Struan Lodge Beauly
log cabin holiday beauly
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Port Charlotte, Queen of the Rhinns of Islay
All islands should be savoured at leisure, log cabin holiday beauly but the tranquil aura of Islay is so pervasive that even those tied to a tight timetable must be tempted to make a quiet bonfire of their itinerary and let their days on Islay drift into weeks.
Port Charlotte, Queen of the Rhinns of Islay, demands time to stand and stare. It is log cabin holiday beauly untouched by the abrasive twentieth century. In Sraid Ard the pavement is walled and raised above the road level on the left, whereas on the right is walled and set below the road level. It is a typically civilized Islay solution to the problem of separating pedestrian and traffic.
Linger on the delicate symmetry of the crescent line of marching chimney pots on the terrace row of Bruthach Dubh. Sleek, slated roofs cap colour-washed walls, gay with Painted windowsills. A peak stack, artfully arranged against the gable wall at the end house, adds an aesthetically pleasing but essentially practical island flavour. Stroll along Sraid Ard Street.
The essence of Port Charlotte is the archway near the bottom of Cnoc Iain Phail, opening on to an inner court revealing Loch Indaal and the sea beyond. Listen to the rumble of shingle into the rocky gullies fronting the houses; a heart-beat of quiet, and then the tinny rattle of the ebb.
Then there is dreamy Bridgend of the welcoming little hotel, with the River Sorn flowing through lush meadows and wooded flats. The Bank of Scotland built on the river bank in 1838 so charmingly situated it must be a delight to have an overdraft there.
Ducks abounding in Loch Indaal, scaup, merganser and golden-eye, busily cavorting around the pier at Bowmore. An incongruously wide street, fit to swallow a juggernaut, cleaves arrow-straight from the pier to the droll, circular church, reputedly of that shape to prevent the Devil hiding in corners.
Blue seas creaming on black rocks east of Port Ellen, with the pagoda like roofs of famous distilleries Laphroaig, Lagavulin, Ardbeg in the distance.
The bleak, bare snout of the Oa peninsula, peopled by the ghosts of hunted smugglers.
A critical gallery of black guillemots on the cliff above Port Askaig, surveying the departing steamer with ill-concealed disdain. Who could blame them for wanting to keep the Green Isle of Islay to themselves?
The history of Dunoon as a holiday resort can be traced back to its inauspicious start in the year 1779. An enterprising Glasgow family by the name of Reid decided to spend the summer in the then virtually unknown clachan on the south east cost of Cowal. They embarked at the Broomielaw on their voyage of discovery.
The trip down the Clyde and across the Firth was not without its hazards. Their hired wherry over laden with a sufficiency of supplies to carry the provident Reids through the summer stuck fast on a sandbank.
It was a classic situation for a scurrilous lampoon. The Reids were in imminent danger of being immortalized in a folk ballad under the all too obvious title of The Glesga Gluttons. Nothing daunted, they promptly issued a statement pointing out the reason for the excessive weight of a cargo destined for their own stomachs. They could, one of the party explained with engaging candour, put no dependence on getting provisions, not even fish, in such an out of the way place.
The wherry eventually floated clear on the flood-tide, but a safe landfall at Dunoon posed yet another problem for the pioneering Reids. TO their dismay, they discovered that the local minister was the only inhabitant who spoke English.