Sometimes everything just comes together and you find the perfect spot. A beautifully refurbished cottage with a Rayburn for cooking, 45 acres of woodland for walking and exploring, the beach on your doorstep and when the evening came a window seat to watch the sun come down before lighting the open fire. Woodhouse Cottage had everything. Ten miles south of Inverary beside the hamlet of Minard it was the ideal spot for an Argyll adventure.
|Loch Fyne Whiskies|
Inverary has a wonderful old world feel to it, with the jail worth a visit, it is informative whilst being suitably entertaining for children and harrowing for adults with tales of ears nailed to gallows and children raised in prison. Following it up with a meal in the old bar of The George hotel, a walk down to the harbour to see The Vital Spark or crossing the road to sample the wares of Loch Fyne Whiskies is a treat. The latter in my view is the best whisky shop I've ever experienced bar none, with welcoming, knowledgeable and passionate staff. If there's a bottle you've been looking for, chances are they'll have it. I left armed with one myself and four glencairn tasting glasses.
|The Vital Spark in Inverary Harbour|
|Brainport heritage trail|
|Seafood Platter in Loch Fyne Oyster Bar|
Food highlights of the week were plentiful, the ingredients brought from Glasgow notwithstanding. A journey south of 45 minutes to the Kintyre peninsula will bring you to Tarbert where the Cafebarge Argyll sells wonderful seafood and vegetarian dishes in a tapas style while across the road the Anchor Inn has a stylish seafood based menu and children eat for free. North of Inverary you'll find the famous Loch Fyne Oyster Bar in Cairndow, the original one where we got a stunning seafood platter of various cured and smoked salmon and trout along with smoked mussels, rollmop herring and wonderful fresh oysters. The best I've ever tried and I've tried quite a few. A further half mile will bring you to Fyne Ales and a visit to the shop there is well worth it. With a beautiful array of ales from the lightest citrussy Jarl to the beautiful Vital Spark stout and everything in between.
|Fish Counter at the Oyster Bar|
Fresh produce for cooking yourself was also bountiful, with a kilo of fresh mussels and a pair of prime venison steaks procured from the Oyster Bar for dinner by the Rayburn followed by a glass of malt by the beautiful log fire. Perfectly accompanied by some freshly foraged seaweed from the shore. Next time I'll pluck up the courage for foraged mussels too.
|Labourers cottage, Auchindrain|
Two particular highlights were a step back in time at Auchindrain township, the last one in Scotland to cease being occupied. Here highland rural life is preserved forever in the crofts and barns and possessions of former workers and tenants. The second being a short ferry crossing from Tayinloan to the Isle of Gigha, a stunning little island at the southernmost point in the Hebrides with golden sandy beaches, a temperate climate and wonderfully welcoming locals. With all this and much more besides I'd suggest you find time in your life for a week by Loch Fyne and Kintyre, it's well worth it.
|Woodhouse Cottage from the beach|
|View from bedroom window seat|
|Welcome to Woodhouse|
|Relaxing of an evening|