On purchasing Ardanaiseig in 1995 Bennie Gray felt that there was a real spirit to the hotel, and a resonance to the grounds and gardens – the sense of ancient happenings long forgotten. It is certainly easy to feel irrelevant among the wild surroundings of the hotel, and imagine what may have been. In fact, it was the mysterious hillock on the edge of Loch Awe which resonated so deeply for Bennie – was this strange depression in the land a former Druidic ritual site, or spiritual meeting-point for the polytheistic Celts of yester year? Ultimately, five years later these feelings led to the build of what is now the striking amphitheatre overlooking the loch. Using historical research and dry-stone wall specialists, Bennie Gray was able to excavate the site and recreate the structure that he had imagined so voraciously was once there.
Now a popular venue for wedding ceremonies – nestled between the grade II listed manor house and Ben Cruachan, enveloped in a romantic mist, you can see why – the launch in 2000 was a spectacular soirée of storytelling, celtic folk music and ballet. A piano recital of ‘La Cathédrale Engloutie’ by Joanna Gray evoked the wildly romantic tale of the legend of Ys, a city said to have been built below sea level in Breton, France by the King of Cornouaille to please his daughter, which – eventually swallowed by the sea – rises to be seen from land a handful of times a year. 15 years later, beautifully dilapidated, the amphitheatre has moulded perfectly into the surroundings and looks like a true relic of the past.
The amphitheatre is the perfect setting for a wedding ceremony – it has the ready made seating for guests and the breathtaking view across Loch Awe. It is also a romantic hideaway should you choose your ceremony to be just the two of you. Read more about having your wedding at Ardanaiseig here.