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About Scotland
 Achamore Gardens Gigha
 


Kintyre from Gigha.

 

The isle of Gigha is a beautiful place. It is a thriving, growing community and is owned by the Gigha Trust. New houses have been built. The first in ages and the Primary School has a viable population. Secondary Schooling takes place at Tarbert and Campbelltown on Kintyre. So the older children commute by ferry every school day for their education. Fifty minutes by sea both going and coming. Gigha is known as God's Island and it is a very peaceful place.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       

 

          Crossing to Gigha.

 

The Gardens at Achamore are a fifteen minute stroll from the quay. Leave your car at Taylinloan, the ferry terminal and cross as foot passengers. There is a lovely wee tea room much enjoyed while awaiting the ferry. Enjoy a car free day.

 


April 2010.

 

Achamore is well known for Camellias and Rhododendrons. However in my experience the gardens are worth visiting at any time of year.

Now, in August, the herbaceous plants and borders are creating a lovely display. Rhododendron 'Polar Bear' with it's large white scented flowers is looking great. Certainly a Rhododendron to impress your friends with flourishing so far out of season.

 


The herbaceous borders in the walled garden are spectacular in August.

 

The walk around the outer garden in a green airy environment is worth repeating in May and June for that wow factor of spectacular Rhododendrons and in April for wonderful Camellias. The view point at the top of the garden is a peaceful place with a great view across to Islay and Jura. Sit here a while and recharge your batteries.

 

 

On your way back to the ferry have a light refreshment at the Gigha Hotel in the beer garden or, if the midges are too much, in the lounge. The hotel and the gardens are owned by the Gigha Trust. A wee weekend break based in the hotel can be recommended. Combine this with bicycle hire and your are off. The world or in fact Gigha is your oyster. The sea food is delicious too.


 

"Doctor Livingston I presume". Stanley (Duncan) emerges from the jungle.

Gigha is under four hours drive from Glasgow allowing four hours on the island. You can be home mid evening if you set off at about 8 am. A great day out. Just add two hours to the driving time if you are starting from Edinburgh.

I have visited Gigha about five times to see the garden and I have never been disappointed. If you visit I am sure that you will fall in love with God's Island. Having written this I can't wait to go back! Happy journey!

Brian Sutherland.


Skye and Raasay

 

A party of four enjoyed four days on Skye and Raasay walking in gardens and Calum's Road. We had a most peaceful and relaxing time. We particulary enjoyed our two night stay at the Youth Hostel on Raasay. It is small cosy and welcoming. Peter and Val made our stay fun. We spent a lot of time laughing!

 

 

Irene, x, Peter, Val, Laura and Janette on the road beside Raasay Hostel SYHA.

 

Our walk on Calum's Road was also peaceful and uplifting. The fact that one man spent ten years building this road is amazing. See the story below.

 

Further reading Calum's Road. Author Roger Hutchinson. Published by Birlinn.

ISBN13: 978 1 84158 677 9  also  ISBN10: 1 84158 677 3  

 

Calum's Road Raasay

A party of four of us spent a few days on the island of Raasay enjoying the incredible peace and quiet. We explored the island and found Calum's Road. Some of us had read the book and our walks along the road were highlights of our time on the island as well as our time in Raasay Youth Hostel.

Calum was a crofter, fisherman and part time Lighthouse Keeper. His small township of Arnish was one and three quarter miles beyond the end of the public road. The dirt track strewn with rocks was a poor road upon which to travel on foot. He set about building a road with passing places to try and stem the loss of neighbours and to keep his way of life.

It took him ten years to complete the road using only a pick and a shovel and a wheel barrow. It is believed that he wore out ten wheel barrows building the road. He completed it up to the point when it was ready for tarring. He asked the local authority to tarmac it and adopt it for future maintenance however they refused. In time they caved in and perhaps they were shamed into doing so. On our visit Calum's Road was in much better condition than the roads leading to it.

Sadly by the time Calum completed the road all the neighbouring crofters had moved to a better populated part of Raasay leaving Calum and his family in isolation. They did enjoy a good road which connected them with the rest of the world.

There are houses again in Arnish at the end of Calums road. There are also tourists like us who drive along or walk along this magnificent road. It goes up and down hill. It turns and turns again. The views surprise at many a footstep. We enjoyed spectacular views of folk fishing, of sky sea and islands.

It is hard to believe that one man on his own could build this road. The willpower and dedication he focussed on the task were of herculean proportions. It is difficult to comprehend moving forward at a slow pace and realising that there were another one and half miles to go. Year in year out for ten years! Calum is a true Scottish hero and will be remembered as long as there is a road to Arnish. Calum's road!

Calum Macleod B.E.M. 1911 1988

 

 
Janette leads the way on Calum's Road which stretches into the distance.
 
Our visit to Skye was, as always, a pleasure. Sailing from Mallaig to Armadale allows you to feel as if you have "speeded" on a bonny boat over the sea to the island. Our first port of call was Armadale Castle garden in Sleat, the garden of Skye. It was the right time to see these spectacular Liliums.
 
 
 Armadale Castle entrance.
 
Another highlight of our time on Skye was the Fairy Glen near Uig. This is not sign posted. You ask at the SYHA Uig Youth Hostel if you are using it or ask a local. You go into a different world in the Fairy Glen. The Hazel woods are woodlands in minature. The rock formations look like "castles in the air". The conical hills are likely to been deposited by retreating glaciers. The man made hills created by Charles Jencks are mimicked here. The paths circumnavigating the hills are made by a hundred years of sheep grazing. The glen has a magic quality all of it's own.
 
 
A thunder storm rumbled and flashed close by which added to the magical feeling in the Fairy Glen, Uig. You could almost feel that the little folk were not far away ... watching from hummock and hillock and hazel forest aware of our every move!
When we had recovered sufficiently our next exploration took place at the Skye Museum of Island Life, Kilmuir north of Uig. Strangely there was no talk or sign of the little folk or fairies here.
This was the best value for money not just because of the modest cost of entry.
The collection of black houses depicting island life was amazing. Farming, weaving, life style, living spaces of the day.
How much food and goods cost not so many years ago. A ladies self made wedding dress on display beside her marriage banns and her marriage certificate. Accompanied by a black and white photograph of her wedding. This is a museum not to miss if you would like to steep yourself in how life would have been in the not so distant past.
You find yourself rubbing shoulders with folk from St Louis, America and people from England, Yorkshire for example. I noticed that no one left quickly. We were all there for over an hour. Fascinating!
 
 
The weavers black house at Skye museum of island life. A must visit destination.
www.skyemuseum.co.uk