Tuesday, 15 June 2010

MULL of KINTYRE..Great Place, shame about the song

15th june

After INVERARY we were going to just drive down to LOCHGILPHEAD and stay there for a night or two but on inspection the town seemed to offer little to detain us so we headed for the Kintyre peninsular. Great views after TARBERT, a pretty little town where we stocked up at the Co-op and arrived early afternoon at TAYINLOAN where the Great Sea Views Campsite book assured us of a site on the beach with superb views - and as usual they were quite right. Point Sands Caravan Park is a cracking site opposite the Isle of Gigha (pronounced Gee-ah) with Jura and Islay as a backdrop. The management has only recently assumed responsiblity after the long time manager retired and 'his' mother persuaded them to move back home (from Suffolk) and run the park. They are making lots of improvements apparently ( according to our neighbours) and our welcome was the best I have ever encountered on a site. They will soon need to spend money on the facilities, which is in the pipeline for next year they told me,but the views really are stupendous and you only have to step out of the van onto the beach. And the sunsets are magnificent as of course you are facing due west. On recommendation, we took the scooter the mile down the road to the village where we caught the ferry to GIGHA, a 25 minute trip (£23.70 return for 2 +scooter). The Island is owned by the community and was the first community buy-out in 2002 when it was purchased from the then landowner..It is 6 miles long by 1 mile wide and its main claim to fame is ACHAMORE gardens (Originally conceived by Sir John Horlicks of the hot milk drink) which the community restored with a 3 year project in 2005 and which are a riot of rhododendrons and azaleas and well worth the visit. We had taken a picnic and spent a lovely day in glorious sunshine exploring the whole island. It came pretty close to being the Perfect Day !

So 2 nights Tayinloan (£18 a night) and then round the peninsular to CARRADALE via CAMPBELTOWN where we again revitalled at a TESCO (a Metro, so nearly civilisation). Diverted off for the afternoon to SOUTHEND at the bottom of Kintyre where we found the caves that St. Colomba used when he landed here en route to IONA from Ireland complete with an impression of his footprint in the rock. Verily a miracle they all cried.

So back to CAMPBELTOWN and on to the CC site at CARRADALE which I had booked in advance for 5 nights in order to lay claim to a pitch on the front overlooking the beach. An excellent site (£16 a night) with lots of rhododendrons making little bays and terrific views accross the bay to ARRAN and AILSA CRAIG. We had some lovely walks along the bays and headlands and went back to CAMPBELTOWN (14 miles) on the scooter to explore. This was a mistake as the town is grim, decaying and mainly closed down and is very disappointing. However we did go on to explore The MULL of KINTYRE which is close to SOUTHEND but 7 miles up and down what the Rough Guide called a 'tortuous' track. The scooter struggled in places, sometimes first gear but the views are wonderful and we had another gloriously sunny day for it. THe views to Ireland are stunning as the ANTRIM coast is only 12 miles away and of course is where the Giants Causeway can be seen. So far the weather has been very favourable with only one mostly iffy day but everything does look so much different with the blue sky and sun shining.

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