Tag Archives: Argyll

Cowal & Dunoon

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Nestled between the Kyles of Bute and Loch Fyne, Argyll’s secret coast on Cowal is a secret worth knowing.

From Glendaruel, Tighnabruaich and Kames on the east, round to Portavadie and Kilfinan on the west, tucked along the coastline are hidden gems of beauty, nature and culture.

The Kyles of Bute provide some scenic and gentle sailing for those learning the sport, while Portavadie brings all the glamour and luxury of the yachting fraternity with a marina, restaurant and shopping among the breathtaking backdrop of the Argyll coastline.

From luxury accommodation to cosy country hotels to bed and breakfasts worth popping into for a night, there are plenty of places to explore the Secret Coast from.

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Campbeltown

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Campbeltown

ONE of Argyll’s largest towns, Campbeltown, on the eastern tip of the Kintyre peninsula, is a natural port, set in deep water and sheltered from the prevailing south-westerly wind by Davaar Island.
Originally called Kinlochkilkerran back in the 1600s, the Chief of the Clan Campbell decided that, as one of the key towns in his domain, it should carry the name of Campbell and so it became Campbeltown.

The town itself if home to many structures of splendid architecture, a legacy of Victorian wealth and status that made Campbeltown the centre of thriving industry through fishing, boat building and whisky.

Surrounding the town are numerous sites of historical and cultural interest, wide sweeping beaches and breathtaking views out over the Atlantic Ocean. While, within the town itself, there is a new leisure complex which has attracted a host of awards.

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Danvaar Island

 

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Oban

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You can also view the Oban Map on Iphone/Ipad/Tablet by clicking here

In days gone by when travel was mainly by rail and steamer Oban was called the Charing Cross of the north. It was where all routes seemed to meet.
The same still holds true today, if you’re going out to or coming from the islands chances are your ferry will berth here.
It’s a great place to sit and watch the world go by.

On the hill above the town stands McCaig’s Tower, an unfinished project which has gone on to become the town’s major landmark and a beautiful spot to look out over the sea to the islands.
Or you can pick your spot in the bay and watch the boats and people come and go. There’s the Lighthouse Pier, where the ships servicing the lighthouses and navigation buoys dock; the South Pier with the fishing boats; the Railway Pier with the Caledonian MacBrayne ferries and the North Pier with boats from the Royal Navy, visiting foreign navies, tall ships, Customs cutters and dive boats.

Not to mention the big cruise liners which anchor in the bay and send their tenders in to The Oban Times slip or Oban’s regular visiting small, luxury liners.

It’s enough to wear you out watching all that, so you’d best go to one of the town’s many excellent eating places, from award winning cuisine and famous fish and chip shops to friendly cafes and sea food stalls to keep your strength up.

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Mid Argyll

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You can also view the Mid Argyll Map on Iphone/Ipad/Tablet by clicking here

Lochgilphead is the main town of Mid Argyll; it was planned and created in 1790 after the completion of the road from Inveraray to Campbeltown.

The Crinan Canal soon followed and its position at the head of Loch Gilp, a branch of Loch Fyne, meant that it was at the heart of the land and sea routes and local administration.

But way, way before that, just a little further north, Kilmartin and Kilmartin Glen performed much the same function. As a result it has one of the richest concentrations of prehistoric monuments and historical sites in Scotland.
Al around Mid Argyll, the Heart of Argyll, you’ll find gems like Crinan, Kilberry, Tayvallich, Tarbert, Ormsary and Ardfern.

Exploring is the best part of the fun!

You can also view the Mid Argyll Map on Iphone/Ipad/Tablet by clicking here

For jobs in Mid Argyll why not take a look at https://hijobs.net/jobs/argyll

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Lorn

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Lorn

Lorn, now the northern part of Argyll and Bute, has a rich and historic past and has links with the Macdonalds, Stewarts and Campbells. Don’t let today’s tranquillity fool you; just take a look at the number of castles dotted round the area and you can see that this wasn’t always the most peaceful place to live.

North Lorn is the land north of Loch Etive and Nether Lorn can be said to be the land between the Lochs Awe, Avich and Melfort.
And above them all is Ben Cruachan, Argyll’s highest mountain, now hollowed out to house a hydro electricity power station.
The coast line makes it a sailor’s paradise and home to such abundant sea life that Lorn is home to The Scottish Association for Marine Science’s Dunstaffnage Marine Laboratory.

The coming of the West Highland Railway opened up the area for tourism and ever since people have enjoyed a West Highland welcome; even Queen Victoria was amused.

There’s so much to see or do and so many friendly villages to visit and islands off the coast to explore that it’s no surprise that people keep coming back again and again to Lorn.

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Lochgilphead

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Lochgilphead has grown over the last couple of centuries to become the hub of Argyll and Bute.

Argyll is such a large geographical area with Lorn to the north, the Kintyre and Cowal Peninsulas, the Isle of Bute and more than 20 other populated Hebridean islands, so Lochgilphead has been used historically as an administrative centre. It was a planned town, created in 1790 after the completion of the road from the Royal Burgh of  Inveraray, home of the Duke of Argyll to Campbeltown.

The Crinan Canal, which starts at Ardrishaig and finishes at Crinan, passing through Cairnbaan on the way, soon followed and its position at the head of Loch Gilp, a branch of Loch Fyne, meant that it was at the heart of the land and sea routes.

Local government is centred here; the offices are based in Kilmory Castle in a woodland park with a noted collection of trees and plants and an Iron Age Fort, so you could say that local government in Lochgilphead is nothing new.

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Kintyre

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Yes, the mist really does roll in, as in the song, on to the Mull of Kintyre and the whole of the Kintyre peninsula, one of the greenest, most fertile parts of Argyll.
The lush pastures are home to dairy herds providing milk for Campbeltown Creamery, home of Mull of Kintyre Cheddar.
On the western side of the Kintyre Peninsula you’ll find not just seals bobbing in the waves but surfers who come to the beautiful Westport and Machrihanish beaches. Golfers are drawn to the first class links courses, with excellent accommodation close to hand.

At Southend you can look across to Northern Ireland and over on the east cost around Peninver and Carradale the views across to the Isle of Arran are stunning.

At the heart of Kintyre lies Campbeltown, the Wee Toon, with its busy port with big ships coming to take away Argyll timber and wind turbine parts, the fishing fleet landing its catches and Navy ships refuelling at the NATO depot. They’re all presided over by Davaar Island in the middle of Campbeltown Loch, which can be reached by a natural shingle cause way, the Dhorlin, at low tide.

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Islay South

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Islay’s not called the Queen of the Hebrides for nothing and she’s been home to people since 8,000BC. They knew they were on to a good thing; even today the Gulf Stream keeps the climate mild compared to the mainland.
A remarkable history, breathtaking scenery and eight distilleries, what more could an island want?

Many of today’s visitors are the feathered kind, earning Islay a reputation as a bird watching destination; huge flocks of migrating Barnacle Geese arrive each year and the island is home to an important colony of the now rare chough.
The lochs are teeming with brown trout and the island has hosted major fishing competitions.

The southern half of this majestic island is home to Port Ellen, founded in 1821 by Walter Frederick Campbell, then Laird of Islay who called the village after his wife Eleanor.

Its deep water harbour is one of two ferry ports on the island; the other is at Port Askaig in the north. Port Ellen Distillery closed in 1983 but Port Ellen Maltings continues to dominate the skyline.

Along the south coast are three of the island’s remaining working distilleries, Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg.

Strategically placed around the sea loch Loch Indaal are the picturesque villages of Portnahaven, Port Wemyss and Port Charlotte, on the west side, while on the east shore is the other centre of population of Bowmore.

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Islay North

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Islay North is steeped in clan history as well as being home to the Royal Society for Protection of Birds nature reserve and farm at Loch Gruinart. The nature reserve is an important place for migrating birds – including 45 per cent of the world’s population of Greenland barnacle geese in winter –  and other wildlife, from butterflies to otters and hares to seals.

Finlaggan was the administrative centre of the Lordship of the Isles in the 1300-1400s.

The story can be followed at the Finlaggan Visitor Centre, while the ruined Kilnave Chapel overlooks the scene of a bloody clan battle between the McDonalds and MacLeans.

Five of the island’s eight distilleries can be found in the north, as well as the other main ferry port of Port Askaig. The Gaelic language has a strong presence on the island and Bowmore is home to Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle, the Galeic language and culture centre.

Compared to Jura, neighbouring Islay is overcrowded; there are only 180 people living on Jura but lots and lots more deer.

The island has a small village, Craighouse, and its west coast has no full-time inhabitants.
Jura is dominated by its three magnificent mountains, the Paps of Jura: Beinn an Oir Beinn Shiantaidh and Beinn a’ Chaolais, they can be seen as far away as Northern Ireland in the south and Skye in the north.

To the north of Jura lies the Gulf of Corryvreckan where, tidal conditions produce a whirlpool classed as the third largest in the world. The waves can reach 30 feet and the roar of the waters can be heard up to 10 miles away.

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