(Photograph by Alan Forsyth)

South Cowal

South Cowal is a small but beautiful part of Argyll. The area stretches from the Bullwood south of Dunoon to the tiny clachan of Inverchaolain taking in the villages of Toward and Innellan. Although at first glance it may look as if there nothing here but a long line of houses stretching along the coastline the area is bigger than it seems for there are many more buildings hidden above the shore road. Best views of the area are to be had from a boat on the beautiful Firth of Clyde or from the forestry tracks on the hills above.

Within the South Cowal area many kinds of sport can be enjoyed. These include golf, sailing, kayaking, bowling (indoor and out), tennis, badminton and pony trekking. Groups enjoying art and yoga meet regularly in the well-used Innellan Village Hall which also hosts the Masons and SWRI. No-one needs to be bored here and a friendly welcome is given to anyone wishing to participate in any of the activities available. Toward Memorial Hall has recently been refurbished and is a venue for bowling, badminton and children’s parties.

There are also two primary schools, a nursery/family centre and two churches to meet the needs of the population. Good meals and activities such as pool, darts and dominoes can be enjoyed in the Osborne Hotel and Villagers Royal conveniently situated in the centre of Innellan whilst the village store and post office provides a great selection of items within its (seemingly elastic) walls!

Forest walks provide opportunities to enjoy the terrific views over the Firth of Clyde and to take in the wild life of the area which include pine martens and red squirrels. Otters, seals and dolphins can be seen on the water and an interesting selection of bird life is plentiful on the shore and surrounding hills. Historians can view the ruins of two castles – Knockamillie and Toward – and the estates of Castle Toward and Knockdhu House. A very thorough archive project about the village of Innellan has recently been completed. It runs to four fascinating volumes details of which can be found on the website for Innelllan Village Hall.

Each year South Cowal holds a Community Festival which showcases the activities of this quiet, forgotten area of Argyll. This is promoted by South Cowal Community Council and runs for ten days usually.

A regular bus service serves the area and easy access to more urban areas such as Glasgow is by road via the Rest and Be Thankful or by one of two ferry links.


Ward Councillors

Audrey Forrest

Bobby Good

Jim Anderson

Community Councillors

Eleanor Stevenson – Convenor

Alan Chapman – Vice Convenor Planning

Joyce McEwan – Treasurer

Kyle Armstrong – Secretary

Vicki Walkingshaw – Minute Secretary

Cathy Morrison – Health Transport

Sophie Gillen – Website

Helen Campbell, Dot Braham, Sophie Gillen – Facebook

Iain Cairns
Ann Narraway
Richard McGilvray
Gill Judd


Please direct all enquiries to Eleanor Stevenson (Convenor):





Sadly, the South Cowal Community Festival is over for another year. There were many highlights including The Pet Show, Toward Sailing Club Open Day, Forestry Mini Tours, the Art Exhibition and the Open Gardens. If there was something special you enjoyed, please tell us about it or if something was not to your liking please leave some positive criticism so that we can think about improvements.

If you have any good ideas for next year’s programme please get in touch through our website or Facebook pages and we will consider them for next year’s programme.

As before, the Festival’s main aim is to highlight some of the activities which happen in South Cowal but it also helps local groups to fundraise and promote membership. It is not run for profit but this year over 2000 was raised through the various activities. This money goes to a variety of causes such as animal rescue groups, the two local village halls and a project for new homes and water supply in Kenya.

Thirty events were on offer and each was a success to a greater or lesser degree. One of the most popular was the Pirate Day at Toward Sailing Club which offered free rides on kayaks, dinghies, a rib and also a chance to try wind surfing. Over one hundred took to the water with quite a few going on to join the Club. The Forestry Commission’s mini bus tour offered a view of the area from the hilltops and this was very much enjoyed by all who took part. The Forestry Guides were very knowledgeable which greatly added to the interest. The Pet Show was its usual noisy success with rescue dogs from Romania and Turkey amongst the winners.

Despite the mixed weather the Open Gardens attracted an excellent number of visitors who enjoyed the variety of gardens on display. Inside events such as the Quiz Night and the Bingo attracted good numbers of participants and the Coffee Morning for Cats and Small Animals was very busy. The Art Show in Innellan Hall was impressive as usual with many of the local artists selling paintings. A generous 10% of their takings was donated to the Festival Fund to help with expenses.

Margaret Hubbard had two heritage walks in Innellan and these were popular once again with the money raised from them going to help with the upkeep of the Hall. An evening bike ride out to Castle Toward finished in the rain but it was only clothes which were dampened – not the spirits! Bowling (indoor and outdoor) and yoga were on offer too and a Table Sale in Toward Hall attracted bargain hunters.

Guys and Dolls is a socially inclusive group which was formed last year and the members of this came along to enjoy a soup and roll lunch followed by entertainment by Tom and Fiona Irvine and the inevitable cup of tea. This also attracted a good crowd and was fun.
Many people helped to organise the events for others to enjoy and this helps to forge a good community spirit within South Cowal.
There are more events which could be organised and next year it is hoped that more folk will come forward with ideas and enthusiasm so that we can start all over again!

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South Cowal Community Council 2015 -