Things To Do In Bute
48 HOURS IN BUTE
Article published in the national UK Sunday THE SUNDAY MIRROR. Good journalistic rundown of what to do on a weekend break.:- Visit:http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4161/is_20060423/ai_6213643
One of Bute's main attractions is Mount Stuart, a unique Victorian Gothic house set in 300 acres of lush woodland gardens, three miles south of Rothesay. This magnificent architectural fantasy reflects the Third Marquess of Bute's passion for astrology, astronomy, mysticism and religion, and the sheer scale and grandeur of the place almost beggars belief.
This is truly one of the great country houses of Scotland and displays breathtaking craftsmanship in marble and stained glass, as well as a fine collection of family portraits and Italian antiques. Much of the existing house dates from 1877, and was built following a terrible fire which destroyed the original, built in 1719 by the Second Earl of Bute. May-Sep Sun-Fri 1100-1700, Sat 1000-1430, gardens 1000-1800, house 1100-1700, £7.50, concession £6, children £3.50.
Equally impressive are the landscaped gardens and woodlands, established by the Third Earl of Bute (1713-1792), who advised on the foundation of Kew Gardens in London. It's worth spending a whole day here in order to take in the amazing splendour of the house and to explore the beautiful gardens. And if the weather's fine, why not bring a picnic and enjoy the wonderful sea views. It is also equipped with audio-visuals and restaurant. Easter weekend and 1 May-17 Oct daily except Tue and Thu. Gardens open 1000-1700; House open 1100-1630. A regular bus service runs from Rothesay to the gates of the House.
SAILING, HORSE-RIDING, ANGLING, FLY AND MARINE FISHING, BIKING, BIRD-WATCHING, SEAL SPOTTING,SWIM WITH THE SEALS, DIVING, MOTORBIKE RALLY, JAZZ FESTIVAL, REAL ALE FESTIVAL, BUTE LIVE MUSIC FESTIVAL
There is always something different and interesting to do on Bute! There are a series of weekend events, starting on the very first weekend of May when jazz enthusiasts gather for a jamboree of music making using venues throughout the island. BUTELIVE is a similar music festival for the rock and pop fans held on the second weekend in July. BUTE HIGHLAND GAMES is on the third weekend of August.
PORT BANNATYNE is also the sailing centre of the island with a fine new marina, boatyard and private moorings. MARINA: 01700 502719. http://www.portbannatynemarina.co.uk
The Real Ale Festival is also held in Port Bannatyne at THE RUSSIAN TAVERN.http://www.keighleyandcravencamra.ord.uk/unofficialbusiness/scotland.shtml
PORT BANNATYNE has a fine golf course with visitors' facilities phone 01700 504544. Port Bannatyne Petanque Club has three piste on a seafront pitch just north of the marina. Telephone: 01700 503338http://www.portbannatynepetanque.org.uk Boules may be hired from the Post Office. There are three other golf courses on the island, the largest above Rothesay, phone 01700 503554.
AT LOCH FAD the estate fisheries provide excellent pike and trout fishing, call 01700 504871
KINGARTH trekking Centre provides all your horse-riding needs call 01700 831673
SEALS, BIRDLIFE and WILDLIFE abound and you will have no difficulty in watching wild deer and hare. The seal colony is at Scalpsie Bay and Port Bannatyne is frequently visited by porpoises and dolphin. The huge Basking Shark often visits boats offshore.
St Blane's Chapel
Southwest of Kilchattan Bay is St Blane's Chapel, a 12th-century ruin in a beautifully peaceful spot near the southern tip of the island. The medieval church stands on the site of an earlier monastery, established in the sixth century by St Blane, nephew of St Catan, after whom Kilchattan is named. The ruin can be reached by road from Rothesay, or as part of the walk from Kilchattan Bay.
Four miles north of St Blane's, on the west coast, is Scalpsie Bay, the nicest beach on the island and a good place for seal-spotting. A little further north is St Ninian's Point, looking across to the island ofInchmarnock. At the end of the beach are the ruins of a sixth-century chapel, dedicated to St Ninian.
The Highland-Lowland dividing line passes through the middle of Bute at Loch Fad, which separates the hilly and uninhabited northern half of the island and the rolling farmland of the south. The highest point on the island is Windy Hill (913 ft) in the north, from where there are great views across the island.
From Kilchattan Bay in the south of the island along the spine of Bute to the far north is the WEST ISLAND WAY. The WAY easily splits into two days out. Phone 01700 502151 0r visit www.visitbute.com/wiw.htm Truly stunning views to Arran in the west and the Cowal Hills in the East. In the north the path backtracks to the North Bute village of PORT BANNATYNE with its sailing marina and well known Russian Tavern and Restaurant serving freshly landed seafood.(call 01700 505073)
A less strenuous walk is up Canada Hill, a few miles southwest of Rothesay, above Loch Fad. Walk along Craigmore promenade and turn off at the old pier to Ardencraig Gardens. Then continue uphill along the golf course to the top of the hill for great views of the Firth of Clyde.
Until 1928 there was a tram linking Rothesay to Port Bannatyne then to Ettrick Bay on the west coast of the island. Today a bus replaces the tram, but the old tram track has been renovated into a fine hiking trail. From Rothesay walk north along the seafront to Port Bannatyne Marina (about three miles,) then take the road to the left going uphill west, there is a good pavement. To your right over the fields you can see KAMES CASTLE. When the pavement runs out, just before a grand roofless stone church (and the graveyard,) the tramway leaves the road and runs alongside all the way to Ettrick Bay. In the field to the left as you approach the bay you can see prehistoric Standing Stones. From Port Bannatyne to Ettick Bay is over two miles.