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Issue 10 - Iona Argyll and The Isles

Scotland Magazine Issue 10
September 2003

 

This article is 14 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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Iona Argyll and The Isles

THE DUCHESS OF ARGYLL, WHO HAS LIVED AT INVERARAY CASTLE FOR ALMOST 40 YEARS, TAKES US THROUGH THE ATTRACTIONS OF HER HOME REGION

Q: How would you describe the area to those who have never visited?

A: I am fortunate enough to live in one of Scotland’s most spectacular regions. From the window of my home I can look out at Loch Fyne, with the town of Inveraray to one side – across the loch is a sweeping vista of hills and the light is always astonishing. They say that in the Highlands there is often four seasons in a day, but I think that adds to the character. Throughout Argyll the coastline is rugged from Kintyre in the South to Appin in the North with ferries crossing the lochs and going back and forth to the islands of Mull, Tiree, Coll, Colonsay, Gigha and Islay. Oban, one of the larger towns, is called ‘Gateway to the Isles’.

Q: What are the area’s main attractions?

A: The town of Inveraray is the old capital of Argyll as well as a Royal Burgh, and living here I am in easy reach of Loch Awe, Cruachan, Fort William and Ben Nevis, Rothesay, Loch Lomond, Campbeltown and it is only a two hour drive to Glasgow.

Inveraray has a maritime museum and Inveraray Jail is a genuine 19th century prison with exhibitions of torture, death and damnation! Most appealing for me are the beautiful gardens at Crarae, a few miles away, and Ardkinglas and Benmore Younger Botanic Gardens with their arboretums.

Q: Tell us a little about Inveraray Castle?

A: I have lived here since my marriage. The castle is open to the public from April to October. The castle was built in 1760 taking 20 years to complete. It was the inspiration of the 4th Duke of Argyll, who replaced the old town of Inveraray with the modern town, with architects Roger Morris and Robert Mylne. William Adams was also Clerk of Works.

We are proud of what we have here at Inveraray, a unique collection of armour, Highland weapons, French furniture, Beauvais tapestries and family portraits. But of course I am biased, this is my home!

There is our visitor shop at the castle and I do most of the buying with the help of my daughter Louise, who knows what younger visitors will like.

Q: What other tourist attractions really stand out?

A: A few miles towards Lochgilphead, there is a wildlife park with geese, deer, wallabies and wild goats. There is also a beautiful nine-hole golf course on the shores of Loch Fyne.

Q: Where would you recommend to drink and eat out locally?

A: I enjoy the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar and Inver Cottage at Strathlachan.

Q: What is your favourite local dish?

A: Kipper pate made from the world renowned Loch Fyne kippers. Also, our oysters and scallops are straight from the sea.

Q: Describe your perfect day out in Argyll and the Isles.

A: I am a member of Dunoon Sub-Aqua Club and often go scuba diving. It is enormous fun.

Q: How do you think the area could be improved?

A: Tourism is important to the local economy, but those of us who live here already think that everything is perfect.