Inveraray and the boats of its Maritime Museum
Other Stuff
Housed in a couple of picturesque boats down at the pier. In here you get to stick your nose into salty nooks and crannies and learn about boat building and men with big beards dressed in yellow oilskins.
I'm not generally one for such places as live actors are involved and there is a certain amount of audience participation that makes me feel ill at ease. But that's just me, and I am not a typical person. For many visitors Inveraray Jail is a most exciting attraction. In here, in what was at one time the town prison, you get to 'Face Torture, Death and Damnation' (always a crowd-puller) and see inside cells and all that stuff. Many years ago, when in its early days as an attraction, I seem to recall that they had Victorian mugshots of criminals on display, along with details of what they had done wrong to end up in this place. It was a very interesting display as you could look at their face and try to determine what sort of person they really were, and what circumstances led them to misbehave. I don't believe such displays are allowed any more, which is a great shame.
This was shut when I was there. It was 2.35pm, and it should have been open (10.30 - 4.30, end April to end September). There were a few tantalising signs that it probably was, or would be, open at some point during the day - an unlocked, but not open, door, for example - but there was no sign on the door saying, 'Back in five minutes' or 'Sod off because I'm out back having a fag and don't really care much for any tourism crap!' Someone, somewhere, needs a right good kick up the backside. When it's open, you can apparently see bells and a wonderful view from the top.
This is open between April and October, and for one regular adult costs at least £9 to get in. This, I reckon, is steep. And so, with head bowed, trailing tears of disappointment, I turned away, desperately trying to take sneak photographs of all the splendour as I slunk back to town, the dogs of commercialism nipping at my heels as I went. I suppose if you're on holiday and keen to spend money, then £9 is probably of little consequence, but for someone on just a day out, I think it's expensive. If you can afford to get in, then there are rooms decked out in much finery, four-poster beds, ornate displays of muskets, and all that stuff.
Right then, let us escape into the countryside. The free countryside. Got your map - Ordnance Survey Landranger series (one-and-a-quarter inches to a mile), Sheet 56, 'Loch Lomond and Inveraray'? Then let us be off. There are many delightful walks in the district. Just spend a while looking at your map and the area around Inveraray. It's just a question of how long you've got. You could, for example, head up Glen Shira, but unless you're adept at cross-country track-free treks, then you've got to return the same way.
During my day I walked along the edge of Loch Fyne towards Newtown, and then headed past a golf club and onto a forest track. You should be able to see it on your map; you'll see the 'CH' for clubhouse, and the little blue flag that denotes a golf course. The track heads through a forest that feels old and tetchy, and emerges back on the A819 road (that red line), where you may delve into the grounds around Inveraray Castle and head back to town. As with all forest tracks there are junctions and newly-laid paths and decisions to be made about which way to go, so be careful out there. Amidst the swathes of newly-felled trees there is a great sense of contentment in the great outdoors, tempered perhaps by a reminder of the decimation of the 300-year-old beech trees in the avenue in town. A lovely little walk.
Figure at entrance to Inveraray Jail
The bell tower of Inveraray
The approach to Inveraray Castle
Looking back towards Inveraray during a pleasant stroll
OS Landranger sheet 56 map is available in our shop