By Yon Bonny Banks - Return to Loch Fyne

Friday 5th June, 2015
Saturday 6th June, 2015
Sunday 7th June, 2015
Monday 8th June, 2015
Tuesday 9th June, 2015
Wednesday 10th June, 2015
Thursday 11th June, 2015
Friday 12th June, 2015

Friday 5th June, 2015

Drop Cap p and breakfasted in good time. We got all the luggage out on the pavement and the porter called us a cab. To Euston was easy, far easier than Kensington to Kings Cross last time. We caught our train, it left on time and arrived in Glasgow also on time.

Drop Cap ur seats, at a table, were quite comfortable although luggage storage was a bit problematic. We were brought tea and coffee and offers of food, from bacon rolls to fresh fruit salad and yoghurt. Not sure if it was meant to be breakfast or morning tea but we had coffee and shared a fruit salad. Then at lunchtime the offerings were an egg and mayo roll, continental meat and cheese platter, and chicken salad. I had the salad and it was good. They brought apples and bananas, Mac and I had apples, Geoff had a banana, then crisps and a cake. All fine and free with first class.

Drop Cap e arrived at the Holiday Inn Glasgow Airport by cab, and got the rooms mixed up. We have the twin, Geoff has the double, but it doesn't matter, it's only one night. On exploring we found the Europcar Base is only a very short walk from the hotel, so that is good too.


Drop Cap e had a great dinner in the hotel restaurant. Geoff had pate, fish and chips and lemon posset, Mac had steak and ale pie and bakewell tart, I had pepper steak and eton mess. With a bottle of pink pino grigio and coffee it was all delicious. My steak was the best I have had for ages, and cooked just as I like it. Shouldn't have had dessert but.......

Back to Top spacer Blue up arrow

Back to Contents Yellow up arrow

Saturday 6th June, 2015

VW Passat Hire Car photograph
Our VW Passat Hire Car

Drop Cap ell, things did not go quite as smoothly as we had hoped today. At 1000 we checked out and Mac and Geoff went to Europcar to pick up the car while I waited in the hotel foyer with the luggage. And waited, and WAITED. At 1115 Geoff came back for morning tea and to reassure me that things were alright. Apparently there was a large queue of people waiting for rental cars and Mac and Geoff had to wait an hour (despite pre booking and full payment). Then there was a problem with the car which needed intervention by a mechanic who took another hour. It was after 12 noon before we got away, heading for Greenock and the ferry to Dunoon. The car is a VW Passat Wagon with all sorts of bells and whistles for all sorts of reasons. Mac was wrestling with it for most of the next few weeks.

Drop Cap he weather was terrible as we drove, rain and gale force winds, we were wondering if the ferry would still be running. If not we had a longer round trip back to Glasgow and out the other side.

Drop Cap nyway,after a lunch stop in Gourock at a very pleasant coffee shop we drove straight on to the ferry. What with the high wind the waves in the bay were white capped. The ferry muscled its way through the quite heavy seas with waves crashing over the front of the ferry and on to our windshield. Rather hairy.

Tigh an Uillt Lounge photograph
Tigh an Uillt Lounge

Loch Fyne from Cottage photograph
Loch Fyne from Cottage

Drop Cap e got to Dunoon and found the very big Morrison's supermarket where we bought a large load of provisions. By this time it was getting on for about 1600 so we called Jackie and Bruce and told them we would be there in about 40 minutes. They must have made good time from Glasgow because they were here before us. They showed us all over the pretty cottage we remembered so well from last time and we eventually settled in. We took the double with the view and the family bathroom across the hall and Geoff had the double with ensuite.

Drop Cap he weather continued awful with high cold wind and rain. After lovely weather in London too. I hope it blows itself out soon.

Back to Top spacer Blue up arrow

Back to Contents Yellow up arrow

Sunday 7th June, 2015

Glenbranter Entrance photograph
Entrance to Glenbranter Forest Park

Drop Cap he weather in this part of Scotland is unpredictable at best! After the wild, wet and windy day and night yesterday today dawned cloudy, calm but with a glimpse of blue sky. So we started making plans for a walk and picnic in the local forestry area.

Glenbranter Forest Park photograph
Glenbranter Forest Park

The Bluebells of Scotland photograph
The Bluebells of Scotland

Drop Cap y the time I had showered it was raining, then after I had made a picnic lunch it was sunny again. Off down the road to pick up drinks at the store, it was raining again. It was pouring with rain as we drove along the road, then by the time we arrived at Glenbranter (former estate of the Scottish comedian Sir Harry Lauder but now a forestry park) it was looking blue again.
So we took the risk and decided to walk the "Waterfall Trail", waymarked in yellow, supposedly two miles, three kilometres - my pedometer showed over four km by the end.

First Waterfall photograph
Tiny First Waterfall, (foretaste of things to come)

Drop Cap his was just a glorious walk, I am so glad we did it. We walked through tall forest, tulgy woods, fields and carpets of Scottish bluebells, bracken, moss, buttercups and daisies. It was magic, and this was before we started seeing the waterfalls.

Third Waterfall photograph
Waterfall Trail, Glenbranter


Drop Cap aterfalls! From tiny fairy grottoes with tinkling drips, to major cascades gushing down the side of the ridge from top to bottom. There was a new one at every turn and the sky was blue, the sun was warm enough and the scenery just wonderful. We saw a few other people and a couple of dogs, but mostly had the path to ourselves.

Fifth Waterfall photograph
On the Waterfall Trail, Glenbranter

Glenbranter Picnic Area photograph
Glenbranter Picnic Area

Drop Cap y the time we got back to the car and found a handy picnic table it was being a lovely day, although clouds were menacing over the hills. We had our picnic lunch and left just as the first drops were falling.

Drop Cap e drove up to the top of Loch Fyne then Mac was getting sleepy so we had a power nap and came home for afternoon tea.

Enough for one day.

Back to Top spacer Blue up arrow

Back to Contents Yellow up arrow

Monday 8th June, 2015

Drop Cap beautiful day dawned this morning and has continued all day. As I write the sun is streaming into the lounge room, making it rather warm. It is presently 2015! Last night sunset streaked the sky with pale pink at about 2230.

423 Colintraive Ferry photograph
Colintraive Ferry to Bute

Drop Cap nyway we decided to go to the Isle of Bute today so we set off at about 0930 heading for the ferry at Colintraive. The ferry takes about five minutes, similar to the Berowra Waters Ferry at home, but unlike at home it cost us twenty five pounds. At home the car ferries are free.

Rothesay Isle of Bute photograph
Rothesay Isle of Bute

Drop Cap ute is a small island, mainly rural with some faded Victorian style seaside resorts, large villas converted to guest houses and dowdy shops and cafes. We found a bakery café at Rothesay and got some takeaway coffee and Geoff got himself a sausage roll for morning tea. We ate and drank on a bench overlooking whatever the water there is. I think it is called the Kyles of Bute. The bench had flower holders wired to each end with flowers in and was dedicated to a couple who either lived or holidayed here.

Trail to Mt. Stuart photograph
Trail to Mount Stuart

Mt. Stuart Gardens photograph
Grounds of Mount Stuart

Drop Cap oving on we arrived at Mount Stuart, the objective of the excursion. Mount Stuart is the home of the Marquess of Bute, owner of the island (or used to be). The original 17th century house burned down so the 3rd Marquess (he of Cardiff Castle as well) a man with more money than the government and extremely Gothic ideas built this extravaganza.

Mt Stuart Monument photograph
Monument to the Third Marquess of Bute

Drop Cap he 3rd Marquess,who was very clever, a talented amateur architect, spoke twenty languages fluently, was passionate about astrology, astronomy, mythology, history, literature etc etc and the house reflects all these interests. It was incredibly interesting, rich and rare. There are forty odd bedrooms, all ensuite, with power showers with five settings. There is central heating and generally all what are now considered mod cons but way ahead of its time.

Mount Stuart photograph
Mount Stuart

Mount Stuart photograph
Mount Stuart House and Chapel

Drop Cap he Marquess unfortunately died before it was finished (all the men of his family died comparatively young, in their fifties) so the Marchioness pulled all the workers off the rest of the house to complete the chapel as a memorial to him. So some of the decoration of the house remains blank to this day. During WWI Mount Stuart was a naval hospital and I don't think it has been lived in since, although the family still comes for holidays and celebrations, lots of weddings, which they do professionally, even providing the Bridal Suite. It would be a wonderful wedding venue.

Mac at Rockery Garden photograph
Mac at the Rockery "Wee" Garden, Mount Stuart

Drop Cap e walked through the extensive gardens after a light lunch. There is a lovely rock garden in the Japanese style with trickling streams and lovely rhododendrons, a pinetum with many types of pinetree, and a large kitchen garden and greenhouses. We only saw some of the gardens as it was a longish walk from the house to the carpark and Visitor Centre and we were getting tired.

Stone Circlet Bute photograph
Stone "Circlet" Bute

Drop Cap hen we left Mount Stuart we headed for the bottom of the island where I had seen a sign for Standing Stones (on the tourist map). We drove down just about every tiny road on the island looking for them, and finally found one lot, a mini circle (circlet?) of four stones in a pine forest.

Split Stone Bute photograph
Split Stone in the Circle

Drop Cap here was another lot in the vicinity but would have been a thirty minute walk through farmland and my feet were complaining, so we sat there and had a drink and some afternoon tea and then we just made the 1800 ferry and came home.

It has been a good day, lots of lovely sunshine, long may it continue. If it does, tomorrow to Loch Lomond, "I'll take the high road.....

Back to Top spacer Blue up arrow

Back to Contents Yellow up arrow

Tuesday 9th June, 2015

Drop Cap nother lovely summer day! We can't quite get over it!

We left fairly early, heading along the high road to Glasgow (the A82) crossing the Rest and be Thankful Pass and taking in the stunning views of the bare hills and Loch Lomond. And they were stunning. It is hard to realise that we are only about half an hour from Scotland's biggest city and we could be in the remote highlands.

Luss Village photograph
Luss Village Main Street

Drop Cap e made a morning tea stop at the lovely conservation village of Luss, an ancient town whose graveyard apparently has gravestones from victims of a Viking battle in the 9th Century. Its recent history has cottages from 18th Century slate and mill workers but it is really charming. We had coffee and Geoff had ginger biscuits there then we headed off to Balloch at the end of the loch. We bought tickets for the two hour Island Discovery Cruise with Sweeney's Cruises and went off to have our picnic in a meadow carpeted with daisies.

Loch Lomond Manor house photograph
Loch Lomond Manor House

Loch Lomond photograph
Loch Lomond

Drop Cap he cruise was lovely, almost like being back on the Rhine, with so many castellated Victorian manor houses along the way, and the island and mountain scenery was wonderful. We passed Ben Lomond, a munro second or third only to Ben Nevis, where the loch was over 600 feet deep.

Loch Lomond photograph
Cruising Loch Lomond

Drop Cap here was quite a lot of activity for a Tuesday: canoeing, paddle boarding, boating of all sizes, and coach tours galore. It is summer, of course, and lovely weather.

Falloch Installation photograph
Falls of Falloch Installation

Falls of Falloch photograph
Falls of Falloch

Drop Cap hen we returned we decided to try to find the Falls of Falloch which I had discovered online before we came. They were a fair way up the loch from Balloch but were signposted (inadequately) and had a carpark. We walked about ten minutes up to the Falls and through a metal "installation" which was supposed to be artistic but since it was rusty (intentionally so, I think) it did not give us much aesthetic pleasure. However, the Falls were wonderful and the installation made a much closer and safer viewpoint. So art and practical use were combined.

Drop Cap n the way home we missed the turn for Strachur so proceeded on for Inveraray to see if the Co-Op had any vegetables. It did, so I bought some for dinner and headed home. We called in at the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar to pick up a menu and, although being heavily fish oriented, Mac has agreed to a meal there on Friday night so we booked. Geoff has been looking forward to this since 2010!

Drop Cap he sun is still pouring into our lounge as I wait for the lamb mini roast and potatoes to cook. We want to have a rest day tomorrow, so I hope we don't waste a good day.

Back to Top spacer Blue up arrow

Back to Contents Yellow up arrow

Wednesday 10th June, 2015

Drop Cap e got up quite late and took our time breakfasting and showering. Then Geoff took his laptop etc and went to spend the morning at the Bay Cottage teashop which has free Wi-Fi.

Drop Cap ac and I headed for Dunoon to do some supermarket shopping. While there we topped up our cash and got Geoff some painkillers at Boots (he is always in pain, poor guy). When we got home we waited for Geoff who came home for lunch with fish and chips (Mac and I had sandwiches.)

Kilmordie Chapel photograph
Ruins of Kilmordie Chapel

Drop Cap hen we set off down a very minor road to find Old Lachlan Castle, former seat of the MacLachlan Clan, but bombarded and ruined after Culloden. We first came to the ruined Kilmordie Chapel, burying ground for the MacLachlan chiefs and containing some quite old gravestones, usually too weathered to read, but seeming to me to be more Crawfords than MacLachlans. The name "Archibald Crawford" appeared on at least three stones, different generations, presumably.

Old Castle Lachlan photograph
Old Castle Lachlan

Drop Cap hen we continued on until we came to a sign for "Inver Cottage", a restaurant in an extremely remote area, whose car park was recommended for the walk to the Castle. This (the Castle) we found to be in an extreme state of decay, covered with scaffolding and workmen from Historic Scotland. They can't possibly intend to restore it, just plan to stabilise the remains, I should think.

New Footbridge photograph
New Footbridge to Old Lachlan Castle

New Castle Lachlan photograph
New Castle Lachlan

Drop Cap istoric Scotland has constructed a new footbridge to the ruins which we took. There is a view of the "new" Castle Lachlan, a white-washed Victorian neo-Gothic confection, a short way away, then you get to the old ruins, ivy-covered remnants with the aforementioned scaffolding and a fence around to keep off sightseers.

Old C L from Inver Cottage photograph
View Across Lachlan Bay from Inver Cottage Restaurant

Drop Cap e walked back to Inver Cottage and had afternoon coffee with delicious scones with homemade butter and jam. Yum. I don't know how they survive, they are the only house around (perhaps that is why) but it has a good reputation so maybe people go there deliberately, not just happen by, like us.

Sculptured Stone photograph
Sculptured Stone Kilmody

Drop Cap e continued down this tiny one-lane road to Otter Ferry, spectacular mountain and loch views, then on to one even smaller, winding a precipitous route back to the main road.
When we reached the main road we diverted again to Kilmody to find the "Sculptured Stones" mentioned on the map.

Sculptured Stone photograph
Sculptured Stone Kilmody


Drop Cap hese turned out to be, not prehistoric standing stones as we saw on Monday, but medieval grave slabs, rescued from the ancient churchyard and put into a specially built enclosure to save them from the weather. They are all very old, with carvings of knights, priests, swords and celtic knots etc, very worn, but the ones still in the churchyard have lost all their identity so it is good they decided to protect them.

Drop Cap very interesting afternoon, heavy on graveyards but the scenery has been outstanding. And the weather! Today has been so warm and sunny, the sky unclouded blue. After the terrible start on Saturday the week so far has been one to write home about. And I probably will!

Back to Top spacer Blue up arrow

Back to Contents Yellow up arrow

Thursday 11th June, 2015

Loch Fyne photograph
Loch Fyne from Inveraray

Inveraray photograph
Inveraray Town Centre

Drop Cap e thought we might have an easy day today so we drove to Inveraray and started with morning tea and some shopping, buying filled rolls at a café to have a picnic. We strolled along the pretty main street and along the shores of Loch Fyne, which looked magnificent in the bright sunny weather. Last time we were here was autumn and all the bracken was brown. Now it is green.

Crarae Gorge photograph
Crarae Gorge

Crarae House photograph
Crarae House from the Trail

Drop Cap hen we went on about ten miles to Crarae Garden. This is the garden of a large house which belonged to a passionate plant hunter of the 19th Century. He brought back from Tibet and China many specimens of rhododendrons and other flowering trees , maples of many varieties and lots of other plants which were incorporated into a "Himalayan style" garden along the gorge of the Crarae Burn.

Crarae Himalayan Garden photograph
Crarae Himalayan Garden

Crarae Burn photograph
Crarae Burn

Drop Cap t is really quite spectacular, the burn descends the gorge in a series of cataracts, always one of our favourite landscapes although the lovely trees were unfortunately at the end of their spring flowering, which must have been wonderful. The maples have not yet reached their autumn splendour so we were pretty much between seasons. The Himalayan walk though was very attractive. On the site they also have a cairn with barrow and standing stones, very old and interesting, as well as a lovely planting of blue Himalayan poppies. Quite lovely.

Crarae Cairn photograph
Crarae Cairn

Drop Cap e had our picnic lunch here on one of their picnic tables and it was an enjoyable excursion. Crarae is managed by the National Trust for Scotland and the girl in their shop made a spirited attempt to get us to join. In retrospect it may well have been worth it because we visited quite a number of National Trust places afterwards. However, we did not think it would have made much difference to our spending.

Inveraray Jail photograph
Inveraray Jail

Drop Cap hen we returned to Inveraray we decided to visit the Old Inveraray Jail, a former prison which incorporated the County Court, so prisoners went directly to jail, did not pass go or collect 200 dollars. It was very well done with living costumed warders and wardresses as well as figures in the courtroom and cells and an audio self-guided unit to tell you all about what you were seeing.

Inveraray Courtroom photograph
Inveraray Courtroom

Drop Cap onditions in the beginning were pretty atrocious, but that is not unusual. The display spanned the centuries and showed how conditions were much improved by the time they shut it down. There were several real cases displayed in the cells, very well done, and it is amazing to us to see the sentences for really petty crime for which today they would get a slap on the wrist at worst. However, it did not seem to deter anyone.

Inveraray Jail photograph
Geoff at the Jail

Drop Cap here was quite a lot to see and read and Geoff and I began to flag long before Mac. Geoff needed afternoon tea so we found a bench and I gave him a couple of Mr Kiplings while Mac explored the upper floors. When he rejoined us Geoff spent up big in the shop, then we headed for home.

Drop Cap have to do another load of washing and drying, and these front loaders take forever.
Tomorrow, packing, cleaning and out to dinner. It has been a great week, long may the weather continue.

Back to Top spacer Blue up arrow

Back to Contents Yellow up arrow

Friday 12th June, 2015

Drop Cap acking and cleaning up took most of the morning. Then we went to the Bay Cottage tearoom for lunch, courtesy of Geoff, who stayed on to take advantage of the free Wi-Fi.

Glenbranter Revisited photograph
Glenbranter Revisited

Jubilee Point photograph
Jubilee Point on Loch Eck

Drop Cap ac and I drove to Glenbranter, where we took a short walk near where we walked on Sunday. It has nearly dried out after five days of sunshine.
Then we went on to the shores of Loch Eck a little further on where we stopped at Jubilee Point, a pleasant picnic spot on the shore with a pebble beach. We strolled about, it is very lovely, and Mac did a geological experiment whereby he diverted the path of a little burn emptying into the loch and watched how the mini landscape altered.

Loch Eck photograph
Lovely Loch Eck

Mac at Loch Eck photograph
Mac at Loch Eck


Dinner at the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar.

Drop Cap e had a pleasant fishy meal. Geoff and I started with crispy oysters (breaded and deep fried) served on the shell with mayo. This is the first time I have had cooked oysters (apart from Kilpatrick) and they were really delicious. Mac had heritage tomato salad with squid and feta, then Geoff had lobster, Mac had lemon sole and I had roasted salmon. All good but very skimpy on vegetables. I know the place specialises in seafood, but you really need something else on the plate, if only chips! Seafood is generally not terribly filling. A salad would have been nice.

Our Room Strachur photograph
All Packed Up (Our Room, Tigh an Uillt)

Drop Cap ome to pack the car for tomorrow. We have all enjoyed our stay by lovely Loch Fyne. No health problems this time and the weather was exceptional! I feel we could happily live in the cottage, it has all we need. Still, on again to fresh fields and pastures new!

Back to Top spacer Blue up arrow

Back to Contents Yellow up arrow

Orange left arrow Back to Previous Page Forward to Next Green right arrow