Duke's Pass, Argyll Forest Park
Start location: Mark (NS 229 953)
End location: B839, Lochgoilhead (NN 200 009)
Geographical area: Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park
Path Type: Rural Path, Pilgrimage Route
Path distance: 9.5km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians
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From Mark follow the main forest road to reach Corran Lochan. Turn north and follow the path (very boggy but waymarked) which climbs slightly to cross a col at 300m. Continue along the path which is fairly rough in places, until it descends steeply to reach the road in Ardgoil Forest above Stuckbeg. Go north along this road for almost 4km to reach Lochgoilhead.
OS Landranger 56 (Loch Lomond & Inveraray area)
Routes through Argyll were formerly far more direct than the public road network is today, as in the past ferries over the many lochs would have been utilised. Inverary is the ancestral home of the Dukes of Argyll, and this old route is part of a chain of land based routes - such as the old carriage road which heads north from Lochgoilhead - interlinked with ferry journeys over Loch Fyne and Loch Long. However, Lochgoilhead was an early and important stop for the Clyde paddle steamers, so the route from Mark Ferry over the Duke's Pass may have subsequently fallen into decline as a result of the rise of the steamers.
It has also been speculated that pilgrims would have used this route when visiting Iona. They would have needed yet more ferries over Loch Awe and the Sound of Kerrera before getting to Mull.
The Duke's Pass traverses an area popularly known as Argyll's Bowling Green. Although sometimes described as a nineteenth-century humorous anglicisation of Baile na Grèine, the name was appearing on maps long before the first edition 6" Ordnance Survey maps (1843-1882) - for example Argyll's Bowling Green is marked on James Dorret's 1750 map of General Map of Scotland and Islands thereto belonging. It is interesting to note that Dorret's map also shows the route across the peninsula and as it is marked on Roy's 1747-52 mapping of the Highlands too, the route's importance as a line of communication is amply demonstrated.