Loch Melfort is situated in the Heart of Argyll, an area renowned for its natural, historical and archeological treasures.
There is so much to see you could spend weeks (or at least a few weekends) treating yourself exploring the area, with plenty to do all year round. So get ready to travel back in time.
Argyll is a treasure trove of historical and natural sights.
The nearby Kilmartin Museum and its surroundings are an absolute must for anyone who wants to experience archeology first hand and understand some of the human influence on the landscape: Kilmartin Museum is based in the middle of over 800 archeological sites, many of which you can visit, including standing stones and stone circles and rock art. You can also walk into and visit a number of cairns, heading back to the museum to view the artefacts retrieved from them over the years.
Above Kilmartin lies Carnasserie Castle where John Carsewell, the first Protestant Bishop of Argyll and the Isles, translated John Knox’s liturgy into Gaelic. A roll call of beauty and historical interest lies ahead with the villages of mid-Argyll from Ardfern and Craignish to Kilmelford and Kilninver. A detour to the inner islands of Seil and Luing reminds us that the sea is ever present.
For something a little different, Wild Argyll offer kayaking or walking tours allowing you to discover the region’s natural and archeological landmarks with the help of an experienced and knowledgeable guide. Wildlife spotting will mix in with historical commentary, making for a quite unique take on Argyll.
Auchindrain Township Open Air Museum, near Inveraray, retains much of the characteristics of a traditional Scottish farm township as they would have been found in the 18th and 19th centuries, where crofters would have lived. This is an open-air experience, self-guided, and with a few farmyard animals to meet for good measure as Auchindrain is still very much a working farm. This is a wonderful way of experiencing Scottish history in a very natural and beautiful setting.
You can also learn about the hard life of 18th century slate quarrymen at the Easdale Island Folk Museum, just 5 miles from the hotel. This quaint museum has authentic displays of the cottage life of the workers as well as the historical interest of the island itself including a friendly genealogy service.
For more recent historical and cultural history, visit the Oban War and Peace Museum. The town was of strategic importance during World War II and the museum displays photos and exhibits of the flying boat bases at Kerrera and Ganavan. Visitors can also learn about the area’s fishing and maritime industries, transport links, the building of McCaig’s Tower and shinty.
Castles of Argyll
In nearby Oban and built in the 8th Century, Dunollie Castle is based on iron age foundations. It was once a proud fortress for the MacDougall clan and weathered many storms and a fair few battles, including some against Robert the Bruce in the early 1300s until it was forfeited and then abandoned following the Jacobite Revolution. The Castle and ground are slowly being brought back to life thanks to some dedicated volunteers and a large regeneration project, which you can visit thanks to a full community events programme taking place throughout the year, Telling the Castle Story.
For a taste of life as a laird, the region is full of impressive mansions and castles in stunning settings, one fine example of which is Inveraray Castle, the ancestral home of the Dukes of Argyll. Inveraray Castle is a magnificent old castle in wonderful condition. Its design features impressive conical spires and castellated towers, while inside are displays of armour, weapons, tapestries and relics chronicling the castle’s place in Scottish history. Duart Castle on Mull is set on a dramatic promontory overlooking the Sound of Mull. Here, visitors can learn about the Clan McLean, explore the dungeons and state rooms and strategic clifftop position.
A little more contemporary, is Arkindglas. Completed in 1907, it is a private house and not open to the public but even the exterior is worth a look. Ardkinglas also boasts lovely woodland gardens open to the public and a great English/Gaelic Gruffalo Trail for the younger ones. Based on the famous characters and using the Scots version of the story, the Gruffalo Trail is open all year round and will take little ones along a fantastic journey, short enough to keep them interested and entertained, and long enough for everyone to have fun. And you can visit the beautiful main Gardens as well whilst you are there.