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.
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!
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