Aspire Magazine Issue 2 - Page 41

/////////////////////////////////////////////// Sir Paul McCartney found inspiration for many of his songs among Scotland’s storied lands. unofficial-but-aptly-named “Long and Winding Road.” This is where we turn on to the A83 and pass through Glen Croe, a narrow, five-mile pass that climbs to a saddle where it’s more or less mandatory (again) to cut the engine and marvel at a spot that regales under the title, “Rest and be Thankful.” Those are the words originally inscribed in stone here by soldiers who built this road in 1753. Words, however, can’t adequately embrace the extraordinary beauty of this overlook. From here, it’s nearly continuously downhill through Glen Kinglas to Loch Fyne. Unlike freshwater Loch Lomond, Loch Fyne is salty. Famous for its oysters and salmon, expect dolphin, seal, and otter sightings. In summer you might even spot a basking shark. If you’re a seafood fan, stop at the Loch Fyne Restaurant and Oyster Bar—if you’re not already swooning over heather and hills, the aphrodisiacal effect of half-a- dozen oysters will elevate any discerning foodie’s spirits. A few miles further south is historic Inveraray. Fans of the TV series Downton Abbey might recognize Inveraray Castle on the right as you cross the stone bridge on the edge of town. Here, discover the location for the show’s 2012 two-hour Christmas episode, when the Granthams and innumerable staff traveled north to visit their cousins, the Marquess and Marchioness of Flintshire. In reality, it’s where the present Duke and Duchess of Argyll live and is open to the public. Continuing south, drive through the picturesque harbour town of Tarbert and cross over to the west coast of the Kintyre peninsula for the remainder of the journey (welcome news for the driver, who has glorious sea views to the islands of Gigha, Jura, and Islay). Admirers of the female form will revel in three well-rounded hills known as the Paps of Jura. Pap, incidentally, is an old Norse word for breast. To avoid sexism accusations, I should redress the balance by pointing out that the Kintyre peninsula is unmistakeably phallic in shape. In no rush, we briefly divert by turning left and heading steeply uphill to reach the isolated entrance to High Park. Behind the locked gates is the 1000-acre farm Sir Paul McCartney bought in 1966. He wrote “The Long and Winding Road” at this modest three-bedroom farmhouse, in addition to the first single to sell more than two million copies in Britain, “Mull of Kintyre.” The local Campbeltown Pipe and Drum Band provided backing to the latter. After Linda McCartney’s death in 1998, Paul’s visits to the farm became increasingly less frequent and he hasn’t been seen here for several years. Perhaps sentimentality trumps any reason to sell it. But back to the main road. There’s just enough time to sing “The Long and Winding Road” and then “Mull of Kintrye” before arriving at the luxurious Ugadale Hotel & Cottages, part of The Village at Machrihanish Dunes. Here, adventure beckons, including the famed links of Machrihanish and Machrihanish Dunes golf clubs, followed by a visit to the charming Old Clubhouse Pub. Once fully immersed in this superb destination, it may tease you just enough to postpone the return journey for longer than planned. -- “THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD THAT LEADS TO YOUR DOOR WILL NEVER DISAPPEAR” -- LYRICS FROM SIR PAUL MCCARTNEY’S “THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD” ASPIRE | ISSUE TWO 39