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15 hidden gems in the West

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1. McCaig’s Tower, Oban

A prominent landmark overlooking Oban, McCaig’s Tower is a Colosseum-esque folly with spectacular views over Oban Bay and the islands.

Where: PA34 5DP

View of the town of Troon in Scotland. (Getty Images/iStock)
View of the town of Troon in Scotland. (Getty Images/iStock)

2. Troon Beach, Troon

A long, sweeping stretch of sand boasting spectacular views across to the Isle of Arran.

Where: KA10 6EG


3. The Painted Rock Trail, Bute

Hidden in the trees off the West Island Way, its little painted doors in the roots are like gateways into a mini world. An amazing treat!

Where: PA20 9NG

Lighthouse on Eilean Musdile (Getty Images/iStock)
Lighthouse on Eilean Musdile (Getty Images/iStock)

4. Lismore, Argyll

Sit on the rocks at the southern tip and enjoy the views across Loch Linnhe to Eilean Musdile Lighthouse and Duart Castle on Mull.

Where: PA34 5UL


5. Cairn Table Hill, near Muirkirk

You’ll rarely see more than one or two people on this hill. Very remote, muddy at the bottom, rocky at the top… but it’s a cracker!

 Where: KA18 3QQ


6. Tigh an Truish, Oban

“House of trousers” where islanders swapped their kilts, which were banned on the mainland, for trousers.

Where: PA34 4QZ 

taynuilt pier

7. Taynuilt Pier, Taynuilt

The deafening silence to be heard at Taynuilt pier, with its views up Loch Etive and with majestic Ben Cruachan towering over the scene, is just incredible.

Where: PA35 1JG

Isle of Staffa and Fingal's cave

8. Staffa Nature Reserve, Western Isles

A remarkable little island, untouched by human inhabitation. But there are birds – thousands of them!

Where: PA67 6DG


9. Caol Ruadh Sculpture Park, Colintraive

The wild imaginations of two artists have created unique sculptures for everyone to enjoy.

Where: PA22 3AR

(Marian Roy)
(Marian Roy)

10. Calgary Bay, Mull

Quite possibly the best beach in Scotland. Calgary Bay may be small, but it’s perfectly formed, backed by a forest and castle straight from a storybook.

Where: PA75 6QW

(Sandy McCook)
(Sandy McCook)

11. Kilchurn Castle, Dalmally

Climb to the top of the tower and soak up the magnificent views of Loch Awe. You’ll be amazed.

Where: PA33 1AF

coll hotel 2.jpg_18285271

12. Coll Hotel, Isle of Coll

Like seafood? Mad for mac and cheese? Try Kenny Mac n’ cheese, a combo of the two. Great views, too!

Where: PA78 6SZ

early autumn colours in Crarae gardens,loch fyne Argyll national-trust,

13. Crarae Gardens, Inveraray

An exotic Himalayan-style woodland garden in a dramatic gorge setting. The trees and shrubs have been chosen for their spring flowering and autumn colours, while the rushing water gives it the feel of a Himalayan valley.

Where: PA32 8YA 


14. Portavadie Marina, Loch Fyne

A spectacular sight with more than 200 boats against the gorgeous backdrop of Loch Fyne.

Where: PA21 2DA


15. Motte of Urr, Castle Douglas

A mid-12th Century motte-and-bailey castle with some spectacular earthworks.

Where: DG7 3JZ


Want to explore more of Scotland? Head to our Scottish Gems section.