As a follow up on yesterday's post about the Glasgow to Islay journey, I'd like to mention a another special place to stop when you come from Glasgow. The place I am referring to is Inveraray, a lovely village, beautifully situated on the shore of Loch Fyne and it's the first planned village in Scotland. Inveraray is a busy little village with a couple of interesting visitor attractions. One of them is Inveraray Castle, home of the current duke of Argyll and his family. The castle is very much worth a visit and has some Islay related items on display as well. The opening hours are: 1st April - 31st October Monday-Saturday - 1000hrs-1745hrs, Sundays from 1200hrs-1745hrs.
Another interesting attraction is the Inveraray Bell Tower which is a mecca for visiting bell ringers from all over Britain. The Bell Tower was planned by Niall Diarmid, 10th Duke of Argyll in 1914 as a war memorial. Since 1970 there has been extensive restoration and refurbishment to the tower, including making the tower accessible to visitors, now open from May to September. The views from the top of the tower over Loch Fyne are wonderful! If you like to spend some time in jail, and who doesn't, you are in the right place in Inveraray. In the centre of the village is Inveraray Jail, Scotland's living 19th century prison and court. Life in those days was hard but prison life was a nightmare: "It was the principal jail of the county of Argyll and housed men, women and children, convicted and unconvicted prisoners as well as the sane and the insane in 8 cold, damp cells". Another attraction well worth a visit and open all year round! Continue reading.....If you are in for more you can climb aboard the Arctic Penguin, docked at the pier next to the "Vital Spark", for a visit to the Maritime Museum. There is a fascinating collection of Clyde Maritime displays, memorabilia, film and hands-on activities gathered from far and wide on board this unique three masted schooner. The ship itself was built in Dublin in 1910 and served as a light ship, training ship and cruise boat until 1988 before she finally docked at Inveraray pier in 1995. Another interesting attraction located six miles outside Inveraray, is the Auchindrain Museum where Scotland's ancient villages come alive in a wonderful setting, situated directly at the A83. This museum is open from April to October and, as most tourist attractions in Scotland, last admission is at four, so don't be late.
Inveraray has lots more to offer and to find out about that you have a look at the website www.inveraray-argyll.com. This post however wouldn't be complete without mentioning one of the best whisky shops in Scotland if not THE best. The shop, Loch Fyne Whiskies, is located in main street Inveraray and is a must for the whisky enthusiast. They have a huge collection of (rare) whiskies, both sold in the shop and online, and recently they started to sell their own whisky liqueur under the name "The Loch Fyne Liqueur". I must admit that I'm not a liqueur person myself but when I tried it in their shop during our last visit I was stunned. This is a fantastic drink and I immediately bought myself a bottle. When I came home and opened the package I found a note which states: "The Loch Fyne Liqueur is relaxing and satisfying, is less sweet than other liqueurs and has a warming aroma of deluxe Scotch whisky, spicy orange cake and a tiny whiff of log fires. Once tasted, flavours of chocolate-orange, whisky, and coffee linger on." This is a very beautiful liqueur which lives up to the wonderful description and is a really nice after dinner treat, well worth stopping for when you're on your way to Islay. If you're not into liqueurs make sure to stop anyway at Loch Fyne Whiskies, it's a great shop with a friendly staff and plenty of special (Islay) malts!
The Vital Spark at Inveraray's Pier
Inveraray Main Street - Loch Fyne Whiskies left!
Inveraray - World War I monument
Inveraray - View from the parking area to Loch Fyne
Inveraray - The Bell Tower
Inveraray Castle - Home of the Duke of Argyll