Scotland Flag

Inveraray >  Google™ Map May 2015+  Argyll and Bute Coat of Arms

inbhir mouth (of river) + aora Scottish Gaelic (river-name). Population - 800.

Scotland Flag UK > Scotland > Argyll and Bute

May 2015+

Argyll and Bute Coat of Arms

Inva-re-ree, Inva-rah-ray if you're a toff, nestles near a nook in Loch Fyne, which means that, as you approach from the east, it appears to be where it simply cannot be. Not so much  Brigadoon, more like 'bring a kagool' on this intermittently foul day.

Inveraray - All Saints Church

Parking is available next to the belltower of All Saints Church and is accessed via an arch that looks a tad tight for coaches but more on them in a minute.

This is one of the best examples of Inveraray's impressive architecture, now the local tandoori.

Inveraray - Scottish Georgian

Very Scottish Georgian, if that's a thing, and very much like a modern-day drug dealer's motor, all gleaming white and black windows.

There was none of that, mind you, back in 1800 by which time the town had been rebuilt by the 5th Duke of Argyll with a little help from some plasterers from Edinburgh.

  Ban-diùc (Quay Close)

Tandoori restaurant that's housed in an old Georgian building and whose name is old Highlands vernacular for duchess. It's a little disappointing to see that they don't serve Gaelic naan breads.

It's equally disappointing to see they never will, neither, and following a period filed in the permanently closed category, Ocho, Inveraray now serves up up-market dining that's not particularly Spanish and is more likely pronounced as in Och-aye, eh?

Gaelic naan breads, though? Come on!

Just off the top of Main Street is old Inveraray Jail.

Inveraray - Main Street
Inveraray Jail

To publicise its opening as a visitor attraction in 1989, celebrity strongman Geoff Capes was incarcerated overnight and failed in his staged attempt at a gaolbreak.

It just so happens that Bob's best man's sister had just stayed in Inveraray and on being handed her key was told... 'Geoff Capes was in that room last night.'

Releasing the duvet, there on the sheet, a small, black, wiry hair. Not wishing to criticise the quality of the local housekeeping or draw attention to Capes' choice or not of pyjamas, this wasn't thought to be from the bearded Capes' chinny-chin-chin.

Tis' a true tale.

  Brambles (Main Street West)

Café-cum-Bistro that's part of a hotel that's quite trendy for this traditional town and you might want to pull up a chair, not that you will in here today...

Inveraray - Main Street

Just barge past the Please Wait to be Seated rather than obediently doing just that, rude. It's an access denied today either way as they're run off their feet because there's a, get this, a cruise ship in!

It's the talk of the town and only becomes apparent over the road at their sister operation, Campbell Coffee, where crockery is being borrowed and polite chit-chat swapped with a pair of the seafarers.

She compliments the young barista on being beautiful, odd, and they're off to the place with the longest name in the world tomorrow but she can't remember where.

What? Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapiki-maungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitnatahu on New Zealand's North Island? Hmmm, don't think so, that's an unachievable rate of knots so some, erm, research has been required.

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is indeed another country but a lot closer to home and this cruise appears to be a whistle-stop tour of random ports in the Low Countries, the British Isles and Ireland all starting from Fort Lauderdale.

The ship itself docks at Greenock, undoubtedly sold as Glasgow, no doubt, so that means at least three hours on a coach today for some shortbread and an Edinburgh Woolie Mill™.

It'll take about half of that time for SlyBob to do that but at least we know where we are.

Small steamboats used to navigate the nearby waterways delivering crucial supplies to the outlying isles from Glasgow. This one would have operated around this way but it's since had a lick of paint and now rests here as part of Inveraray's small maritime museum.

These Clyde puffers were noted for their sturdy efficiency and 'character' and the Vital Spark was actually characterised in an early 20th-century collection of short stories by Inveraray author Neil Munro.

Inveraray - The Vital Spark

The Vital Spark co-stars in the Tales of Para Handy, which is a fact that makes for a handy paragraph.

  Loch Fyne Whiskies (Main Street East)

Extensively stocked for the quaffer and collector alike although it's not thought their deliveries are by Clyde puffer, these days.

Inveraray - Loch Fyne Whiskies

This guy has been greeting fans of the uisge beatha for as long as SlyBob can remember and he's quite liberal with his samples but only if somebody else is driving the coach.

The World War I memorial reminds you of the scale of this town.

Inveraray - War Memorial

Seventy-three men are listed and one of those is Hugh Munro, son of the author Neil. Unveiled in 1922, Neil Munro was still too devastated to attend the ceremony.

The monument in the fog on the hill in the background is Dun na Cuaiche.

Inveraray - Dun na Cuaiche

'Hill of the Cup' is as meaningless as its purpose, it's pure folly and looks to be some early, self-indulgent work of the 5th Duke before he turned his hand to town planning.

You can get to it via the free castle grounds and there's a cracking view from up there. It'll take you about an hour and it might be a bit muddy but also be warned, just like the Vital Spark, it's a bit of a puffer.

Was it not mentioned there's a castle here? Of course there's a castle, it's called Inveraray Castle and it's home to the 13th Duke of Argyll and the family.

Inveraray Castle
Inveraray Castle

It's also the historical seat of Clan Campbell and since the Duke's the current Clan Chief, one can claim a little bit of a marital stake in the place.

Now, Bob's facial recognition software doesn't work particularly well and really needs turning off and then turning back on again. It struggles to see that Jedward™ are even distantly related but there, on the wall, a black and white photograph of the brother-in-law.

It wasn't, of course, it was the dearly departed 12th Duke but the similarity of their hooters was a right give-away.

So, on any given day, SlyBob and 100 other random Canadians can knock on the big door and ask... 'Howdy distant cousin, any chance of a bed for the night?'