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Out of Town: Loch Awe   Picture: Glasgow West End Today
Out of Town: Loch Awe Glasgow West End Today

On the southern banks of Loch Awe, Argyll & Bute

Sometimes you have to leave the city behind

And so we find ourselves on the banks of Loch Awe, off the beaten track and away from the crowds.

And how good does it feel to be away for just a few days? We can’t remember the last time we did this.

For so long we have been walking the same city streets and parks on a daily basis.

This weekend, our new beat is unfamiliar and spectacular.

Here, the only buildings are the scattered boat houses and cottages by the water’s side.

'Impressive'

The only road is the B-route that loops around this impressive landscape for miles and miles.

Here, the colour of squirrels is red and not grey like in the city.

Photogenic: Kilchurn Castle, Loch Awe.
Photogenic: Kilchurn Castle, Loch Awe.

And one has just stopped in the middle of the road a short distance off to take a look at the visitors.

He or she scurries off and we move to the spot where the little creature disappeared.

After a minute, we get another sight of the nimble tree climber. Great dexterity.

We take in the moment: the mottled hills, the trees and ruffled loch. The hurried skies and shifting water. Pure medicine. Nature’s vaccine.

Scenery

Across the water in the far distance, sits Ben Cruachan, the highest point in Argyll & Bute, and the dam and power station that takes its names.

Not yet open, the power plant’s website tells us that tours are due to recommence in March. May be one for another visit.

But the sights and scenery are very much open.

We visit Kilchurn Castle at the very eastern end of the loch towards Dalmally.

The building itself is closed off for what appear to be extensive renovation works, but the path is open and leads to a stunning headland with views along the glen.

Loch Awe from Portsonachan Hotel
Loch Awe from Portsonachan Hotel

The loch is the third largest freshwater loch in Scotland by surfacing area, and the longest in length measuring 25 miles.

It has been a favoured spot for anglers and trout and salmon fishing for many years.

In recent times, water sports have taken off in its more sheltered quarters and inlets. Paddle boarding is a thing in the warmer months of the year.

The walks are adequate compensation for now. The road to Portsonachan is good for vehicles but also safe for pedestrians.

A tiny church stands above a cluster of houses on the side of the loch. We explore, briefly, the mossy grounds.

 

And how good does it feel to be away for just a few days? We can’t remember the last time we did this.

Out of Town

 

It’s a quaint, yet unremarkable granite building, yet it seems an age since we did this

Simple things seem so important, and therefore so rewarding.

The picturesque town of Inverarary is a 12 mile hop over the hills to the south.

Shops and cafes are open for businesses, and the impressive Inveraray Castle and grounds are a must during the visiting season.

Gallery: Around Loch Awe and Portsonachan Hotel

The road to Dalamally
Quaint churches
Luxury lodges
Outside the box, Loch Awe.
Different pace.
Over the water.
Streaming.
Deer green place.
Sky and mountains, from Kilchurn Castle, Loch Awe.
Castle view.
Traind eye.
To the cabins.
Castle in reflection.
Diners' view.

 

When we called into the town, Inveraray Jail was open for tours, and the excellent Brambles cafe-bistro was doing a brisk trade.

There is plenty to do and see just a short drive from the city, and then there are plenty of things not to do, if relaxing and doing very little much is your thing.

A long time in relative isolation in the city made us yearn for the Scottish landscape. Loch Awe is the perfect antedote.

 

Where we stayed: Portsonachan Hotel

 

Scenic location.
Scenic location.

We stayed on the southern shores of Loch Awe courtesy of Portsonachan Hotel.

The family-run hotel has a range of accommodation, from en-suite rooms in the main hotel, to converted coach houses and loch-side suites.

We stayed in one of the hotel’s timber lodges hidden within private woodland and overlooking the loch.

Lodges have hot tubs and larger cabins have saunas. The hotel is totally dog friendly.

The restaurant has a full a-la-carte menu as well as daily menus, set within a spacious conservatory overlooking the loch.

 

SPECIAL OFFER: Visitors to The Creative Craft Show Spring 2022 (Glasgow’s SEC, March 3-6) can claim a special offer for a stay at the Portsonachan Hotel. The deal is £296 for 4 nights for two people in a standard en-suite room with Continental breakfast, valid for 18 months from date purchased. You can find out more by visiting the hotel’s team at stand D26. More information about the show can be found here.

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