Armin's World Tour of Scotland

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Facts of the Day:
Date: 14/July/2002
From: Dunchraigaig/Kilmartin Glen
Via: Oban
To: Fort William
Miles: 80
Midges: 50 (Estimate)
Weather: Rain, hazy sunshine later
Mood: Good

Picture of Dunchraigaig House behind the stone circleAfter a good nights sleep at Dunchraigaig House (May be it was the influence of the stone circle?) it was time for some activity again. Unfortunately I had to wait a while before I could really start: After two weeks of quite good weather the rain had finally arrived. So I wrote a few emails and had a chat with Nigel from Dunchraigaig House and by late morning the rain had stopped.Picture of a cairnPicture of standing stones First I looked at a few standing stones and cairns in Kilmartin Glen. While they were interesting I must admit I wasn't overwhelmed. But then I live about a 20min drive away from Avebury and less than an hour from Stonehenge, so I guess that was to be expected. And the occaisonal showers which were still coming in didn't help my enthusiasm either. After a quick stop in the village of Kilmartin I moved on the something slightly more recent: Carnasserie Castle. The castle is still in Kilmartin Glen, but was built several hundred years later. In the late 16th century to be precise, by John Carswell, Bishop of the Isles since 1567.Picture of the ruins of Carnasserie CastlePicture of the empty tower From the outside the castle looks like a tower with an adjoining hall block, from the inside it becomes clear that both are joined. It seems that this solution was chosen to give the building a medieval appearance. In 1685 the castle was captured and partly blown up, apart from the walls there is not much to see today.

Picture of Arduaine GardenPicture of a few flowersAfter all these stones and rocks it was time for something different. I decided to visit Arduaine Garden on the Argyll coast. It is a National Trust property, so for once I didn't have to pay an entrance fee to something I wanted to visit (I am National Trust member). Unfortunately it was slightly too late in the year already, so most of the Rhododendron were not in bloom any more. It was still a nice walk around the garden though, in particular the various ponds were quite nice.

But then it was back to more rocks with yet another castle: Dunstaffnage Castle near Oban. It was built in the 13th century by the MacDougalls, who ruled in Lorn at that time.Picture of Dunstaffnage CastlePicture of the gatetower Dunstaffnage Castle was one of many castles being built in the west of Scotland around that time as successive Scottish Kings tried to increase their influence over the western seabord and islands. The castle had both military and domestic roles to play, which was evident in its construction. Examples include arrow-slits into the direction of most likely attacks as well as careful layout of the domestic quarters in the northeast and northwest walls linked to further rooms in the towers. During the Scottish wars of independence the MacDougalls made the grave mistake of allying with King Edward I of England. When the MacDougalls were defeated by Robert Bruce the castle was given to the Campbells, who owned and used it until it fell into disrepair by the early 17th century.

Picture of Chenderoh guest houseBy now it was afternoon and it was time to think about where to stay for the night. I decided to drive up to Fort William, where I found a B&B at Achintore Road, the main road coming into the town from the south. Chenderoh was the place I was going to stay at for the night, a short walk from the town centre. For dinner I decided to visit a place I had visited before: The Grog & Gruel in High Street Fort William. Now how would the weather be the next day? It was quite nice this evening...

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