Argyll, Scotland

Exploring Argyll: a summer break at Drimsynie Estate Holiday Village

We recently returned from a wonderful short break at Argyll Holidays Drimsynie Estate Holiday Village. We love Drimsynie as it’s a great base for exploring Argyll.

Drimsynie Estate Holiday Village Drimsynie Estate Holiday Village from Lochgoilhead

Our accommodation

On previous stays at Drimsynie we’ve stayed in their Osprey hot tub lodge and Ptarmigan hot tub lodge. Our home for this trip was a Pond View hot tub lodge for two, plus four-legged friend.

It was well-equipped and stylishly decorated throughout, with an open plan living/dining/kitchen space and an a en suite double bedroom.

Drimsynie Estate Pond view hot tub lodge, ArgyllScottish travel blog

Outside, we had an enclosed deck with a hot tub, seating and a pretty view.

Exploring Argyll Hot tub lodge Argyll

The boy took an immediate shine to the decking. It gave him a good vantage point to survey the park.

As soon as I’d unpacked, I rustled myself up a gin cocktail and hopped into the hot tub to relax. Mr G grabbed a beer and a seat in front of the TV to watch the Euros (football) – eye roll.

Drimsynie Estate Holiday Village

Day two – exploring Argyll: Staying local

Our first full day in Argyll dawned and I did something I rarely do. I had a long lie.

Long lies are alien to Mr G. Instead of lazing in bed, he made use of his VIP Leisure Pass and played a round of golf on Drimsynie’s 9-hole course.

Here’s what he had to say about it:

Playing Drimsynie Estate Golf Course

When we’re travelling, I love to go on early morning walks. Staying at Drimsynie meant I could combine two passions – walking and golf. Whilst Mrs G and Casper had a lie in, I headed to the first tee at Drimsynie Estate Golf Course to play a round. The location was perfect, offering great views of Loch Goil and the surrounding hills.

Drimsynie Estate Golf Course

The only company I had on the course were a swarm of midges, who stuck to me like glue. Midges LOVE me. If I hit a bad shot, they were to blame.

I really enjoyed playing at Drimsynie. The course was in good condition, had some lovely holes. Plus, I had a few pars and a birdie on the 8th which gave me something to smile about.

Some say golf is a good walk ruined – I say, nonsense.

Spa treatment – Sequoia Spa, Drimsynie Estate

Mr G returned from golfing and regaled me with tales of birdies and other golf related stuff that went right over my head. It was all very fascinating, but I had an appointment to keep.

I was booked into Drimsynie’s Sequoia Spa for a hot stone back massage.

Sequoia Spa, Drimsynie w

I spend a fair bit of time hunched over a desk, which wreaks havoc on my back, neck and shoulders.

Hot stone massage can help to ease tension and promote relaxation. The treatment uses oils and smooth heated stones to give a firm, but not painful massage.

The massage was fantastic. It’s definitely a treatment I’d have again. It left me feeling relaxed and tension free.

Walk – Drimsynie Estate

Now, it was time to indulge the boy with something he loves – walking. There are a number of waymarked trails on the Drimsynie Estate, so we decided to check them out.

From our lodge, we followed a track uphill. It ran parallel to Loch Goil, offering stunning views, before turning inland towards rugged mountains and a pretty waterfall.

Exploring Argyll, Drimsynie Estate Holiday Village Exploring Argyll

We ended up spending an enjoyable couple of hours exploring the hillside trails above Drimsynie.

Lunch – Slanj Loch Lomond

After our ramble we were ready for lunch. We had a table booked at Slanj Loch Lomond, a thirty minute drive away.

Slanj is a unique restaurant housed in an old church. It’s not every day you’ll find a restaurant with stained glass windows and its own cemetery.

Slanj Loch Lomond

While we were waiting for our food to arrive, owner Jane regaled us with local tales of Viking raiders and the men who brought the railway to the area. It was fascinating. I love meeting people who adore history as much as I do.

Lunch was delicious. We started with potato and leek soup, which was proper old school with big chunks of tattie in it. Then, we tucked into mozzarella and tomato toasted sandwiches with fries.

Slanj Loch Lomond

The boy had bangers with gravy and seasonal vegetables from the dog menu. My heart melted when I saw there were doggy dishes on the menu, and again as I watched him devour his posh stew.

Full and happy, we headed back to Drimsynie to spend a few hours chilling before dinner.

Dinner – The View Drimsynie

Later that evening we headed to The View restaurant at Drimsynie for dinner.

The View is dog friendly, so the boy was able to join us.

Being a spice fiend, I was chuffed to discover it was curry night. A glass of wine and curry – perfect. The curry was Thai chicken curry and came served with nan bread, rice and pakora. It was really tasty and had a nice wee kick to it.

The View Restaurant, Drimsynie

Not being a spice fiend, Mr G played it safe with an old favourite – macaroni, with chips and garlic bread, washed down with a nice cold beer.

For pudding, I had a lovely banana and toffee cheesecake and Mr G had ice cream.

Dinner at The View was a lovely way to end the day. The restaurant had a bit of a buzz about it, which was nice after lockdown. The service and food were good and the company wasn’t too shabby either.

The View Restaurant Drimsynie

Day three  – exploring Argyll: Argyll’s Secret Coast

Our third day in Argyll dawned and we were up and out early. We’d be spending the day exploring Argyll’s Secret Coast on the Cowal Peninsula.

Exploring Argyll’s Secret Coast

We drove along the eastern shore of Loch Fyne to reach our first destination. It was a lovely morning with blue sky, fluffy clouds and boats bobbing on the loch.

Loch Fyne reflectionsExploring Argyll

Walk – Otter Ferry

After fifty minutes or so, we arrived at Otter Ferry, a small settlement on the shore of Loch Fyne. The boy stopped for a cooling paddle in the loch, then we walked along Otter Ferry’s shingle beach and onto the Oitir Spit. The shingle and shell spit extends a mile into Loch Fyne and almost cuts it in two.

Exploring Argyll, Otter FerryExploring Argyll, Otter Ferry

As we walked, the shells underfoot made a satisfying crunch. Up close, they were beautiful, like hundreds of shards of blue and white china.

Oitir Spit, Loch FyneShells, Exploring Argyll

Visit – Asgog Castle

Leaving Otter Ferry, we drove towards Portavadie, stopping a mile outside the village. It was time for a proper walk and a history fix.

We followed a private road, passing boggy ground and woodland. It led us to Loch Asgog.

Loch Asgog, ArgyllTadpoles in a pond

On the shore of the loch stand the picturesque remains of Asgog Castle, a one time Clan Lamont stronghold. The shattered walls of the 15th century tower have been enveloped by greenery, giving it a fairytale like appearance.

Maybe the occupants fell asleep for 100 years and the place became overgrown, but no handsome prince arrived to break the spell – who knows.

Asgog Castle, exploring Argyll Exploring Argyll, Scottish travel blog

Actually I do. In 1646, Asgog Castle was attacked by the Marquess of Argyll, during the civil war which saw King Charles I deposed. Argyll killed the castle occupants, then destroyed the building by setting it on fire.

Clan Lamont had the last laugh though. The monarchy was restored in 1660 and King Charles’s II soon caught up with Argyll. He had him executed for treason and displayed his head on a spike at the tollbooth in Edinburgh.

Lunch – Portavadie Marina

Castle exploring done, we popped into Portavadie for lunch. Portavadie Marina is dog friendly and the food is good. Plus, who could resist the coffee?

Portavadie Marina Restaurant

I had a lovely veggie gnocchi dish for lunch and Mr G stuck with his lunchtime staple of soup and sandwiches.

Portavadie Marina Restaurant Exploring Argyll

Walk – Glenan Forest Nature Reserve

After lunch, we headed to Glenan Forest a stone’s throw from Portavadie Marina for an afternoon ramble. The are two trails in the forest – the shore path and the forest path.

We took the forest path, which meandered uphill, through a forest alive with birdsong and full of pretty wildflowers. The path was nightmarishly wet and boggy, but oh so, pretty.

pearl-bordered fritillary, Argyll

After around thirty minutes, we crossed a burn and reached the site of an abandoned village.

Glenan Village, exploring w

The last resident left Glenan village at the beginning of the early 20th century, bringing to an end 700 years of human occupation at the site.

The village is now silent and the cottages are ivy-clad ruins, but rather than feeling sad and melancholy, Glenan Village feels serene and peaceful.

Glenan Village, exploring Argyll Glenan Village, Portavadie

We returned via the shore path to complete our walk. We were keen to avoid some of the boggier patches we’d squelched through on our way to the village.

The shore path was ankle-breakingly rocky and uneven. A pretty view of Glenan Bay made up for the rough ramble, until Mr G fell, skint his knee (barely) and took the huff.

shore path, Glenan ForestExploring Argyll, Glenan Bay

We finished the walk in silence, him brooding about his sore knee and me biting my tongue, knowing he’d massively overreacted. We laughed about it later though, and for days to come.

Leaving Portavadie, we made a final stop at Tighnabruaich Viewpoint, before heading back to Drimsynie for a lazy night in.

Tighnabruaich Viewpoint Tighnabruaich Viewpoint, exploring Argyll

Day four  – Exploring Argyll: Western Loch Fyne

Our last day in Argyll arrived way too quickly. We’d planned a fun-filled itinerary, covering the western shore of Loch Fyne.

Visit – Crarae Garden

The sun was shining when we arrived at Crarae Garden south of Inveraray. The woodland garden is managed by the National Trust for Scotland.

It was right up my street, as there’s a Neolithic burial cairn inside the garden.

Chambered cairn, Crarae Garden Argyll Chambered cairn, Crarae Garden, Argyll

I was in my element.

When I finally tore myself away from the cairn, we followed a path uphill. It led us along the top of a tree-fringed gorge with a bubbling burn inside it.

Crarae Garden, exploring Argyll Crarae Garden, exploring Argyll

Crarae Garden was laid out in 1912 using trees and plants from Nepal, China and Tibet, creating an exotic, paradise in the heart of Argyll with a positively Himalayan feel.

Crarae Garden, Loch Fyne

Visit – Auchindrain Township

Leaving Crarae Garden, we drove north to visit Auchindrain Township. Auchindrain is a well-preserved Highland farm village. It was occupied until the 1950s and is now a fascinating living-history museum. The museum, really brings to life what it was like to live and work in a Highland village.

Exploring Argyll, Auchindrain Township Exploring Argyll, Auchindrain Township

The boy was delighted when we entered the first cottage and met some ladies making griddle scones on a peat fire. After charming said ladies, he got to try the scones, while Mr G and I looked on salivating.

In the next cottage, butter was being churned and he got to try that too.

Scottish travel blog Auchindrain Township

He was in his element and reluctant to explore the village further. His finely-tuned nostrils told him, no one would be making goodies in a cow byre or tractor shed. Eventually, we persuaded him to do a loop of the village.

I’ve visited Auchindrain many times over the years and it always gives me a thrill to step back in time there.

Auchindrain Township, Argyll

Lunch – The George, Inveraray

We arrived in Inveraray at midday, ready for lunch. The town was full of day-trippers, which was nice to see after spending so many months in lockdown.

We were lucky enough to get a table at The George Hotel – a favourite haunt of ours. The ambiance at The George is always good, as is the food.

I had a tasty veggie pasta dish for my lunch. And Mr G, no prizes for guessing what he had.

Lunch at The George, Inveraray

Walk – Dun na Cuaiche

After lunch, we walked towards Inveraray Castle, the ancestral seat of the Campbell Dukes of Argyll. It was a gorgeous day, so we decided to visit a favourite viewpoint of ours. Dun na Cuaiche is a steep, wooded hill topped by a tower. It takes around forty minutes to reach the summit, via a decent path.

Exploring Argyll, Inveraray Castle Exploring Argyll, Dun na Cuaiche

When you emerge from the trees at the summit, you’re rewarded with a spectacular, bird’s eye view of Loch Fyne and Inveraray. The town looks like a perfectly laid out, model village from above.

The boy and I sat quietly, enjoying the view while Mr G went off to do what he always does – look for something steep and scary to climb. We spent a blissful half hour alone at the summit as Inveraray bustled below us.

Ahhhhh – bliss.

A relaxing end to another wonderful Argyll escape

Back at our fab wee Drimsynie lodge, we popped open a bottle of fizz and slipped into the hot tub. There we spent a lazy, last night chatting, sipping champagne, enjoying the view and breathing in the fresh Argyll air.

Scottish travel blog

It was the perfect end to another wonderful stay with Argyll Holidays.

You can read about our other stays at Drimsynie Resort Holiday Village below:

Drimsynie Estate – March 2018 stay

Drimsynie Estate – February 2020 stay

Our accommodation, dinner at The View, my spa treatment and lunch at Slanj were provided on a complimentary basis, however all opinions are my own.

Until next time …

24 thoughts on “Exploring Argyll: a summer break at Drimsynie Estate Holiday Village”

  1. As a MacLachlan, I heartily endorse this trip. It’s such a quiet area, but there is so much beauty there. I loved your post.

  2. Sounds like a great trip! I’ve never even heard of Auchindrain but it looks great. Always love a trip to Inveraray too – I did that walk on Sunday, funnily enough! Argyll is such an underrated area, I think. It’s got some cracking scenery.

    P.S. that doggy menu is adorable!

    1. Aww you were so close to it too. Next time. You’ll love it. I don’t get why more people aren’t flocking to Argyll. I think if they knew what it looked like they would go. It’s amazing.

  3. That photograph — the one immediately following the one of Mr. G nursing his pride and his injured knee — so reminds me of a setting one would see illustrating a Burns poem! So evocative of late 18th – early 19th c art!

    1. We we’re really lucky. It was our first summer stay and lovely to have the long light nights.

  4. I loved your tour of Argyll. Casper looked very handsome in all his photos and photos of the area are awe inspiring.

    1. You’ve captured wonderful photo shots here Sam, glad the weather was in your favour with stunning skies. I have seen the tower from the Glasgow bus, and I have seen others, did they have some significance, I wonder? Casper had plenty of time to exercise his wee legs, looked like he was the Laird! Glad it was a good break for you. Thanks for sharing.

      1. Thanks Janet. The weather was lovely. The tower is just a decorative folly. It’s a great viewpoint though.

  5. This was a lovely little trip for hubby and myself through your blog, pictures and humour. My husband is from Brodick, Isle of Arran but now lives here in Canada. Loved your recent blog about your trip post lockdown to Arran but no pics of Brodick!

    We used to have two Westies. Our male looked just like yours though not as clean! Their names were Geordie and Bonnie. Miss them terribly. Thank you for taking us along with you on your travels.

    1. So glad you both enjoyed a virtual tour of Argyll. We have lots more planned for this year, so stay stay tuned.

  6. I too, love your blogs …they are so detailed I feel like I’m right there with you…your photos are stellar. Although I love commenting on the wee dug….I look forward to all your blogs for history and travel off the “beaten path” so to speak. Not sure if we’ll get to Scottland soon, but thanks to you I know where I’d like to visit.

    I have a request if you find yourself in the area. Our family are McNaughton and the Dunderave Castle I’ve never seen. If you would include it sometime in one of your adventures with the Wee dug I would be so happy and grateful.

    May the wee folk always keep you safe on your travels!

    1. So glad you enjoyed the blog. We like escaping from people, so off the beaten path tends to be where we end up. The castle is a private home, so you can’t visit it. You get good views of it from the opposite side of Loch Fyne though. It’s lovely.

  7. Wow, I love your accommodation … that hot tub is a definite winner in my eyes! The food at all the different eateries looked really yummy (I was impressed that the boy had his own menu 😉).
    That final view of Loch Fyne and Inveraray is just breathtaking beautiful!
    What a lovely time you had … I can see why you would leave a place like this well rested!

    1. It’s a lovely part of the country. Definitely a great spot for relaxing. 🥰

  8. I too love reading about your travels and hope to visit some of the sites. But truthfully – you could show the boy in Sainburys and I’d be charmed !

  9. I loved the blog. As an American it is so interesting to read about the history and beautiful places in Scotland. I hope to visit someday. I also have a westie named Brie Louise.

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