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.