The Leacainn Walk – Directions
Mainly level, with some short climbs. Can be boggy in places after rain. Stout, waterproof footwear recommended.
Time: Approx 3 – 4 hours. Parking: There is a public car park adjacent to the village store in Furnace, immediately on entry into the village from the A83.
From the car park, pass in front of the shop and walk into village, past the village hall. Pass by the primary school and cross the bridge over the Leacainn Burn. Follow the road for 100 yards to see the ruins of the 18th Century iron furnace, which gave the village its name.
There is no access to the ruin so retrace your steps to the bridge, but do not cross it, instead turn right up the tarmacked lane. Where the lane turns left toward a row of stone houses, continue straight onto a forest road, heading gently up hill. The recently cleared forest now gives good views up to the cliffs of Dun Leacainn (359m).
After 1/4 mile, leave the forest road as it turns right toward a house and continue straight on along a level path. Continue along this path and, about 100 yards after entering the forest, look out for a signpost pointing left to the Wolf Stone where, reputedly, the last wolf in Argyll was killed.
After visiting the Wolf Stone, continue for a short way close to the road before heading right up a few wooden steps and a short climb before the path turns left and continues straight on for a while, then heads right uphill to a small bridge across a burn. Cross the bridge and follow the path left, past the sign pointing to the waterfall and then downhill, down some steps to emerge on to a forest road. Head straight on toward the main road but, just before the road take the path to the right, which soon brings you to Auchindrain Township Museum. There is a tearoom at the museum where you can enjoy some refreshment or, if time allows, the museum is well worth a visit.
Leaving Auchindrain, retrace your steps for a short way to a kissing gate and then, taking great care, cross the main road and through the kissing gate on the other side. Once through the gate, bear left on the faint path, cross a ditch and turn right to head up the field, passing through another kissing gate and turning left onto a tarmacked road. Follow the road for almost half a mile to reach 2 bridges over the Leacainn Burn.
Take the old, stone bridge to the left and, just over the bridge, turn left through the kissing gate and walk down to the bench, a great place sit and admire the impressive Miller’s Falls.
Continue on the grassy path, pausing to see the old corn-drying kiln, and on down to the edge of a field. The path turns right here, passing through the gated fence around a new hydro power house and alongside a fence to reach a small burn, which the path follows, through a gate and across a farm track. Note the lovely double-arched bridge over the burn. Continue on to the footbridge, which crosses the burn and follow the path between the fence and the burn to reach the Leacainn Burn once again. The path emerges through a kissing gate onto another farm track at a larger double-arched bridge worthy of closer examination. Do not cross the bridge but turn right along the track for 100 yards and look for a footbridge on the left that crosses another tributary. Follow the path back down to the Leacainn Burn. Look out for the old sluice gate which once allowed the water to flow into the lade that now forms the path running alongside the river.
The lade once fed the old gunpowder mills, which the walk later passes. The lade path emerges onto a forest road at a turning point. Continue straight on, avoiding the main road, and follow the forest road built over the lade, which soon bears right, leaving the lade and heading uphill and around a sharp right bend. Soon after the bend, turn left on to the signposted path, across a small stream and into the forest. Just before the path turns left, notice the sign which points to the site of charcoal burning platforms, although no sign of these is now apparent. Another bench is soon found which affords a magnificent view down Loch Fyne.
Follow the grassy path down the hill where a small interpretation panel gives some information about the old gunpowder works, traces of which can be seen below the path as it continues on, passing through a kissing gate along the top of a field and through a farm gate. Turn left down the lane to meet the main A83. Carefully, cross the road, turn left along the footpath to return to the car park in the village.