Updated: Mar 10
The Isle of Gigha located on the west coast of Scotland is home to a population of 160. At only seven miles long and a mile and a half wide it is an ideal walkers' paradise, with beautiful gardens - Achamore, beaches, and historic sites to visit. Did you know it was named 'Gudey' by the Vikings?
Isle of Gigha ©MDHarding
Got to Gigha a Go
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I love visiting the Scottish Islands each unique in size, shape, and character. Some have amazing gardens, beaches, wildlife and one even has eight whisky distilleries. Do you know which one?
The Isle of Gigha pronounced 'geeya', with a hard 'g' is a beautiful island. Ideal for those that love walking, nature, and looking for a tranquil getaway.
Viewpoint at Achamore Gardens ©MDHarding
Getting to the Isle of Gigha
We drove from Edinburgh via Inveraray, to the port of Tayinloan which took 4 hours with a brief rest stop at Bonnie & Ben Cafe on the shores of Loch Lomond - Tarbet. Some of the public toilets are closed during the off-season, while others are for customers only. There is a large car park, options to cruise on Loch Lomond and public toilets are available throughout most of the year.
We had just pulled up (2.55pm) just as the light turned green, signaling cars to drive onto the CalMac (Caledonian MacBrayne) ferry. For this particular ferry, you just rock on up and pay once on board. On the twenty-minute journey, you can relax inside or enjoy the views from the top deck.
Total cost for car + 2 passengers return = £ 15.20
On the return leg, we stopped in the ancient Royal Burgh of Inveraray, located on the edge of Loch Fyne. The town has lots of small cafes, pubs, shops and of course free public toilets.
There is also Inverarary Jail and Castle. Look out for the Vikings during July!
Port Tayinloan Behind us ©MDHarding
We stayed at the only hotel on the island - Gigha Hotel. Located just a stone's throw away from the ferry port in Ardminish Bay. The hotel has its own car parking, bistro, restaurant, lounge, and each of the rooms has tea/coffee-making facilities. The room was a good size with beautiful views.
We had purchased a Wowcher deal which included two nights' accommodation in a double room, breakfast each morning, and dinner on the first evening in the bistro.
We really enjoyed the food. The menu offered a variety of selections, including local seafood.
Fresh Scottish Scallops & Chorizo ©MDHarding
What To See & Do
Achamore Gardens were created by Colonel Sir James Horlick with the assistance of Gardener Kitty Lloyd Jones in 1944. The mansion house was built in 1884. The gardens are best in early summer with their collection of Rhododendrons. Though there is year-round interest with colourful red dogwoods, ferns, Silver Birch trees, and skillfully carved wooden sculptures located throughout. Worth walking to the top for the grand views.
Achmore Garden Pond ©MDHarding
Kilchattan (St Cathan's Chapel) Church
The medieval Kilchattan (St Cathan's Chapel) Church is said to be where Catan, (a missionary Monk who was one of St Columbia's contemporaries) built a cell on the site of an ancient well. The well said to have been dedicated to St Cathan, can no longer be seen since the site became overgrown.
Christianity in Gigha dates to 563 AD when it is said that St Columba visited Gigha while traveling up the coast of Argyll from Ireland to Iona.
Window To The World - Kilchattan Church ©MDHarding
The Twin Beaches
Take the only road to the north of the island past the ancient standing stone (Giants's Tooth), the walking path to The Twin Beaches is on the left. If it has been raining, the walking path down to the beaches can be quite muddy. When we visited the opposing white sandy beaches with azure blue waters they were breathtaking, even on a wet and wild day! Look out for dolphins, seals, and otters.
One of the Beaches at The Twin Beaches, Gigha ©MDHarding
We didn't realise just how much there was to see and explore on this small island. We are already planning a return visit to see the Spouting Cave, climb to the highest viewpoint - Cnoc nan Gobhar, and check out more of the ancient standing stones.
I hope you have enjoyed reading and are inspired to visit one of Scotland's beautiful islands. As always, I would love to hear any comments/questions you have. Please email me at enquiries@MDHardingTravelPhotography.com or you can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Happy Travels:) x