What a wonderful weekend it has been during this August bank holiday, I started the weekend off by having a walk in the hills of North Ayrshire but I will tell you about that one another time. This blog is all about my travels on Sunday when I went into Argyllshire on the west of Scotland.
The day started with a drive north along the A82 passing Loch Lomond until reaching Tarbet when I left to join the A83 at Arrochar. I followed this road all the way around to Lochgilphead. However, on the route you have to climb up Glen Croe to the Rest and Be Thankful which sits at the top of the glen. This is a place you really must stop at and enjoy the scenery, easily one of the most incredible parts of Scotland, every direction that you look in could be used as a screensaver on your computer.
Once you have left the Rest and Be Thankful, you immediately pass by Loch Restil which is a beautiful little loch which is very photogenic particularly on a calm day, you do need to be careful on this bit of road when it is windy as the cross winds can be extremely strong as several drivers have discovered in recent years.
After Loch Restil, just a short distance away is the iconic location known as Butterbridge, this is another place that you have to get out of the car to view and fully appreciate. There is a historic bridge that was built by General Wades soldiers at the time of the Jacobite Rebellions and stunning views to Ben Ime (pronounced “eem”).
Now, there is a lot to see and do in Argyllshire but I want to mainly focus on Sundays journey and my walk and just share it with you. I will go into more detail about other parts of Argyll on another occasion.
So, where were we? Ahh yes, you then follow the A83 road all the way to Inverary, there is a historic jail here and on the way into the town you cross over a hump bridge which is controlled by traffic lights, as you reach the top of the bridge look to the right, you will see Inverary Castle which was the inspiration for Walt Disneys Disneyland Castle.
When leaving Inverary you will drive along the banks of Loch Fyne for some distance and eventually arrive at Lochgilphead, I can tell you this, I was so happy to arrive here to be able to use the public toilet, comfort break doesn’t quite cover the relief. Moving on, once you are through Lochgilphead you then join a smaller road, the A816 which will take you to the village of Kilmartin, and if you have reached this point without seeing Dunadd or the standing stones then you have come too far, Dunadd and the standing stones are all on the left side of the road as you journey along it.
The picture above is Dunadd Hill Fort, this is where Fergus among others became Kings during the coronation rituals that took place here. This is an incredibly historic location and is recognised as the birthplace of Scotland. You will find ancient carvings from Celts and Picts and there is a footprint significant in the coronation of Fergus.
Dunadd itself is accessible from the main road but it is dreadfully signposted so as you drive this road, I recommend no faster than 40mph because the entrance is just after a bend and not readily visible until you are upon it, this is not a place which you want to turn into when someone is driving close behind.
Now if you are reasonably fit you will be able to manage the slight climb up the rocky and grassy footpath to the top but be aware that this is one that you will require to wear the right kind of footwear, do not try it in dress shoes or high heels, get the walking shoes on and you will be fine. The views from the top are beautiful and well worth the huffing and puffing to get there, it is a gorgeous reward.
After coming down from the hill, the next location you want to have a look at are the standing stones and the Nether Largie Cairn. The cairn is a burial chamber and you can access it without too much difficulty. I think it is fascinating that the people were buried in the feotal position and not laid straight out as is the customary manner today.
In order to view the Nether Largie Cairn and the Standing Stones, you will have to park in the Lady Glassary Wood Car Park which is again on the left side when you are travelling north and indeed another one which is fairly hidden and with no signage this time to tell you that it is there. However, it is another location with an incredible reward for finding it.
You are discouraged from touching the standing stones, it is said to be bad luck and misfortune will find you if you do touch them, I have enough bad luck under normal circumstances I decided not to touch. This is a place that I will certainly come back too and I don’t think it will be too long before I return but this is one of those places that visitors to Scotland don’t really get to hear about, a most gorgeous hidden treasure and one that everyone should see.
If you’ve visited this location, please share your experiences.