Last week we went on a family holiday to Ardnamurchan, a remote peninsula at the most westerly point of mainland Scotland. We stayed in a beautifully converted church with views over the islands of Muck, Eigg, Rum and Skye.
Ardnamurchan is about a 5 hour drive from Edinburgh. We stopped twice so the journey took us around 6 hours. Our first stop was in Callander to give Euan his bottle. Arran went to school in Callander so it’s a must stop for us. There are loads of coffee shops serving home baking (try the tablet in the fudge shop – it’s amazing.)
Our next stop was for fish and chips in Tyndrum. A chip shop probably isn’t the most conventional place to stop for a family with a young baby – the facilities amount to a changing table on its last legs located in the disabled toilet – but the fish and chips are fresh, cooked to order, and taste legendary so it suited us fine. One of the rooms has a log fire and comfy seats so that adds to the appeal. A more well known stop in this area is The Green Welly Shop which has better facilities for families and serves a wide variety of food. It’s likely to be teeming with tourists in the busy season but is still a nice place to stop on this road if you’re looking for something a bit less fried and a bit more family friendly.
We then drove through Glencoe (a stunning drive) to near Fort William where we took the Corran Ferry across to Ardnamurchan. The ferry is very small and open decked and the journey lasts about 10 minutes. Make sure you have the exact money in cash (£6.40 each way). We didn’t have any ‘real’ money with us so had to take a detour to Fort William to take some cash out of a cashpoint.
Once in Ardnamurchan we had a 1½ hour drive along mostly one track roads to reach our accommodation. This was the most difficult part of the journey for us because Euan was getting bored and a bit fractious. If you are planning a long drive with a baby I’d recommend keeping the back seat free so that whoever isn’t doing the driving can hop into the back and sit beside Baby to keep him/her entertained. That is, of course, if you don’t have older kids to do the entertaining for you!
Euan and Daddy reading in the window seat.
We absolutely loved our stay in Old Kilmory Church. Please note I’m not getting commission for this post, I just thought it was great and worth sharing my thoughts on this outstanding property.
Downstairs there’s the porch, a bathroom with shower and bath, utility room, bedroom with bunk-beds and an open plan kitchen/living area. On entering the porch the first thing I noticed was that the bench is an old church pew – one of the many original restored features of the property. The best feature of the house has got to be the large wood burning stove in the living area which we lit each morning and kept burning all day. The house was so warm that Euan got a chance to wear one of his short sleeved T-shirts it was too chilly for during the Scottish summer! In the living room there are also plenty of books, a couple of games and an interesting booklet about the history of the church and things to do in the surrounding area.
Upstairs is a mezzanine so you can look down from the double bedroom (complete with a bedstead made from the old pulpit) to the living room, allowing for some amusing ‘Romeo and Juliet’ style balcony scene antics! Ah, the things you do to keep amused in a place with no TV, broadband, or mobile phone reception! We really enjoyed the rare chance of being cut off from the world but I must admit we did take a jaunt up the hill to check our messages on a couple of occasions!
On booking Arran was told that the accommodation isn’t particularly suitable for young children (probably because the wooden stairs and mezzanine could be a bit hazardous). We certainly had to keep an eye on our wee crawler but I’m delighted it didn’t put Arran off booking. A travel cot was provided but no sheets so I’m glad I packed one. Although we managed fine without, one thing I wish I’d had was one of those portable cloth highchairs. A friend has one for her baby and she swears by it because it folds up to handbag/changing bag size.
One more thing to note is that the water in the house is peaty so brown in colour but is UV filtered, perfectly safe to drink and delicious.
The Surrounding Area
A beautiful natural harbour.
The window seats in the kitchen and living room are perfect for whiling away a few hours drinking in the rugged landscape… Of course we all know that’s not going to happen with a 9 ½ month old baby! However, having Arran around certainly gave me a bit of time to relax and I did get my Jane Austen moment in the window box looking out at the windswept moorlands and sea cliffs. Unfortunately I was looking at the scenery through the relentless driving rain but that’s the risk you take when going on holiday in Scotland in October! Arran has recently taken up surfing and liked to comment on the different types of waves. I now know what a point break is and apparently it doesn’t always have to involve Keanu Reeves. We looked out for seals and whales but weren’t lucky to spot any on this trip.
Ardnamurchan’s scenery is spectacular. There are rugged mountains everywhere and oak and broad leaf forests to south on the coast.
There are numerous walks which unfortunately the weather didn’t allow us to experience but on a drive we did see plenty of Highland Cows, a herd of about 50 wild deer and at least 2 birds of prey.
Couldn’t resist another photo of a Highland Cow!
Euan drying off in front of the fire.
I would highly recommend Ardnamurchan as a destination for anyone looking for a peaceful getaway and Old Kilmory Church is the perfect place to stay. If you have any comments or questions please don’t hesitate to fill in the comments box below, I’d love to hear from you.
P.S. This post is part of the Mondays are for Dreaming feature of one of my favourite family travel websites motherofalltrips.