Glencoe

Whether you are a hill walker, James Bond fan, or a history buff, Glencoe has something for everyone.

Although may of the hills here might seem intimidating to some, there are some low level walks that give you a real flavour of the glen. The most well known of these is the Lost Valley, where the MacDonalds allegedly kept the cattle that they had rustled from neighbouring clans. Its quite a rugged walk, but takes you up into dramatic scenery. More information is available here: https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/fortwilliam/lostvalley.shtml 

The Lost Valley

 

The National Trust for Scotland centre is well worth a visit as you will learn more about the history of the glen, as well as the wildlife. Just on the edge of the village is the memorial monument to the highlanders that dies in the 1692 massacre.

Sandy beaches

The two most accessible sandy beaches locally are Ganavan, near Oban, and Tralee (Ardmucknish Bay) in Benderloch.

Ganavan –  If you drive into Oban, and go north along the esplanade as far as you can, you will be on the road to Ganavan, which takes you past Dunollie Castle. There is a large carpark at the end of the road and toilets, making it a good choice with young kids. On the way to it you will also pass Wee Ganavan where you can park at the side of the road. From Ganavan you can also walk along the coast to the north, or explore up the cycle track towards Dunbeg. The cycle path is the venue for the weekly ParkRun on a Saturday morning.

Both beaches are popular with swimmers, and are good launch sites for kayaks, kite surfers etc. Ganavan can be a little exposed in some winds so check the forecast if you’re paddling / foiling etc.

Tralee Bay – This large sand and gravel beach is popular with locals and visitors, but has more limited parking. The best place is a small car park in the trees, half way down the straight road that turns off by the school in the village. You can also park in the village and follow the signs, but this takes you to the less sandy end of the beach.

Tralee beach from Beinn Lora

 

A much quieter spot, is the beach up at Dail which is three miles further up the track from Craig. It’s a great spot for a swim or just an explore.

An Cala gardens, Isle of Seil

An Cala, Isle of Seil

A small yet interesting garden sheltered behind a large wall on the exposed south side of Seil. A good garden for plant lovers, and has wee paths up the slope behind to explore. You could combine a visit here with a trip across to Easdale Island, or to the gardens at Ardmaddy castle that you pass on the way back up the road to Oban.

Oban

Oban

The nearest town to Craig is Oban, known as The Gateway to The Isles. It’s a lovely wee town with a good range of independent and mainstream shops including Tesco, Aldi, Lidl, and M&S Foodhall. This is also where the Calmac ferry port is for day trips to Mull and Iona.

There are a wide range of eateries here too, with many great cafes, pubs and restaurants. It’s worth having a look on trip advisor for a wide range of places as I just don’t eat out enough to be an expert! Having said that, my favourites are Ee-Usk on the North Pier for sea food if you are feeling extravagant, and for families the pizza place Piazza right next door to it. Good food can also be had at Cuan Mor and Coast.  For a pub with character try the Oban Inn, which has been there since 1790. Bridge Cafe, close to Tesco’s is great for lunches and cake at any time. The green seafood hut right next to the Calmac terminal has a fabulous reputation and is well worth a visit, but be aware it’s not open late and takes cash only.

Local attractions include Dunollie Castle,  The War and Peace Museum and Oban Distillery.

 

Beinn Lora, Benderloch

the gate to Beinn Lora, with view south down the Firth of LornThe hill Beinn Lora is located in Benderloch and can be accessed from a small car park there. A very pleasant but steep walk takes you up to a viewpoint, with stunning views out across the peninsular and across to Morvern and Mull. By returning to the forestry track and heading east you can then continue on through a gate and on to the hill itself. The summit is at 308m and is marked with a trig point.

There is more information on the Forestry and Land Scotland website: https://forestryandland.gov.scot/visit/beinn-lora and on Walk Highlands: https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/argyll/beinn-lora.shtml

The tracks on Beinn Lora are great for biking and you can access them from Benderloch, or Barcaldine, or from Rhugarbh between the two on the A828. OS maps are the best source of information about this, or have a look on Trailforks: https://www.trailforks.com/region/benderloch-41227/

Beinn Mheadhonach

If you walk straight out the back of the cottage, and zig zag your way up the hill behind it take you up Beinn Phlacaig, and from there you can cross to Beinn Mheadhonach, a Graham at 715 metres high. It gives great views back down on to Loch Etive and across the surrounding area. I walked this on a rather wet day, but the views were stunning. I was delighted to bump into a couple of ptarmigan, which I wasn’t expecting, and also found a couple of deer antlers to add to my motley collection. You can drop down further up the loch nearer to Cadderlie, and walk back down the track to the cottage.

These timelapses were from the summit looking north up Loch Etive.

wildlife camera

I’ve been having fun with a new wildlife camera. It can take videos and stills, day or night, and if the cottage is empty I have been putting it in the garden to see what goes on when there is no one around. So far there have been birds. lots of birds, but I am hoping for something a bit more exciting!

chaffinch2

Winter on Loch Etive

It’s been a stunning day here today, and I made the most of it by getting out with the camera. It’s at times like these that I become aware of how remote the cottages are. They really are an amazing location for a holiday … maybe I should stay there more often!

Pine martens at Craig

I am delighted to have received this lovely review by email, plus some amazing photos of the pine martens at Craig. Thank you so much Cath and Will!

“At the beginning of August we spent a glorious, perfectly peaceful week at Craig cottage, beside Loch Etive. This delightful little cottage has an olde-worlde atmosphere and a very cosy sitting-room with an open fire (with a plentiful supply of logs kindling and briquettes). We spent every evening there in the candlelight watching a family of pine martens gorging themselves on peanut-butter and jam from the bird table and window box. Even our spaniel Pip stayed perfectly quiet and watched mesmerised !

The cottage was also perfectly equipped with everything one could need in the kitchen and we even managed to cram a whole weeks worth of food in to the little but efficient gas fridge. The bed room was also very cosy with a very comfy bed.

From Craig we walked every day mainly up the track to Cadderlie bothy and on up to Dail pier and then further on to Barrs, crossing the bridges over two magnificent tumbling rivers. But we found that the best view of all was from the little jetty just down from the cottage – just awesome !

A beautiful little place in a magnificent setting with total peace and tranquility – no sounds but for the birds twittering, the bees buzzing and the little byrne tumbling down beside the cottage – and we did not see another single person for a whole week ! A perfect destination for people who want to get away from modern life, be surrounded by mountains and a magnificent Loch and find rejuvenation.

Rosy Thomson was very pleasant and helpful and made sure that everything we could need was there for us. We would highly recommend Craig cottage. ”

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strimming, hare bells and meet the neighbours

It’s been a cloudy but warm day, and a good opportunity for me to strim the path down to Dail. Ably assisted by Isla, of course!

strimming1

strimming2

Our lunchtime wander took us down to the beach (as it so often does!)  and I spotted these hare bells along the fence.

harebells

On the way back down the track we got to meet the neighbours. The highlands have been down at Cadderlie for the last few weeks and are gradually ranging further afield, sometimes getting as far up the coast as Dail, but they always return to Cadderlie.

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Panorama: from Dail looking East

panorama Dail east

Above is an overview of the image, and below a scrollable version of it (using mouse or finger!)

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And below an annotated version of the peaks visible:

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Off the beaten track

One of the great things about the land surrounding Dail and Craig is that you can explore in almost any direction and not have to stick to a path. Okay, it might be rough going at times, but the views and feelings of isolation are well worth it. Isla and I took a detour up into the woodland recently planted above Cadderlie Bothy. From here you can look down across the bay (Camas an t-Seilisdeire) and across the loch.

view above Cadderlie

Kayaking on Loch Etive

It feels as if we are spoilt for choice with so many fantastic sea kayaking locations on the West Coast of Scotland, and I expect many people don’t venture into Loch Etive – partly due to the Falls of Lora and Connel. However, the upper reaches of the loch are a peaceful, dramatic and very enjoyable place to explore by kayak. Both Dail and Craig are well placed to use as bases for exploring Loch Etive.

kayak loch etive

The joy of old buildings …

… is that the work is never ending but always varied and interesting. After a week in which I have discovered the wonders of steel wool (which supposedly discourages mice from holes), and expanding foam (top tip: don’t get it in your hair as it doesn’t come out!), I have also turned my hand to slating. I don’t think any of the local roofing firms have much to worry about though, as the top of Dail roof is definitely the highest I want to go. The view’s not bad from there though!

dail garden from roof 1

Dail garden from roof 2

 

Great video of Loch Etive

Just come across this video that was filmed just up the loch from the cottages. Lovely to see someone else enjoying the fantastic surroundings as much as we do.

The video is very long but worth skimming through if you are interested in seeing the landscape, and has some great bushcraft sections.

https://youtu.be/viN_gRVPtkg

Allt Easach

I’ve just come across a few old photos of the burn Allt Easach which flows through Barrs woods down to Loch Etive close to Dail. In the summer it is a great spot for a paddle but can be a raging torrent in the winter!

burn

Perfect bathing pools along Allt Easach
Perfect bathing pools along Allt Easach

Estate rent book, 1847

I have been trying to find out a little more about the history of Dail, Craig and the nearby properties, and today was looking at the Estate Rent Book for the mid 19th century. Here is a photo of the page for rents from Martinmas 1847 to Martinmas 1848.rent book 1847

Rachel Thomson

Rachel was born in Ardchattan, around 1792.

On 16 January 1816  Rachel Thomson married Duncan Kennedy at Ardchattan.

Their children were:
Peter Kennedy 1822
Elizabeth (Eliza) Kennedy 1831
Isabella Kennedy 1832

Duncan, Rachel and family are shown as living at Dail in the 1841, 1851 and 1861 censuses.

Her husband Duncan Kennedy died on 25 June 1877 and Rachel died the next year on 21 April 1878, both at Muckairn, Argyll.

Duncan Kennedy

Duncan was born on the island of Tiree (written as Tyree at that time) on 30 March 1871. He had younger siblings Mary and Angus.

On 16 January 1816 Duncan married Rachel Thomson at Ardchattan.

Their children were:
Peter Kennedy 1822
Elizabeth (Eliza) Kennedy 1831
Isabella Kennedy 1832

Duncan, Rachel and family are shown as living at Dail in the 1841, 1851 and 1861 censuses.

Duncan died on 25 June 1877 at Muckairn, Argyll.