Subscribe to Scotiana's blog RSS feed in your preferred reader!
Follow-Scotiana-On-Twitter

Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter
    December 2021
    S M T W T F S
     1234
    567891011
    12131415161718
    19202122232425
    262728293031  

    Archives

    Follow Me on Pinterest

    The Best of Scotland – Argyll & The Isles: Bute & Cowal…

    Mosaic brochures VisitScotland 2012 and three Scottish Teddy Bears 1 © 2013 Scotiana

     

    Dear readers,

    This post introduces a  new series of articles which will lead us to some of the best places of Scotland.  We’ve visited a number of them during our seven trips there and we’ll share with you a selection of our photos focusing on what we love best.  Our last travel to Scotland dates back to September 2012 but we’re already busy preparing the next one which will take place in May and June 2015. It will be a 45-day trip and we’re looking forward to our new Scottish adventures.

    There are 32 ‘council areas’ * in Scotland. You can see the list at the end of this article but I will use  Visit Scotland‘s division into 15 regions which suits my purpose better.

    • Aberdeen City and Shire
    • Argyll & The Isles
    •  Ayrshire & Arran
    •  Dumfries & Galloway
    •  Dundee & Angus
    •  Edinburgh & The Lothians
    •  Greater Glasgow & The Clyde Valley
    •  The Highlands
    •  The Kingdom of Fife
    •  Loch Lomond, The Trossachs, Stirling & Forth Valley
    •  Orkney
    •  Outer Hebrides
    •  Perthshire
    •  Scottish Borders
    •  Shetland

     

    Visit Scotland Argyll & The Isles Brochure 2012

    Visit Scotland Argyll & The Isles Brochure 2012

     

    Our tour of Scotland begins with Argyll & The Isles,  still following Visit Scotland subdivision of this region into three areas, focusing first on Bute & Cowal today.

    • Oban, Mull & Lorn
    • Mid Argyll, Kintyre & Islay
    • Bute & Cowal
    The Rough Guide to Scottish Higlands & Islands Rough Guides 2006

    The Rough Guide to Scottish Higlands & Islands Rough Guides 2006

    Cut off from centuries from the rest of Scotland by the mountains and sea lochs that characterize the region, Argyll remains remote, its scatter of offshore islands forming part of the Inner Hebridean archipelago. Geographically as well as culturally, this is a transitional area between Highland and Lowland, boasting a rich variety of scenery, from lush, subtropical gardens warmed by the Gulf Stream to flat and treeless islands on the edge of the Atlantic. It’s in the folds and twists of the countryside, the interplay of land and water and the views out to the islands that the strengths and beauties of mainland Argyll lie.

    On 15 May 2004 we visited the small island of  Bute but it would have been worth to devote more time to it. We only stayed  half a day driving along the A 886 up to Garroch Head.  Our tour was a “parcours du combattant” to see all what we wanted to see: the picturesque little town of Rothesay with its old castle, the fascinating Mount Stuart House with its magnificent gardens and St Blane ruins in the south of the isle. All along the road the scenery is very beautiful with boats sailing on the Firth of Clyde and views to the mainland and the island of Arran.  We had arrived around midday via the ferry which sails from Colintraive, on the Cowal peninsula,  to Rhudobach, on the isle of Bute. The crossing is very short for the distance between Colintraive and Rhudobach is only 300 m.

    A lovely house with its gorgeous garden in Cowal © 2004 Scotiana

    A lovely house with its gorgeous garden in Cowal © 2004 Scotiana

    We only passed through the beautiful peninsula of Cowal, following peaceful little roads on our way to Colintraive and Bute: the A 885, the B 836 and the A 886. The weather was cloudy and fresh but as it didn’t rain, we could take a few pictures of the countryside covered with carpets of wild flowers: broom, bluebells and ‘Stellaria Holostea’, a beautiful and lavish white flower I’ve just found the name. The air was vivifying and we enjoyed very much our short but frequent stops  in front of a loch, a beautiful house surrounded by colourful rhododendrons, big old trees standing amidst carpets of bluebells. Once a pheasant crossed the road and sheep and lambs were bleating in the distance…

     

    Cowal peninsula Dunoon ferry terminal © 2004 Scotiana

    Cowal peninsula Dunoon ferry terminal © 2004 Scotiana

    Hills and fields on the Cowal peninsula  © 2004 Scotiana

    Hills and fields on the Cowal peninsula © 2004 Scotiana

    Cowal tree bluebells jacinthes des bois jacinthes sauvages © 2004 Scotiana

    Cowal tree bluebells jacinthes des bois jacinthes sauvages © 2004 Scotiana

     

    Cowal loch Striven Stellaria Holostea © 2004 Scotiana

    Cowal loch Striven Stellaria Holostea © 2004 Scotiana

    Cowal peninsula Ardtaraig panel JC  © 2004 Scotiana

    Cowal peninsula Ardtaraig panel JC © 2004 Scotiana

    Colintraive ferry terminal Cowal peninsula Argyll & The Isles Scotland © 2004 Scotiana

    Colintraive ferry terminal Cowal peninsula Argyll &The Isles © 2004 Scotiana

     

    Colintraive-Rhubodach ferry Cowal peninsula Argyll & The Isles Scotland  © 2004 Scotiana

    Colintraive-Rhubodach ferry Cowal peninsula Argyll The Isles © 2004 Scotiana

     

     

    Bute beach boat race broom-covered hills © 2004 Scotiana

    Bute beach boat race broom-covered hills © 2004 Scotiana

     

    Bute boat race © 2004 Scotiana

    Bute boat race © 2004 Scotiana

     

    Bute Rothesay castle ditches © 2004 Scotiana

    Bute Rothesay castle ditches © 2004 Scotiana

     

    So, after our very short ferry crossing from Colintraive to Rhubodach we followed the A 886 southward and arrived to Rothesay, Bute’s largest settlement situated on Rothesay Bay, on the east side of the isle. Its picturesque streets radiate out from the 12th old castle still proudly standing within its defensive walls and ditches. This lovely resort gained its popularity in the Victorian and Edwardian times when the development of railways and steamships made it easy for the residents of Glasgow to journey “Doon the Water”, along the Firth of Clyde. The Isle of Bute became one of the most popular Clyde resorts, offering to the Glaswegians a lovely and peaceful place to spend holidays far from the noise and pollution of the big industrial city.

    The Waverley steamer anchoring in Glasgow Clyde harbour © 2007 Scotiana

    The Waverley steamer anchoring in Glasgow Clyde harbour © 2007 Scotiana

    The beautiful Isle of Bute still attracts many tourists today and lucky are those who can journey “Doon the Water” aboard ‘The Waverley,’ the magnificent and last seagoing paddle-steamer in the world.

     

    Bute Rothesay castle rhodos gun and rhodos © 2004 Scotiana

    Bute Rothesay castle rhodos gun and rhodos © 2004 Scotiana

     

    Bute Mountstuart route rhodos © 2004 Scotiana

    Bute Mountstuart route rhodos © 2004 Scotiana

     

    Bute Mountstuart House © 2004 Scotiana

    Bute Mountstuart House © 2004 Scotiana

    Mount Stuart is one of Scotland’s finest tourist attractions and is a must-visit. The house is one of the world’s most extraordinary follies, a sumptuous Victorian pile, way beyond extravagance and into the realms of fantasy, the bastard child of a Gothic cathedral, a mosque, a pre-Raphaelite painting and a marble Hollywood state set. It is not really a house in the sense of somewhere to live but more a theatre set for the playboy rich.

    (Scotland for Gardeners – Kenneth Cox)

    When we visited Bute in may 2004, our time was limited to a few hours only and the choice proved to be very difficult among the many places places we wanted to see there. We finally decided to visit Mount Stuart House and its gardens first before driving up to Kilchattan in the south of the isle to visit the ruins of St Blane’s Church & Monastery and have a glimpse of the surrounding landscapes from the top of the hill. The guided visit of MountStuart House (it is forbidden to take pictures inside) took much time than planned and we had to content with visiting the gardens from aboard the tractor and trailer which regularly drives the visitors across the 200-acre gardens. Though rather frustrating, we neverless enjoyed very much our glimpse of the wooded land and its carpets of flowers, the gorgeous rhododendrons which were in full bloom then.

    http://www.mountstuart.com/

    Bute Mountstuart family arms © 2004 Scotiana

    Bute Mountstuart family arms © 2004 Scotiana

     

     

    Bute St Blane ruins hilll© 2004 Scotiana

    Bute St Blane ruins hilll© 2004 Scotiana

     

    Bute St Blane ruins © 2004 Scotiana

    Bute St Blane ruins © 2004 Scotiana

    At the end of the day we drove back to Rothesay to take the ferry linking Bute to Wemyss Bay, on the mainland. The crossing lasts about 35-minutes.

    During our next trip to Scotland, in spring, we’ll try to stay longer in Bute, and especially in Rothesay to be able to linger along its picturesque streets, also to visit its old castle and get panoramic views of the scenery from the top of the famous ‘Canada Hill’, a place from where the Scots used to see their families depart for the New World aboard the crowded vessels which embody their hopes for a better life. We would also like to discover the other side of the isle for it shelters a number of treasures. Among the hidden gems we should find there wide sandy beaches with views onto the surrounding islands (Arran, Inchmarnock) and a number of archaelogical sites containing mysterious stone circles and very ancient ruins. If we are lucky to arrive at the right time maybe we’ll be able to catch a glimpse of seals basking in the sun…

    We are looking forward to our next trip to Scotland and to taking  new pictures of this fabulous country to share with you on Scotiana. In the meantime, I hope you’ve enjoyed  this first incursion into Argyl & The Isles. Maybe it will give you ideas to plan your own trip there 😉

    Anyway, don’t miss our next episode in Argyll & the Isles. “Le voyage continue” 😉

    A bientôt.

    Mairiuna

    * The 32 Scottish ‘council areas’ :

    1. Inverclyde
    2. Renfrewshire
    3. West Dunbartonshire
    4. East Dunbartonshire
    5. City of Glasgow
    6. East Renfrewshire
    7. North Lanarkshire
    8. Falkirk
    9. Clackmannanshire
    10. West Lothian
    11. City of Edinburgh
    12. Midlothian
    13. East Lothian
    14. Fife
    15. Dundee
    16. Angus
    17. Aberdeenshire
    18. City of Aberdeen
    19. Moray
    20. Highland
    21. Hébrides extérieures
    22. Argyll and Bute
    23. Perth and Kinross
    24. Stirling
    25. North Ayrshire
    26. East Ayrshire
    27. South Ayrshire
    28. Dumfries and Galloway
    29. South Lanarkshire
    30. Scottish Borders
    31. Orcades
    32. Shetland
    Share this:
    Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

    1 comment to The Best of Scotland – Argyll & The Isles: Bute & Cowal…

    Leave a Reply

    You can use these HTML tags

    <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

      

      

      

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.