Monday 23 July
11.00a. pick up Highland MSP Mary Scanlon (Con) and her colleague, Highland Committee member Liz Walsh (Mid Feabuie) at Corran Ferry. We lunched at Ariundle with Kate Campbell who offered her views on local tourism trade, medical services, ferry charges and the new Distillery at Glenborrodale, themes we would hear again as we made our way through the peninsula over the next two days.
We thereafter travelled west past Salen and Laga to Glenborrodale Castle where we met the owner of Ardnamurchan Estates Donald Houston and his manager, Will Kelly. Donald had a substantial list of issues he wished to bring to Ms Scanlon’s attention before we left for Kilchoan and a meeting with residents concerned about their medical services. We returned to Glenborrodale for dinner with Donald, Keith Falconer (Laudale) and guests, including Argyll Tourism csar Mike Story. Ms Scanlon was very impressed by the level of communication and trust that existed between the Estates and Communities in West Ardnamurchan.
Tuesday 24 July
Leaving Glenborrodale we headed South and East to Kingairloch Estate to meet Kurt and Susan Larson with their new Stalker Michael Skelly. Kurt and Susan described the history of the estate and its acquisition by Susan’s father and quarryman, John Yeoman of Somerset who established the first and only large scale coastal superquarry at neighbouring Glensanda. In the last 10 years the Larsons have transformed Kingairloch into a must go holiday destination for a growing global market. Beautifully set out cottages, Boathouse Restaurant and moorings, Kingairloch House and gardens all provide for domestic, corporate and wedding markets. This setting is supported by a determination to embrace renewable energy, modern forestry operations, high quality Stalking, Estate wild venison sales, public access and some time to raise their family.
We then drove north to Ardtornish Estate to meet Mr Peter Fisher of Roderick James Architects. He is currently managing a 25 house development high above the Sound of Mull north of Lochaline for Mr Hugh Raven. The project will be primarily aimed at the private market but there will be around 30% of the homes within the affordable bracket. The SL&E Housing & Communities Committee hope to visit the site in early October.