Many guests ask us for suggestions on what to do whilst staying at Ceo Mara Croft. We have listed some ideas for a week’s itinerary.
Stay Local! Take a 5 min walk to Airds bay and meander along the shoreline. Keep a look out for eagles and otters! Continue on to Bonawe Historic Iron Furnace – the most complete charcoal-fuelled ironworks in Britain. Walk over the swing bridge to the Inverawe Smokehouse – world renowned smokery where you can watch the fish being smoked and sample the delights too!
If you fancy another walk do the 10k Ballindore loop which gives you magnificent views over Loch Etive and the mountains beyond, or drive to Angus’ Gardens and follow an informal path through the rhododendrons round the loch. Finish off with delicious homebaking and coffee at the Robin’s Nest Tearoom in the village.
Glencoe Loop. Circular tour visiting Cruachan Power Station deep within the mountain of Ben Cruachan (visible from Ceo Mara), on to the beautiful, architectural St Conan’s Kirk before continuing to Kilchurn Castle car park. Where you can stretch your legs on a short flat walk (2.25km) to the castle. The castle dates back to the mid 1400’s and is set in a very dramatic olcation at the head of Loch Awe. It is one of the most photographed castles in Scotland. After this continue on through the wild and beautiful Glen Orchy, stopping to admire the peculiar river formations en route to the atmospheric Glen Coe, notorious for the massacre that took place there in 1692. Coming back round past Castle Stalker View Cafe (homemade dishes and gift shop) to take in the breathtaking views of Castle Stalker on its tiny island. Built in the 1300’s, the castle is a fine example of a medieval tower-house.
Oban. On your drive to Oban look out for the cascading torrents of the Falls of Lora. These are generated when the tide level in the firth of lorn drops below the level of the water in loch etive. Continue on to Dunstaffnage Castle & Chapel. A partially ruined 13th century castle with a visitor centre. In Oban visit the Oban Distillery that offers a range of regular tours where you can learn about malt whisky, how it is made as well as sample a dram for yourself. McCaig’s Tower is Oban’s iconic landmark, not so much a tower as a mini colosseum, perched on the hill above Oban bay. It commands superb views and is a steep walk or short drive from the town centre. Take a stroll at Ganavan sands – beautiful, unspoilt series of sandy beaches to the north of Oban along the coastal road. Stop and relax at Oban Chocolate Company – chocolate heaven! A comfy, friendly cafe with delicious treats and a huge range of drinks. Great place to sit, chat and enjoy the view of Oban bay and beyond. Drive back along the Glen Lonan road – a single track road through beautiful countryside, look out for the highland coos!
Inveraray. Visit Inveraray Castle which is the home of the Duke of Argyll and one of the earliest examples of Gothic Revival architecture. Follow the track up to the fort on the hill, it is a wonderful viewpoint out over Loch Fyne (Scotlands longest sea loch) and visiting it makes a great objective for a walk. Pop into Inveraray jail to step back in time to a 19th century prison. Walk up the 176 steps to the top of the All Saints bell tower, it contains some of Scotland’s finest bells and the 2nd heaviest ring of 10 in the world. Visit Brambles cafe (great coffee, homebaking and lunches in a relaxing, comfortable atmosphere) or The George Hotel (well cooked meals using local produce at a reasonable price). Come back to Taynuilt the same route or do a loop round the coast visiting Kilmartin Museum of archeology displaying ancient artefacts found in an area, Arduaine Gardens which is a plantsman’s paradise perched on a windswept shore before driving back via Oban.
Kerrera. Take the little ferry over to the beautiful island of Kerrera and walk (about 3km) to the southern end of the circular route to visit Gylen Castle then on to The Tea Garden. Here you will find hearty soups, sandwiches, homebaking, teas and coffees to energise you on your walk either back to the ferry or on round this amazing island. Look out for eagles, gannets, otters and seals.
Island of Mull, Iona and Staffa. Take the ferry accross to Craignure on the island of Mull and take the service bus to Tobermory which is a pretty town of brightly painted buildings along the main street. From here take a wildlife boat trip, visit The Pottery Shop, Tobermory Distillery or simply sit down and relax at Tobermory Chocolates cafe.
Alternatively take the coach trip from Craignure to the heritage site of Iona and Staffa.
Iona is well known as being ‘The Cradle of Christianity’ in Scotland. Visit the Abbey and walk to the beautiful, sandy beaches – this island is appreciated by pilgrims and tourist alike. Many people leave with a prevailing feeling of peace and spirituality.
Staffa, with its dramatic rock formations, nesting puffins and Fingal’s Cave provided inspiration to Felix Mendelssohn who wrote his famous overture after visiting the island.
Fort William. Go on the Harry Potter train – which is described as one of the top 10 train journeys throughout the world! The Jacobite Steam Train takes you past a list of impressive extremes. Starting near the highest mountain in Britain, Ben Nevis, it visits Britain’s most westerly mainland railway station, Arisaig; passes close by the deepest freshwater loch in Britain, River Morar before finally arriving next to the deepest seawater loch in Europe, Loch Nevis!
Travel effortlessly 650m up the north face of Aonach Mhorin agondola and take in the spectacular panoramic views of lochs and surrounding mountains. There are two relatively easy walks from the top gondola station enabling visitors young and old alike to enjoy and appreciate the magnificence and ruggedness of the Scottish Highlands.
Stop at The Old Inn in Appin on the way back to Taynuilt – excellent food, local beer, great service, cosy atmosphere and a view of Castle Stalker!