6th June - Hidden Gardens of the Highlands and Islands

The western seaboard of Scotland is home to some of the finest gardens in Europe, where unusual and exotic plants flourish in the warm climate of the North Atlantic Drift.  Many were planted in the Victorian era and designed to complement grand country homes, whilst others were secluded on the most beautiful of Hebridean islands.

6th June 2017.

After setting sail from Oban we cruised south through the Firth of Lorn to our anchorage off Ardfern.

7th June 2017.

Our first two garden visits were conducted from Ardfern marina, An Cala Garden in the morning where guests could view the colourful borders, natural rockeries and meandering streams.

After lunch on board we headed to the National Trust for Scotland's 20 acres of gardens at Arduaine.

We anchored overnight off Crinan.

8th June 2017.

After morning walks at Tayvallich, we sailed to the Isle of Gigha to explore the 50 acres of gardens at Achamore House planted by Sir James Horlick.

We anchored overnight off Bunnahanbhain, Isle of Islay.

9th June 2017.

This morning we cruised to Colonsay for a visit to the exoctic woodland gardens of Colonsay House.

 

Over lunch we sailed north to Loch Na Keal, Isle of Mull for an afternoon spent at the hidden gem of Lip na Cloiche garden.  Here we treated to refreshments after exploring this self-made garden in an extremely remote location.

 

We remained at anchor overnight in Loch na Keal.

10th June 2017.

A relaxing morning on board was the order of the day as we cruised past the Small Isles, along the Sound of Sleat and Kyle Rhea on passage to Kyle of Lochalsh from where we travelled to Attadale Gardens for an afternoon visit. 

We remained alongside in Kyle of Lochalsh overnight.

11th June 2017.

Sailing through The Narrows to Skye, we arrived at Armadale to explore the ruined castle set amongst 40 acres of gardens and woodland, and learned of the history of the Clan Donald at the visitor centre.

We spent the afternoon cruising the Small Isles and the Sound of Sleat towards our overnight anchorage off Fishnish Point.

12th June 2017.

This morning we berthed alongside at Craignure and took the ferry for our visit to the Ardtornish Estate and gardens.  

Our final visit this afternoon was Ardchattan Priory Garden where there has been a garden since the 13th century.

We berthed alongside overnight at Northern Lighthouse Board pier in Oban.

13th June 2017.

We remained alonsgide in Oban today for disembarkation and for servicing and storing to take place.