There was no part of my trip to Scotland I would not do again, but if I could only do one part, it would be my time in Duror. Nestled in the Scottish West Highlands, little Duror truly is the sort of village you will miss if you blink whilst driving by.
We stayed at the cosiest little nook of a place at Tigh Bhan, conveniently situated in an equidistant location between Oban and Fort William. Just down the road from our cottage was the beautiful Cuil Bay, a little cove on Loch Linnhe. When the weather was fair, we strolled down in the evening, wrapped in tartan and tot of whisky in tow, to sit on a bit of driftwood and take in the tranquility. The occasional low bleat of the sheep nearby was the only thing to disturb the peace. Some nights a storm blew in over the loch, and we saw a sheet of rain passing over the water like a dark curtain being draw across it.
Wildflowers along Cuil Bay (photo credit: canuckrunningamuck)
A storm moving across the water (photo credit: canuckrunningamuck)
Enjoying some whisky as we watch the storm move in (photo credit: canuckrunningamuck)
Sheep for company (photo credit: canuckrunningamuck)
A few glorious nights were full of golden sunlight, drawn out at the height of summer and bathing us in warmth as we listened to the water rolling gently in at the shore. One evening some fishermen down-shore had a bonfire going, and the smoke drifting on the breeze really did wonders for the peatiness in our whisky.
Sunset at Cuil Bay (photo credit: canuckrunningamuck)
Wrapped up for a brisk evening (photo credit: canuckrunningamuck)
Our first night at Tigh Bhan, we drove down the A828 to the The Old Inn, a rustic country pub that claims to be “one of the oldest inns in Scotland”. It is certainly a believable assertion, given the Jacobean period decor and the barn-like architecture of the building. Lit by a roaring fireplace in the corner, which warms the cold stone of the walls and floor, it feels like it is out of another time.
The Old Inn (photo credit: canuckrunningamuck)
The best part about the Old Inn, however, is behind it. A quick walk from the car park leads to a walking trail that opens onto a spectacular view of Castle Stalker. Dating from the mid 1400s, the castle strikes an imposing silhouette against the backdrop of the mountains. It is a privately-owned property, but my understanding is that you can charter tours through their website if you are so inclined.
The silhouette of Castle Stalker on a sunny day (photo credit: canuckrunningamuck)
Twenty minutes down the A828, still in the district of Appin, we discovered The Creagan Inn, a delightful pub situated at the end of a channel. Its deck out back has wide, sweeping views of the loch and of the mountains of the West Highlands (and, in cooperative weather, sets the perfect scene for a casual dockside meal). I enjoyed mussels freshly caught in Loch Linnhe, paired with a buttery broth and smoky Scottish salmon. The blaze of sunset over the loch was the perfect finish for the meal.
Local, freshly caught mussels from Loch Linnhe (photo credit: canuckrunningamuck)
The West Highlands, and the myriad villages that line the lochs and coastline, are filled with so many charming secrets. It’s not difficult to stumble on a castle or a church hundreds of years old, or round corner on a road that opens onto an awe-inspiring view. And sometimes, oftentimes, that view may be only steps away.
Enjoying the view (photo credit: canuckrunningamuck)