2011 UK and Ireland travel blog


The sitting area of our room in Campbeltown

View from our suite

Lovely window in Craigard House Hotel

Craigard House Hotel


The Scot's are so orderly!

The Mull

Cliff where the Campbel's did in the MacDonalds

View of the Mull countryside

Cow path to the Mull

With the windows open we had a terrific night's sleep listening to the gentle lapping of Loch Lomond right below us. So quiet so peaceful, no boisterous Germans to disturb us for this is not a large lodge. We watched a misty sunrise pour upon a smooth as glass loch dotted with noisy ducks. Mother and Joan both had kippers for breakfast, I settled for excellent crumpets with crisp bacon and maple syrup. We wished we could stay another night but as all our bookings are set and paid for, we reluctantly left Loch Lomond on a misty overcast morning heading up into the grand mountains and sweeping green glens of the Argyll Forest. Travelling down the narrow highway along the eastern shore of Loch Fyne which is not a lake but a long fjord we passed through several villages whose main commerce was oyster farming and fishing. The prettiest and major of these villages is Inverary where we did some shopping. Joan's father is of the Ogilvie clan and my Granny as Mother recalls, said she was of the Gordon clan. So naturally we bought some cap badges and kilt pins of both clans. Now I always thought my Granny, born and raised in Dumferline, Scotland was of the Fraser clan, but Mother insists than I am mistaken. Yes I too find that difficult to comprehend! At Tarbert we entered the peninsula of Kintyre and the highway switched over to the western shore and again we marvelled at the wildness of the Atlantic Ocean. Cliffs, rocky ridges, sandy beaches and pounding surf all were with us until nearing the end of the peninsula we crossed over again to the eastern shore and the remote town of Campbeltown at the end of the highway. Rather, what it known as a highway here; often it was but one lane with several old stone single lane bridges. There are of course castles and abbeys along the way but we visited none. Campbeltown (yes only one L) is an old fishing port and this area is a noted whisky (no e) distilling area. On a long wide beautiful bay with green pointy hills to the south. And just over those hills is the Mull Of Kintyre. Tomorrow we will venture down the narrow lanes that lead to this remote place that Paul McCartney made known in his beautiful haunting song. The access roads only get us close to the real Mull Of Kintyre as we have been advised that it is a long hike to get to the exact place. Apparently it is even harder getting back, so we shall not do so. We will be close enough to say "we been there". There is absolutely no commercialization or touristy promotion of the Mull. I cannot even find a T-shirt that says Mull Of Kintyre. We are staying at the Craigard House Hotel just across from Campbeltown right on the bay. It is not really a hotel but rather an old castle-like residence converted into a 14 room lodge. Built in 1882, a large elegant stone mansion built by two distilling brothers, then converted in the 1940s into a maternity hospital and then in 1996 renovated into this gorgeous place it is now. It is like staying in someone's elegant massive old house, the design and furnishings all so elegant and majestic. Our top floor suite has a huge bay window that overlooks the harbour and it is so quiet sitting in these lovely old couches looking out on a spectacular scene. Mother's large suite is next to ours and soon we shall go downstairs to the old dining room and later on for drinks in the cozy adjoining lounge to socialize with the other guests. We have an old carved four poster bed, a lovely old chiff-a-robe (?)easily a 20 foot ceiling with hand painted cornices and elegant old wainscoting. Now there's a couple of words you don't here that often anymore. A door that locks with a skeleton key, and of course a roomy and modern updated bathroom. What a place! And yes free WiFi, even away out here. I don't what it was about that cheap downtown Belfast hotel we stayed in two nights ago charging for WiFi. I'm still honked off about that. I am doing this entry in two parts...this is part two, after dinner and some double malts with the proprietors in the lounge. Only one other couple staying here tonight, from Toronto "don't you know". Just had to harass with my usual discretion the Leaf fans. This is a place right out of the past. I half expect to have a visit from Jacob Marley's ghost tonight; what with these 16 foot 500 pound drapes I just pulled across the tall wind-rattling windows. The three of us are just having the time of our lives these two days in Scotland. The charm, the lodgings, the scenery, the so friendly people. Tomorrow is a long day...the Mull Of Kintyre, up into Glencoe then a ferry ride over to the Isle Of Skye. I hope Donald found his troosers by then. So good night to all and bottoms up from another double malt, Steve & Joan & Patricia

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