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Top 10 Things To Do For Visitors to Argyll
Just on the doorstep of Glendaruel
1. The Cowal Way
Since it was opened in 2000, the 57-mile long Cowal Way has already become one of Scotland’s must-do great walking trails. Starting from Portavadie in the south of the Cowal Peninsula, the route winds north to finish at Inveruglas on Loch Lomond, via Tighnabruaich, Glendaruel, Strachur, Lochgoilhead and Arrochar.
2. Kilmodan Church
This church in Glendaruel has stunning carved stones, as well as being a typical church of a rural nature.
3. Kilfinan Parish Church
This fascinating church dates from the 13th century and is the ancient burial place of the chiefs of Clan Lamont, amongst the oldest of the Scottish clans. An 11th century cross based on the Iona Cross plus many fine pieces of early Christian stonework, make this an unmissable destination for lovers of early Christian and clan history.
The Hidden Gallery, Loch Fyne, and the Gallery at Tighnabruaich are just two destinations for art lovers in an area packed with creative talent.
A wider view
4. Benmore Botanic Gardens, Dunoon
The entrance to these amazing gardens is through an avenue of Giant Redwoods. Set in a breathtaking mountainside location covering 120 acres, Benmore offers 300 species of rhododendron, over 1/3 of the world’s hardy conifer species - plus fine collections from North and South America, the Orient and Himalaya.
5. Inveraray Jail
This unique living museum gives visitors the opportunity to meet prisoners, discover the horrors of the torture chamber, see an early 19th century court in action, and tour the cells built for men, women and children, some as young as seven. As one of the best surviving examples of the 19th century prison system, it makes for a vivid and educational visitor experience.
6. Inveraray Castle
Seat of the Dukes of Argyll, this imposing castle is a great destination for history buffs, walkers and Downton Abbey fans, as it was the location for a Christmas special of the series. There are several walks in the extensive grounds, including a 5-mile trail to the Falls of Array and the ruins of Rob Roy’s home.
7. Best of the West Festival
Held in September and set in the grounds of Inveraray Castle, this is a great end of summer season, family-friendly, two-day event of the best music, food and drink of Argyll. Loch Fyne Oysters, a whisky bar, activities for kids including bungee trampolining, archery and climbing wall; and it attracts great musicians and bands!
8. Machrihanish Golf Course and The Dunes, near Campbeltown
If golf’s your passion, the two courses at Macrihanish are well worth the effort for the opportunity to tee off on two of the most spectacular links courses in the British Isles. The original course was designed by the legendary Old Tom Morris in 1879, and the new one, opened in 2009, is by David McLay Kidd. Stunning coastal settings, rugged dunes, blind approaches and magnificent fairways add up to an unforgettable golfing challenge! Early ferry from Portavadie to Tarbert, and you’re on the first tee at 10.30am!
9. Scottish Sea Life Sanctuary, Oban
A great display of marine life including turtles, octopus, rays, otters and seals. Every year, the sanctuary rescues 12-15 abandoned seal pups, then rears and releases them back into the wild. There are also forest grounds for walks and an adventure playground. This trip is 2 hours from Glendaruel. You can drive through Inveraray, or you can use the ferry crossing from Portavadie to Tarbert then head North up the beautiful west coast line.
If you miss the ferry on the way home, it’s grub at Inveraray; Loch Fyne Oysters; Cairndow Inn; and Creggans Inn, Strachur, are some of your choices.
10. Oban Distillery
Home of the 14-year old Oban Classic Malt Whisky, the distillery is set, unusually, in the heart of the town, a stone’s throw from the sea, and offers tours and sample drams to visitors who come to learn about its history stretching back to 1794, and the process of making Scotland’s national tipple.
And if you’re a whisky enthusiast, remember that Argyll is rich in distilleries famous for some of Scotland’s most iconic single malts - as well as Oban, the region offers whiskies from the Isles of Jura and Islay such as Lagavulin, Bruichladdich, Bowmore and Laphroaig.