Scottish Field - - HOTELS & BREAKS -­gyllse­cret­ www.cow­al­

Ar­gyll’s Se­cret Coast and the is­land of Bute are the per­fect pair­ing. These two des­ti­na­tions sit right on each oth­ers’ doorsteps, of­fer­ing you ter­rific twin break and per­fect day out op­por­tu­ni­ties. Go wild in the great out­doors and ex­plore the hills, forests and beaches of Ar­gyll’s Se­cret Coast. Then hop on the five- minute ferry to Bute for an is­land ad­ven­ture to dis­cover glo­ri­ous gar­dens, grandiose ar­chi­tec­ture and the fab­u­lous Mount Stu­art.

Ar­gyll’s Se­cret Coast – just a whis­per away!

It’s hard to keep a se­cret, es­pe­cially when the se­cret is this good. So here you go: there’s a place with some of the most stun­ning scenery on the west coast of Scot­land - yet not many peo­ple know about it. You don’t find crowds of tourists. What you do find is wildlife, tran­quil­ity and de­serted beaches. Ar­gyll’s Se­cret Coast is tucked away on the south-west tip of the Cowal Penin­sula. It feels re­mote, but it’s just un­der two hours from Glas­gow. Bor­dered by two beau­ti­ful stretches of water, the Kyles of Bute and Loch Fyne, the land­scape is wild and scenic, with hills, glens, sea­side vil­lages, clear sea lochs, sparkling sands and an­cient forests. The coast­line it­self is rugged and var­ied. You can while away many a happy hour pot­ter­ing around the shore, ex­plor­ing rock pools and beach comb­ing, un­til you find your own se­cluded bay. It’s well worth mak­ing a spe­cial trip to Os­tel Bay. This huge cres­cent-shaped sweep of sand is a twenty-minute walk from the road. There are lots of op­por­tu­ni­ties to get ac­tive in the great out­doors. What bet­ter way to ex­plore the lochs, hills and coast­line of this beau­ti­ful part of the west coast of Scot­land than on foot? The most fa­mous walk is the long-dis­tance Cowal Way which be­gins at Por­tavadie and takes you through some in­cred­i­ble scenery. The coun­try roads and off-road for­est tracks and trails of­fer fan­tas­tic cy­cling and moun­tain bik­ing. For a real road bike chal­lenge, try the Bealach Maim, which takes you from Tighnabru­aich to Glen­daruel and over the fright­en­ingly steep bealach. Or how about check­ing out the for­est trails be­tween Por­tavadie and Kil­fi­nan? You could also ex­plore the is­lands and in­lets by boat. With pro­tec­tive hills, re­laxed tides and no crowds, these are per­fect sail­ing and kayak­ing wa­ters. Ar­gyll’s Se­cret Coast is as rich cul­tur­ally as it is nat­u­rally. The land­scape and light has in­spired gen­er­a­tions of artists and there’s a thriv­ing artis­tic scene. The area is steeped in his­tory and dot­ted with fas­ci­nat­ing an­cient sites, ru­ined cas­tles, cham­bered cairns and stand­ing stones. If all this ac­tiv­ity leaves you feel­ing a bit peck­ish, then you’re in luck. Ar­gyll’s Se­cret Coast is packed with great restau­rants and cafés serv­ing up de­li­cious food. You’ll find plenty of lo­cal pro­duce on the menus, in­clud­ing Loch Fyne’s fa­mous seafood. Ar­gyll’s Se­cret Coast is just a whis­per away … but don’t tell every­one.

1: Kyles of Bute View­point. 2: Os­tel Bay look­ing to­wards Ar­ran. 3: Sail­ing on Ar­gyll’s Se­cret Coast. 4: Et­trick Bay on Bute. 5: Glen­burn Ho­tel, Bute’s largest Ho­tel. 6: Mount Stu­art House and Gar­dens.

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