It is an incredible thing to realise that quite a number of UK holidaymakers tend to look southwards for their holidays – including many of those in Scotland!
Okay, nobody can dispute that the British Isles has a reputation for delivering up unpredictable summer weather and there may also be an element of truth in the fact that the further north you go, the more unpredictable it may become.
Nevertheless, it is often overlooked just how beautiful parts of the British Isles actually are and one such area is Argyll and Bute.
Where is Argyll and Bute?
If you look to the West and North-West from Glasgow, you will quickly enter into an area of western Scotland known as Argyll and Bute.
This is the land of hills, glens and remote islands, though it is not to be confused with what is typically called the Highlands of Scotland – which is a not very precisely defined area running north from about the city of Perth to Inverness and beyond to John O’Groats.
Argyll and Bute and the more northerly stretches of the west coast of Scotland have their own quite distinctive culture, which has a heavy Gaelic influence. In some parts of this region people will still speak Gaelic as their native tongue and English as their second language.
How is best to see it?
This is a geographically large and diverse area. It is also relatively lightly populated and one of the last great true wildernesses of Western Europe.
Although there are some much loved rail lines that offer the opportunity for some spectacular scenery, in reality it may only be possible to visit vast areas of this region by using a car or a car and caravan.
In fact, touring by caravan is immensely popular in Argyll and Bute given the stunning locations of some campsites and the relative shortage of major towns and conventional accommodation.
If you are going to take one of the numerous ferries over to islands such as Islay (pronounded Eye-Lah) or Jura, do remember to check your caravan insurance, as some may only cover caravans for UK mainland use unless you upgrade your cover.
What are some of the major attractions?
If you are heading due west from Glasgow, the first town of any size in Argyll and Bute is the charming and rather genteel small town of Helensburgh.
Famous as the birthplace of John Logie Baird (the man who first demonstrated working television), it is also famous for The Hill House – a property entirely designed and furnished by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
From Helensburgh, you can head northwest around some beautiful loch-side roads through villages such as Arrochar, until you reach a high point by in the mountains called The Rest And Be Thankful. This is really little more than pull-in off of the road but the scenery is stunning.
From there, you can meander down to Loch Fyne and the town of Inverrary, watching out for eagles and deer as you go.
There you can take in not only Inverrary Castle and the charming local town but also sample some incredible locally caught smoked fish and shellfish.
At this point, space does permit us to go much further into Argyll and Bute but suffice to say we have only just scratched the surface. Find out more about local experiences by making full use of technology.
This is an area you simply must see for yourself.
Could it rain? Yes, absolutely! Yet that might be half the fun!