There is something to be said for arriving on holiday in style. A chauffeur driven limo from the airport, or maybe a helicopter to the back garden would both be impressive ways to kick off your luxury holiday, but by far the most romantic way we have found to arrive is under sail. It is not normally high on the list of customer requirements in a holiday house but there are a large number of properties which actually have their own anchorage and place to moor your yacht, or launch your RIB, dotted up and down the west coast of Scotland.
The islands of the inner and outer Hebrides are la paradise for people who sail. There are uninhabited islands to explore, stunning beaches inaccessible by land where you can spend days without seeing another person and an abundance of wildlife to photograph. After experiencing the best the ocean has to offer what better way to finish the day than by sailing into a secluded mooring opposite your luxury holiday home. And after your stay, just imagine sailing off into the sunset.
Ardlarach Lodge on the island of Luing offers uninterrupted sea views and a mooring in the nearby bay; with so many attractions in the area you will be torn between spending your time on land or sea.
The Pier Master’s House at Melfort sits, as you may expect, right on a jetty. Here you have the use of the harbour and a slipway for launching you own boat as well as stunning views, sunsets and seafood restaurant in walking distance.
On the west coast of the stunning Cowal Peninsula, Kilfinan House is the perfect coastal retreat. The beach, which is accessed by a short walk through the estate offers exclusive bathing and a slipway for launching kayaks. The owner even has a yacht for hire that can be moored 10 minutes away at Otter ferry.
Another option if you don’t actually own a yacht is to experience the flavour of the open seas at two big events in Oban. West Highland Yachting Week is now in its 68th year. This regatta, which is held in August is the social event of the summer and attracts sailors from all over the country to race and, of course, ceilidh. There is live music every night and it feels like the whole town gets involved, sailors and landlubbers alike.
The Festival of the Sea is held in various venues around Oban at the end of May and is in contrast a much more family friendly affair. Community organised events such as a sea costumes parade, snorkelling sessions, a fishy disco, films, talks, water sports, marine heritage happenings and storytelling on the beach cater to all ages.
Two of the handiest places to stay for the festivities are Achnacloich where you can use the estate boats for loch fishing free of charge and Rhunacairn which is only 9 miles away. Due to its shoreline location you could actually sea kayak from just outside the house all the way into town.
With an abundance of fresh seafood on offer, boat trips and Calmac sailings all year round, this part of the world really is a paradise for all salty dogs and sea lovers.
Photo: Loch Creran by Dennis Hardley