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Wake Up to adventure: machrihanish

The Ply Guys, Machrihanish

June 2023

@theplyguys



Journey Through Scotland: From Loch Lomond to Westport Beach


We're always amazed at the amount of people that come to the farm and haven't visited Scotland before, but we get it... it's miles away from England! But once you make it this far it's a land filled with breathtaking landscapes, rich history, and unique culture. One of our favourite hidden gems is Machrihanish near Campbeltown, the drive from our home on Loch Lomond passes through picturesque towns and fascinating historical sites and makes this one of our go to trips.



The Start: Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond, located in the heart of the Trossachs National Park, is one of Scotland's most iconic and beloved natural attractions and it's where we call home.

Loch Lomond is the largest inland stretch of water in Great Britain by surface area, covering 27.5 square miles (71 km²). Located in the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, it is renowned for its distinctive freshwater ecosystem and stunning natural beauty. The loch contains 30 islands, the largest of which is Inchmurrin, itself a site of interest with varied flora and fauna. The deepest point of the loch reaches 623 feet (190 meters), making it one of the deepest in Scotland. Loch Lomond serves as a vital habitat for various species, including otters and ospreys, and it's a popular destination for activities such as hiking, fishing, boating, and bird-watching. Its southern shores are characterized by a softer landscape, while the northern part is dominated by rugged mountains, including Ben Lomond, which stands at 3,196 feet (974 meters). This complex and diverse geographical profile makes Loch Lomond an essential ecological site and a must-visit destination for those seeking to experience Scotland's natural heritage.



Things to See:


On the Road: Scenic Stops


REST AND BE THANKFUL

Located on the A83 road, "The Rest And Be Thankful" is a renowned viewpoint and pass in the Scottish Highlands. It's known for its breathtaking views of Glen Croe and the surrounding mountains.

At an elevation of 803 feet (245 meters), this spot has been a resting place for travelers since the time of the military road construction in the 18th century. A stone was placed here by the soldiers who built the original road, inscribed with the words "Rest & Be Thankful," giving this place its unique name. Whether you're looking to capture stunning photographs, enjoy a peaceful moment taking in the scenery, or perhaps embark on one of the nearby hiking trails, this stop adds a touch of historical charm and natural beauty to your journey.


Inveraray

The charming town of Inveraray, with its historic castle and beautiful harbour, offers a perfect place to stretch your legs and sample some of the best fish and chips in Scotland!

In 1744 the third Duke of Argyll decided to demolish the existing castle and start from scratch with a new building. The castle was 40 years in construction, and the work was largely supervised by the Adam family, still renowned to this day as gifted architects and designers. The end product was not a castle in the traditional sense, but a classic Georgian mansion house on a grand scale, Inveraray Castle.

Over the years the castle has played host to numerous luminaries; Queen Victoria visited it in 1874, and the Royal connection was further cemented when her daughter, Princess Louise, married the heir to the Campbell chieftainship, the Marquess of Lorne, in 1871,[10] illustrating the elevated position of the Argyll family in the social order of the times.


Tarbert, Loch Fyne

A delightful fishing village that's perfect for a leisurely stroll and a seafood lunch, you be daft to not sample some freshly caught scallops or oysters.


Tarbert is famous for its seafood and hosts a seafood festival every year. In addition to the Seafood Festival, Tarbert also plays host to the Scottish Series, which usually takes place in the last weeks of May every year. This yacht race is the second biggest in Britain and is surpassed only by the Cowes Week.


Kilmartin Glen

The glen is located between Oban and Lochgilphead,[2] surrounding the village of Kilmartin. In the village, Kilmartin Museum[3] explains the stories of this ancient landscape and the people who dwelt there. There are more than 800 ancient monuments within a six-mile (ten-kilometre) radius of the village, with 150 monuments being prehistoric. Monuments include standing stones, a henge monument, numerous cists, and a "linear cemetery" comprising five burial cairns. Several of these, as well as many natural rocks, are decorated with cup and ring marks.


Crinan Canal

Enjoy a walk along 'Britain's most beautiful shortcut' or take a boat trip.

The canal, which opened in 1801, takes its name from the village of Crinan at its western end. Approximately nine miles (14 km) long, the canal connects the village of Ardrishaig on Loch Gilp with the Sound of Jura, providing a navigable route between the Clyde and the Inner Hebrides,


Campbeltown

Home to renowned whisky distilleries, this town offers a taste of Scotland's liquid gold.

Campbeltown is one of five areas in Scotland categorised as a distinct malt whisky producing region, and is home to the Campbeltown single malts. At one point it had over 30 distilleries and proclaimed itself "the whisky capital of the world". However, a focus on quantity rather than quality, and the combination of Prohibition and the Great Depression in the United States, led to most distilleries going out of business. Today only three active distilleries remain in Campbeltown: Glen Scotia, Glengyle, and Springbank


Machrihanish Wildlife Observatory

For an unparalleled wildlife experience with superb bird watching and spectacular scenery, Machrihanish offers what is arguably the very best of Kintyre. The establishment of the purpose-built sea watching hide provides shelter for sea watchers so that observation / studies can take place during the worst weather, yet best sea watching conditions. This sparsely populated area has a diverse range of habitats that provide a wealth of possibilities throughout the year. Birdlife is abundant and varied and the range recorded in this well-watched area now stands at just over 200 species including regular rarities such as Leach's Petrel, Balearic Shearwater, Grey Phalarope and Sabine's Gull. More info here




The Destination: Westport Beach

Your journey ends at the golden sands of Westport Beach, a haven for surfers, beachcombers, and those looking to relax.


Activities:

  • Surfing: Catch a wave or take lessons if you're new to the sport.

  • Golf: Play a round at the nearby Machrihanish Golf Club.

  • Sunset Watching: Don't miss the mesmerising sunsets over the Atlantic.




Conclusion

The trip from Loch Lomond to Westport Beach is filled with opportunities to explore Scotland's rich heritage, taste its flavours, and revel in its natural beauty. Whether you're a history lover, an outdoor adventurer, or someone who just wants to unwind and enjoy the view, this route has something to offer.



Pack your bags, take the road less traveled, and discover the treasures hidden in Scotland's majestic landscapes!


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