The village of Taynuilt has a golf course, tennis courts and an excellent tea-room. There are many walking and cycling trails especially in and around Fearnoch Forest, and the Nant Glen National Nature Reserve with lovely marked walks. A few miles along the A85 towards Crianlarich, the Cruachan hydro-electric power station has a visitor centre and runs tours into Ben Cruachan mountain. The Inverawe Smokehouse, a family run business producing traditionally smoked fish is another must visit spot here.
Beyond the Bonawe Heritage Site is the pier from which Loch Etive Cruises depart. The loch is inaccessible except by boat, the 90-minute (£4.80) or three-hour (£8.80)cruise of one of Scotland's great hidden treasures is definitely worth it. You'll see the mountains of Glencoe, seals on the rocks, deer on the hillsides and maybe even a golden eagle flying above, and you won't stop talking about it for weeks, or months. Cruises depart at 1000, 1200 and 1400 (except Easter-30 Apr, Sat-Sun, 1-14 Oct, at 1400 only). No booking necessary but arrive in plenty of time. Tel. 822430.
Running south from the village is the very lovely and very quiet Glen Lonan. About four miles along the Glen Lonan road is Barguillean's Angus Garden, one of Argyll's youngest and smallest gardens, but also one of the most peaceful and evocative, set around the shores of little Loch Angus. It was created in 1957, in memory of Angus MacDonald, a journalist and writer killed in Cyprus in 1956. Daily 0900-1800. No admission charge but there's an honesty box. Tel. 822335.
Phone code: +44 (0) 1866
Local Sights & Activities for Taynuilt
The main attraction though, is Bonawe Iron Furnace, north of the village on the shores of Loch Etive. Founded in 1753 by a group of Cumbrian ironmasters, Bonawe used the abundant woodlands of Argyll to make charcoal to fire its massive furnace. At its height, it produced 600-700 tons of pig-iron a year. This was then shipped out to the forges of England and Wales. Iron production ceased at Bonawe in 1876 and it has now been restored as an industrial heritage site, with displays explaining the whole production process. Apr-Sep, daily 0930-1830, £3.50, concession £2.50, children £1.50. Tel. 822432
Walking Loch Awe
These routes are all outlined, with accompanying maps, in the Forestry Commission leaflet, 'A Guide to Forest Walks and Trails in North Argyll', available at tourist offices.
A single-track road runs southwest of Kilchrenan along the shores of Loch Awe to the tiny villages of Dalavich and Ford, through the very beautiful Inverinan Forest, a Forestry Commission property which has a series of undemanding marked trails running through the hills overlooking the loch.
The first walk starts out from the little hamlet of Inverinan. Red waymarkers lead you from the car park into the woods surrounding the gorge of the River Inan. Part of the route follows the old drove road along which cattle were driven from the Highlands down to the markets in south and central Scotland. The walk is three miles long and should take around an hour and a half.
Further along the road, half a mile north of Dalavich, is a car park at Barnaline Lodge, the starting point for a nine-mile bike route, a waymarked walk through the Caledonian Forest Reserve, and a couple of other woodland walks. The longest of the walks is the five-mile route that leads along the River Avich, then along the shores of Loch Avich before returning to the lodge.
Two and a half miles south of Dalavich is a car park, which marks the starting point for a blue waymarked walk along the shores of Loch Awe. The route passes through Mackenzie's Grove, a sheltered gorge containing some of the largest conifers on the west coast. The route then runs along the shores of the loch, from where you can see the remains of a crannog, one of over 40 of these Iron-Age settlements on Loch Awe. The route then heads back to the car park; about three miles in total.
Taynuilt Hotels & Accommodation
There's a good selection of accommodation in and around Taynuilt. On the main road is the welcoming Taynuilt Hotel, Tel. 822437, Fax. 822721; and there are also several B&Bs.
The most luxurious places to stay, and the best places to eat, are in Kilchrenan, south of Taynuilt on the shores of Loch Awe. Ardanaiseig Hotel, Tel. 833333, Fax. 833222, 3 miles east of Kilchrenan village on an unclassified road. Open Feb-Dec. Offers opulence and style, beautiful surroundings and views, and exquisite food (lunch mid-range; dinner expensive).
Taychreggan Hotel, Tel. 833211/833366, Fax. 833244. Not as grand as the Ardanaiseig Hotel, but with equally wonderful views and superb cuisine (lunch mid-range; dinner expensive).
Sithe More House Elegant Victorian Scottish Country House yet complete with all the 21st century luxuries... wonderful linen, fabrics and the most comfortable beds. C P Hart bathrooms including Jacuzzi, multi jet shower etc. 7 miles from Taynuilt and includes helicopter pad. Telephone: 01866 833234
Self catering Cottages
Barguillean Farmhouse Tel: +44 (0) 1866 822333. Perched on a hillside in peaceful Glen Lonan, Barguillean Farmhouse is a charming traditional, whitewashed country house with beautiful landscaped gardens . Sperb views of Ben Cruachan, Glen Etive and the mountains beyond. just 14 miles from Oban on the West Coast of Scotland
Bonawe house Tel: +44 (0) 1866 822309. A delightful accommodation option in tranquil settings. The lovingly refurbished 18th century cottages with log fires and period settings. There is a beautiful garden that offers great views of the mountains around.