Situated about 25 miles south east of Oban close to the main road from Callander to Oban was the location of our Christmas holiday cottage immediately adjacent to the beautiful Scottish inland loch, Loch Awe. It was the unanimous decision of the family to lease the Scandinavian lodge for the Christmas week in 2005.
The location of the lodge (shown below) was very isolated indeed and was located just a few yards from the loch. We only had Black Face sheep and Highland cattle for company as they grazed and roamed the rough hill behind the cottage. In spite of the roughness of the terrain, all the cattle and sheep seen were in particularly good condition for the time of year, and that was a great credit to the hard working Shepherds/Farmers of the adjoining farms.
The terrain also made for great hill walking exercise since the land was split up into shelterbelt tree enclosures that had very good forest tracks available for the general public gaining access. The younger members of the family (and Oscar the Golden Retriever) made full use
of those whilst the older generation enjoyed a level walk along the lochside.
The weather was superb for the time of year with only one day’s rain and the rest sunny, dry, and frosty at night but there was no snow and all roads to and from Oban and Inveraray were clear and passable. The light and colour of the loch as seen from the lodge changed almost hourly shown in the photographs reproduced below:-
Immediately above (left) is the south end of Loch Awe whilst the one to the right above and below are views from the lounge window of the lodge.
I think that you will agree that the “scotch mist” makes the photograph immediately above exceptional and one that is not captured very often.
The winter sunshine also shows up the ruins of Kilchurn Castle (left) set against the background of the cloud topped mountain Ben Cruachan, one of the many “Munro’s” in the area. We felt very privileged to witness such beauty. “Munro’s” of course are named after Sir Hugh Munro who
first listed, some one hundred years ago, all of Scotland’s mountains over 3000 feet high – and there are two hundred and seventy-seven of them. Since being listed by Sir Hugh Munro, they have been a challenge to hill walkers in Scotland whose enduring enthusiasm is to climb these mountains, possibly all of them! Between Loch Awe and Loch Fyne is Campbell country. Originally Kilchurn Castle (shown above) was the stronghold of the Campbells of Glenorchy, but now Inveraray Castle on Loch Fyne is the home of the Duke of Argyll, chief of the great Clan Campbell. Pre-dating even the Campbells’ rise to power, the valley of Kilmartin (where our Lodge was situated) was where the original Scots – who came from Ireland – established their 6th-century kingdom of Dalriada. Perhaps 4,000 years ago Kilmartin Valley was the site of Neolithic culture that has left its standing stones and burial cairns to be wondered at even yet.
Apart from the full itinerary of Christmas festivities in and around the lodge and the Kilmartin Valley, the good weather allowed a number of visits to places of interest in the vicinity, the first of those being to Inveraray (shown on next page).