When people are planning a visit to Scotland the usual places are always on the list, Edinburgh, Loch Ness and Loch Lomond. Most venture hours north of the central belt of Glasgow and Edinburgh into the Highlands with it’s hills, glens and battle scarred history. Most wouldn’t even think that little over a 1.5 hour drive from Glasgow would you find a quiet area full of stunning natural beauty, with hills, glens, rugged coastlines, white beaches, clear waters and ancient forests.

Argyll’s Secret Coast is tucked away in a small corner of Argyll on the west coast of Scotland. Despite being easily accessible from the central belt it feels wild and remote - you won’t find crowds of tourists here. I live on the boundary of Argyll in the town of Helensburgh, which sits on the banks of the Clyde river and is just 5 miles from the western shore of Loch Lomond. Despite having the ‘Secret Coast’ on my door step I had never really explored it, having always travelled northwards towards Oban and bypassing the turn off to go down that part of the coast.

I needed to rectify this so during the Summer me and partner, Nicola, sorted out some digs for a few days; put some fuel into the car and headed off on a mini adventure that would actually take us barely 10 miles from our own house as the crow flies…

RAIN. RAIN. RAIN.

Barely half an hour into the journey the weather turned plain nasty. The usual dull, grey clouds swept in bringing a deluge of rain with them. We are used to it living on the west coast but it really doesn’t make it any easier! Sometimes I really wish I lived in sunnier climes…anyway…

Our first port of call was to our digs we had rented out that some friends owned called Stravaigin Lodge, just next to Pucks Glen near Dunoon and Loch Eck - a perfect base to explore the area. (*Shameless plug alert!*)

With the lodge obviously being self catering we needed to pick up some food and supplies from the local supermarket. Once we had settled in we decided to venture the 15 minute drive to Dunoon to find the nearest store and see what else we could discover.

 

DUNOON

Not much was the answer. We found the supermarket near the outskirts of town and bought what we needed but apart from that not much else was going on. Dunoon has been hit hard since the Americans withdrew their naval capacity based on the Holy Loch. What was once a vibrant if typical seaside town has been left depleted, depressed and in desperate need of reinvestment. The amount of ‘For Sale’ signs we saw was staggering and the values these houses were going for was unbelievable - beautiful detached victorian villas with views right down the Firth of Clyde were going for peanuts.

Walking through the town centre, past endless charity shops, bookies and empty stores made for grim viewing so we ventured down onto the sea front, which was the best idea we could have had because this happened…

That’s right! We only just went and caught ourselves one of the Trident submarines returning to the naval bases on the Clyde. Now, the political and moral aspect for a need of nuclear capability is for another blog but one can’t deny that there is something really quite majestic about them when you see them up close. Being from Helensburgh I am quite used to spotting them but I had never captured one on camera before so I was delighted to follow it up into Loch Long and get a few shots.

We continued along a single track road past Dunoon that ran along the western shoreline of Loch Long. I stopped the car a few times to try get some shots as the sub was now closer. The road we were on then took us up past Ardentinny before the road swung back inland and up the hills into the low cloud cover.

We followed the winding road right through the hills before it took a dive back towards sea level. We had essentially almost gone full circle and the track road brought us back out on the main road that we had used to go towards the lodge. With the rain looking like it was on for the day we decided to head back to the digs and pour over some maps and plan our routes for the next few days. After all we still had loads of places to explore…