Showing posts from April, 2023

Seaside Special - A honeymoon and a fast car: Argyll & Bute

Before I first visited Argyll - so before 1996 - I had imagined it to be characteristically highland Scotland: full of muscular, bare crags heaped upon each other with scree slopes crashing down into lochs overlooked by impossibly romantic ruined castles. This betrayed uncharacteristically rank research on my part. Argyll was not like that at all. I usually made an exhaustive study of the nooks and crannies of any of my potentials destination long before making a booking. On this occasion, I was under-prepared and poorly informed. But as this was a honeymoon stay, maybe other matters were legitimately clouding my mind. I do not wish to suggest that I was in any way disappointed with the geography of the area. Far from it. I was thoroughly pleasantly surprised. Our cottage was in a remote spot off the road between Crinan and Achnamara, perched above Loche Choille-Barr. The one-bedroom bungalow, converted from a threshing barn, had acres of land sloping away to the shore. The air was s

Seaside Special - Lowlands highlife: the Ayrshires

Another sleeper experience. Having introduced the concept on the Night Riviera , and knowing that this series includes another two such journeys, I’ll skip the detail here and save it up for the Fort William piece. I was a Sleeper Virgin then. By the time I visited Ayr I was an old tart (but on new stock). I emerged from the train at silly-o’clock, blinking into Glasgow Central. Time to seek out breakfast and devise a plan. On Gordon Street, apart from a hubbub around the station entrance (featuring a long, ornate canopy below a renaissance style hotel. Neither had the glorious glass and wrought iron canopy of the main hall escaped my attention. It’s never too early to remark on the architectural detail…), the streets were quiet. It was, after all, before 8am on a Tuesday morning. I found the flower boxes and check tablecloths of Barolo on Mitchell Street very appealing and asked the manager who was just sweeping down the little patio area whether I was too early to be fed. I was u