Over Christmas we spent a lovely week in Dunfuinary Cottage on the edge of Connel, a village near Oban on the Argyllshire coast. Purpose built on the edge of Loch Etive, it was modern and comfortable with decking on three sides.
Of course, the weather in December is not conducive to sitting out on the the deck – too cold – so we confined ourselves to rushing out from time to time to photograph the loch and the Connel Bridge. We have the same views several times in different lights, but these are probably the best.
Despite being cold, the weather was mostly bright and dry, apart from the first day which was wet and gloomy. We confined ourselves to walking into Connel, across the bridge, and through North Connel on the other side of the loch, from where we could see our own cottage. Below is the bridge from the Connel (south) side.
The Glue Pot is the 18th century pub attached to Connel’s Oyster Inn, and was originally the ferry house in the days before the bridge. We liked the sign, which on one side says Beware of the regulars and on the other Notorious for centuries.
Apparently there are two explanations – licensing laws in Scotland (Forbes Mackenzie Act 1853) banned drinking in public houses on Sundays. Only “bona fide travellers” could be served: those who went “into an Inn for a refreshment in the course of a journey, whether on business or pleasure”, but not those who were “travelling for the purpose of taking refreshment”. The canny locals took the morning conveyance from Oban to the Glue Pot. They were then ‘stuck’ until the next conveyance in the late afternoon returned to take them home! Also, behind the Inn was a blacksmiths where old horse hooves were melted down to make glue.
Local tradition has it that you should touch the Glue Pot hanging over the door because it brings you luck! As it was Christmas and opening hours were limited, we didn’t have a chance to try any of this out. However, next time might be a different story …
After the Oyster Inn, the road bends round and upwards to the bridge. Built in 1903 as a rail crossing, it was converted to be a road bridge in the 1960s after the branch line closed, and is now a listed structure. It’s only wide enough for one lane, so has traffic lights on each side.
Turning right on the other side of Loch Etive you reach North Connel. It was too wet to take pictures by now, as I think you can tell. The blurry image of three buildings across the loch shows our cottage on the right. The white structure in the centre is the garage, and the building on the left is another holiday cottage converted from an old boathouse. Turning left at the bridge, you come to the dinky Oban Airport (this was taken on a different day, hence the brighter sky).
Once we felt too wet to go on, we turned back towards our cosy cottage to dry off. Fortunately, the next day (Christmas Eve) set a pattern of better weather and we were able to explore further afield. More to follow!