Sightseeing with sight loss: A day trip to the Isle of Gigha

Post date: 
Tuesday, 19 September 2017
Isle of Gigha

Community member, Christina Bell, accounts her lovely day trip to the Isle of Gigha in Scotland.

The nice thing about living in Glasgow is that not only is it a great and interesting city, but it is also less than an hour from Edinburgh, Loch Lomond and the lovely West Coast of Scotland.

I recently went on a day trip with my friend to the Isle of Gigha and along the way I was very fortunate to see many of Scotland’s breath-taking views.

Our first journey was along the “bonnie banks” of the west side of Loch Lomond, from Balloch to Tarbet, passing through Luss and looking over to Ben Lomond on the other side of the Loch. The next turn took us to Arrochar on the banks of Loch Long. This point in the road is known as the “rest and be thankful”, which is a very steep hill reaching the height of 803ft above sea level. The views from here are stunning and look over lochs, glens and hills with lots of viewpoints. Whether in sunshine or with mist coming over them, they are a beautiful sight to see.

After this, we went onto the Royal Burgh of Inverary, which is situated at the top of Loch Fyne. Inverary Castle is the home of the Duke of Argyll, chief of clan Campbell. It also boasts restaurants, serving famous local oysters and a jail house which you can also visit. Most importantly, it has an old fashioned sweet shop, where the smell reminded me of fond childhood memories.

Our route carried on alongside Loch Fyne, to the town of Lochgilphead followed by Ardrishaig where we crossed the Crinan Canal that took us to the peninsula known as Mull of Kintyre.

Tarbert is the next lovely little place we visited at the other end of Loch Fyne.   Here ferries run to Portavadie and from there, the next place we passed is Kennacraig where ferries run to Islands of Islay, Jura and Colonsay aboard the MV Finlayson to Port Ellen, Islay.  The next port is Tayinloan where it is a 20 minute crossing to Gigha.

Isle of Gigha (pronounced GeeHaa with a hard g), which means God’s Island, is a small island of the coast of Kintyre. It is narrow and only seven miles long and it is owned by the population of 160 people.  There is only one shop, one hotel, one church and one primary school. There is now a visitor centre selling local crafts and the Boathouse restaurant, which is famous for local lobsters. It is surrounded by beautiful white sandy beaches and has Achamore gardens which are well worth a visit. Outside the gardens there is an honesty box, which is left for entry fees and accompanied by homemade tablet (which is similar to fudge), shortbread and photographs for sale. Doors to the church are open to the public and the sense of peace and tranquillity is amazing – it's like being in a different world, a miniature Scotland, where everyone speaks to each other.

Leaving for home was sad, but all the beautiful scenery is still there to see and, with any luck, if you visit you may just be in time to see a magnificent sunset over Loch Lomond.

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