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Argyll and Bute Coat of Arms

May 2017

càrdainn ros Scottish Gaelic copse headland.

Population - 2,193.

Argyll and Bute Coat of Arms

Having passed through here a few times on the way back to Balloch from Helensburgh, it's never been particularly off-putting but is there anything actually here? Today's a scorcher so let's pull over, for once, park up and try to source a sandwich.

No luck at what was the Muirholm Hotel. It's a Co-op™ these days, obviously, and another pub can't be recalled. It's wondered if this gap-toothed local knows?...

The Muirholm Hotel Cardross - The Muirholm Hotel

'Excuse me, sir. Looking for a bite to eat, preferably with outdoor seating, something airy?'

He looks confused for a moment before pointing up Barrs Road...
Summin' airy? Aye, Up thare oan th' richt.

 
Coach House Inn (Main Road)

There is another pub here actually, opposite the golf course on the main road through.

With the housing left behind, he did say up on the right, right? It's unlikely this gate is in constant use but you can just pop through the gap to the side.

Near Cardross - Access Denied

That's more like it, the road cuts through the golf course and he's given directions to the clubhouse bar that's open to the public?

Except there's another gate ⅓-of-a-mile on only this one's got no gap to squeeze through. You could take the track left into the woods and try to cross the bridge over the burn but that rusty strip ain't gonna support this one's weight.

Near Cardross - Access Also Denied Near Cardross - Kilmahew Burn

What's the name of this place that's being looked for? The Crystal Maze Arms?

Navigating a similar but sturdier bridge and backing away from the Japanese Knotweed, not shown, you might just be able to make out what resembles a building.

Near Cardross - Kilmahew Woods Near Cardross - St Peter's Seminary

At last, but that doesn't look like the back of no beer garden, that style looks determinedly brutalist and one of the most important examples of modernist architecture in Scotland? It's only been pretended to have gone and stumbled across  St Peter's Seminary.

Summin airy? Ah! It seems the fictional Scotsman simply misunderstood the, equally fake, request.

Commissioned by the Catholic Church, St Peter's Seminary opened its doors to aspiring  Teds and Dougals in 1966. Would-be members of the priesthood were being temporarily accommodated here in Kilmahew House, a traditional country mansion that the contrasting concrete would intentionally envelop.

Near Cardross - St Peter's Seminary

Kilmahew House suffered a fire and was demolished in 1995 but the modern, surrounding structure remains and couldn't be any more out of place if it was on the moon.

Near Cardross - St Peter's Seminary Near Cardross - St Peter's Seminary

The Scottish architects, Gillespie, Kidd & Coia, had already built quite a portfolio with the owners. In particular, the construction of modernist places of worship in the  new towns that sprang up around post-war Glasgow but this is where they really went crackers with the concrete.

Dwindling numbers of religiously ambitious applicants and ongoing issues with the leaky roof meant that by 1980, the place was no longer in use as a seminary. After a brief spell as a drug rehabilitation centre, it has been stood here, empty, since 1984.

You're not actually allowed in although enterprising graffiti artists have found ways to do so. You can just about poke a camera through the metal fence but that's as close as you're going to get to the interior.

Near Cardross - St Peter's Seminary Near Cardross - St Peter's Seminary

There are currently plans to convert to an arts venue, which will be bad news for the supposed 24-hour security staff who look to currently have the easiest gig in Scotland.

Some mysterious looking doings in the woods on your way out with this cobbled-together camp and a, just out of shot, Croatian flag. Thankfully, there was no sign of the Slavs and no need to make use of their makeshift lavs.

Near Cardross - Kilmahew Woods

It's likely that you'll lose your bearings around here and some mild scrambling across the beck, twice, might be necessary.

You'll eventually and accidentally find the path that leads to a pond and back to the second gate that barred your entrance earlier.

Near Cardross - Kilmahew Woods Near Cardross - Kilmahew Woods Near Cardross - Kilmahew Castle

If not, you're likely to be more lost than this pair were and the remains of Kilmahew Castle are now known to lie nearby.

Meanwhile, back in Cardross, unless you play golf there doesn't seem to be a great deal else. Not looking that hard, a café wasn't even clocked just the determinedly non-brutalist architecture of the Parish Church.

Cardross Parish Church

This road leads down to the train station and it had been heard that Highland cattle graze the wetland, just south of the railway line and next to the Clyde. Not exactly sure, wouldn't you know it, here's the gentleman from earlier...

'Excuse me, sir. Looking for wildlife, something hairy?'

Summin' hairy? Ah hae awready tellt ye, up thare oan th' richt! with all translations provided  here.

 
Ardardan Estate

Farm shop, café, a walled garden nursery, child-friendly trails and a giant pig. This place has the lot and it's less than a mile west of Cardross.