Inveraray to Oban
Discover the delightful domain of the Duke of Argyll
Follow the route – Inveraray to Oban
Crian Canal to Kilmartin
> From Inveraray continue on the A83 to Lochgilphead. Turn right on the A816, bear left on the B841 to cross the Crinan Canal, then go right at Bellanoch on the B8025.
Crinan Canal, Strathclyde
Built to avoid the risky journey round the Mull of Kintyre, this 9-mile (14.5m) waterway is now used mostly by yachts and motor cruisers. To the south of the summit level, spruce plantations clothe the hills where reservoirs store the canal’s water supply. From the picnic site at Dunardry a forest walk looks down on the canal, its locks and towpath, and an attractive tree-backed lagoon
Places to stay near Kilmartin
Kilmartin to Easdale
> Bear left on the A816 to Kilmartin.
The lovely Kilmartin valley was the heartland of the 6th-century kingdom of Dalriada, which expanded to become the kingdom of Scotland. The valley also contains Bronze Age burial cairns and standing stones, some set out in a straight linear alignment.
Kilmartin church and churchyard house many medieval grave slabs, and Carnassarie Castle, high above the village, offers a magnificent view, unobtainable from road level, into the narrow canyon which swings down from Loch Awe.
Places to stay near Easdale
Easdale to Oban
>Continue on the A816, then left on the B844 and follow signs to Easdale.
The steeply arched ‘bridge over the Atlantic’ to Seil joins one of Argyll’s Slate Islands to the mainland. Easdale is the name both of the old quarry village on the west side of Seil, and of the smaller offshore island facing it. A deep quarry at Easdale village (also known as Ellenabeich), breached by the sea during a ferocious storm in November 1881, survives as an open bay. The village retains its rows of whitewashed quarriers’ cottages. In contrast, high walls and a wooded cliff protect the garden of An Cala – with its gentle stream, ponds, herbaceous borders and flowering shrubs – from the salt-laden wind.
Across the narrow sound on Easdale Island, the workings of a now vanished trade and the way the quarry communities created their own lively social life are explained in a fascinating museum.
Places to stay in Oban
> Return to the A816 and turn left for Oban.
Oban is a major car-ferry port and hosts several important yacht races. St Columba’s, the 20th-century cathedral with carved oak panels showing scenes from the life of the famous Celtic saint, is the heart of the Roman Catholic diocese of Argyll and the Isles.
Elsewhere in the town you can watch glass-blowers and paper-weight makers at work, and visit the distillery founded in the 18th century. Footpaths climb to outstanding viewpoints such as McCaig’s Tower, built in the style of the Colosseum at Rome. Gallanach Road leads south to the little ferry slip for Kerrera, where you can enjoy an exhilarating island walk round a 7-mile (11km) circuit of paths and farm roads.