Inveraray of Scotland

 Inveraray A Inverary Castle A Parish Church A Church of All Saints B Inverary Jail B Inverary Maritime Museum G Neil Munro Standing on the western shores of Loch Fyne, Inveraray is a perfect example of a planned Scottish town. It was built between 1753 and 1776 by the 3rd Duke of Argyll, who had pulled down his decaying castle and replaced it with a grander one, which would reflect his important position in society. At that time the small clachan, or hamlet, of Inveraray stood in front of the castle, and the duke wanted to improve the castle’s view out over Loch Fyne, so he had the old township, which stood east of the castle, 

demolished. He then built a new town to the immediate south, which became a royal burgh thanks to a charter of 1648 granted by Charles I. The result is an elegant town with wide streets and well-proportioned, whitewashed houses. It is actually no bigger than a village, but so well-planned, that it has the feel of a busy metropolis. In the summer months tourists flock to Inverary, making it an extremely busy place. Inveraray Castle stands to the north, and is an elegant, 

foursquare stately home. With its four turrets - one at each corner of the building - it looks more like a grand French château than a Highland castle, but this was the intention. It was designed to tell the world that the Campbells, Dukes of Argyll, belonged to one of the most powerful families in the land - one that had always supported the Protestant cause and the Hanovarian dynasty against the Jacobites. It was designed by Roger Morris and Robert Mylne, and contains a famous armoury, French tapestries, Scottish and European furniture, and a genealogy room that traces the history of Clan Campbell. There are two churches within the town - the Parish Church, which dates from 1794, 

and the Episcopalian Church of All Saints. The Parish Church was designed by Robert Mylne, and is divided in two so that services could be held in both English and Gaelic, though this is seldom done nowadays. All Saints Church, which dates from 1886, has a bell tower with the second heaviest ring of 10 bells in the world. Each bell is named after a saint, and has the name inscribed on it. Ringers can sometimes be watched in action, while visiting ringers can practise by appointment. Being the main town for a large area, Inveraray was the place where justice was meted out. Inveraray Jail takes you on a trip through Scotland’s penal system in the 1800s, and here you can see what the living conditions would have been like in cells that housed murderers and thieves. 

There are two prison blocks, one built in 1820 and one in 1848, the latter having more ‘enlightened’ conditions. You can also see the branding irons, thumb screws and whips that passed for justice before the 18th century. There is also a courtroom where a tableau, complete with sound, shows how a trial was conducted before a High Court judge. Within the Arctic Penguin, a three-masted schooner built in 1911, is the Inveraray Maritime Museum (see panel on page 289). 

Here the maritime history of Scotland’s western seaboard is vividly brought to life. There’s an on-board cinema with an archive of old film, and a re-creation of what conditions were like aboard a ship taking emigrants to a new life in America. The latest addition to the museum is the Eilean Eisdeal, a typical puffer built in Hull in 1944. One of the area’s most famous sons was Neil Munro (1863-1930), the writer and journalist who wrote the ever-popular Para Handy books.

 On the A819 through Glen Aray towards Loch Awe is a monument that commemorates him. It stands close to his birthplace at Carnus. Around Inveraray CAIRNDOW 6 miles NE of Inveraray across the loch on the A83 E Arkinglas Woodland Garden J Clachan Farm Woodland Walks This small village stands at the western end of Glen Kinglas, on the shores of Loch Fyne. Within the Arkinglas Estate is the 25-acre Arkinglas Woodland Garden. High annual rainfall, a mild climate and light, sandy soil have created the right conditions for a collection of coniferous trees. 

The Callander family established the collection in about 1875, and it has seven champion trees that are either the tallest or widest in Britain. There is also one of the best collections of rhododendrons in the country. Arkinglas House itself, designed by Robert Lorimer in 1907, is not open to the public. At Clachan Farm near Arkinglas you’ll find the Clachan Farm Woodland Walks, which allow you to see many species of native tree, such as oak, hazel and birch. The walks vary from a few hundred yards in length to twoand-a-half miles, and take in the old burial ground of Kilmorich.

STRACHUR 4 miles S of Inveraray across the loch on the A815 B Strachur Smiddy J Glenbranter G Sir Fitzroy MacLean A St Finan’s Chapel C Glendaruel C Kilmodan Sculptured Stones Strachur sits on the shores of Long Fyne, on the opposite bank from Inveraray. Strachur Smiddy (meaning ‘smithy’) dates from 1791, and finally closed in the 1950s.It has now been restored as a small museum and craft shop, 

and has some original tools and implements used by blacksmiths and farriers. Glenbranter, which was once owned by Sir Harry Lauder, has three short walks through mature woodlands. In the kirkyard at Strachur is buried Sir Fitzroy MacLean, diplomat and spy, who died in 1996, and was said to be the inspiration for Ian Fleming’s James Bond. Lachlan Castle (private), ancestral home of the MacLachlans, lies six miles south of Strachur on the B8000. 

The older 15thcentury castle, which is in ruins, is close by. Nine miles south of the castle, still on the B8000, is Otter Ferry. As the name implies, this village was once the eastern terminal of a ferry that crossed Loch Fyne, but it is long gone. The word ‘otter’ comes from the Gaelic ‘oitir’, meaning a gravel bank, and has nothing to do with the animal. A single lane track, the Ballochandrain, leaves Otter Ferry and rises to more than 1000 feet before descending to Glendaruel. It has some wonderful views towards the Inner Hebrides. South of Otter Ferry is the small, peaceful clachan of Kilfinan. The ruined St Finan’s Chapel, dedicated to St Finian, a 6th-century Irish saint, dates from about the 12th century and has some old burial stones. 

Five miles further on at Millhouse is a turn off to the right along an unmarked road for Portavadie, where the Portavadie-Tarbert ferry will take you onto the Mull of Kintyre (summer only). If you turn left at the same junction and head north again, you pass through Tighnabruaich on the Kyles of Bute, and eventually arrive at Glendaruel, the site of a battle in about 1110 between Norsemen led by Mekan, son of Magnis Barefoot, and native Gaels, in which the Vikings were defeated. The name translates from the Gaelic as the ‘glen of red blood’, as the defeated Norsemen were thrown into a local burn whose water turned red with their blood. The road hugs the shoreline most of the way, and gives some wonderful views of sea and hill. At Glendaruel are the Kilmodan Sculptured Stones, within the graveyard of Kilmodan Parish Church.

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