The largest town in Cowal, and indeed the largest in Argyll, with 13,000 inhabitants, is Dunoon, one-time favourite holiday destination for Glaswegians, who came in their hordes on board the many paddle steamers that sailed "doon the watter" from Glasgow.
Dunoon still attracts visitors, albeit in much smaller numbers, but the town has fallen on desperately hard times with the recent closure of the US nuclear submarine base in the 1990s, nearby Holy Loch is considered as the life blood of the town.
Nevertheless, the town still comes to life during the Cowal Highland Gathering, held on the last weekend of August. This is the world's largest Highland Games and culminates in a spectacular march of massed pipes and drums through the streets. The Castle House Museum on Castle Hill overlooking the town, allows you to bone up on Cowel's often grisly past. Easter-Oct Mon-Sat 1030-1630, Sun 1400-1630, £1.50, concession £1, children free.
Phone code: +44 (0) 1369
Cycle hire - Highland Stores, 156 Argyll St.
PONY TREKKING - Velvet Path Riding & Trekking Centre, Rowan House, Innellan, by Dunoon. Tel. 01369 830580. Trekking and Riding Society for Scotland Approved Centre.
A warm welcome awaits at the Velvet Path, ride through spectacular scenery on our wonderful native ponies. Excellent pony trekking for that special holiday treat, beach rides for the experienced rider. Specialist in Riding for the Disabled. Tel. 01369 830580.
Local Sights & Activities for Dunoon
There's not much to keep you in Dunoon but, if the weather's bad and you need to kill time, you could head for the Castle House Museum, on Castle Hill, which dominates the town centre, where you can bone up on Cowal's often grisly past. Open Easter-Oct Mon-Sat 1030-1630, Sun 1400-1630. A mile northwest, along the A855 to Sandbank, is the Cowal Bird Garden, an aviary with exotic birds such as parrots and macaws plus a small rare-breeds farm. Easter-Oct daily 1030-1800, Nov-Easter Sun only 1100-1600.
Dunoon Hotels & Accommodation
There are more than enough hotels and guesthouses to choose from. One of the best is the Enmore Hotel, Marine Parade (near Hunter's Quay), Tel. 702230, Fax. 702148, A small, family hotel in its own grounds overlooking the sea and with a reputation for good food (restaurant open to non-residents; mid-range- expensive) Late Rooms Availability for Enmore Hotel in Dunoon.
Nearby (on Hunter's Quay) is the very good Royal Marine Hotel. Recommended. Late Rooms Availability for Royal Marine Hotel in Dunoon
Self Catering Cottages in Dunoon
- Rashfield (Near Dunoon) - Border Lodge - Argyll Sleeps 4
- RASHFIELD(Near Dunoon) - Inveryne - Argyll Sleeps 6
- RASHFIELD(near Dunoon) - Benmore Lodge - Argyll Sleeps 7
- Clyde Cottage Sleeps 6
Self Catering Cottages Near Dunoon
- The Lodge Sleeps 4
There's lots of B&B accommodation, which can be booked at the tourist office, and there are 2 campsites nearby: Cot House Caravan & Campsite is at Kilmun, a few miles north of town, on the shores of Holy Loch, Tel. 840351; open Apr-Oct; and a few miles further north, at the southern end of Loch Eck, is Stratheck Caravan Park, Tel/Fax. 840472; open Mar-Dec.
Aside from the hotels listed above, the best food can be found at Chatters, 58 John St, Tel. 706402, an informal and outstanding little restaurant offering French-style Scottish cuisine (lunch mid-range; dinner mid-range-expensive). Open Mon-Sat.