Charming cosy 2 bedroom stone cottage with a wood-burning stove on the Ardlamont Peninsula on Argyll’s Secret Coast, close to the well-known tourist playgrounds of Tighnabruaich and Portavadie with stunning views south to the Isle of Arran.
Set in bucolic surroundings amongst green fields with plenty of sheep, cattle and birds for company, West Smithy Cottage is 4 miles south of Kames, close to magnificent beach at Ostel Bay in an area popular with sailors, cyclists and bon viveurs in general.
The cottage has an open-plan living room with a wood-burning stove, a fully fitted kitchen and dining area, 2 bedrooms and a modern shower room.
Outside, there is an extensive front garden shared with the neighbouring cottage and a small, secluded back garden with a picnic bench, ideal for enjoying the beautiful surroundings, which only add to the endless appeal.
An ideal retreat for all seasons.
West Smithy Cottage is close to the following places which are all worth a visit:
1. Tighnabruaich & Kames:
Good pubs at Kames Hotel (much improved) overlooking boats moored in the West Kyle and the North end of Bute and also the Shinty Bar at the Royal Hotel in Tighnabruaich. Posher lounge bar in the Royal too.
Fine place to eat at Botanic Cafe and very good food at the Kames Hotel too. Can also eat at the Royal.
Shops - Spar (and ATM) in Tighnabruaich and Kames Village Stores. Firewood on sale in Kames. Look out for locally produced food too - particularly good venison produced by a man with the unlikely name of Winston Churchill is available in local shops and at his place at Clachaig near Samdbank.
Art Galleries dotted about.
9 hole golf course at Kames. Set of clubs available if you wish to use. Please let me know in advance and I’ll arrange get them down from loft.
Shinty: this is hockey with added violence - similar to hurly in Ireland. Popular sport in the Highlands, local team, Kyles Athletic, play on pitch off road between Kames and Tighnabruaich. And then repair to the Shinty Bar.
Sailing at sailing centre on the Kames road - you can hire dinghies.
If you fancy a trip in the world’s last remaining, ocean-going paddle steamer, the “SS Waverley”, it calls in at Tighnabruaich Pier every Wednesday from late June to late August at around lunchtime and goes on a short cruise to Tarbert (see later) on Loch Fyne, passing the cottage as it nears Ardlamont Point, and back returning at about 5 o’clock. Well worth a trip. See pictures for current timetable.
Extraordinary redevelopment of a former white elephant 1970s oil rig construction yard. Now home to chi chi apartments, a great restaurant, a swimming pool and spa (complete with outdoor infinity pool overlooking Loch Fyne - quite possibly the only one on Loch Fyne), a marina and boatyard. Well worth a visit - very good Sunday lunch menu.
Fantastic beach at Ostel Bay - it is about a mile's walk from Kilbride Farm on the Millhouse road. Nice wee pop-up café at the farm. Stonier beaches nearby at the end of the farm track within walking distance.
3. Further afield
Oystercatcher pub and restaurant at Otter Ferry is very good - about 10 miles north overlooking beach. Fine restaurant at Inver Cottage further on from Otter Ferry - never been but gets rave reviews. People travel miles to visit it - has rooms if you’ve overdone it.
Ferry from Portavadie takes you to Tarbert, a pretty fishing village on Kintyre peninsula. Great fishmonger on the jetty to take some seafood back to cook at the end of the day. One or two semi-decent pubs and nice restaurant called the Anchorage which was very good the last time I went, admittedly in 1995, and always a buzz around the place, in summer anyway.
Skipness Castle - there is the Seafood Cabin here. It is at the end of the road over from Tarbert. Cabin is some kind of tinker’s wagon parked in a garden with lots of picnic tables. It is gloriously chaotic: you will need to get used to hens clucking about at your feet as you munch away on your crab sandwich or mussels but the food is always good. And the sun always seems to shine. You can explore the castle after lunch and climb up to the vertiginous ramparts and enjoy yet more views over to Arran. But don’t look down!
Isle of Gigha - this would be a 4 ferry trip - Portavadie to Tarbert, then drive 20 miles to Tayinloan and get another ferry to lovely Gigha with its beaches (head for Twin Beaches to north of Island if you can), seafood café, hotel and gardens at Achamore. You can hire bikes there - it is very flat.
V. fine views to islands of Islay, famous for its whisky, and Jura and the Paps (mountains). Note last ferry is at 4:30 pm so if you miss it you will be staying overnight!
Ferry goes to Islay from Kennacraig near Tarbert - worth visiting the distilleries, particularly during the Malt Whisky Festival in May of each year. But perhaps too much for a day trip, particularly if you have been doing some in-depth sampling of the “twilight wine of Scotland”, to quote the late Alistair Cooke.
Hope you enjoy some of these suggestions. If you find something else that you would like to recommend to other guests, please mention it in your review.
Kames, Skotlanti, Britannia