One of the most beautiful parts of Argyll is the southwest of Cowal, particularly the route down to the little village of Tighnabruaich. The A8003 runs down the west side of Loch Riddon and there are few lovelier sights than the view from this road across the Kyles of Bute, the narrow straits that separate Cowal from the island of Bute.
A pretty resort village, located on the western shores of the Kyle of Bute, Tighnabruaich was developed during the 19th century with pier and marina villas.The route down to Tighnabruaich is considered one of the most beautiful parts of Argyll. The A8003 runs down the west side of Loch Riddon and there are few lovelier sights than the view from this road across the Kyles of Bute, the narrow straits that separate Cowal from the island of Bute.
Around 80 miles from Glasgow by road, Tighnabruaich is a perfect tranquil holiday spot for sailors, tourists and fishermen alike. Touted as one of the most scenic drives in Scotland, a drive along the narrow roads chisled out the hill side offers some of the best great views of the Bute, Arran and the Ayrshire coasts and the hills. Tighnabruiach is a cruise destination, quite popular for sailing and surfing.Tighnabruaich gets busy in the summer with visitors who come here to enjoy some of the best sailing on the west coast. Tighnabruaich has many interesting walking trails including the well acclaimed Cowal Way which is a 47 mile walk with 6 separate sections that offer the best views around. The nine hole golf course is another attraction. Tighnabruaich is famous for trout and salmon fishing and has the second best salmon river in Scotland.
Tighnabruaich offers something special for everyone all round the year. The outdoor options include sailing, canoeing, and kayaking among others. Golfers will find the 9–hole course of the Kyle of Bute, set in the hills, a delightful option indeed. Trout fishing and trekking are the other popular actitivities in this village that are not to be missed.If you are ready for a rough game, try a hand at the unique village game of shinty, which is somewhat like a game of freestyle hockey!
Though it is a popular tourist resort, it remains pleasantly uncrowded and makes a perfect pick for a tranquil holiday. Much of the accommodation is booked up by those enrolled at the Tighnabruaich Sailing School, Tel. +44 (0) 1700 811717, which offers dinghy sailing and windsurfing courses at all levels. There is a bank in the village and buses leave from here to Portavadie (1-3 times daily; 25 minutes), Colintraive (see below) and Rothesay (1-2 times daily Monday-Thursday; one hour).
Phone code: +44 (0) 1700
South of Tighnabruaich & Portavadie
A few miles southwest of Kames, is Portavadie, on the west coast of Cowal. A CalMac car and passenger ferry sails from here to Tarbert, on the Kintyre Peninsula, saving a lot of time if you're heading for the islands of Islay, Jura or Colonsay. The ferry to Tarbert makes the 25-minute crossing every hour daily from 0800 till 1915. The one way trip costs £3.15 per passenger and £13.35 per car.
About 10 miles further up the deserted west coast of Cowal is Otter ferry. There used to be a ferry link from here to Lochgilphead, but not for the small, amphibious mammals. It gets its name from the gravel bank that juts out into Loch Fyne (An Oitir means gravel bank in Gaelic). It's still worth stopping here, if only for the excellent oyster bar and pub, The Oystercatcher, Tel. 01700-821229, which overlooks the lovely sandy beach.
Tighnabruaich Hotels & Accommodation
The SYHA youth hostel, Tel. 811622, open Apr-Sep, sits high above the village with great views across the Kyles and is often full. There's also The Royal Hotel, Tel. +44 (0) 1700 811239, Fax. 811300, on the waterfront, with a multi-gym and sauna, and excellent restaurant serving cheap lunches and mid-range-expensive dinners.
There are a couple of cheap B&Bs in the village, including Ferguslie, Tel. +44 (0) 1700 811414, open Apr-Sep. In neighbouring Kames, there's the Kames Hotel , Tel. +44 (0) 1700811489, Fax. 811283, , with great views, and live music in the bar. You can also try the An Lochan Hotel (3 star Reviews 4.3/5)
At Colintraive there's a charming little hotel - the Colintraive Hotel ; recommended. Ardeneden Guest House tel: +44 01700 811354 is another good choice. A large Victorian villa set in a water side property; conveniently located near the village centre. Recommended.
Self Catering Accommodation
Anchorage House, dating back to 1890, is a large Victorian house centrally located in the West Highland village of Tighnabruaich; stunning views over the waters of the Kyles of Bute; great place to relax ;enjoy ample outdoor fun and wild life. tel:01700 811258
Swallows Nest, a detached preium property that can sleep 6; set amidst a well tended garden. Named after the annual visit of hundreds of swallows, this large bright and full of character self catering accommodation offers a comfortable stay; Wood panelled sitting room with open fire; Gas Barbeque available; a perfect choice for families and small groups.
Travel Directions to Tighnabruaich
It's also possible to reach Bute from southwest Cowal. The A8003 turns off the main A883, which runs right down the west of the peninsula and the east side of Loch Riddon to Colintraive, at the narrowest point in the Kyles, only a few hundred yards wide. A small car and passenger CalMac ferry crosses to Rhubodach on Bute. There are buses from Colintraive to Tighnabruaich (1-2 times daily Mon-Thu; 35 mins), and to Dunoon.
The Paddle Steamer Waverley, which is the world's only remaining sea-going paddle steamer is a very special way to travel to Tighnabruaich. Seasonal services avilable from Glasgow, Greenock, Helensburgh, Dunoon, Ayr, Millport (Isle of Great Cumbrae), Largs, Rothesay (Isle of Bute) and Tarbert, with cruises from Tighnabruaich down Loch Fyne. For more information, visit www.waverleyexcursions.co.uk.