Ardbrecknish House is situated in the heart of Argyll & the Isles, “Nature’s Paradise”, a land carved from rock, cloaked with trees and haunted by legend. It is an area of outstanding beauty, with stunning scenery, fabulous forests and gardens, amazing wildlife and has one of Scotland’s richest prehistoric landscapes with evidence of over 5000 years of human occupation.
The beautiful grounds are ideal for woodland and waterside walks and you will find a childrens play area, picnic and barbecue areas. The house is adjacent to a boat yard which offers boat and canoe hire and launch facilities. Ardbrecknish also features a friendly bar featuring a friendly bar serving fine ales, a range of malt whiskies – the ideal place to relax around the fire and chat with the locals.
A magnificent group of hills bounded by Loch Etive, Glen Strae and the Pass of Brander with Cruachan in particular offering an impression that it is almost surrounded by great sea lochs. Such is the hill’s proximity to the sea that the costal views, particularly those across to the Isle of Mull, are superb and that, taken together with spectacular rocky ridges, a series of fine peaks, and some high, imposing corries, make this one of the finest hills in the Southern Highlands.” So writes Cameron McNeish author of the book ‘The Munros’: Scotland’s Highest Mountains”.
Ben Cruachan at 3694 feet and it’s three neighbouring Munros, Stob Diamh 3274 feet, Beinn a’ chochuill 3215 feet and Beinh Eunaich 3245 feet dominate Ardbrecknish and Loch awe. These give the casual rambler to the experienced climber or Munro bagger plenty of options. More Munros are found locally within a 50 mile radius, the Arrochar Alps, the Crianlarich Hills, Lawers Group, Bridge of Orchy Hills, Mamlorn Hills, Etive Range and the magnificent Glencoe, Rannoch and Glen Lyon, The Mamores and even Ben Nevis and Grey Corries. An exhilarating new facility can be found at Kinlochleven, The Ice Factor, an indoor climbing wall.
All standards of cyclists and mountain bikers can explore the natural and man made trails around Loch Awe and surrounding areas. Many of the rides are way marked routes on Forestry.
Commission land such as the Two Loch Trail that takes you along the shores of Loch Awe and Loch Avich and into the heart of Inverinan Forest. Further forest trails are found at Ardgarten just an hours drive away. The more experienced rider can use the numerous steep off-road mountain tracks within the Ben Cruachan range of hills. For the adventurous there is the Nevis Range downhill World Cup course. Bikes are carried free of charge on ScotRail and a small charge is made on GNER and Virgin. If necessary transport can be arranged from Dalmally railway station to Ardbrecknish.
Being the longest fresh water loch in Britain Loch Awe is 26miles long with over 60 miles of shore line there are endless options for the water enthusiast.You can either bring your own or adjacent Loch Awe Boats hires out canoes, rowing and motor boats. There are full launch facilities and a rescue boat is always on standby.
There are numerous islands with ruined castles, burial sites and secret bays to be explored only by boat. More challenging rivers can be found locally for the white water enthusiast. Ardbrecknish is surrounded by easily accessible sea lochs where the sea kayaker can explore numerous hidden coves and beaches.
Pony trekking is a popular activity in the area allowing the rider to access the many wide open spaces, hillsides and shorelines. There is a wide variety of riding and trekking operators in the Highlands and Islands offering everything from short treks for children and novices to tougher routes for the more experienced.
Increasingly more people are looking to experience wildlife as part of their holiday. Loch Awe is unique in being totally undeveloped with much of the area only accessible by boat or foot. Eagles, ospreys and harriers can be seen overhead with waders, mergansers, ducks and divers feeding in the loch. Blackcock, grouse, wheatear and barn owls fly over the moors. Red and roe deer roam Ardbrecknish while red squirrel and pine marten inhabit the woods and otters swim in the loch. Numerous bats, butterflies, insects and wildflowers abound the moors, fields and loch side.
A short distance out from the sea lochs and Oban basking sharks, whales, dolphins, seals and the many sea birds can be seen via organised trips.
Loch Awe Boats
Adjacent to Ardbrecknish House. Hire canoes or motorboats for fishing or exploring the islands and castles on loch awe.
Tel. 01866 833256. Mob. 07703 112422.
Local information including walks and places of interest
Inverawe Smokery & Fishing Centre
Learn to fly fish, all ages. Smokery exhibition and shop. Forest and riverside walks.
Based in Onich. White water rafting, canyoning, a real adrenaline rush!
www.verticaldescents.com Tel. 01855821593.
The Ice Factor
Based in Kinlochleven it has various artificial rock climbing faces for all ages and abilities as well as the “ Ice Wall” This is the world’s largest indoor ice climbing wall, again courses for all abilities including novices.
www.ice-factor.co.uk Tel 01855 8311.
High quality quad biking, clay shooting and archery.
www.quadmaniascotland.co.uk Tel. 01369 810289.
Lettershuna Riding Centre
BHS approved riding centre.
Good family entertainment in Inveraray. Paintball, horse riding, Laser Storm and crossbows.
There are numerous operators in the area offering trips to seal colonies, whale watching etc.
www.coastal-connection.co.uk Tel. 01631 565833
www.seafari.co.uk Tel. 01852300003
Argyll really is “Nature’s Paradise” with it’s stunning scenery, it’s amazing wildlife and it’s cultural heritage. It is an ancient coastal kingdom which is a truly special part of Scotland . With its rocky indented coastline, numerous islands and archaeological remains the land also forms part of our own temperate rainforest, a lush and leafy kingdom , with abundant wildlife that is not difficult to spot. Hire a boat on Loch Awe and take a journey into the past. Kilchurn Castle, at the head of the Loch, built by Colin Campbell in 1450 and Inishail, the largest island on the Loch are well worth a visit. Inishail, the burial island, has the remains of an early Cistercian Nunnery and there are a number of well preserved medieval grave slabs, some depicting Knight’s Templar soldiers.
The sea and the mild currents off our West coast give Argyll unique growing conditions and as a consequence we have some of the most beautiful forest and woodland gardens with unusual plants and shrubs collected from across the globe. The tallest tree in Britain is at Ardkinglas, the 300 metre long and 50 metre high “redwood avenue” at Benmore Botanic Gardens and the spectacular gardens of Crarae. www.gardens-of-argyll.co.uk
The heart of Argyll is unbelievably rich in natural and cultural heritage which is often understated. There are more than 350 prehistoric and historic sites within 6 miles of Kilmartin, evidence of more than 5000 years of human occupation. www.kilmartin.org
Food & Drink
The Ardbrecknish Bar is open all year from 6pm and serves meals every evening from March to October. Other recommended inns are The George in Inveraray and the Glen Orchy Lodge in Dalmally.
Inveraray has a good “chippy” and a good Indian Restaurant.
Loch Fyne Oysters along with it’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar is well worth a visit. www.lochfyne.com
Fyne Ales with it’s award winning brewery and shop. www.fyneales.com
Oban Distillery and shop. www.discovering-distilleries/oban
Inverawe Smokery near Taynuilt is probably the best smokery in Scotland and has a cafe and shop. www.inverawe.co.uk