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Argyll - Where to Stay -Sithe Mor

 

Sithe Mor - Kilchrenan

Sithe Mor Kilchrennan Argyll

Sithe Mor © Hugh Taylor

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Sithe Mor House

Kilchrenan,

Argyll
PA35 1HF ,

Tel: 01866 833234

email

Open all year round.

 

Further Information: Argyll, Loch Lomond and Forth Valley Tourism

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Guest Houses and Bed and Breakfasts come in all shapes, sizes and standards of service. From a spare room in a family home to places of exquisite grandeur.

Hugh Taylor and Moira McCrossan spent a weekend at Sithe Mor, near Kilchrenan, in Argyll an establishment in a league all of its own.

 

‘We’re the friends in the Highlands you didn’t realise you had.’

That’s how John and Patsy Cugley greeted us on arrival. It’s the warmest welcome we’ve had anywhere. A few minutes later we’re sitting in their conservatory, overlooking Loch Awe, enjoying a pot of tea, delicious home baking and ‘a wee dram’ to refresh us after our long drive. We fell in love with Sithe Mor.

The name translated from the Gaelic means Big Fairy and possibly refers to the small hill on which the house stands. ‘I’m certainly not the Big Fairy’, said John laughing. But he is a man who leads an incredible double life.

A barrister by profession and a solicitor, he works as a corporate lawyer for a large city company. Commuting to London isn’t be much fun but he’s got it organised so that he only works there three days a week, and on Mondays and Fridays operates from the saner atmosphere of a summerhouse in the garden.

Patsy runs Sithe Mor on her own during the week but come the weekend John is there with her in his role of Highland Laird. He’s been described as being like ‘Lord Kilwillie from Monarch of the Glen with a Radio 4 voice and the wit of Clive Anderson.’

Loch Awe Suite Sithe Mor

Sithe Mor has three bedrooms. We were in the Loch Awe Suite, a large room with a high domed ceiling, an awesome view over the Loch and an en-suite bathroom with a multi jet shower and a Jacuzzi bath. And a very firm King-sized bed that gave me the best sleep I’ve had in years.

 

Loch Awe Viewpoint Sithe Mor

The view across Loch Awe © Hugh Taylor

We spent Saturday walking. This part of Argyll is ideal walking country and we had a full day planned but first John and Patsy’s children, Kitty and Henry, took us on a short walk up the hill behind the house to a viewpoint where we could see most of the loch.

 

Although it’s a Bed and Breakfast, Patsy will do supper to order during the week and guests have the option of joining the family at weekends for a four-course dinner in their splendid dining room.  The locally-sourced, fresh produce is cooked by Patsy and served on exquisite china on a long antique table that has been in John’s family since forever. The walls of the room are hung with oars from various historical boat races and rowing memorabilia is everywhere. John reckons he’s got the largest private collection in the UK.

 

Sithe Mor Dining Room

A keen rower for most of his life, he’s rowed the Thames from source to Greenwich and was the first solo oarsman to row both ways across Scotland along the Caledonian Canal. His friend Sir Steve Redgrave has described his endeavours as ‘Sheer bloody madness’ but they have raised over £80,000 for charity.

John also has a passion for kilts, possesses masses of them, and will happily loan one along with the rest of the kit to any guest who wants to dress for dinner.

We accepted their offer to join them for dinner on Saturday, and a grand evening it was, particularly with John, his eldest son and myself, dressed in Highland finery.  Sithe Mor has an excellent wine cellar, far superior to most hotels, and the food was first class.  But it was the company, the conversation and the atmosphere, that even the finest hotels couldn’t match, that made the evening.

 

 Then we discovered another of John’s talents; he’s an accomplished musician. Whistle and flute were produced and a wee session got underway with me accompanying John on a guitar I borrowed from Kitty. We played a selection of Irish and Scottish tunes and had a few songs for good measure. It was rather late by the time we got to bed.

 

We left after a leisurely Sunday breakfast; with a copy of the recipe for Patsy’s delicious home baked bread and our friends in the Highlands waving as we drove through the gate. It won’t be long before we return.

And it wasn't. On our second visit we were joined for supper by Stephan and Christine, a delightful German couple touring Scotland, who had happened upon Sithe Mor. John soon had Stephan rigged up in full Highland outfit, we had brought our guitars and the party went on into the wee hours.

 

 

 

 


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