or signs to Dun Na Cuaiche.
The Woods near Dun Na Cuaiche
Head through the beautiful woodlands full of giant oaks and dainty silver birches. There are also a few mossy ruins. The stone ruins are the remains of lime kilns. Nature has slowly taken over these buildings given the area an ancient and enchanted feel. This woodland is beautiful in springtime when the forest floor is covered in bluebells.
After the first woodland you come across an open area. Continue straight on and pass through the gate on the other side of the field.
Once you reach the second section of the woods, keep going straight. The path is wide enough for a car so you cannot get lost. It may be a little boggy so I would recommend good waterproof walking boots. After a while there will be a path which forks to the right and goes upwards. There will also be a sign saying “Dun Na Cuaiche”. Follow this path. You will start to get a proper work out!
This is the last stretch of the walk to Dun Na Cuaiche and the epic view point of Loch Fyne. The path zig zags through the words at a much steeper angle. Then when you leave the woods, you reach the saddle of the hill where you will start to see the wonderful views. I was quite out of breath but greatly enjoying the scenery.
The sunlight danced between the forest trees. Snow settled on the top of the surrounding mountain peaks. The early winter sun was beginning to set, casting the Scottish landscape in a golden glow. The air was chilly but there was only a light breeze. We were all out of breath but knew an amazing viewpoint lay just ahead.
I reached the party a little later, after taking plenty of photos of the Argyll countryside! Wow, it was worth the climb!
The View from Dun Na Cuaiche
Dun Na Cuaiche is an open hill top on the shores of Loch Fyne. Upon the summit is a monument which is close to the site of an old iron-age fort. We had reached the point I had eagerly spotted from the road.
From the summit of Dun Na Cuaiche we looked down onto Inverarary Castle which seemed far below us. There was a sheer drop at the edge of the summit which I would not recommend getting too close to in wet or icy weather.
The sunlight illuminated the snaking Aroy River. We could spot the village of Inveraray on the side of the Loch. Loch Fyne itself stretched far into the horizon. Loch, castle and mountains make for an excellent viewpoint. This must be one of the best views in Argyll. We were only missing a highland cow to make the scene completely Scottish!
Descending Dun Na Cuaiche
After taking plenty of photos on the summit of Dun Na Cuaiche we descended along the same path. Apparently there used to be an alternative path down. Going down was much easier. The sun was beginning to set but I could not help stopping on the beautiful bridge again.
It did not take too long to reach Inveraray castle again. I was in a daze with the beautiful scenery and hungry to explore and go on more hikes in the Scottish Highlands.
The walk to Dun Na Cuaiche is an excellent easy hike in Argyll. With the huge variety of things to see on the walk, you will not get bored and it will be difficult to tear yourself away from the beautiful view of Loch Fyne.
Where is Dun Na Cuaiche?
Dun Na Cuaiche is a hill in Inverarary. The hill is situated in the country of Argyll & Butte in Scotland. You can reach Dun Na Cuaiche by parking at Inverary castle car park or the car park in Inverary harbour and hiking to the summit.
Inveraray is just over two and a half hours from Edinburgh and a mere 90 minutes from Glasgow.
What does Dun Na Cuaiche mean?
Dun Na Cuaiche means the “Fort of the Hollow of the Hill”. There was an iron-age fort on the summit in the past.
Where can I stay near Dun Na Cuaiche?
There are a few accommodation options near Dun Na Cuaiche in Inverarary. We stayed in nearby Lochgoilhead and drove to Inveraray for the day. There is also a vegan B&B in Argyll you can stay at! Otherwise, use the booking.com tool below to see current availability. (If you ever need to book accommodation, please consider using our affiliate link. It costs nothing extra to you and we receive a very small commission when you do so. This helps us keep the website running and make more useful content for you!)
What time of day is it best to hike to Dun Na Cuaiche?
We completed this easy hike in the afternoon when the sun was beginning to set. This was a very magical time of day to admire the view of Loch Fyne. I can imagine that sunrise is also a fairly spectacular time to do this easy hike in Argyll.
What time of year should I hike to Dun Na Cuaiche?
Scotland is well known for surprising travellers with four seasons in one day! One thing you cannot plan for is the weather or temperature in Scotland! We visited in November and it was a little muddy on the trail but the low winter sun made for a magical view. Dun Na Cuaiche is also a great winter hike if you prefer snowy scenes. In springtime the forest carpets are covered in bluebells. Therefore, spring would also be a great time of year to go to this amazing viewpoint in Argyll.
Whatever time of year you attempt this hike, something will beguile you. Just make sure you choose a clear day as it would be a shame to miss the view of Loch Fyne from the summit.
Facilities near Dun Na Cuaiche
In terms of what facilities are near Dun Na Cuaiche, there are plenty of nice cafes in Inveraray. There are also toilets in the Front Street Car park. You can park there or in the castle car park if the castle is open. Please be aware that the castle closes at the end of October for winter.
Have you been inspired to hike up to Dun Na Cuaiche?
Have you been inspired to hike up to Dun Na Cuaiche? Would you like to see one of the best views in Argyll? Let us know in the comments below!