Our bricks and mortar shops are in Lochgilphead, surrounded by the stunning countryside that forms the Heart of Argyll – a beautiful region of Scotland, rich in history and natural beauty. It is only a two hour drive from Glasgow and it offers some truly gorgeous coastal landscapes, an abundance of wildlife and plenty of nature reserves.
There are plenty of things that you can do during your visit there, whether you are enjoying a relaxing short break, a family holiday or a romantic weekend. You will find historic museums, ancient castles, art galleries, boutique shops and excellent restaurants and hotels. You can also enjoy a range of outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, sailing and kayaking.
So what are some of the great things that you can see and do while you are in the Heart of Argyll?
The Beaver Re-Introduction Project
This environmental project has re-introduced beavers back into the wilds of Scotland, repopulating the forests and rivers with these furry big-toothed creatures. It is the first time in 400 years that beavers have been introduced into the wild in Scotland and the project has been an outstanding success.
Four pairs of beavers were released into the wild in Knapdale in 2009 and have produced 14 young, as well as engineering 18 metre long dams and lodges and boosting tourism. The structures that the beavers build have created habitats for a number of other species including waterfowl, dragonflies and otters. The dams also help to slow down the rivers, reduce erosion and improve water quality.
During your visit, you can take a guided walk through the forest and stand on the viewing platform in order to learn more about these creatures and their impact on the forest. Click here to visit the Scottish Beaver Trial Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/scottishbeavers
Dalriada – The Ancient Capital of Scotland
Dalriada was a Gaelic kingdom that ruled over parts of north-eastern Ulster and western Scotland, including Argyll, Lochaber and County Antrim. The kingdom reached its peak around 574-608, until serious defeats in Ireland and Scotland ended that golden age. The land of Dalriada was where the original “Scots” arrived, naming the country after themselves.
While you are in the Heart of Argyll, you can explore the countryside that was the home to these early tribes. There are plenty of great history tours that will explain the ancient history of this region to you and show you the significant locations. Make sure that you do some reading about the history of Scotland and Dalraida before you visit, there have been many books written on the subject and there is a lot to learn!
The Crinan Canal
This is a nine mile long canal that connects the small village of Ardrishaig to the Sound of Jura. It was originally build as a short cut for fishing and sailing vessels and was later a route for Clyde puffers to travel between the industrialised region around Glasgow and the West Highland villages and islands. It allowed boats to avoid the long trip around the Mull of Kintyre and was called the “Most Beautiful Shortcut in the World.”
The Crinan Canal is a popular place for walking, as you can follow the towpath all the way along the canal to behold the beautiful idyllic setting. Take a lunch with you and spend a full day walking along this beautiful canal, savouring the views of the peaceful Scottish countryside along the way. More info from: The Crinan Canal
A large valley near Lochgilphead, Kilmartin Glen is famous for being a rich area of archaeological discovery. There are more than 350 ancient monuments here within six miles of Kilmartin, displaying many aspects of ancient life. These include standing stones, rock carvings, burial cairns and the remains of fortresses and castles. You will even find the remains of the fortress of the Scots at Dunadd, which is a royal centre of Dal Riata. If you are interested in archaeology and the ancient culture of Scotland, you will love exploring this fascinating and history rich region of the country.
Make sure that you visit the Kilmartin House Museum (http://www.kilmartin.org/ ) of Ancient Culture, which is located within the village itself. It will give you an insight into the thousands of years of history of this beautiful Glen. It is possible to follow numerous walking trails in the area that will link together some of the most impressive monuments- with a lovely stroll through the countryside. Make sure that you bring your hiking shoes when you visit!
The Gulf of Corryvreckan is a narrow strait between the islands of Scarba and Jura in the region of Argyll and Bute. It is known for having strong currents and strange underwater topography, which causes standing waves, whirlpools and other interesting and unusual surface effects on the water.
Marvel at the Corryvrecken, which is the third largest whirlpool in the world. The tides from the Firth of Lorne can drive the waters in this whirlpool to waves of more than 30 feet, creating a loud roar that can be heard several miles away.
According to the legend, the Norse King Breachan had to prove his bravery by anchoring his boat in the whirlpool before he could marry a princess of the isles. He anchored his boat with three ropes, made of wool, hemp and of course, hair from the local virgins! However first the hemp, then the wool and finally the hair broke and Breachan drowned. It was said that the hair failed him because one of the maidens had been unfaithful.
Gazing at this whirlpool is very impressive and it gives you a sense of wonder at the grandeur of nature. It is possible to take boat trips to view the whirlpool, or you can look at it while safe on dry land at a viewpoint located off the northern tip of Jura. For more info on trips to Corryvreckan, visit http://www.venture-west.co.uk/
These are just a few of the fun things that you can do while you are visiting the amazing heart of Argyll, if you would like to learn more then please visit the tourist information website at http://www.heartofargyll.com/. With so much to see and do, it is easy to spend a while in this region enjoying the natural beauty and fascinating history.