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20 Gortons (23.8.19)

Posted 23/8/2019


This walk takes in part of the central section of the West Island Way. It has an upland feel about it, even though the highest altitude reached is less than 300 feet.  Start in Ardbeg at the foot of Gortons Road (GR NS082669).  A short distance up this road, and after a sharp turn to the right, it takes a 90 degree turn to the left and then climbs up into open country.  The verge has very much a late summer feel to it, with the abundant thistle-like flowers of Knapweed and the umbellifer Angelica, now beginning to go over;  further along, as you approach Gortons Farm, there is a stretch where Spearmint is well established.

Wild AngelicaWild Angelica


Gortons FarmGortons Farm










It’s been a wonderful summer for butterflies here on Bute as elsewhere.  I saw these two, a Small Tortoiseshell and a Peacock, on the track leading to Gortons, both feeding on Knapweed.

Small Tortoiseshell butterfly on KnapweedSmall Tortoiseshell butterfly on Knapweed

Peacock butterfly on KnapweedPeacock butterfly on Knapweed 








Just beyond the farm you join the West Island Way.  Turn right onto a pleasant grassy footpath that runs alongside a newly established plantation.  Look out here for the amusingly-named Sneezewort.  Less common than its close relative Yarrow, its name reflects its former medicinal use as a sneezing powder.



A short distance after crossing over a footbridge, the path takes a 90 degree turn into a tree-shaded avenue, bordered by cleared woodland on the right.


The track now descends through a couple of gates (to protect new plantings from deer) onto the Golf Course road in Port Bannatyne.  My usual ‘species in flower’ list (see  below) ends here.


You now have a number of options:  to return to your starting point by turning right and then following the track that runs through the grounds of the former Kames Hydro, just above and parallel to the main road; or to turn left for a short distance before cutting down along a footpath to the Port Bannatyne seafront and returning beside the shore; or perhaps to continue along the West Island Way until you reach the Ettrick Bay Road (see Walk 2).

Species in flower include:

Autumn hawkbit Scorzoneroides autumnalis
Bramble Rubus fruticosus agg.
Broad-leaved Willowherb Epilobium montanum
Bush Vetch Vicia sepium
Butterfly Bush Buddleja davidii
Cat's-ear Hypochaeris radicata
Common Bird's-foot-trefoil Lotus corniculatus
Common Hemp-nettle Galeopsis tetrahit
Common Nettle Urtica dioica
Creeping Buttercup Ranunculus repens
Creeping Thistle Cirsium arvense
Daisy Bellis perennis
Foxglove Digitalis purpurea
Greater Bird's-foot-trefoil Lotus pedunculatus
Heather Calluna vulgaris
Hedge Bindweed Calystegia sepium
Hemlock Water-dropwort Oenanthe crocata
Herb Robert Geranium robertianum
Himalayan Honeysuckle Leycesteria formosa
Knapweed Centaurea nigra
Lesser Spearwort Ranunculus flammula
Marsh Ragwort Senecio aquaticus
Marsh Thistle Cirsium palustre
Marsh Woundwort Stachys palustris
Meadow Vetchling Lathyrus pratensis
Meadowsweet Filipendula ulmaria
Montbretia Crocosmia x crocosmiflora
Nipplewort Lapsana communis
Ragwort Senecio jacobaea
Red Campion Silene dioica
Red Clover Trifolium pratense
Rosebay Willowherb Chamerion angustifolium
Selfheal Prunella vulgaris
Sneezewort Achillea ptarmica
Spear Mint Mentha spicata
Tormentil Potentilla erecta
Tufted Vetch Vicia cracca
Wild Angelica Angelica sylvestris
Wood Avens Geum urbanum