Kilmartin Glen in Mid Argyll is the epicentre of Scotland’s prehistory. The area is strewn with standing stones, stone circles, rock art and historic monuments. Some 800 historic monuments can be found within the area. The Kilmartin Musuem is a great source of information on the history of the ancient kingdom.
The most famous site is Dunadd ( Hillfort) near Lochpilphead. Inhabited since the iron Age, Dunadd was the focal point for the ancient kingdom of Dal Riata. There are numerous carvings in situ one of which is a footprint. The cup and ring markings found in the glen remain unexplained. Archaeologists have struggled to determine their purpose and even the date of their creation. Dunadd and Kilmartin Glen are thought to be where ancient Kings of Scotland were crowned.
The Cobbler with Ben Lomond in the distance
Impressive history aside this area is also rightly renowned for its beauty. The ‘Arrochar Alps’ include the oddly named ‘Cobbler’. Also known as Ben Arthur, the mountain’s rocky peak is said to resemble a Cobbler at his last. The drive from Glasgow takes visitors along the A83 over the ‘rest and be thankful’ pass between Loch Lomond and Loch Long and onto Loch Fyne. The pass was so named by the soldiers who built the road back in 1753, as weary travellers would require to stop at the roads peak to rest after the impressive ascent. For accommodation in the area visit: Arrochar Bed and Breakfast
Loch Fyne is home to the world famous Loch Fyne Seafood and Grill restaurant. It is a welcome respite from the road for many a hungry traveller with lobster, oysters and fruits de la mer platters to rival any in the world.
Inverarary is a picturesque town on the western coast of Loch Fyne. It is home to the beautiful Inveraray Castle and the more gruesome Inveraray Jail museum.
The castle is home to the Duke of Argyll and the ancestral seat of the Clan Campbell. The castle was built in the 1740s and a castle has been at the site since the 1400s. Guided tours are available and these will enlighten you to the history of this most infamous of Scottish Clans. Recently featured in ITV’s Downton Abbey, the Castle and it’s grounds ( which are beautiful in all seasons) are worthy of a visit.
Inveraray’s other main attraction is it’s Jail. With two prison blocks and a courthouse dating back to 1820. As the main county town for Argyll plans for a prison were drawn up in 1807 and a jail operated in Inveraray until 1889. This occasionally gruesome museum highlights the hard regime of crime and punishment. Visitors have the opportunity to be locked in exercise cells and experience what life was like for those incarcerated. There are heart rending tales of poverty, shocking tales of criminality and evidence of the brutality of early forms of justice ( please note that the gruesome nature of the exhibits may not be suitable for very young children). For accommodation in the area visit: Inveraray Guest Houses
Have you visited the Arrochar Alps? Do you have any pictures to share of this beautiful area?