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Near Dunoon, to Bute

Home -> Europe -> Scotland -> Travelogue Scotland -> 14 to 18 June 2014

Saturday 14 June, near Dunoon, to Bute

Kilmun Lodge near Dunoon Kilmun Lodge near DunoonOn Saturday June 14 we drive from Peebles to Kilmun, near Dunoon. Here we have rented a house for a week and we also get great weather later, so that we can regularly sit on the porch. At least, when the midges, the small and vicious Scottish mosquitoes, do not visit us. From this place we will explore the area. We were here once before but then Elisabeth got an acute bladder infection so she even had to go to the hospital and remmebers not much of the region.
View of Holy Loch and DunoonDunoon is located on the Cowal peninsula in the south of the province of Argyll and Bute, a large area that consists mainly of a number of peninsulas on the west coast of Scotland. We call it a province but it is actually a council area. The Highlands are the largest council area, followed by Argyll and Bute. It is a green area with a lot of coastline. When traveling through the area, you have to take into account long journey times. There are several ferries that can take you from one peninsula to another.
White castle house, somewhere in ArgyllBecause we have so few pictures and no GPS data, we do not know exactly where we have all been and where this cute white castle is located is also a mystery. Hopefully we will see it by accident sometime in the future. I mark on my map on which roads we have driven but it is not possible to also add a year to it, so I have nothing to figure out where this castle is located.
Loch Goil at Lochgoilhead Boat on Loch Goil at LochgoilheadThe first few days it is cloudy but not cold. On our way to Carrick Castle we pass Loch Goil with the village of Lochgoilhead at the far end. It is surrounded by hills and mountains and is part of the Loch Lomond national park, the area where the people of Glasgow like to go on weekends and holidays. The loch itself is used by British submarines for exercises.
Loch Goil at Carrick Castle Refugees at Castle GarrickAbout 5 kilometers south of Lochgoilhead, Carrick Castle is a massive silhouette on the west coast of the estuary. It is a 14th century tower house and was probably built by the Campbell clan who was the most powerful family here. The castle is rather dilapidated but nowadays seems to be private property and there are plans for restoration. What we especially notice are the refugees (probably from Syria) who camp here. We have no idea how they keep themselves alive and how they ended up here. Is there no better care for them?
Rothesay on ButeOn the day we visit Bute, it is brilliant weather, just like in 2006 when we were here. That day Elisabeth was also suffering a lot of pain (on her birthday) and she did not enjoy much of it, so we just have to go there again. Bute is an island and we take the ferry from Colintraive to make the short crossing to Rhubodach. From there we first drive to Rothesay, the capital of the beautiful island. The interior is hilly and there are beautiful beaches on the west coast. In total there are less than 7000 people living on the island of 122 km².
Rothesay castle on Bute Rothesay castle on ButeIn the center of Rothesay lies the castle that is more than 800 years old and stands out because of the unusual round stone defensive wall. Around the castle is a canal with a modern bridge. Inside the walls are four round towers and a gatehouse. The walls, however, were built of soft sandstone and therefore in 1230 a breach could be struck in the wall by the Vikings under the guidance of one Uspak. It is the first documented attack of the Normans on a Scottish castle.
Holy Loch with ebbWe can sit in the sun on a terrace and then drive around the island all day long, but where are all those pictures? Luckily we made a lot in 2006. I can mark the last roads of the island on my map, for which we then had no time because Elisabeth felt so ill. I am glad that we, just like 8 years ago, have such wonderful weather again, Scotland the really looks at its best.
Uprooted tree, Ardkinglas Woodland Garden Water in Ardkinglas Woodland GardenThe next day we first go to the Ardkinglas Woodland gardens near the town of Cairndow. Already in the 14th century there is talk about an orchard and a herb garden at Ardkinglas House. At the end of the 18th century, pine trees and later also conifers are planted. A part of the vast estate is now a park where you can walk pleasantly between the old and tall trees. In the last century, various species of rhododendron have been planted, which have grown into gigantic shrubs with large colorful flowers.
The most powerful conifer in Europe? Gigantic European silver firThe garden is also called the garden of champions because here are some of the largest trees in the United Kingdom. This fir is 250 years old and the trunk has a circumference of no less than 10 meters. But to say that it is the mightiest tree of Europe, no, we have seen more gigantic and probably older trees. But this is also a special tree and there are many of these ancient and tall trees here.
Loch Fine from Inveraray Loch Fine from InverarayAfter our visit to the gardens we drive to Inveraray on the other side of Loch Fyn. This was traditionally the home of the Duke of Argyll. Somewhere behind the bridge on the right-hand picture is the imposing 18th century Inveraray castle tucked away, but we have been there before. The other major tourist attraction here is the historic Inveraray prison where you can learn all about the history of the prison system in the United Kingdom.
Kilmodan church, Clachan of Glendaruel in CowalThe day after it is even warmer, there is even talk of a heat wave coming. It is in any case above 25 degrees when we get in the car and drive around a bit. At Clachan of Glendaruel we see Kilmodan Church. It has no less than 3 entrances, each of which leads to its own department and according to local stories this was deliberately done, so that the 3 rival Campbell families from Glendaruel, Ormidale and Colintraive could visit the church without having to talk to each other! There are also stone sculptures from the 14th and 15th centuries, but unfortunately these photos have failed.
Loch Riddon and the Kyles of Bute from Tighnabruaich Viewpoint To the beachThen we drive south towards Tighnabruaich and stop at the viewpoint where you have a majestic view over Loch Riddon and the Kyles of Bute. Especially on weekends it is full of sailing boats, if the weather cooperates naturally. And for the beachlovers it works fine: on the right picture you see several people on the beach in the background of Elisabeth. Scotland has beautiful beaches but you rarely see anyone sunbathing. We ourselves also take some time to sit in the sun along the water for a while.
Where is the boat? Squirrel at our apartmentWhen we drive back to our house we see a car with a trailer standing in the water, waiting to launch a boat or to hoist it out of the water again. But there is no boat to be seen in the neighborhood. The Kyles of Bute are a sea arm so there is also high and low tide here, hopefully the driver has his car removed in time.
At our house we fill the bird food daily at the request of the owner and a few times a squirrel has been visiting who likes the food. And this time we can make some nice pictures.


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