Argyll and Bute
Towns and villages
- Tarbet on the shores of Loch Lomond
- Tarbert (Loch Fyne)
- Seil Island Very small and the only one here connected to the mainland by a bridge,
- Loch Lomond and Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park are on the western boundary of Argyll and Bute.
- The Inner Hebrides islands of Mull, Iona, Islay, Jura, Coll and Tiree are part of the Argyll and Bute council area (but are not part of the area covered by this page).
Argyll and Bute have only been amalgamated into one region in relatively recent history. All through the Middle Ages and into the post Act of Union period the Duke of Argyll ruled all of Argyll but was not, at all times, master of Bute.
The Duchy of Argyll although not directly geographically contgeous to the modern council area was a major political force in Medieval Scotland. One of the most famous, and amongst certain clans, infamous clans of western Scotland, the Campbells had their seat in Argyll.
Many works of fiction including Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped have featured the wild and rugged coastline of Argyll as a setting.
Bute, though less well known than Argyll and lying some way to the south has its own place in the regions past, primarily as the target of raids and clan rivalries.
Argyll and Bute is one of the major centres of Gaelic and Gaelic culture. this said, the sole universal language is English. In towns like Oban you may find Gaelic speakers as well as recent immigrants form eastern Europe. In effect though, everyone speaks English and communication should not be a problem. One points of caution though, the road signs are all in Gaelic and English and often have Gaelic first. If you can, make sure to read the full sign to find the English place name.
There are three main options when using the train to get to Argyll
To get to Oban and calling at almost every small town on the route you can take the train on the West Highland Railway from Glasgow Queen Street. At a point midway through the journey the train divides with two coaches going to Fort William (In Highland) and two to Oban. The journey from Glasgow to Fort William was recently nominated by a British train journey enthusiasts group as the most beautiful train ride in Britain. If you can then take the train during the day in order to enjoy some spectacular views of the Scottish countryside. The journey takes approximately 3 hours from Glasgow to Oban.
To get to Bute itself, take the train from Glasgow Central to Wemyss Bay, this takes you to the ferry port and the Calmac ferry to Rothesay.
It is possible to get into Argyll by road from all directions save the west. The roeads from the south are generally good but can be a bit winding and the surface quality is not always pristine. In northern and central Argyll the largest roads are A roads (two lanes each way in theory but often one lane each way in the north).
It is possible to get into Argyll and Bute by ferry too. there are regular Caledonian McBrayne ferries from, primarily Oban to most of the western Isles and from the far south of Argyll it is possible to get ferries to Northern Ireland.
- The West Highland Railway passes through the area.
Argyll in general is very safe. As with all rural parts of Britain crime is remarkably low. There are occasional incidents of theft in the major towns but these are very rare. It is not uncommon for people to leave their doors unlocked almost all the time. Although all normal precautions for travelers are advised there is little for tourists to worry about in terms of crime in Argyll and Bute.
In winter many roads in Argyll can, or at the least in the last two years have, been covered by snow. If you are not accustomed to driving on snow then extreme caution is advised during the snow. Even when there is no snow there can often be ice in winter and although less obviously dangerous Ice is a more common danger.
See this map for places with Wikivoyage articles nearby.