One of my goals for 2016 is to make the most of our beautiful surroundings. We moved to Argyll¬†four years ago but for various reasons we’ve never really got round to exploring the area. Lack of funds has certainly played a part, as has Andy’s long working hours.¬†I don’t drive¬†so we are reliant on¬†him for transport if we want to go anywhere that’s not on the¬†train route.¬†I really need to pull my finger out and save up for some lessons.¬†There are so many things I’d love to¬†do with the kids¬†that I just can’t due¬†to lack of transport. It’s so frustrating.¬†I fancy doing one of those one week intensive driving courses; has anyone tried it?

All that aside, I am determined to discover more of Argyll this year.¬†There’s so much on offer; from mountains & glens to¬†forests & beaches, Argyll really does have it all. It’d be such a shame not to make the most of it! So, here’s my Argyll hit list for 2016…

 

 

Tobermory, Isle of Mull

 

Everyone is familiar with the¬†picture-postcard¬†harbour front with it’s pretty coloured houses, especially if you’re the parent of a pre-schooler… you’ve all¬†got the Balamory theme tune in your head now, haven’t you? Sorry about that.
As well as the painted houses and¬†the spectacular views, Tobermory boasts it’s own distillery and is a great base for exploring Argyll’s wildlife. Whales, dolphins & basking sharks are regularly sighted in the waters around Mull.

Tiree Music Festival, Isle of Tiree

Tiree is the most westerly of the Islands and is famous for it’s white sand beaches¬†& world class surf. It is also the home of Tiree Music Festival, the brainchild of Daniel Gillespie of Skerryvore fame. This year’s line up has just been announced and tickets are selling out fast so get in there quick if you fancy seeing headliners The¬†Levellers this July.

Inveraray Castle

Photo credit: Inveraray Castle

We’ve been to the lovely lochside town of Inveraray a few times and it’s always a¬†great day out. I can highly recommend The George for a hearty pub lunch if you’re visiting the area around Loch Fyne, followed by a mooch around the¬†historic jail.¬†I’ve never been to the castle, though, so I’d love to visit the ancestral home of the Duke of Argyll and take Madeleine on a¬†princess hunt.¬†If you’re a Downton Abbey fan you may recognise Inveraray Castle from the 2012 Christmas special in which it was the fictitious home of the Grantham’s cousins.

 

Learn to Dive

Photo credit: Puffin Dive School

Scuba diving has long been on my bucket list and what better place to learn than in the beautiful waters off the west coast of Scotland? Puffin Dive School is based in Oban and offers a Try-a-Dive experience for just £89.

 

World Stone Skimming Championships, Easdale Island

 

 Photo credit: Laura McMahon

Every year Easdale Island hosts the World Stone Skimming Championships and I’m told it is a fantastic¬†day out for all the family. This year it is held on September 25th so you’ve got plenty of time to get practising if you fancy your chances! There is also a¬†Pre-Skim Party the night before¬†with music, a raffle & auction, and no doubt a dram or two.¬†There’s no need to worry about drink driving though as¬†Easdale famously has no roads!¬†It is reached by passenger ferry from the island of Seil, home to the “Bridge over the Atlantic”.

Kilmartin

Kilmartin is located north of Lochgilphead and is the archaeological capital of Argyll. There are no less than 350 ancient monuments in the area around Kilmartin including many pre-historic standing stones and burial cairns. How amazing is that?! The Kilmartin Museum is the place to go for all the info if you’re a bit of an archaeological nerd like me.

 

Oban

The picturesque town of Oban is known as the seafood capital of Scotland and I do love my food! After stuffing yourself full of the finest fish & chips you can work it off with a hike up to McCaigs Tower, a tour of the distillery or a trip to the Sea Life Sanctuary. I also fancy checking out Dunollie Castle and nearby Ganavan Sands for a spot of paddling & rock-pooling.

 

The Gruffalo Trail, Ardkinglas

 

How much fun does this look?! Madeleine is a big fan of the¬†Julia Donaldson¬†books so she’d love to go on a Gruffalo hunt. I’ve ordered a bundle of Julia Donaldson activity books from The Book People so I might save the Gruffalo one for us to do on the day we visit the trail at Ardkinglas.
Have you had any adventures in Argyll? I’d love to hear your recommendations!

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