It seems that we appear sporty and fit up here, but this is for a reason. There are no shops! Normally a girl would take a bit of retail therapy when feeling the need for some entertainment. Here we have a few “touristy” shops,about 4 miles away, gift shops and coffee shops and a supermarket (of sorts). An hour and a half away you can access our larger shopping centre in Oban, here you have a choice of supermarkets,Tesco Aldi and Lidl, with a few national shop names like Homebase and Waterstones, New look and the Edinburgh Woolshop. Not exactly exciting, and Oban is one of the windiest places on earth, the main reason for going there is to catch a Ferry to the Western Isles.
If you really need to shop, then it’s Glasgow, but you need to start early, 8 a.m. bus ( doesn’t usually get in til twenty past due to paper deliveries) will get you there for 11.30 ish with a 15 minute break in Inverary. Shop til you drop but don’t miss the last bus at 6 p.m.. ( make sure you have booked in advance) or you will be staying over night in the city.
The journey time depends on the condition of the mountain pass at Rest and be Thankful, known as “The Rest” locally, we are seldom thankful as the land slides onto the road with regular monotony, causing an hour to be added to the journey as we have to go north towards Oban around the otherside of the “Arrochar Alps”. This road is spectacular but as our only route east, is a bone of contention at present. It is also disconcerting when the warning lights are flashing and we see cameras monitoring the movement on the hillside as we pass through.
Edinburgh is your other choice, that will take you 4-5 hours, or half a day by public transport. So, we amuse ourselves and use our beautiful countryside instead, cycling , running, watersports and sailing up the Crinan canal, if you can afford it.There are dozens of forestry commission tracks to follow with wonderful views. Argyll people are hardy, and have a great sense of community. You can find a ceilidh, or a coffee morning, agricultural show to go to, join the rural, (Scottish W.I), or just have a coffee with friends. Here everyone talks to everyone else, you can’t pass someone in the street without speaking, maybe I should work for the tourist office!
But, if you like home comforts, easily accessible shops with your regular brands, be ready to travel or tough it out. However you could get fit and healthy like us.