Kilmartin Things to Do Tips by scottishvisitor
Kilmartin Things to Do: 29 reviews and 120 photos
Old Stone & Slate
Kilmartin has only one real street which runs along its entiire length for about quarter of a mile. From here there are little back lanes with no pavements where pedestrians and cars give way happily to each other with a friendly smile and a cheery wave. I loved our stroll here breathing in wood smoke, how I love this smell, looking at all the old stone buildings built from local stone with slate roofs. We were delighted to discover the little outhouses set apart in peoples' gardens. Probably used for gardening items or coal and wood sheds but their origin was an outside loo. How time changes things but also leaves the charms of the past.
Directions: On the A816 between Oban to the North & Lochgillphead to the South
A winter's walk through Kilmartin Glen - what a pleasure to have a near solitary walk here. I say near solitary I did walk step by step with Kenny and the dogs but not always. I frequently seemed to lag behind taking endless photographes of the landscapes, the sheep and the complete isolation of this quiet glen. Signs of early Spring were all around, snowdrops were in abundance and crocuses were just popping through the still cold earth. Be aware the sheep here are left to graze undisturbed in unfenced moorland but despite not another soul around the sheep were not bothered in the least with our presence let alone the dogs who where leashed but so many country smells to investigate puddles to run through not one of them noticed they were under close scrutinity.
Address: Kilmartin Glen
Directions: Left turn to car park of the A816 unclassified road
St. Conval's Chapel
The interior of the Saint Conan's Church is simple but breathtakenly beautiful. St. Conval's Chaple contains the remains of its builders William and Helen Campbell. Text carved round the walls reads "The Lord spake saying, let them make me a sancturary that I may live amongst them" a fitting tribute beyond the beautiful wrought iron gates. A double row of dark carved stalls line the chancel, carved from Spanish Walnut, they show the coat of arms, crests and badges of the Clan Chiefs who long before the Church was built held land in this area. The semi circular Asp surrounds the chancel, the clear glass windows receives the full blast of daylight with the mountains as a back drop. This part of the Church is said to be copied from St. John's Chapel in the Tower of London which is very dark. The Bruce Chapel commemorates Robert the Bruce's victory at the Pass of Brander. Underneath the efigy of the King the casket contains a fragment of bone taken from Dunfermline Abbey. The stained glass windows are a sight to behold, the three light McCorquondale window is stunning. The other window which held my interest was of the Angel designed and painted by Helen Campbell. Inside the door of the Church they have placed a visitors book, no one was there when we visited. They have postcards for sale and a little guide book as well as the donation boxes, all is just left to trust - a good conclusion on Church life here at Loch Awe.
Address: Loch Awe
Directions: On the main road through the village of Loch Awe
The original Church was completed in 1886 and was tiny. The architect William Douglas Campbell made the building of a new Church here, incorporating some of the old church, his lifes work. He started work on the church in 1907 he later died in 1914. After World War l his sister Helen carried on with his plans for the Church, she died in 1927 and the project was completed by their trustees and the Church dedicated for service in 1930. The Church is dedicated to Saint Conan the Patron Saint of Lorne who was a disciple of Saint Columba. In keeping with Scottish Abbey Churches, Campbell created a Cloister Garth, it has no real purpose just copied beauty for its own sake. The great beams in the cloister and the entrance door to the Church were designed using wood from two battleships - The Caledonia and The Duke of Wellington. The Church is designed using many styles and has an air of antiquity, this is largely due to the stonework which was not quarried and brought in, the boulders from the surrounding Mountains were used, split and shaped on the spot. The founders vision of "Creating a House Beautiful for God" has indeed been realised here. The Church is open to visitors 7 days during daylight hours. Entrance is free but please leave a donation so the next generation can enjoy the beauty of this most splendid Church.
Address: Loch Awe
The only one awake in the Village
Melfort Village was once a farming estate where local people lived and worked. The village has kept its original buildings and little track road which winds its way around in a circle. Although the cottages are original the interiors are not. This little community has given way to tourism in the form of self catering accommodation. It really is a very pretty place to view - the little white cottages with their three foot thick walls, lots of green space and a horse riding stable complete the picture. It was early in the morning when we dropped by. No one seemed to be awake apart from the Sweet Shetland Pony who came to say hello or perhaps goodbye we were at the end of our trip to Argyll and the start of the long journey home.
Address: Melfort Village
Directions: Just before Kilmelfort turn right onto a single track road for a mile and a half
The word Croabh in Scottish Gaelic means tree - I don't know why this place is named this way - we saw very few trees around here. Croabh Haven is a purpose built holiday resort built in 1983 but its scenery is much older and the Celtic Cross War Memorial suggests this little piece of heaven exisited before the tourist trail. I Just loved the pastel coloured houses and the marina. The views from the Haven across the waters of the Firth of Lorne include the Slate Islands with Shuna being the closest. Beyond this lies Garvellach Islands to the South West. Colonsay, Oronsay, Jura and Islay are all just a boat trip away.
Address: Croahb Haven
Directions: One mile to the west of the A816 22 miles south of Oban
Gateway to the Inner Hebrides
Ardfern is a small rural community located on the Craignish Sea Loch, in Scottish Gaelic the village is known as Aird Fheama. Here you will find a village of one - one shop one cafe one firestation one school one bus stop one hotel. What Ardfern doesn't lack is yachts. When we arrived here we kept driving the single track road passed the village and along the shoreline until we came to the end of the road which just stops short of the end of the peninsula. We then had the difficult job, or at least my husband did, of reversing the car backwards to find a suitable place to turn, not easy on a single track road. Mission accomplished we parked the car in the Gallery of Lorne Hotel car park which was rather busy. We took the decision to walk the dogs through this tiny village then finished of with a look at the boat yard here. This proved interesting with many yachts in safe anchorage over the winter and some under repair. On our return to the car park to our dismay - the cars had all gone and the hotel for the much hoped for cup of coffee was shut. In Summer all would be changed here Ardfern is a popular place to explore the Inner Hebrides and Western Isles.
Address: Ardfern Argyll
Directions: From the A816 take the unclassififed road leading west
Dunadd was the earliest capital of the Kingdom of Dalriada, founded by Fergus Mhor who sailed from Ireland around AD500 two hundred years ater the first Scots arrived on the West Coast. Dunadd became the seat of the inauguration of first Scottish Kings. By 843 Kenneth MacAlpin became the first King of the union of Scots and Picts. The last excavations took place here in 1981, there is little left of this dark age fortification. The remains of the wall which follows a natural line on the hill and a strange footprint in the rock - roughly size 6., but the feelings this place evokes, knowing you have stood where Kenneth MacAlpin had stood, touched what he and his predecessors had touched in long years past and the haunting reality you are in the cradle of a nation.
Directions: Signposted right of the A816 then about 1 mile on unclassified road turn right into the car park.
There is a little glass roofed building in Kilmartin Kirk Yard where we viewed grave slabs which had been arranged chronologically around the inside. The stones date from the earliest 1300's to the late 1700's. The detail they portray gives a picture book guide to the past. Most were the work of a group of stonemasons working around Loch Awe in the 14th. and 15th. Centuries. Back outside amongst the other grave stones we found the Poltalloch Stones, these stones depicted 14th. Century men preparing for battle with their swords, spears and claymores. The Poltalloch Stones were brought to Kilmartin when they were discovered on the Poltalloch Estate. All these ancient monuments are in the care of Historic Scotland.
Address: Kilmartin Church Yard
Directions: If you park in the village car park the Church is on your left
Dunchraigaig Cairn transaltes from Scottish Gaelic into English as the Tomb of the Eagles. It has been in existance for a mind blowing time it was erected 2,000 B.C. At first when we entered the field the Cairn looked like a massive amount of scattered stones heaped together in the centre. After walking around the entire area we soon realised we had been standing on the very top of an ancient burial site. The Cairn is low lying but I would think it was a bit taller as the entrance is just a narrow slit. Amazing to think our ancestors were buried here but then we spotted the warning sign on the exit gate warning you of the dangers of crossing the road ah well a visit to the past could bring you back to the present with a bump.
Directions: South of Kilmartin on the A816
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