Loch Fyne

Enjoy a ramble to the summit of Dun Na Cuaiche, where the views of Inveraray and Loch Fyne are truly spectacular.

START From the George Hotel head towards the harbour. Follow the road round and head for Inveraray Castle. The third Duke of Argyll moved Inveraray to its current location so he could build on the original site and enjoy some privacy. Although the castle is shut in winter, the grounds are open all year round.

0.75 MILE Inveraray Castle is an architecturally complex building combining Baroque, Palladian, Gothic and Gallic influences. Sir John Vanbrugh, architect of Blenheim Castle, made the original design, which was then developed by architects Morris and Adam. The current duke grew up in the castle and achieved a certain celebrity for leading Scotland’s Elephant Polo team to victory in the 2004 and 2005 World Championships. To the far side of the castle car park is a signpost suggesting a choice of three walks: yellow, brown or blue. The blue route is the longest and takes you to the summit of Dun Na Cuaiche. All routes are well signposted. Head away from the castle, over the elegant Frew’s or Garden Bridge, designed by John Adam, and leave the path as directed. The path gently climbs into woodland, passing through the Pinetum, which includes some impressive red cedars. Soon after, the yellow path diverges and the brown and blue paths curve to the right.

1.25 MILES The blue path then turns left, climbing steeply up the hill, but for tantalising glimpses of the town and castle follow the brown signs until you reach a brown marker labelled E and a blue one marked 17. Then head up the hill, taking care as it climbs steeply as it can be soggy. The trees thin as you reach the summit, 248m (813ft) up, and then take a left to the tower.

1.75 MILES This unusual, oriental-style building was constructed in 1748 for the sum of £46. Its purpose was decorative, although it is an ideal place in which to enjoy the view without being assaulted by the weather. Although squat and square on the outside, it has a circular interior. Loch Fyne, Scotland’s longest sea-loch, stretches before you. Although it has been known to play host to dolphins, seals, otters and basking sharks, it is more likely that its winter inhabitants will, for the most part, be seafood. Still, Loch Fyne oysters are famous worldwide. To the east and south rise snow-capped hills, including some Munros. For the descent, either take the left fork just below the summit and follow the path back to the Pinetum by a circuitous loop, or retrace your steps to blue marker 17 and continue down to the Sweetie Seat and back to the castle through the seed orchard. Thoughts of warm fires and good food waiting for you at the George Hotel should help sustain you.

THE PUB Inveraray was Scotland’s first planned town and the George Hotel is one of its finest buildings. Originally two private houses, it was amalgamated into a hotel in 1866 by the Clark family, who still own it today. An elegant building, with roaring fires and flagstoned floors, the George shows an impressive commitment to malt whisky, real ale and locally sourced produce.

Terrain: Woodland and well signposted paths.
Car: From Glasgow take the A82 and then the A83 at Tarbet. Inveraray is on the west shore of Loch Fyne and the George Hotel is on Main Street East. There is a pay and display car park
Public Transport: Inveraray is served by Citylink bus from Glasgow. Buchanan Street Bus Station 0870 608 2608
Refreshments: The George Hotel Main Street East, Inveraray, Argyll PA32 8TT Double rooms are available from
Nearby: Inveraray Jail Argyll PA32 8TX Open all year: Apr-Oct, 9.30am-6pm; Nov-Mar, 10am-5pm. Adults
More info: Inveraray Tourist Information 01499 302063
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