His­toric Loch Awe ho­tel re-opens af­ter re­vamp

The Oban Times - - Business -

THE his­toric Tay­chreg­gan Ho­tel near Kilchre­nan re­opened on April 3 af­ter a win­ter re­fur­bish­ment.

It is now sport­ing the new­ly­named Gil­lie’s Bar, pay­ing homage to a lo­cal gil­lie Lachie, who had the safest boat on Loch Awe – be­cause he couldn’t swim.

Sit­ting on a penin­sula over­look­ing Scot­land’s long­est fresh­wa­ter loch, within 40 acres of wood­land and gar­den, the Tay­chreg­gan has just been voted, for the third year in a row, Coun­try Sports Ho­tel of the Year for Ar­gyll and Lomond at the 2017 Scot­tish Ho­tel Awards.

It’s not sur­pris­ing given the range of wild ac­tiv­i­ties, such as boat­ing, fly-fish­ing for wild salmon and brown trout, kayak­ing, clay pi­geon shoot­ing, archery, tom­a­hawk throw­ing, sling­shots and air ri­fles, and a fal­conry ‘hawk walk’, plus hill­walk­ing on 13 Mun­ros nearby, and cy­cling along 90 miles of for­est roads on Lochawe­side.

But guests and din­ers also visit Tay­chreg­gan to get away from it all, re­treat­ing into cosy lounges with warm fires and comfy arm­chairs, with a pi­ano, full- size an­tique snooker ta­ble, and breath­tak­ing views of the 25-mile long loch down to Kilchurn Cas­tle, once seat of Clan Camp­bell – and oc­ca­sion­ally Jocky the pea­cock.

The 17th- cen­tury coach­ing inn, at Loch Awe’s nar­row­est cross­ing point, where cat­tle once swam across, feels deeply con­nected to its land­scape and his­tory, re­flected in the names of its 18 sump­tu­ous bed­rooms, such as Wal­ter Scott, McCaig’s, Fyne, Etive, Cru­achan, Sonachan and Ar­breck­nish.

Its restau­rant en­joys an ex­cel­lent rep­u­ta­tion for fine din­ing, re­tain­ing two AA rosettes since the 1970s, and to­day serv­ing a five- course tast­ing menu, and a three­course menu of sea­sonal, lo­cally- sourced and of­ten for­aged in­gre­di­ents, pre­pared by head chef Vi­las Roberts.

The bi­og­ra­pher James Boswell vis­ited in Oc­to­ber 1773 on his tour of the High­lands and Is­lands with Dr Sa­muel John­son, and said: ‘ We supped well and af­ter sup­per Dr John­son, whom I had not see taste any fer­mented liquor dur­ing our trav­els, called for a gill of whisky. “Come,” said he, “let me know what it is that makes a Scotch­man happy”.’

The Tay­chreg­gan has re­tained two AA rosettes since the 70s.

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