Travel tidbits is a series that will share small experiences from a longer trip. By focusing on one or two “tidbits” at a time, I can highlight some less famous, but worthwhile, attractions we’ve come across while traveling. I also hope that breaking it down this way will prove useful for other travelers who don’t need a full itinerary, but are looking for things to see and do in a specific place.
This first travel tidbit focuses on a place we stayed on our last international trip: Loch Awe, Scotland. Loch Awe is in Argyll and Bute, on the western side of Scotland, about 80 miles northwest of Glasgow. My husband, my parents and I stayed at Ardbrecknish House on the south shore for a few nights while exploring western Scotland. The Loch itself isn’t home to any major tourist attractions, but there are a couple historical buildings that are worth a stop if you’re traveling through the area or staying nearby.
Kilchurn Castle sits at the easternmost point of the lake. It’s a ruin dating from the 1400s that was built by Clan Campbell. The castle doesn’t have open/closed hours; in fact, when we were there, a group of people was setting up camp on the beach right next to it. You just park off the main road (there’s a small parking lot) and take a path probably a little under a mile to the castle. You also get some nice views of the surrounding mountains on the walk. You can’t get inside the castle – or rather, you probably could but clearly aren’t supposed to, don’t be an obnoxious tourist – but can go anywhere around the outside. History and pretty views aside, if you want to get castle pictures that aren’t spoiled by all the tourists milling about, this is a good place to stop.
Saint Conan’s Kirk is on the north shore of the Loch Awe. Though the kirk has a sort of gothic/medieval look, it was actually built in the early 1900s. There are a lot of ornate or whimsical details, so it’s a fun place to look around. When we were there you could look throughout the inside of the church and around the grounds; there was no one there to give information or tours, though according to the website there’s a teahouse in the church gatehouse that will be reopening in June 2016.
If you travel to Scotland and are near Loch Awe, I recommend a stop at one or both of these places!