• Trip Advisor App Icon
  • LinkedIn Social Icon
  • Facebook Basic Black
  • Instagram Basic Black

Ashfield House B&B, Arrochar, Argyll and Bute, G83 7AA

|  +44 1301 702287

ASHFIELD HOUSE B&B

 

On the shores of Loch Long, Arrochar Scotland

YOUR PRIVATE GETAWAY

to the heart of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park

A little about us

Just a little information on who we are and how we come to be here. I came to Arrochar with my husband via London. Originally from New Orleans Louisiana, I met my husband Phil who is from the UK during his 1st visit to New Orleans for the “Jazz Fest” weekend where we swiftly fell madly in love, (He proposed 2 days after we met) and 12 years on, here we are.

Originally with an Art and Interior Design background as well as Client Relations, Office Management and PA, and with Phil leaving a career in Project Management that took him all over the world, we finally decided to take a huge leap of faith, leave the rat race behind and opt for a simpler more enjoyable way of life. Having a true passion for entertaining as well as working with clients and friends in my own design business here and in the States and with a leading London Interior Designer, as well as having family in the hotel and spa industry in Mexico, I felt the B&B would be a perfect venture for me. Where to do this was another question however and after many trips to France, Italy, the USA and even Mexico, we kept coming back to Scotland and in particular, the lakes (lochs).

There is just something here that draws you in, keeps you and holds your imagination and that we very much wanted to be a part of. I hope you find your stay here the same and find that even after you leave, you still remember your stay with us and the area fondly and it keeps drawing you back, just like it did us.  

If you have any questions or would like more info on any of the many things to do in the area, please feel free to ask me. In the meantime, I will do everything I can to make sure you are well cared for so, welcome and enjoy your visit.

 

Cristina Sanchez-Navarro

Owner and manager of Ashfield House B&B

Living the Good Life

We are very fortunate to have been able to step away from everyday life and enjoy an amazing house with such stunning views of the loch and surrounding mountains.

In Arrochar, livings have been made on the land, in forestry, and fishing, and even today Arrochar is a largely rural population with many people still working the land or in the forests of Argyll. The railway and the growth of steamer travel in the 1800s began the development of tourism and Arrochar grew to meet the demand of travelers with many bigger houses being built to provide holiday homes for rich industrialists from Glasgow. ASHFIELD HOUSE is one of these houses.

We wanted to be able to extend to our guests, the warmth, welcome and abundance the area has to offer as well as support local business so, wherever possible, we use locally sourced produce and products. If you would like information on any of the amenities we offer in room please ask.

ASHFIELD HOUSE is the perfect base for touring. If you are not enjoying the many walks and climbs in the area you can take advantage of the easy travel within the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. For an easy day trip, why not head west to Dunoon, Inveraray, Oban and the West Highlands, or take the opposite direction to Callander, Aberfoyle, Stirling and the Trossachs. Take the seaplane to Skye, or take the train northwards through Glencoe to Fort William or Mallaig on the scenic West Highland Railway Line.

For walking and climbing, the area is second to none. There are numerous local walks literally from the front door, as well as more demanding walks slightly further afield. The Arrochar Alps include four Munros (mountains over 3000 ft), as well as the famous “Cobbler”, ideal for the more adventurous hill walker. You can arrange a guided mountain trek to a summit of your choice, or even a trek with bushcraft and survival skills in association with “Wild by Nature”.

Extensive mountain bike routes in the Argyll Forest Park are easily accessible. We offer storage of your bikes in our secure garage on site.

Arrange a guided sea kayak adventure on Loch Long, or a canoe safari on Loch Lomond; take a cruise on Loch Lomond; hire a mountain bike and explore the Argyll Forest Park; stalk red deer stags; go pony trekking; play golf; go fishing; kayaking or enjoy a spa day at the Carrick on Loch Lomond, or visit one of the many visitor attractions in the area. Or you could just stay in, make use of the guest lounge or sit in front of the fire and take in the truly outstanding views.

Environmental Awareness...

At ASHFIELD HOUSE, we are committed to providing quality service whilst trying to minimise the impact of our activities on the environment.

We feel passionately about our beautiful surroundings and therefore try to adopt a greener attitude to running a B&B. As part of this commitment we are taking our example from the Green Tourism Business Scheme to reduce the environmental impact of our activities. By promoting sustainable practices this scheme will help ensure the continued enjoyment of the environment for future generations.

With this in mind, if you would like to participate, I have outlined a few things you can do during your stay to help reduce waste, energy and water consumption.

•      We change your sheets every four days, reducing associated energy consumption. If you prefer to have your bedding changed more (or less often), please simply hang the “change bedding” notice found on your room door.

•      If you would like your towels changed, please place them inside the bath or shower. If they are hanging up or put back on the towel rail we will leave them with you for another day.

•      Where possible, we purchase local supplied ingredients for your cooked breakfast. If you prefer not to have a certain item that comes with your order, please notify us when ordering so we can omit it from your plate. (i.e.- no tomato…)

•      We use locally produced, environmentally friendly amenities in all guest bathrooms.

•      We invite you to use the soap in the dispenser rather than the individual sachets.

•      We invite you to switch off lights in your room and any public area when you are not using them.

•      We invite you to use water with care.

•      You are also invited to turn your television off at the mains when you are not using it so that the little red light switches off.

•      If you would like to leave your car in the car park you are very welcome to leave it there all day however please be sure it is not blocking others in.

 

I want to thank you for your help in making ASHFIELD HOUSE a little greener. No one is checking to see what you choose to do. The most important thing is that you have a restful, memorable stay.

 

Arrochar

The village of Arrochar is nestled in the shadow of the Cobbler, beneath the Arrochar Alps, at the head of Loch Long. “Arrochar” is thought to derive from the Gaelic “Ard tir”, meaning the high land, or the land on the East.  Another hypothesis is that it derives from the Gaelic “arachor”, the name for an old Scottish measurement for an area of land measuring 104 acres.

In 1263 there was a Viking incursion in this area under the command of King Hakon.  It is said he sent 60 ships up Loch Long, landing at Arrochar.  They are subsequently said to have dragged their boats over the two miles between Loch Long and Loch Lomond using wooden rollers, re-launched their boats in Loch Lomond, and launched an assault on the local inhabitants.  It is suspected that a battle took place between the Vikings and the early Macfarlanes clan, and there is a burial ground midway between Arrochar and Tarbet which on appearances, may be the grave of a Viking leader.

The first church in Arrochar was built in 1733, and was presented with two silver cups for Holy Communion in 1742, both of which survive to this day.  A school appears to have been built prior to 1767, and in 1791 the population stood at 379.  Land ownership came to be divided among a greater number of individuals.  It was in the early 1800s that Arrochar became a popular tourist destination, as steamers made their way up the Clyde Estuary from Glasgow.  More people came to the area towards the end of the 19th Century with the construction of the West Highland Railway Line.  A sea wall was built in 1926, and the Royal Navy Torpedo Rangewas, having been built in 1912, now increasing in productivity, which peaked during the Second World War.

 

More people came to the area in the late 1940s and early 1950s as Loch Sloy Hydroelectric Dam was being built.  This led to the construction of more housing in Succoth, a small village beside Arrochar.  Unfortunately, Glencroe School closed in 1984, followed by the closure of the Torpedo Range in 1986.  Arrochar is now reliant on tourism and forestry, and is an excellent base for exploring the hills and mountains of the area either walking or climbing as well as fishing, kayaking, outdoors trips, wildlife watching or simply to have a relaxing break away from the city. Arrochar was awarded the 2009/2010 Scottish winner of the Calor Village Of The Year award and offers pubs and restaurants within walking distance of Ashfield House as well as being conveniently located some 2.5 miles from Loch Lomond with its eateries, pub and some venues offering live music.
 

Clan MacFarlane

 

According to Scotland Magazine, the MacFarlanes, are Gaels descending from the Scotti, who came over to Scotland from Ireland more than 15 centuries ago. Unlike many clans who claim similar ancestry, with their territory at the top of lochs Long and Lomond, this descent is fact, proven by land charters, rather than myth.

Their name-father was Parlan whose great grandfather was Gilchrist of Arrocher, a younger son of Alwyn who was Earl of Lennox from about 1180 to 1225. His ancestors were members of the ancient Royal House of Munster.The old line of the Lennox earls came to a sudden end in 1425. Isabella, the Earl’s daughter, married Murdoch Stewart, Duke of Albany and Regent of Scotland in the absence of young James I. However, when James was released from English captivity and returned to Scotland, he arrested 26 leaders of the old regime, accusing them of treason and among those who lost their heads were Albany, two of his sons and their grandfather, Lennox.

As a result, the earldom reverted to the Crown and King James appointed his kinsman John Stewart of Darnley with a feudal right from his having been descended from the old Earl’s youngest daughter. The MacFarlanes strongly objected, their Chief reckoning that it was his by right of being the male heir of the ancient Celtic earldom. He and his family subsequently died in defence of their claim. Their followers were scattered and for a while it looked as though the Clan might be wiped out however, fortunately, Andrew MacFarlane married the new Earl’s daughter Barbara and through this link and his close adherence to the Lennox family, he saved the Clan from destruction and regained their ancient estates.

The Macfarlanes Clan was amongst the first to adopt the Protestant form of worship and consequently fought fiercely against the Roman Catholic faction. A description by the English Chronicler Holinshed in the mid-16th century recorded that following the 4th Earl of Lennox was “Walter Macfarlane, of Tarbet, and seven score of men of the head of Lennox, that spake the Irishe and the English Scottish tongues, light footmen, well-armed in shirtes of mayle, with bows and two-handed swords; and being joined with English archers and shotte, did much avaylable service in the streyghts, mareshes, and mountayne countrys.”

Lennox’s son Lord Darnley married Queen Mary and, after his assassination, the Macfarlanes supported the Regent Moray and fought against Mary and her allies at the Battle of Langside in 1568. Once again, the valour of the Macfarlanes was recorded: “In this battle the valliancie of ane Highland gentleman named Macfarlane stood the Regent’s part in great stead, for in the hottest brunte of the fight he came in with 300 of his friends and countrymen, and so manfully gave in upon the flank of the queen’s people, that he was a great cause of disordering of them.” The Clan captured three of the enemy’s standards. For his part, the Chief, Andrew Macfarlane, was granted a crest consisting of a demi-savage proper, holding in one hand a sheaf of arrows, and pointing with the other to a crown, with the motto, “This I’ll defend.” This is shown on the Clan badge.

The Macfarlanes continued on their lawless path for the next half century. Arrochar was the original home of the Clan MacFarlane, who owned the local land from 1225, and who were well known for being cattle thieves.  The moon, whose light allowed the men to pursue their spoils, became known as “MacFarlane’s Lantern”, and is often still referred to as such by locals. Their pibroch translates as “To lift the cows we shall go,” and the full moon was known as Macfarlane’s lantern as it lit their path when they went out-and-about cattle-lifting. This is why today some say that is the meaning of Macfarlane.

The authorities lost patience in 1642 and passed the Act of Estates and the Clan Macfarlane, like the Macgregors, lost much of their lands and the use of the Macfarlane name was forbidden. The last recognised head of the Clan was Walter of Arrochar. He was Chief for more than 60 years. A distinguished historian and antiquary, he was also well aware of his dignity. On his death in 1767, the last of the Clan’s estates were sold to settle debts.The direct male line of the Macfarlane family of Arrochar died out in 1886 and today the Clan has no Chief. There is a thriving Clan Society in the USA, determined to raise the Clan’s profile in Scotland. The wild days of the MacFarlanes are now gone and people come to Arrochar to enjoy its scenery and to use it as a base for exploring the Arrochar Alps. Above all, today's Arrochar is famous for being the starting off point for climbs of Ben Arthur, more commonly known as ‘The Cobbler'.

At the Heart of Intrigue and Espionage

This Torpedo Range was also the scene of an unusual espionage story in 1915, which ended with an execution at the Tower of London.

Born in 1881, Augusto Alfredo Roggen (Uruguyan) sailed from Rotterdam to Tilbury Docks in May, 1915. From there he made his way to Edinburgh, posing as a farmer, and on to Tarbet, arriving in June and taking a room at the hotel of the same name. Arrested within 5 hours of his arrival, he had purchased a map of the local area, including Loch Long, site of the Admiralty Torpedo Range. Police found a revolver, ammunition, invisible ink, and a contact list in his room.

Transported to London, he gave no statement or evidence at his courts-martial, and was found guilty He was sentenced to death by shooting in August, 1915. The sentence was carried out at 6 am, September 17, 1915, at the Tower of London, by men of the 3rd Battalion, Scots Guards.

The last torpedo to be ranged from RNTR Arrochar was fired in March 1986. The facility is now partly demolished, and its function was replaced by nearby RNAD Coulport. There is currently talk of the site becoming a 5* hotel. (Needs a bit of imagination)

At the Heart of Intrigue and Espionage

This Torpedo Range was also the scene of an unusual espionage story in 1915, which ended with an execution at the Tower of London.

Born in 1881, Augusto Alfredo Roggen (Uruguyan) sailed from Rotterdam to Tilbury Docks in May, 1915. From there he made his way to Edinburgh, posing as a farmer, and on to Tarbet, arriving in June and taking a room at the hotel of the same name. Arrested within 5 hours of his arrival, he had purchased a map of the local area, including Loch Long, site of the Admiralty Torpedo Range. Police found a revolver, ammunition, invisible ink, and a contact list in his room.

Transported to London, he gave no statement or evidence at his courts-martial, and was found guilty He was sentenced to death by shooting in August, 1915. The sentence was carried out at 6 am, September 17, 1915, at the Tower of London, by men of the 3rd Battalion, Scots Guards.

The last torpedo to be ranged from RNTR Arrochar was fired in March 1986. The facility is now partly demolished, and its function was replaced by nearby RNAD Coulport. There is currently talk of the site becoming a 5* hotel. (Needs a bit of imagination)

The old torpedo range in Arrochar

Arrochar Alps

 

There are walks and climbs for people of all abilities, from gentle rambles up Glen Loin to tough rock-climbing on the faces of The Cobbler.  In fact, the Arrochar Alps is one of the birthplaces of Scottish rock-climbing.

The Arrochar Alps, a great hillwalking area, are so-called because they are said to resemble the Alps in miniature, not just because of their rocky and rugged character, but because of the weather conditions which can be surprisingly volatile.  Their vicinity to Glasgow and their excellent views make them one of the most popular walking and climbing areas in Scotland.

And if you’re bagging Munros, that is to say climbing the 284 or so highest mountains in Scotland, Arrochar is the perfect base for climbing a good number of peaks on your list. 

The main hills making up the mountains known as the Arrochar Alps are:

  • The Cobbler (less commonly known as Ben Arthur) is the most popular mountain in the area.  Standing at 884 metres (2,900 feet), it doesn’t quite make it to Munro status, but it is more spectacular than its Munro neighbours.  The Cobbler has the most distinctive outline of any mountain in the Southern Highlands and makes a fantastic short day out. Extremely popular, the path on the way up has been improved in recent years and once past the initial zig zags makes a pleasant ascent. This route explores both peaks of the Cobbler before descending on a rugged path between the two. Alternatively the route can be made easier by returning the same way. The true summit, the central peak, requires a tricky scrambling manoeuvre to conquer - perhaps the most technical mainland summit - and most of the thousands who venture up here decide to give it a miss. The most common route of ascent starts from Succoth, a small village beside Arrochar, although another route exists from the Rest and Be Thankful on the A83 road.  The views from any of the three summits of The Cobbler are breath-taking.

  • Beinn Ime is the highest mountain in the Arrochar Alps, and standing at 1,011 metres (3,317 feet) it has Munro status.  There are three normal routes of ascent:  one is from Succoth, beside Arrochar, following the same valley that one would follow in climbing The Cobbler, but continuing up that valley to the bealach, from where a straight ascent to the summit is quite straightforward.  Another route up the mountain is from the Rest and Be Thankful on the A83 road.  A third route is via the Loch Sloy access road from Loch Lomond.

  • Beinn Narnain is the second most southerly Munro, just making it into Munro’s Tables with a height of 926 metres (3,040 feet).  It is a distinctly quieter hill than its busy neighbour The Cobbler, and is usually climbed from Succoth, beside Arrochar. It is a worthy hill with good views over the surrounding Arrochar Alps and down over Loch Long.

  • Ben Vane is a bit of a baby hill when it comes to being a Munro, having a height of just 915 metres (3,002 feet).  Nonetheless, it is a fairly quiet hill making for a pleasant day out.

  • Ben Vorlich, not to be confused with the Ben Vorlich near Loch Earn, is the final Munro making up the Arrochar Alps and stands at a height of 943 metres (3,093 feet).  There are a variety of routes to the summit of this mountain, but the most common ones start from Ardlui or Inveruglas.

Argyll Forest Park

The Argyll Forest Park is a quiet, secluded area where it’s easy to get away from the beaten track. Containing rugged mountains, an abundance of little trout lochs, unspoilt woodlands and beautiful glens, the forest park is one of the most beautiful in Scotland.

Cyclists will find a good network of carefully constructed cycle tracks. Walkers will also find marked out trails for all levels of ability, and for those who are experienced and suitably prepared, take to the hills: see http://www.arrochar.org.uk/hillwalking. Why not start off at the Rest and Be Thankful? For centuries, travellers have been thankful of the rest afforded by the summit of the road which climbs up the side of narrow Glen Croe. Just round the corner from Arrochar, the road climbs higher and higher above the floor of the glen before levelling off at a small area known as the Rest and Be Thankful. There are beautiful views down Glen Croe from here, and a couple of walks beginning here.

There are also hills to be climbed from the Rest and Be Thankful. Parking your car here, you can climb a number of Corbetts, including Ben Donich, The Brack, Beinn Luibhean and Beinn an Lochain. A little further is Stob Coire Creagach.

The Rest and Be Thankful is also the point for turning off to the little village of Lochgoilhead, which sits at the northern end of Loch Goil, a sea loch. The Corbett of Beinn Bheula lies in this direction.

Just on the other side of the Rest and Be Thankful is Loch Restil, whose surface always seems to be rippling with rising trout. A little further on is Butterbridge, which is a beautiful spot to stop and soak up the remote atmosphere of these hills. It is also a couple of miles from Abyssinia, an old ruined house which has been the subject of many ghost stories – usually involving an old lady.

Other great places to visit in the Argyll Forest Park include Loch Goil, Ardentinny, Glenfinnart and Glenbranter Forest. There is also an excellent visitor centres in the area. The closest one to Arrochar, just 3km away, is at Ardgartan – further afield you will also find visitor centres at the Achray Forest, East Loch Lomond Woodland, Loch Ard Forest, Inverliever Forest and Knapdale Forest.

 

There is also ample cycling, kayaking, fishing and golf as a range of other activities in and around the area.

Loch Long

 

Loch Long is a fjord type sea loch, about 20 miles long, with Arrochar at its head in the Cowal area which extends from the Firth of Clyde. The loch historically divided Argyll and Dunbartonshire. It has another loch, Loch Goil, on its western side and is surrounded by mountains with the Arrochar Alps on the west side of the loch head. The loch forms the entire western coastline of the Rosneath Peninsula.

The loch is also popular for water sports such as diving. However it is quite limited in the upper reaches of the loch around Arrochar in terms of the variety of the dive and the access to the water for boats. The Ardentinny Outdoor Education Centre uses the loch for water based activities but also offers land based activities around the loch.

Loch Long offers good fishing from the shore and from a boat. As you might expect in a sea loch, you can find cod, whiting, plaice, mackerel, skate, wrasse, pollack, spurdog, and many other species in Loch Long. It is free to fish but it is illegal to land any migratory fish such as Salmon or Sea Trout. If these are caught they have to be returned immediately. Fishing boats can be hired from the camp site at Ardgartan.

Safety first


These mountains may not have the height of Alpine peaks, but you should not underestimate them or the very changeable weather they are subjected to.  It is not unheard of to have warm sunshine, rain, snow and fog all on the same day – even in the summer!

You must be prepared for the terrain and for these weather changes.  You should only climb in sturdy hiking or climbing boots, and you must take waterproofs and emergency supplies.  Also take plenty of food and water. It is generally safe to drink from mountain streams, which are usually very clean, but you do so at your own risk.  A map, compass, and proficiency in their use, is a necessity.

Always check the mountain weather forecast before you head into the hills, and if it is winter or there has been any snow falling or forecast, you should also check the avalanche forecast.  The area is served by an excellent mountain rescue team, but it is your responsibility to ensure you minimise the chances of an emergency which endangers their lives too. We suggest either letting us or a friend that is not going out with you on the day, know where you plan to go.

A helicopter in Arrochar

Wildlife

What better way to escape from the city than experiencing wildlife in the Scottish lochs and mountains?

 

 

Loch Long and Loch Goil are sheltered sea lochs which, as well as being home to the hundreds of species of fish in the sea around Scotland, are also the natural habitat of seals and dolphins. The sea lochs also provide a diverse marine habitat for crabs and other crustaceans.

Argyll Forest Park and Queen Elizabeth Forest Park are home to an abundance of wildlife: you will find deer, squirrels, badgers, bats, and a wide variety of birds and insects, including  owls, ospreys, dragonflies and butterflies.

A stag in the highlands, Scotland

The Arrochar Alps are home to an impressive array of mountain wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for grouse and ptarmigan shooting over the hillside; and don’t forget to look out for an unforgettable glimpse of a golden eagle soaring over the peaks and summits as well as the many deer in the area.

The view from Ashfield House B&B

We hope to see you again soon!

Cristina Sanchez-Navarro