Tarbert, Loch Fyne
With the weather looking like it was going to keep reasonably dry, we headed south from Lochgilphead to Tarbert on Loch Fyne but with no particular plan in mind.
A quick visit to the tourist information office soon put us onto a couple of possibilities for shortish walks so we headed for the steps to the ruined castle that dominates the skyline on the north side of the town. It's only a short climb up to the castle and, although there's not much left other than the ruined tower, you can clearly see the outlines of the walls and buildings.
The castle is thought to have been built in the 13th century by Alexander II but may well have had much earlier roots. It is more famously associated with Robert the Bruce, who is supposed to have had it repaired and extended in 1325.
There are a couple of walk options from the castle and we followed the path up the hillside in a three or four mile round trip to Cnoc nan Caorach and Corranbuie. There's a cairn up there that we were told was built by a man who carried each stone up from the village day by day but if he did he was mad - there's a quarry full of very similar looking stones about 50 yards away from it. Anyway, it's not a bad walk to pass a few hours and there are some nice views over East Loch Tarbert and beyond.
We picked up some food for lunch in Tarbert and headed down to Skipness, which has an impressive ruined castle and looks out over the Kilbrannan Sound to the isle of Arran. We had lunch on an anonymous section of beach, with a bench provided by some good souls, but the weather a bit miserable and the view of Arran wasn't that great.
The castle was built in the 13th century by the MacSweens as a defence against the marauding Vikings, then passed through the Macdonalds and Forresters until the Campbells got it in 1499. It's been abandoned since the 1700s but it's still a pretty impressive place and well worth a visit as they've restored a good deal of the 16th century tower and the views from the roof of that are pretty good.
Between the castle and the sea stands the ruined Kilbrannan Chapel, built in the 13th century as a tribute to st. Brendan. It has some well preserved and decorated burial slabs if you like that kind of thing.
Back in Lochgilphead for the evening, the rain was pelting it down so we headed along the front to the Taj Mahal for a curry and it was pretty reasonable. It's a pretty small place and doesn't have a drinks license but the food was good - no complaints at all.