Argyll Safari castles tour
Your local guide, dressed in a traditional kilt, will pick you up from your hotel on the morning of the tour in his 4x4. Although this trip requires a fairly long day of driving, there will be plenty of stops along the way for photos, exploring and refreshments.
First head a short way north to see Castle Stalker, a small but impressive castle set on a tiny island in the middle of Loch Linnhe. Originally owned by the MacDougall clan, it passed into Stewart hands when they took over the title of Lordship of Lorne. In the 17th century, it came into Campbell ownership before being abandoned in the 1840s. Castle Stalker appeared in the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail as the ‘Castle of AAAArghh’.
From here you’ll continue to Loch Awe, where the evocative ruins of Kilchurn Castle sit at the northern end of the loch. Another Campbell stronghold, the castle now sits in disrepair, although it is possible to explore the ruins and learn more about its history from a series of information boards.
You’ll then continue to Inveraray, a small town on the shores of Loch Fyne, Scotland’s longest sea loch. You will have some time to stop for lunch before heading to Inveraray Castle, the ancestral home of the Duke of Argyll. The 18th-century mansion is more similar to French chateaux than typical Scottish fortifications and was inspired by a sketch by Vanbrugh, who designed Blenheim Palace and Castle Howard in England. Inside, the rooms are laid out in elaborate fashion with original tapestries in the ornate, Parisian-style Tapestry Drawing Room, extravagant decor in the State Dining Room and a soaring ceiling in the Armoury Hall, which showcases the weapons and treasures of the Campbell family.
After visiting the castle, drive south along the shore of Loch Fyne before turning north along the west coast of Scotland, where you’ll stop at the ancient Dunadd hill fort. This was once the seat of the kings of Dal Riata, the ancient Gaelic kingdom which encompassed western Scotland and northeastern Ireland. Among the earthworks you’ll see a footprint carved into the rock as well as inscriptions using the ancient ogham alphabet. Once you’ve had time to explore, your guide will take you back to your hotel.
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