Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Tighnabruiach + Inverarary Castle.

My father-in-law was in the Navy, his father was in the Merchant Navy, and my own husband is going to attempt to row the Atlantic next year. Basically, my in-laws are obsessed with boats. In April, my father-in-law bought a yacht (as you do) and honestly I don't think I've gone a single day since without one of their family talking about it. So I decided it was time I found out what all the fuss was about, and a few weeks ago we headed up to Tighabruiach to spend a couple of days on the boat.

Tighnabruiach is a pretty little village on the Kyles of Bute (basically the mainland north-west of the Isle of Bute). I'd already been reliably informed that it was very picturesque up there, and I wasn't disappointed. Argyll and Bute is in general a really lovely area, but the latter parts of the drive to the village was gorgeous. Being the tourist I am I had to stop to take some pictures (apologies in advance for the grainy look to these, I didn't realise until we got home that my camera was on the wrong ISO setting and I could've cried).

We had been banned from even attempting to move the boat (we've subsequently passed the first stage of Sea Trials - my father-in-law doesn't mess around) so we were just using the boat as a floating caravan. However this meant we had three days worth of clothing, food and accessories to try and get onto the yacht via a tiny little floating deathtrap of a dinghy. Not only that but my husband somehow managed to destroy the outboard engine on said dinghy so he had to row us out there. I've never been scared of water but I did consider quickly texting my family my last will and testament.

Once we finally got out there though the boat was a really relaxing and peaceful place to be. Seeing as it's essentially in the middle of nowhere, it's so quiet. We sat out in the evenings and thanked god we were too far out for midges to attack, and soon some friendly neighbourhood dolphins popped up to say hello. There were even little baby ones, so that alone was worth the near-death experience on the dinghy. We were also treated to some spectacular sunsets, which have become somewhat of a feature of this year for me. Basically the only rubbish thing about the boat is how high the bed in the cabin is; you sleep pretty close to the ceiling so I felt massively claustrophobic and had a panic attack.

One of the days we were there we decided to head back to dry land and visit nearby Inveraray Castle. I say nearby, it was an hour drive away, but there's not a lot else up there. Inveraray Castle is the home of the Duke of Argyll, and it's a pretty impressive looking building sat on the banks of Loch Fyne, the longest sea loch in Scotland. It was also the filming location for a Christmas edition of Downton Abbey so you know it's proper posh. It wasn't till we got inside that I realised the Duke of Argyll (who, by the way, has the actually amazing name of Torquhil) is the head of Clan Campbell, and if you know anything about Scottish history you'll know that they haven't got the greatest of reputations... (yes it's been 324 years but my best friend is a MacDonald and I have to be loyal... I'm kidding.) (If you've got no clue what I'm on about try Googling 'Glencoe'.)

Anyhoo they have a mighty fine house, and we enjoyed having a look around (even though apparently some of those weapons were from the time of Glencoe... I'll stop now, I promise hahaha) cause let's be real, there's a part of all of us that wishes we were some kind of aristocracy that had a gigantic mansion to piss about in. When will people realise that I'm a bloody princess damn it?!

Honestly as much as I love having a wander round beautiful historical buildings I'm not that sure I'd recommend Inveraray Castle. It's pretty expensive (it was £10 per person when we went) but you only get to see like seven or eight rooms? The gardens are lovely but again they aren't huge, you can walk around what's open within ten minutes. I know that the current Duke and his family live there - mainly cause he walked past us in the gift shop - so obviously you can't see the whole thing, but I've been to a lot of National Trust properties where this is the case and yet you feel like you get a better idea of the building. This felt a little bit like you were just paying directly to the family than maintaining the history of the place; that's totally fine, the family have every right to make money, it's just really different from what I'm used to.

Also the place was absolutely full of family photos of the current Duke and it was a bit like creeping round someone's (really bloody fancy) living room, which was odd. And there's a whole room dedicated to press cuttings about them, including their wedding feature in Hello! magazine... Honestly I'm sure good old Torquhil is a lovely man (and his wife is a Cadbury's heir so she's definitely my kind of woman) but he's literally the captain of Scotland's elephant polo team (who even knew we had one?!) and that makes me feel a bit uneasy. And there's the Campbell thing (I swear I'm joking).

This is extra grainy cause I took it in the dark - that bright light is the moon!
Our time away was really relaxing and just what I love doing - getting out and exploring the parts of this beautiful country I'm really ignorant about. Now that we've been approved for turning on the engine of the boat (just in time for it coming out of the water for winter - yay!) we'll be able to actually move next time we go up there, which is going to be really freeing. I loveee the sea and I'm excited to go seal-spotting and try to avoid crashing into the Isle of Bute (if my father-in-law reads this I won't be allowed anywhere near the boat now).

Have you ever had a holiday on the open seas? Or is this totally not your kind of thing? Let me know!

Check out the rest of my Blogtober posts here!


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