Argyll in the West Highlands of Scotland produces some of the best food in the world, with its rich coastal waters yielding a treasure trove of seafood and its rain-kissed moors and pastures providing the perfect habitat for raising beef, lamb and game. Based at the comfortable Loch Melfort Hotel, noted for its cuisine and blessed with one of the most stunning views from any hotel in the world, we will tour the ancient kingdom of Dalriada, enjoying its wonderful scenery as well as its superb food and drink.
We know that many of our guests prefer not to have a large meal in the middle of the day and for that reason we include very few lunches in our tours. But we also know that some of you like nothing better than a relaxed lunch in a top quality restaurant with great food, great company and a glass of wine. If that’s you, then look no further - this is a holiday tailor-made with ‘foodies’ in mind.
- Meals - as per the itinerary
- Comfortable coach travel throughout
- Services of a professional tour manager
3 October 2020: Itinerary
After breakfast we travel north to Oban, hailed as the ‘Seafood Capital of Scotland’. While the resident fishing fleet is a fraction of its former size, Oban remains an important centre for harvesting seafood such as langoustines, crabs, scallops, mussels, oysters and lobster as well as traditional white fish. After some free time to browse Oban’s excellent range of food and whisky shops or sample some freshly caught seafood from the stalls on the Railway Pier we will meet up at the North Pier for lunch at Ee-Usk, Oban’s premier seafood restaurant, serving 100% locally sourced produce – lobsters and crabs from Luing, langoustine and oysters from Loch Linnhe and scallops from Mull. With views over the bay, watching the ferries coming and going, this will be a most relaxing - and very tasty – lunch experience.
Later in the afternoon we will walk over to the nearby Oban Distillery, home to a famous single malt whisky that is exported all over the world. Our Sensory and Flavour Finding Tour includes a dram of Oban 14 Year Old and Oban Little Bay.
All meals included
Hotel: Loch Melfort Hotel
After a leisurely breakfast we walk down to the adjacent Arduaine Garden, which was started in 1897 by James Arthur Campbell, a tea planter, and a friend of Osgood MacKenzie, the maker of Inverewe. It is a splendid site, full of the most magnificent plants, both native and exotic. In May the rhododendrons and azaleas will be in full bloom producing a riot of colour, while in October the foliage will be starting to take on its rich autumn hues. It is most rewarding to keep going to the viewpoint which gives an exquisite panorama of the calm waters of Loch Melfort below.
For lunch today we will travel a little way south to the Crinan Hotel which has a very picturesque location at the western end of the Crinan Canal with stunning sea views. The menu features freshly landed seafood as well as local lamb and other produce.
On the way back to the hotel we will call in at the Kilmartin House Museum, whose audio-visual presentation gives a good introduction to the beauty of the landscape of Mid Argyll and the layers of history and the memories that lie within it. The award winning exhibition contains ancient artefacts and you can also try out a range of hands-on activities, including quern stones and a stone axe polisher. We will then visit a couple of the nearby Neolithic and Bronze Age sites, to experience at first hand the presence and power of these monuments.
Dinner is served in the evening.
All meals included
Hotel: Loch Melfort Hotel
After a final hearty breakfast we check out of the hotel and travel north, making a detour via the so-called ‘Bridge Over the Atlantic’ to the islands of Seil and Easdale, where we will visit the small Folk Museum. We continue through Oban and cross another bridge, this time a much more substantial affair that was built to carry the railway line to Ballachulish over the Falls of Lora, a tidal fall at the narrow mouth of Loch Etive which can be quite spectacular. Our lunch venue is the Isle of Eriska Hotel near Benderloch, an award-winning luxury hotel and restaurant situated on its own private island.
We then begin our homeward journey, which we will break with a visit to the Inverawe Smokehouse, which produces top-quality smoked salmon, trout and venison - a final chance to stock up on more delicious food from Argyll.
Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch