This is what Argyll looked like on Friday, and when it looks like this, you wonder whether there can be anywhere more beautiful and tranquil. Unfortunately, it only looks like this on, perhaps, ten days in the year. I was a little early to see the Autumn colour in the great west coast gardens of Arduaine and Crarae, but there were hints….
Although they are run by the National Trust for Scotland, neither Arduaine nor Crarae are currently in great shape. Disease has hit them both – Arduaine is going to have to fell most of its larch trees, which will wreck its shelter belt, and Crarae has something nasty which is infecting its fabulous rhododendrons. There’s also the problem that very few visitors make it this far down Kintyre, which makes both gardens difficult to sustain for an organisation that gets no government funding. Both have hovered on the brink of closure over the past decade – which is why I visit them as often as I can.