To celebrate a 10 year anniversary a bunch of friends were invited to celebrate at a fascinating & beautiful 18th century home on the Kintyre peninsula near Campbeltown.
Saddell House was built by Colonel Donald Campbell nearby the 16th century Saddell Castle. The whole place has a very interesting history. Now owned by the Landmark Trust, you can read more about the place here.
The weekend was fantastic, I had taken Friday and Monday off work and managed to bookend the trip with snowboarding at Glencoe. What would you expect me to do? After my morning at Coe, the 3 hour drive down the Kintyre peninsula was jaw dropping. I went from fresh snow in the mountains, to blue skies and breaking waves on the Atlantic Coast. It’s best to go down the west coast through Campbeltown, then approach Saddell from the south. The road to Saddell takes you high up above cliffs with great views of Arran and the Ailsa Craig in the Firth of Clyde. You can see Northern Ireland to the south. The drive was very distracting and I could have stopped every mile had I not promised to be there around 4:00 p.m.
I arrived just before 6.00 p.m. In time for dinner. The house is in the classical Georgian style, similar to many merchant houses in Glasgow. Once through the entrance there was a trophy room, complete with stags heads on the wall. Off of this room is a small bedroom, a cosy living room and the large kitchen. Downstairs is a fascinating if slightly creepy basement, originally used by the staff of the house and includes the old cooking range. Upstairs it’s all bedrooms, but since I was on the ground floor, I didn’t really explore the upper levels.
The house sits along an entrance road from Saddell Castle, which once belonged to the MacDonalds of the area. It does sit on a strategic entrance to the inner sea lochs of the west coast. I also spotted some old WWII anti-aircraft gun emplacements on the way to Saddell, similar, but in better condition than the ones I know well in Cardross.
Both the Castle and the House command great views of Saddell Bay a small gravelly beach flanked by rocky outcrops. The bay is sheltered, East facing, towards Arran. Further along the beach to the north is a little beach house, or maybe a fisherman’s shelter/bothy. It looks like a simple little house with one or two rooms. Looking in, I could only see a table and chair in front of a fireplace.
At the southern end is the Castle, originally built by the Bishop of Argyll, and later occupied by James MacDonald. The castle can also be booked and it looked like there was a stag party in occupancy at the time.
The party itself went well. We peaked on Friday night, ate too much food, went for walks on the shore, looked for seals, ate more food, drank and played games.
We left on Monday morning where the weather couldn’t be more different from the Friday I arrived. Hail, wind and snow, all made for a couple of good powder runs at Glencoe on my way home though.