The sun rose above a crisp Loch Awe and its light glistened on the water. It was the perfect day for a boat ride. Under the majestic gaze of Ardanaiseig, Loch Awe is easily accessible for fishing, photographing, walking around, or simply enjoying from the comfort of Ardanaiseig’s drawing room and bar. However, the best way to experience it is to get out on the water.
From the shore, there are a few landmarks that can be aimed for, whether it’s a boat or a camera that you are pointing. The closest is the Crannog, a small island of rocks, trees and brambles that rises up from the water. This miniature haven is one of many on Loch Awe that were hand-build by the Picts and used as bases for dwellings from around 500 BC to 1500 AD. Many of these were built on piles of branches and tree trunks that lay on the loch bed. Some, including Ardanaiseig’s Crannog, were connected to the shore by causeways, which zigzagged just under the water, meaning that only those who knew the formation would make it across, safe from any pursuit. Presumably, this was to stay safe from wolves, bears or other humans, although the lack of evident fortifications suggests the area was peaceful during this time.
Beyond the Crannog, we have the larger and slightly more easily traversed Eilean a Chomhraidh. This island is also connected to the shore by a zigzagging causeway, which can be spotted at times of low water.
If you bring wellies, which the hotel can provide, you can pull the boat up onto the shore and tie it to a tree. The island is a good place for a picnic, and of course a long appreciation of the spectacular view. To the north, Ben Cruachan can be seen rising up 1,126 metres, most of the time sporting a snow-capped peak come rain or shine.
Many birds can be both seen and heard from the island and Canada geese like to make their nests in this area during the spring months. During this time, the geese will be at their loudest, honking to protect their territory.
Evidence of their nesting in this area can be also found in a secret location..
Once you’re out on the loch, the water lapping at the edges of the boat and the fresh breeze will prove wonderfully soporific. Just be sure to wear a lifejacket and make it back safely to shore before having your mid-afternoon nap.
If you fancy taking a trip out on the loch during your stay, ask at reception about boat availability.
Written by Rosalea Collinge