If you’ve been thinking of a visit to Argyll and the Isles and you’re looking for things to do and see, check out this great resource. With a list of upcoming events, an interactive map and featuring “Explore like a Local”, there is lots here to get you started.
As some of you know, I have been thinking of putting together small tour groups to Scotland for a while now. I am a bit closer to getting things off the ground and part of that is due to James, who I had a great chat with. He has already been doing this for a while and had some good thoughts on how to get things started. He is a fellow SCOTSagent tour guide and I wanted to pass on a trip he has planned to Scotland for next summer.
“Open to anyone who loves Scotland, and the fresh sea air, our 14-day tour begins in Glasgow, travels west to Oban and the beautiful Isles of Mull and Iona. From here we travel to the beautiful Outer Hebrides. Our first visit is to Isle of Barra, home of the Clan MacNeil. After two nights here we head north to explore North and South Uist. From here it is on to the Isles of Lewis and Harris. After two nights in Stornoway, we return to the mainland of Scotland and make our way to Inverness, via the Isle of Skye. Two nights in Inverness is followed by our leisurely journey south to the Royal City of Edinburgh where we get to enjoy the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, and the sights and sounds of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for two nights.” Sounds like a great way to spend a couple of weeks in August! (2-15th)
Here is the general website for Auld Country Tours where you can get more information on this and other tours for next summer.
STV reports on an increase in the number of trains between Oban and Glasgow beginning next year:
“From May 2014, the number of trains to and from the West Highlands town will double from three to six trains between Monday and Saturday.
Funded by ScotRail, a new early morning service from Oban will reach Glasgow before 09am, ideal for business travellers; while a new evening service will connect with the southbound Caledonian Sleeper at Crianlarich offering a wider range of journey opportunities.
An additional afternoon service completes the trio.
Northbound, a new early morning service will depart Glasgow Queen Street at 5.10am reaching Oban before 09am; and two further new departures at 10.37am and 4.37pm.
Steve Montgomery, managing director of ScotRail, said: “This 2014 timetable will provide year round connections to the central belt and improved integrated transport options, with good connections to the majority of ferry services and even an opportunity to change at Connel Ferry for Oban airport.”
Deputy Council Leader Roddy McCuish said, “This is fantastic news for the people of Oban and Argyll and Bute as a whole. More trains direct to Glasgow will make a real difference to their lives. This opens up big opportunities for the area and I am sure it will encourage more people to visit this beautiful part of the world.” ‘
September 23rd was the date for this year’s world stone skimming competition on Easdale Island, 16 miles south of Oban. The island is reached by taking a 5 minute passenger ferry journey across from Ellenabeich (on the Isle of Seil, connected to the mainland via the famous ‘Bridge over the Atlantic’).
The Championships were started in 1983 by a fellow named Albert Baker and were then re-started in 1997 by the Easdale Island Community Development Group. This year they had 350 people entered to compete and they represented 10-15 countries. The competition takes place at a quarry on the island, where there is lots of regulation-sized slate for the choosing. The picture above and the information given here is from the website. The website is great and gives all sorts of information regarding the rules and history behind the event.
I came across a link to the BBC where they interviewed a very nice chap, Paul Crabtree, who entered the competition this year and the video goes on to follow him to Scotland and to the event itself. If you are interested in seeing who won this year and how much fun this group of people have, here’s the link.
I wish I could just post the link here but it’s not possible. That being the case, I did find a youtube clip from a previous year by STV Scotland and I’ll pop that on below.
I’ve given the blog a bit of a facelift and have added my Twitter account to the right hand side. Please let me know if it reads okay. I’m not totally sure about the red cheese on the side; it may be a bit too distracting. Magnificent cheese but maybe a bit too much for the side of the blog. Regardless, I do like a bit of change now and again. The header picture is from the beach on Iona. I am sorry some of blog posts don’t have pictures. It seems that if I only post a video, the space remains blank.
I thought I would add a few more photos from my trip to Oban, so here goes!
(if you do want to use any of my pictures, would you mind just sending me a quick email to ask me first? cheers!)