On a beautiful, rainy morning (is there any other kind in Scotland?) we left Craignure on the ferry to Oban, and continue on to Inverness by way of Inveraray. The A85 which runs East and West from Oban took us to the B845 that runs south to Inveraray. The A roads tend to be larger, major roads while the B roads tend to be smaller, rural roads but both have two lanes. The drive was lovely, green, and fairly peaceful, lacking in the periodic moments of terror that punctuate driving on the narrow, single track carriageways.
As promised, Howard Spicer, proprietor of Rhua-na-Craige had our little wireless wifi hotspot for us. I tucked it into my luggage, wondering why I had bothered, seeing that we were halfway through the trip already. As we were leaving, Howard suggested we see Inveraray Castle, if we had not seen it already. We hadn’t, so we did.
It did not disappoint. It was amazing. The first thing to lend beauty to it is it’s location. There has been a castle on the shore of Loch Fyne since the 1400’s and I can see why.
The foundation for the current castle was begun in the mid 1700’s and took 43 years to build. It has a long history succinctly told about here. The current family is Duke Torquhil Ian and Duchess Eleanor Cadbury (of Cadbury Chocolates) of Argyll and their three children Archie, Rory and Charlotte, who still reside in the castle.
There are no photographs allowed in the castle, but there are pictures posted at the above website. They have an amazing collection of period weapons, as well as royal clothing. There is a tearoom in the basement along side the gift shop which is hard to get out of without buying something. I’m still regretting not getting the dark brown leather gloves with sheepswool lining dyed emerald green. Maybe next time…
The staff speak fondly and protectively of the Duke and Duchess and their children, and it seems a very happy place with a lot of love and respect for the inhabitants as well as the buildings themselves.
After our tour here, we headed Northeast on the A85 to the A82 North so we could travel through Glencoe Pass.
Remember the close call on the Isle of Mull? Remember how I said for several days after, I imagined strange noises coming from the car? Well, right about here we saw this sign, and I thought I should take a picture in case we needed it:
We eventually made it to civilization again, although I’d like to note that I was amazed to have cell service through miles and miles of what appeared to be pretty much nowhere, in huge contrast with being in an American city and not being able to get a service. I think they have cell service in the UK mastered. We drove into Fort Augustus, and stopped for lunch. There is a lock system to raise boats that come through the town on the small river. I found this interesting post in the middle of the river with a cross on the end.
After browsing in the shops and taking in the scenery, we continued on the last leg of our journey to Inverness, and the Ardconnel House where we were staying. Since it was getting late we called to let John and Elizabeth know that we were running a little behind schedule. They couldn’t have been more accommodating, telling us to take our time, and that whenever we got there was fine. I’ve since seen that this little B&B is one of the top rated on Tripadvisor for Inverness, and rightfully so. They made our stay wonderful–and won us over the first night when John parallel parked our car for us on the street (I’d never parallel parked from the wrong side of the car, on the left side of the street).
The next day would begin our foray into the highlands of Scotland, beginning with the city of Inverness.