Click to enlarge
The Crinan Canal is known as ‘Britain’s most beautiful shortcut’. When you stay at Bannatyne Cottage, you’ll see why. This 9-mile waterway link through the Kintyre Peninsula is completely surrounded by incredible scenery, and connects to the white sands and clear waters of the Inner Hebrides and Western Isles.
Yet it’s all easily accessible from Scotland’s largest city. Around two hours from Glasgow and you’re so far from everyday routine it’s hard to remember it exists.
Bannatyne is a 19th century lock keeper’s cottage carefully refurbished to 21st century standards. It accommodates up to four people in the king-size and twin bedrooms. The living/dining room has a cosy wood-burning stove, as well as a TV, DVD and CD players. The well-equipped the kitchen features a fridge freezer, microwave and washer/dryer. The modern conveniences make a nice contrast to the old-fashioned character of this 200-year-old home.
Bannatyne Cottage is on Lock 11 of the Crinan Canal near Cairnbaan, a small village with a lot to offer. Walking and cycling routes, boating and fishing, island-hopping and wildlife-spotting – it’s all here.
Cairnbaan’s history goes back more than 5,000 years. Prehistoric ‘cup and ring’ marks carved into the rocks of Kilmartin Glen have been puzzling archaeologists for generations. Nearby there’s the impressive Iron Age Dunadd Fort, from which the ancient kings of Scotland surveyed their realm.
The intriguing and sometimes strange history of Scotland comes vividly to life at the internationally-acclaimed Kilmartin House Museum in Lochgilphead. Visitors can see the items recovered from the area’s ancient monuments and hear the history behind them.
There’s plenty to see in the wild. Eagles hunt overhead as seals bask on the beaches. And nearby Knapdale is home to the Scottish Beaver Trail, so there’s always the chance of seeing one gnawing on a tree trunk somewhere!
You can spot Scotland’s sea life from the Oban and Kennacraig ferries. Dolphins, diving birds, puffins and even the occasional basking shark. Destinations from Oban include Gigha, Mull and Colonsay, while from Kennacraig you can reach Islay and the Inner Hebrides.