- GETTING THERE AND ABOUT
- WHEN TO VISIT AND THE WEATHER
- ACCESS INFORMATION & PERMISSION
- PICNICS & SCENIC STOPS
- SPORTING HOTELS
- BED AND BREAKFAST
- VISITING PEOPLE
Your enjoyment will depend largely upon your attitude of appreciation and a relaxed ability to forget a tight schedule and remain flexible, the only means of absorbing the quality of a place with such varied weather. Make every effort to avoid the strong temptation to make comparisons with other places, conveniences and styles of life. You are visiting a different culture and so take it all with a pinch of salt and do not anticipate too much. Remember you are there to see something different, not to find the comforts of home. Be kind to the people. Highlanders can be touchy if taken for granted, but are generally kindness itself when treated courteously. A note or post card of thanks will make you a friend.
Remember that you are in the far north and the summer days are very long. There is often light enough to take a walk in the long twilight after dinner. On the other hand, if you visit in winter, daylight may be as short as from 9am to 3pm and many places of touring interest will be closed. However then the local people will have more time to talk and, when and if the lowering clouds clear, the snow capped hills can be spectacular.
Excellent contour maps of the quality of the USGS are available from book shops or stationers (the word `stores' is not used so much in Britain where it means storage) in most towns in Argyll. If you are passing through Edinburgh visit HM Stationary Office for maps and pamphlets on castles in the care of the government such as Castle Campbell and Carnassarie, etc., however, there are now also widely available in shops.
If you are short of cash, the Bartholomew National Map series numbers 43 through 45 and 47 & 48 will cover Argyll and Perthshire. Number 55 would give you Inverness and Cawdor. The scale is 1:100,000 and these are available in book shops.
If you can afford a little more and enjoy maps and can resist making marks on them so that they can be collector's items for your reference library on Campbell places, the government Ordnance Survey (British equivalent of USGS) maps at 1:50,000 scale are ideal. These may be as much as $5 each by now and you may need as many as 15 to cover Argyll and Perthshire, let alone Cawdor and Castle Campbell.
Public transportation is no longer what it used to be in Argyll, however the train trip from Glasgow to Oban can be rewarding. Oban, the largest town and tourist hub in the county, is a convenient center for taking day trips, with a number of bus and boat routes and tours, numerous hotels and B&Bs.
For those with a greater interest in Mid Argyll and Kintyre, there is still bus service from Glasgow to Inveraray, Lochgilphead, Tarbert and Campbeltown. Enquire locally about any connections between this route and Oban. At some times of year the only means of connection is by going east to Arrochar in Dumbartonshire where the bus and train may sometimes co-incide.
A car is an enormous advantage in visiting Argyll and particularly for those whose main interest is in places with Campbell connections, many of which are not served either by public transport or by tours. The rule of driving on the left evolved because a horse and cart was led with the right hand on the left side of the bridle and a horse is mounted from it's left side and the rider was naturally more sensible to not to mount from the middle of the road. For most drivers the change is not difficult. The two places to watch particularly are when first entering a highway or intersection and when turning into or from a one way street.
On curving Highland main roads, if you have a line of cars behind you it is courteous to pull over if you should not go faster. On the single track roads with passing places marked by a black and white striped pole, courtesy is the rule. If the on-coming vehicle is already pulled over and flashes it's lights, proceed.
In Argyll the roads into the county from Glasgow, Glasgow airport (via Erskine Bridge over the Clyde) and Edinburgh via Stirling and Callendar, are good on the whole but with unexpected curves at times. Allow three hours from Edinburgh to Inveraray, or three and a half to Oban or Lochgilphead. Allow an average of 45 mph on main roads and 25 mph on single track roads when planning trips, plus time for unexpected photographic, picnic or scenic stops.
August and September are the British school summer holidays (vacations) and so the peak tourist season. May-June and October are often months when the gardens and scenery are at their best, although colder. Bear in mind that you are on a level with Hudson Bay in Canada, 70 degrees F is considered a heat-wave and rain can be common. Take rain gear and waterproof footwear. But the Gulf Stream means that for the hardy, the sea can be warm enough for swimming even in late summer when calm. High winds and mixed weather are most common. If it rains solidly, remember that you are experiencing exactly what your ancestors had to cope with much of the time.
Some places may not be open to the public outside the main tourist season, so enquire locally or write ahead for information. Although the higher hills are not much over 3,000 feet above sea-level, the timber-line is only about 1,000 feet and as in any mountainous regions, the weather on the tundra can change suddenly and severely. If hiking or climbing, take the same precautions as in the Rockies.
Except for the Forestry Commission plantations of impenetrable Sitka Spruce and the National Park areas in Glencoe, all land is privately owned. Unlike England, the public may cross private land in Scotland so long as it is not immediately adjacent to a house. If in doubt, ask locally. Closing gates which you find closed and avoiding damage to walls, fences, young trees or disturbing wildlife and game are highly important. At the same time, where roads are un-fenced and the land un-tilled, it is generally accepted that you can walk or picnic away from the immediate vicinity of the road provided that you leave no trace.
You will notice urban trippers unfolding chairs and eating by their cars when a short distance away is a rock outcrop or the bank of a burn (a creek or stream) where, provided you disturb no fishing and clean up afterwards, you can picnic in peace and quiet. All sea-shore between high and low tide is crown (government) property and open to the public. Picnics, or a quiet half hour spent in such places, offer one of the best ways to absorb the older reality of Argyll which you will miss if all your time is spent in public places or on roads.
Local bakery (not grocery) bread and `baps' (rolls) can be excellent and many locals simply take `the makings' and, spreading each slice before cutting, make sandwiches on the spot. Cookies are called biscuits, scones are pronounced as in gone (only the English say `skownes'), shortbread is native and buns are sweet rolls. You can drink the tap water.
Few Scots eat out very often but more people now go to an hotel for a social drink or a meal on week-ends. This means that restaurants are not common and generally found in hotels. The hotel bar lunches (beer and a ham sandwich or haggis and `neeps) are less expensive and often good. Most good hotels serve non-residents for lunch and dinner. Hotels and pubs expect to have some non-resident visitors use their bar conveniences (rest rooms).
There are three country houses in Argyll which were originally built by Campbells and which are now hotels: Ardanaiseig (pron. Ardnasig) near Kilchrenan on Lochawe, Arduaine (Melfort Hotel) on Loch Melfort and Stonefield near Tarbert, Lochfyne. The first is the most expensive and is reached by turning off the main Inveraray-Oban road at Taynuilt. The second on the Oban-Lochgilphead road with magnificent views out to the islands and a rhododendron garden nearby. The third is an impressive Victorian house in the grand style with views across Loch Fyne just north of Tarbert. The first two were built by branches of the Inverawe family and the last by a branch of the Lochnell family.
Some of the best middle-range hotels in the rural areas of the Highlands were those patronized by urban professionals who rented fishing locally. If you are interested in fishing or shooting, several Highland hotels have access for a fee, but these are now more high-end. Sea fishing from a boat is in the public domain and many places will rent a boat on a sea loch. Experience or a guide are suggested as tides may be up to 8 knots and gales occur suddenly. Guns have been registered in Britain for generations but the fee is minimal and the government has never interfered. Fishing licenses are not required but most rivers are privately owned. Robert Campbell-Preston at Inverawe House (not an hotel) has fishing available to the general public for a fee.
Many people find these an economical alternative. Some are now more expensive and others still simply a room in a private house. Do not expect the upper-end frills of a United States B&B but, hopefully, much more acceptable prices. They have the great advantage of helping you to find how local people live. Those in rural areas may be more individual. If offered a `mixed grill' for breakfast it is usually good. In Britain toast is not eaten limp but crisp, unless you ask for `hot buttered toast'. Marmalade is a breakfast standard with toast. If you are a coffee fiend you may want to brew your own but be sensitive not to give offense. Cold cereal is commonly available. The milk is wholesome and the tea has taste.
If you are fortunate enough to have contacts in the county who you can visit, there are a few suggestions which are worth bearing in mind. Older people expect to be given some warning in a letter or card that you may be in touch. If you have not left them time to answer in writing, let them know when you will try to reach them again by telephone. The American custom of bringing a gift if you are invited for a meal or to stay will not be expected. However on no account whatsoever, if you want to leave any decent impression at all, should you fail to write a note of thanks after the visit, whether you spent a week or only had lunch.
Ask what clothes you will need as you may find yourself going out in a boat for a picnic lunch and needing warm clothes, or asked to join a lunch party needing a dress or jacket and tie. Do not be offended if people treat you a little formally, it is their way of showing respect by showing you their best. And they will expect the same reserve in return to start with, which should not be so hard. If you are later treated informally, you have been accepted as reasonably trustworthy and that is a step foreward.
Don't try to make any `impression' but forget yourself and your interests and give your hosts your good ear. The only `manners' expected from you are to make your host or hostess as comfortable and relaxed as possible which often simply means not demanding in your own mind that they appreciate you. Follow their lead but watch how they are feeling. If they are tired let them rest.
Inveraray Castle may be the one chance you will have in Argyll, outside the country house hotels, to see the interior of a country house which is still a family home. The parts which are open to the public are the main reception rooms and a suite of former bedrooms. These are of course separate from the private side of the house. One of the upstairs rooms is now the `clan' room containing a vast Campbell family tree showing how the chiefly kindred, whose ancestry is known, branched off the main line, with the heraldic shields of each. There is also a fine topographic wall map. In the towering entrance hall the ceiling shows the shields of different Campbell families.
The castle is within walking distance of the town and the hotel-restaurant but there is also a parking area outside the visitor's entrance. There is a Castle Shop on the lower level opening off the moat. Check ahead to find hours, days and months when the castle is open to the public.
Your best chance to meet your chief may be at the Inveraray Games or on one of his visits to The Clan Campbell Society. However if you do need to find out whether you can make an appointment for a meeting at Inveraray it should be done in writing through the Argyll Estates factor well in advance. An approach by telephone or FAX is not appropriate when considering that the chief has to make a living like the rest of us and there are said to be close to 20 million Campbells worldwide, any of whom might turn up at Inveraray at any time.
Mr. Hugh Nicoll
Argyll Estates factor
Inveraray, Argyll, Scotland, UK
There are a number of ruined castles which are normally open to the public and are of very great Campbell and romantic interest: Dunstaffnage; Skipness; Carnasserie; Castle Sween and Kilchurn. All of these offer plenty of space in the grounds to picnic in fine weather. The ruined castles of Innis Chonnel, Fraoch Eilean, Achallader, Loch Dochart, Tarbert and Carrick are in private hands and not open to the public, although they may be photographed from the public road. Finlarig, the Campbell of Glenurchy castle at the west end of Loch Tay, stands in a wood in Perthshire and can be explored. For details see "Campbell Castles".
The castles and houses of Ardkinglas, Glendaruel, Asknish, Crarae, Inverawe, Achnacloich, Ardchattan, Stalker, Airds, Barcaldine, Lochnell, Melfort, Glenfeochan, Craignish, Duntrune, Inverneill, Kilberry, Ardpatrick, Islay House and Saddell are all in private hands and not open to the public, although of Campbell interest. Some can be seen from the public road and it worth your identifying them on the map as many feature in any Campbell or Argyll history you may read.
Children particularly enjoy exploring the ruined castles as there is an element of danger in the heights and the unguarded overlooks and the places are a spur to the imagination. Safety is a consideration as you visit entirely at your own risk, but with normal caution the rewards are great.
There are two outstanding gardens in Argyll created by Campbells and now open to the public and both very much worth a visit, particularly in May-June when azaleas and rhododendrons may be in bloom.
The first is at Crarae, a short drive south of Inveraray and the Auchindrain Museum. The garden was created by Sir George Campbell of Succoth Bt., and is carried on by his son Sir Ilay Campbell. The garden paths climb up the glen of a small burn, with occasional bridges, and is a splendid walk at any time with views to Loch Fyne. Plants from many parts of the world flourish in the mellow climate.
The second is at Arduaine below the Melfort hotel and half an hour south of Oban. Both charge a moderate up-keep fee and you should enquire locally for hours. If you lunch at the hotel, the kilted portrait on the stairs is of the garden's creator, James A. Campbell of Arduaine. His great grandson farms the hill behind the hotel.
On occasion the gardens at Achnacloich and at other houses are open for charity. Enquire locally. The gardens at Stonefield hotel are worth visiting for the rhododendrons. Although they have no Campbell connection, the gardens on the island of Gigha are renowned and open in season. There is also a gardens with Campbell connections on the Isle of Mull which is open to the public.
An important site for the Campbell visitor to Argyll, after Inveraray Castle, is the Auchindrain Museum. This is an old community of farm cottages and outbuildings which have been restored to show the furnishings and farm equipment of various periods of Argyll social life. There is a visitor center and shop by the parking area.
Almost all Campbells who left Argyll for North America, whether directly or by Northern Ireland, would have lived for generations in houses like these, even had their ancestors been tacksmen (senior tenants) or younger sons of the Chiefly kin. One of the founders of the museum was Marion Campbell of Kilberry. The museum was made possible by the late Duke of Argyll who agreed not to destroy the empty village while funds were raised to start the museum. Auchindrain (pron. AhinDRAIN) is about five miles south of Inveraray on the road to Lochgilphead.
The fort at Dunadd is worth the walk up the hill. This was the seat of the kings of Dalriada from about 500 AD and so the first capital of Scotland. North of the summit can be seen the boar carved in the rock and the footprint and cup nearby, believed to be significant in the coronation ceremony. Nearby can be seen standing stones and burial cairns from an even earlier time.
The village of Kilmartin between Dunadd and Carnasserie is handsomely situated. The little castle (not open) was the home of the Campbells of Kilmartin. The place has, at times, a restaurant. Of particular interest is the grave yard about the church where a number of carved stones (some in a glass roofed stone enclosure) show the 16th century leather pleated or padded canvas and chain armor of Highland warriors, one of them a MacTavish. Some wear an `aventail', chain armor protecting the neck and sholders. Those labelled `Malcolm' are not necessarily of that family. Inside the church are the fragments of one of the handsomest Celtic crosses showing a crucifix.
Beyond Castle Sween on the one-track and dead-end road down Loch Sween, the road does an "S" bend inside which are some stone farm buildings with rusting corrugated iron rooves. One of the buildings, below a small parking space beside the road, is a roofless old church inside which are several more impressive carved stones. From near the church a track leads down to the southwest, giving access to a very fine sand beach, an ideal place to relax on a fine day. The walk is about 1/2 a mile. This is a good place to spend a day of recuperation with children who find constant travel tiring.
Although not of particular Campbell significance, the Crinan Canal is a picturesque area worth visiting, particularly at the western end where the terminal basin and the Crinan hotel offer a chance to view yachts and fishing boats and find a good meal or a drink. For children, Crinan harbour, down a branch road to the left before you reach the basin, has a gravel beach and stone quay. There is a (very rough) shore walk to the left through woods to a rocky point with fine views.
Iona was the cradle of Scottish Christianity from about 500 AD until the Norse and Viking invaders in the 800ds drove the center of the Scottish church to be relocated in the safety of Dunkeld in central Perthshire, far from any shore. In fact some of the monks moved there while others left for Ireland, taking with them the illuminated Book of Kells. The Island was the burial place of Scottish kings for centuries. The present abbey, built later in medieval times, was recently restored and is open to the public. Take the car ferry from Oban to Mull and drive to the ferry at the Ross of Mull, or take a boat from Oban to Iona and back on a day trip. This second option is by far the simplest and likely the most comfortable unless you plan to tour Mull on the way. Accommodation on the island is limited but available for those who book ahead. The island was only recently sold by the Duke of Argyll and is now in the hands of the National Trust for Scotland.
These are only a small selection of the most obvious sites of Campbell interest to visit. There are, of course, many others, some less easy of access or not open to the general public but for which permission can be obtained if you have an historical interest. Generally your hotel or B&B host can advise whom to ask. In a more general sense for touring information, obtain information from The Scottish Tourist Board information center or from Oban Chamber of Commerce. Oban is also a departure point for day trips by sea to the islands of Coll, Tiree and Colonsay.
- DUNSTAFFNAGE – ARDUAINE – CRAIGNISH
- DUNADD – KILMARTIN – CARNASSERIE
- CRINAN – CASTLE SWEEN – KILMORY KNAP
- TARBERT – SKIPNESS
- THE INVERARAY AREA
The trips detailed here are only a few of those which could be taken. Other areas to explore are Appin, by Castle Stalker to Glencoe; by ferry to Islay and Jura; or a drive into Perthshire by Tyndrum to visit Finlarig, Taymouth and Glenlyon.
In addition to the comments above, the island may be visited in a day by taking the early ferry by car and returning on a late ferry. Ferry departures are from Oban to Mull and, after driving across Mull, from Mull to Iona. The roads on Mull are narrow and slow. Unless exploring Mull, the boat day-return trip from Oban may be best if available and good weather. Book ahead if planning to stay on the island.
Dunstaffnage is a few minutes drive northeast of Oban. Turn north at Dunbeg and drive through the houses to the Oceanic Research Center. There is a walk from the parking area to the castle. Do not miss the path through the woods to the ruined medieval chapel.
Drive through Oban south and after about two miles you will see a sign and small side road to Lerags on the right. If you have plenty of time, take a side trip on this road for about two miles until you come to the Lerags Cross standing above the road up a track to the left front. Park and walk up the track to see the cross. The cross was erected by Archibald Campbell of Lerags in 1515. Later broken, the cross was re-erected on the present site in recent years. His family had first come to Lerags in about 1471.
Return to the main road and continue south to Arduaine and the Melfort hotel. Have lunch at the hotel restaurant or bar, enjoying the view down the Sound of Jura. Before or after lunch visit the Arduaine Gardens a short walk from the hotel. There is an entry fee.
Continue south on the main road. If interested, visit the Marina and modern tourist village signposted on the right after about a mile. Continue south on the main road almost two miles to a road on the right for Ardfern. Follow this road through the scattered village until shortly before it ends at a stone pier. There you can look northeast and see Craignish Castle among the trees and rhododendrons.
If you want a rough walk, go southwest over the moor all the way to the point of land where the tide swirls through the Dhorus Mor (Great Gate) between the point and the island. Crinan will be across the mouth of Loch Craignish on your left front and the opening of the whirlpool of Corryvreckan across the Sound of Jura to your right, between the islands of Jura and Scarba. If you need tea or a drink, stop at the Ardfern Inn restaurant on your return trip through the village, an alternative lunch site if you prefer to do the trip in reverse.
North of Lochgilphead just east of the Oban road is Kilmichael Glassary, a clachan (small village) at the mouth of a shallow valley out of which flows the river Add under an old stone road bridge. Turn up the side road into the valley to visit the church. This is one of the oldest communities in Argyll.
Continue north again on the main road less than a mile and you will see a road to the left signposted to Dunadd which is a very obvious hill rising out of the flat fields. Go to the end of the road and cross the bridge and park on the gravel area. You will see a gate leading to a rough path which skirts to the right of the only cottage on the hillside and climb up into the fort (see above). Dunadd was the first Capital of Scotland.
Return to the main road and continue north about three miles to the village of Kilmartin. On the way there is a pre-historic burial cairn over the wall to the left in some trees. Visit the church yard (see above) and have lunch if not planning to picnic at Carnasserie castle. Kilmartin area was originally called Ardskeodnish (pron. ArdSCOTnish) and was one of the earliest of the Campbell lands in Argyll beyond Lochawe.
Continue north for about a mile with trees on your left and you will suddenly come on a bridge across the Kilmartin burn which runs along the west side of the road. Across the bridge is a parking area. Walk past the cottage and through the gate (shut it) up the track through the field to the castle on the hill above. Recently access was made to the top of the tower, an area requiring caution but providing fine views.
Tea or drinks at Ardfern or Arduaine if headed north.
Choose a warm day. Buy picnic materials in either Oban or Lochgilphead and visit Crinan if you have not done so (see above). Return east along the canal to the left turn (steep and narrow) signposted to Tayvallich.
Go south on the Tayvallich road from the canal road up the hill. All the roads on this day are one-track with passing places and so are not fast. When you reach a fork with a war memorial cross in the center, go right for Tayvallich or straight on left for Kilmory Knap.
If taking the alternate option of visiting Tayvallich, a small picturesque village with a natural harbor, take the right turn in the village over to the Carsaig shore, a pleasant bay.
Return through Tayvallich to the war memorial and take the road right for Castle Sween. After about nine or ten miles you will see the road to the castle on your right, having seen the castle on rocks by the shore most of the way down the loch. Drive down into what was the farm yard and park beyond. Try to ignore the trailer park and go left along the grass by the stone wall to the gate and so up onto the castle. The interior is now open and is also impressive. You can walk round the outside of the castle clockwise on the way back.
Return to the main road and continue south about 2 1/2 miles to Kilmory Knap where see the church with carved stones and relax on the beach (see above). Visit Crinan hotel for tea or drinks on the way back.
The royal castle of Tarbert was the responsibility of the Campbell Earls of Argyll. The area had been for a time in the hands of Clan Donald and the Earl made one of the cousins of Clan Donald, the MacAllister family, hereditary constables of the castle. Little remains of the old castle but a later tower stands above the handsome village which surrounds the natural harbor. The castle is closed to the public and is not in a condition or of much interest for visiting. The village was long a center for the fishing industry and is an attractive place with a cafe and grocers shop. Part of the village is still on the estate of the Campbells of Stonefield.
Tarbert meant "boat-pull" or a place where a portage could be made by laying log rollers on which boats could be pulled across an isthmus of land between two bodies of water.
Leave Tarbert by the Campbeltown road over to West Loch Tarbert. After almost four miles you will pass the turn for Kennacraig island on your right, from which the ferry leaves for Islay and Jura. The island was the westernmost part of Rhu estate, once part of the extensive holdings of the Campbells of Stonefield and more recently the childhood home of the Campbell editor of the CCS(NA) Journal. The next paved road on the left is for Skipness, your destination.
This narrow road crosses Kintyre and as you reach the high point, the dramatic hills of the island of Arran can be seen to the south. About __ km (4.5 miles) from Kennacraig and before the road crosses the Claonaig Water near the sea, bear to the left for Skipness. After two miles with the seashore on your right you reach Skipness village. Where the road crosses the Skipness River you will see the gates of Skipness House (private) and to reach the castle you must follow the drive with extreme caution until it forks. By now you should see the pink sandstone castle ahead and take the gravel road to the left. The ground is flat and the battlements and tower are not generally accessible so that, while one of the more impressive castles, this is one of the less dramatic to visit.
To the south and a short walk away near the shore is Kilbrannan chapel, now roofless but built in the late 12 or early 13 hundreds. The grave yard contains some much later Campbell of Skipness monuments.
From Skipness you have a choice to make the circuit of Kintyre via Campbeltown, a full day trip, or to go down the narrow east coast road to Carradale, a small fishing village, or even further to Saddell and then return by the same small road. Carradale and Saddell castle were both Campbell properties at one time but the houses and the castle are not open to the public, the castle having recently been restored by the Landmark Trust. It can be rented by the week but you have to book a year or two in advance.
Return through Tarbert for a meal, drink or tea at the Stonefield Castle Hotel whose drive entrance is well sign posted about a mile north of the village on the Lochgilphead road.
The main Oban-Inveraray road is mostly now of fair quality, however the roads on both sides of Lochawe are narrow, single-lane with passing-places, so that 25 mph will be a fair average to expect.
To visit Kilchurn Castle, the first stronghold of the Campbells of Glenurchy and later of Breadalbane, look for a rough and un-official parking area on the southwest side of the main Dalmally-Oban road between the junction with the Inveraray road to the southeast and the bridge over the Orchy to the northwest. There is a gate and crossing from the parking area over the railway and then a walk across a (frequently wet) field to the castle about half a mile away.
You enter the castle through the oldest part, the tower which was begun in the mid fourteen hundreds. The barracks to the north were built more recently and were last used during the 1745 rising. The Department of the Environment who maintain the castle (which means that it can never be restored) have now provided strong teak stairways which allow you to climb to the top of the tower where there are fine views of Lochawe, Cruachan, Glenstrae and Glenorchy.
Take the Inveraray road southwest about four miles from the junction with the Dalmally-Oban road and you find the first paved side-road on your right at Cladich. This is the narrow road down the east shore of Lochawe. After about 10 km (15 miles) begin looking for Innis Chonnel Castle on an island in the loch to your right. Park in the side of the road and scramble down to the loch shore and you will have a clear view for photographs. This is the original Campbell castle which was certainly in the hands of the family by 1308 and was greatly enlarged by Duncan, Lord Campbell, in the fourteen hundreds.
From here you can either continue south and return towards Inveraray by Lochgilphead, or return to the Oban-Inverary road and go south from Inverary to Auchindrain museum, five miles southwest on the Lochgilphead road. Allow at least an hour to explore the museum. This is a memorable place for children. The museum is described above, there is an entry fee.
About four miles southwest of Auchindrain is Crarae where the gardens have been described above. The entrance to the gardens is a little southwest of the main private drive to the house and on the right going from Inveraray. Depending upon the weather, you may like to take the opportunity of the extensive paths up the glen to take a more extensive walk. There is an entry fee.
Return to Inverary for a meal, drink or tea at the hotel, or there is an ice cream shop in the main street. If driving on from Inveraray to Oban, you will have a fine view of Ben Cruachan over Lochawe, a symbol of Campbell strength long owned by the Campbells of Glenorchy to the east and of Inverawe to the west. The medieval hosting ground of Clan Campbell was on the west shore of Lochawe opposite Innis Chonnel at Cruachan Lochawe, from which came the Campbell battle cry "Cruachan!".