The Kintyre Way had its origins in the 1990s when a group of Kintyre walkers and businessmen started promoting the idea of a long distance path in Kintyre.
Setting up a long distance path is no easy task and it was not until 2001 that Argyll and the Islands Enterprise(AIE) approached the Forestry Commission Scotland with the idea of developing a long distance footpath in Kintyre. As one of the major landowners in Kintyre FCS realised the advantages the facility could bring to Kintyre and agreed to become a major partner in the project.
Several years of consultation followed before progress really began in 2005. With many of the existing FC trails in the area forming a basis of the route, FCS staff used their expertise to set about negotiating a suitable route down the Kintyre peninsula. With over 24 private landowners and the local authority involved this was a difficult task, needless to say the route changed on countless occasions before deciding upon a route which suited everyone. Legal agreements were negotiated and completed before FCS started the route development work. Much of the route covers rough open hill ground which originally was crossed by faint sheep paths or no path at all.
FCS staff and local contractors worked hard to develop the route including the design and installation of waymarkers and interpretation panels. The route was launched in 2006, since then improvements have been made where possible with an additional section from Dunaverty back to Campbeltown being added in 2014, giving 100 miles to explore.
Day-to-day management of the route is overseen by the Long and Winding Way Co Ltd (known as Kintyre Way). This Kintyre based charity is run by a board of voluntary Directors and has a membership of over 100 local businesses and individuals.
Since 2006 the number of people walking the entire route has risen from less than 200 to just over 1000 by 2009, with numbers steadily increasing year on year, bringing major benefits to the Kintyre economy as well as introducing many visitors to this fascinating and undiscovered corner of Scotland.
To visit the website for the Forestry Commission Scotland please visit www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland