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Argyll adventures

Neil McLennan explores Argyll and the Isles to discover what draws thousands of history and heritage tourists to this beautiful region every year
Sunset over the water. The island of Bute is easily accessible via a short ferry crossing from Wemyss

Hidden histor y

Argyll and the Isles Tourism Cooperative was recently shortlisted for Place Brand of the Year sponsored by The NewYork Times. Although it might be said that it is not hard to market this wonderful part of Scotland it is not just the stunning landscapes that we can promote through Wild About Argyll. Warm hospitality, history and heritage aplenty as well as great people go towards making this a great destination for the time-travelling tourist.

The biggest challenge might be where to start! The area has been described as an ancient Celtic design with different strands interwoven. It could be looked at through so many lenses. For our short trip we took in three stopping points with very different themes attached to them. In Bute we looked at hotels and grand houses (and a castle!); in Campbeltown we followed the rise and fall of the whisky capital of the world; and on the way back we took in that constant on everyone’s itinerary – Inveraray Jail, explored through a lens of the hidden side of Scottish legal history. However my Argyll adventure began by leaving Stonehaven and following the Highland Boundary Fault line to Bute. Rothesay Castle is a good starting point and the island of Bute is easily accessible with a train trip from Glasgow and then a short ferry crossing from Wemyss Bay. Whilst Norsemen tried unsuccessfully to take the Stewart-built castle, Robert the Bruce later gained the castle through the marriage of James Stewart’s son to Robert the Bruce’s daughter. Influential marriages become a common theme with inhabitants of grand houses on this island as we found out later at Mount Stewart. The castle is a short walk from the ferry terminal and a good starting point for visitors.

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About History Scotland

The March/April issue of History Scotland is packed full of history, heritage and archaeology news, opinion, in-depth features and events. Highlights include: * Farming in 19th-century Fife * Mutiny in the East India Company * Medieval fishing rights on the River Forth * Splendours of the Subcontinent - new exhibition * Excerpts from a World War I diary

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