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Start your Scottish Seafood Trail with a scenic drive along the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond, through ‘the Arrochar Alps’ and over the Rest-and-be-Thankful pass. Along the way, stop off at the world-famous Loch Fyne Oyster Bar and Restaurant in Cairndow, and perhaps indulge in a fantastic seafood platter for two, taking your time to enjoy the lochside ambience as much as the shellfish delicacies. It’s then just a short drive to the picture-postcard village of Inveraray, home to an iconic castle – a great spot for a wander – before carrying on through ancient Kilmartin Glen to your first base in the Argyllshire hamlet of Arduaine (pron. Ar-doony).
Your Hotel in Arduaine
Perched in a simply gorgeous waterside location, your family owned hotel by Loch Melfort is the perfect place to start your holiday. The 17-acre grounds of garden and beach invite an evening stroll when you may be lucky enough to feel like you have the place all to yourself. Treat yourself to dinner in the fine-dining restaurant one evening, perhaps trying the informal bistro the next; each proudly presents a menu created from the very finest west-of-Scotland ingredients served amidst quite staggering views.
A day to relax in this romantic location, perhaps taking a short stroll to nearby Arduaine Gardens, one of west of Scotland’s finest. At lunchtime, prepare for a cookery demonstration from the hugely experienced chef, after which you’ll be ready to tuck in to the dishes specially created for you.
It’s just an hour or so’s drive to your next base, for one night in this stunning corner of Argyllshire. Take your time to discover some of the scenic highlights along the way, then, at your hotel, perhaps cross the foreshore and take the short crossing on the tiny foot-ferry to the enigmatic island of Lismore. Here, you can rent a bicycle and discover its 13th-century church, Iron-age broch and ruined castle.
Your Hotel on Loch Linnhe
Originally the home of Loch Linnhe’s Pier Master, this historic restaurant, with its adjacent modern residence, really is a special place to contemplate the dramatic beauty of the west coast. Mouthwatering langoustines and lobster are kept fresh off the end of the pier before being served to you in the cosy conviviality of one of Argyll’s finest restaurants. As you contemplate the sunset over the distant Morvern hills, you may be lucky enough to glimpse otters and seals.
Your next destination is in one of the most scenically beautiful and secluded locations in the whole of Scotland, around three hours’ drive away, in the wild and rugged area of Wester Ross.
A fantastic day on the road awaits as you head through some of the country’s most dramatic scenery. Travel along the length of Loch Linnhe, past Ben Nevis and in to the southern tip of the Great Glen. Soon, navigate vast Glen Garry on its superb driving route, passing atmospheric Eilean Donan Castle on the way towards Kyle of Lochalsh, spearing further north around Loch Carron and in to the wilderness of Torridon.
Your Hotel in Shieldaig
Converted from a row of white-washed fishing cottages, the small, family-run inn overlooks an idyllic loch which reflects a tiny island covered in Scots Pines – if you’re lucky, you may witness one of the west coast’s spectacular sunsets. The charming restaurant, adorned with driftwood sculptures, is a fitting setting for the imaginative dishes that are served each evening. The chef makes extensive use of the local produce to create an ever-changing menu of fresh fish, shellfish, and top-quality meat and game.
This morning you drive north towards Gairloch for a unique experience, perhaps the highlight of your trip. You will join a local fisherman on his working boat as he gathers his creels. It’s hard work bringing in the catch, less so for you watching! He will happily share stories and information about the local area as well as his profession. Once back on dry land you’ll enjoy a seafood lunch from some of the harvest, cooked for you by the loch shore. You’ll struggle to taste seafood as fresh as this anywhere in the world.
Another day of driving on some of our favourite and most scenic routes today. Take in the view at the head of Loch Maree on the way to Gairloch and travel onwards to Poolewe, home to a staggering Highland garden and the moving story of the WWII Russian Arctic Convoys. Continue around Loch Broom, stopping for lunch of superb seafood at what’s possibly the UK’s most acclaimed street food shack. From Ullapool, it’s a short hop through more superb vistas to your hotel in the hamlet of Achiltibuie.
Your hotel in Achiltibuie
Long-established but having recently changed hands, your hotel in Achiltibuie is a romantic gem, for many years a destination for the most stylish and discerning city clientele. Inside you’ll find a lively pub and more genteel lounge, as well as a much-acclaimed fine-dining restaurant. Here, guests are invited to dine on the very finest local produce while viewing the Summer Isles that appear to hover in the mouth of Loch Broom, changing colour and texture with the weather. Rooms are simple and elegant, a theme reflect throughout the hotel.
No-one would blame you for staying away from the car today, relaxing with a stroll along the coast and a later beer or dram in the bar. Or you could set out to discover some of the most jaw-dropping locations in the UK – we’ll provide all the information you need to make the most of your time.
Your route will take you first to Inverness then south through the Highlands.
Three centre self-drive tour covering Arduaine, Loch Linnhe on the west coast just north of Oban and Shieldaig in the north west Highlands.
£1320 per person for departures in April & October, £1345 per person for May to September.
Prices based on two people sharing a room for seven nights on a bed and breakfast basis.
Prices include a seafood cookery demonstration and lunch on day two and a fisherman’s shellfish safari with seafood lunch experience on day five. You are welcome to bring your own wine to accompany the seafood lunch, which normally comprises langoustines or crab; if caught, lobster may be served for a small extra charge.
This holiday can easily be extended with extra nights at any of the featured hotels. Ask us for a quote.
Car rental is not included, but available for a range of vehicles – do just let us know if you would like a quote.
Before your departure, you will receive personalised holiday information including full directions, recommended routes, and suggestions on places to visit depending on your interests and our local knowledge to help you get the most from your holiday.
All itineraries and room types are presented subject to availability at specific hotels.
We work hard to make sure the unexpected doesn’t affect your trip. On rare occasions, changes or cancellations may occur, affecting accommodation, transport or excursions. We are committed to informing you of any such circumstances and will use our knowledge and resources to offer suitable alternatives wherever possible.
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This holiday can be arranged from mid March to October.
Availability is individually checked for a hand-picked selection of smaller hotels, guest houses and other independent businesses, so please bear with us and we will respond in 1-2 working days.
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All our holiday prices include a service charge of £9 per person per night towards the costs we incur in researching, planning and designing your holiday.
We guarantee to refund this service charge if you believe that arranging your holiday through McKinlay Kidd has not met your expectations for value. All we ask is that you write to us within 7 days of your return and explain your reason for claiming the refund. This will ensure that we can improve the experience for all our future guests.
Thoroughly enjoyed the holiday - fabulous part of the country.Jill & Chris, Alnwick, England
The highlight was undoubtedly the creel boat fishing trip - and to get to eat what was caught was fantastic!Ken & Jean , Houghton-le-Spring, England
I loved not just the seafood tie-ins - it was the fact that I would never have been able to assemble the trip by myself that made it special.Carolyn, London, England