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Argyll and Bute Coat of Arms

May 2018+

inbhir mouth (of river) + aora Scottish Gaelic (river-name).

Population - 800.

Argyll and Bute Coat of Arms

Inva-re-ree nestles near a nook in Loch Fyne, which means that, as you approach from the east, it appears to be where it simply cannot be. Not so much  Brigadoon, more like 'bring a kagool' on this particularly foul day.

This is one of the best examples of the impressive architecture, now the local Tandoori. Very Scottish Georgian and very much like a modern-day drug dealer's motor, all gleaming white and black windows.

Inveraray - Scottish Georgian

There was none of that, mind you, back in 1800 by which time the town had been rebuilt by the 5th Duke of Argyll with a little help from some plasterers from Edinburgh.

 
Ban-diùc (Quay Close)

Tandoori restaurant that's housed in an old Georgian building and whose name is old Highlands vernacular for duchess. It's a little bit disappointing to see that they don't serve Gaelic naan breads.

It's equally disappointing to see they never will, neither, and it's now filed in the permanently closed category but Gaelic naan breads, eh?

Just off the top of Main Street is old Inveraray Jail. To publicise its opening as a  visitor attraction in 1989, celebrity strongman  Geoff Capes was incarcerated overnight and failed in his staged attempt at a gaolbreak.

Inveraray - Main Street

It just so happens that this one's best man's sister had just stayed in Inveraray and on being handed her key was told... 'Geoff Capes was in that room last night.'

Releasing the duvet, there on the sheet, a small, black, wiry hair. Not wishing to criticise the quality of the local housekeeping or draw attention to Capes' choice or not of pyjamas, this wasn't thought to be from the bearded Capes' chinny-chin-chin.

Tis' a true tale.

 
Brambles (Main Street West)

Café and Bistro that's part of a hotel that's quite trendy for this traditional town.

Small steamboats used to navigate the nearby waterways delivering crucial supplies to the outlying isles from Glasgow. This one would have operated around this way but it's since had a lick of paint and now rests here as part of Inveraray's small maritime museum.

These  Clyde puffers were noted for their sturdy efficiency and 'character' and the Vital Spark was actually characterised in an early 20th-century collection of short stories by Inveraray author Neil Munro.

Inveraray - The Vital Spark

The Vital Spark co-stars in the  Tales of Para Handy, which is a fact that makes for a handy paragraph.

 
Loch Fyne Whiskies (Main Street East)

Extensively stocked for the quaffer and collector alike although it's not thought their deliveries are by Clyde puffer, these days. They're liberal with their samples but only if somebody else is driving the coach.

The World War I memorial reminds you of the scale of this town. Seventy-three men are listed and one of those is Hugh Munro, son of the author Neil. Unveiled in 1922, Neil Munro was still too devastated to attend the ceremony.

Inveraray - War Memorial

The monument in the fog on the hill in the background is Dun na Cuaiche. 'Hill of the Cup' is as meaningless as its purpose, it's pure folly and looks to be some early, self-indulgent work of the 5th Duke before he turned his hand to town planning.

You can get to it via the free castle grounds and there's a cracking view from up there. It'll take you about an hour and it might be a bit muddy but also be warned, just like the Vital Spark, it's a bit of a puffer.

Was it not mentioned there's a castle here? Of course there's a castle, it's called Inveraray Castle and it's home to the 13th Duke of Argyll and the family.

Inverary Castle

It's also the historical seat of Clan Campbell and since the Duke's the current Clan Chief, one can claim a little bit of a marital stake in the place.

Now, my  facial recognition software doesn't work particularly well and really needs turning off and then turning back on again. It struggles to see that Jedward™ are even distantly related but there on the wall, a black and white photograph of the brother-in-law.

It wasn't, of course, it was the dearly departed 12th Duke but the similarity of their hooters was a right give-away.

So, on any given day, this pair and a hundred other random Canadians can knock on the big door and ask... 'Howdy distant cousin, any chance of a bed for the night?'