|Isle Of Bute Jazz Festival 2012, a photo by ufopilot on Flickr.|
- One castle I overlooked in my original treatment of this area was Dunderave, seat of Clan MacNaughtan and ancestral home of Britophile Nancy from the Picture Britain Facebook Page (which you really should like if you haven't already). Built in the 16th century, this castle on the shores of Loch Fyne is still a working residence.
- Argyll and Bute has some killer Scottish gardens: Ardkinglas Woodland Garden, Crarae Garden, and Ascog Hall Fernery to name a few. It puts to shame my own little attempts at a cottage garden.
- The Isle of Bute, an island in the Firth of Clyde, is home to about 7,000 residents and a fair number of tourists as well. Its historic roots go deep, as evidenced by the discovery of a 4,000 year old Queen's grave (complete with her spectacular necklace).
- The neo-Gothic Mount Stuart House is imposing and perhaps slightly creepy at the best of times-- how much more so when transformed into a torchlit ghostworld during the Mount Stuart Halloween Celebrations. At the end of this month, for a mere £15 each, you can tour secret passages, hear eerie whistling noises, and break out into good-old-fashioned goose pimples.
- While the "bonnie, bonnie banks" of Loch Lomond are probably the best known in the area, but there are other lochs to be seen. The beautiful Loch Leven is a sight for sore eyes, not to be confused with the other Loch Leven in Perth and Kinross. Loch Fyne (the snow-clad, placid paradise you see in the photo below), is another great lake, known for its oysters and kippers.
- Bute's Jazz Festival is an interesting addition to the locale. Really, who can resist a saxophone player in a kilt?
- The geological marvel called Staffa is a massive island of pillars jutting out of the foaming cold sea. On the southern tip you will find Fingal's Cave; the mysterious melody of waves in the cave inspired Felix Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture opus 26.
- The Cowal Peninsula is a beautiful piece of land reached by a ferry, and a day trip here should definitely include a visit to the statue of Highland Mary, a bit of grave-spotting, and some downtime with the sheep.
|castle sween, a photo by mike138 on Flickr.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunderave_Castle|