By Alan Fairfax – Travel Writer, Cruise Journalist and Silver Travel Advisor

Alan was a guest on our Grandeur and Splendour of Argyll and Bute voyage.

Green rolling hills of summer turning to shades of gold, yellow and brown as winter approaches, the sun, low in the sky glistens on open water, as the ship eases from our berth to the sound of the pipes. Yes, Scotland, a land of castles, lochs, clans and tartans, its history dating back centuries and what better way to explore this beautiful country and its islands than on a small unique cruise ship, and unique Hebridean Princess definitely is.

Leaving Greenock, we set course for Rothesay, the main town on the Isle of Bute, its history traceable back to the 13th century, the castle overlooking the town is worth exploring despite much of it in ruins, the beautiful Mount Stuart House standing in magnificent grounds on the banks of the Firth of Clyde. The original house, built in about 1716, was unfortunately destroyed by fire, but in 1877 rebuilding began, the current house is still claimed to be unfinished despite continual building through the 1900s. Entering the house, you arrive in the most magnificent colonnaded marble hall adorned on two walls by pictures, a large tapestry on another and in a corner, the organ that was played at the wedding of Stella McCartney.