Gigha, "The Good Island"
It means ‘The Good, or God’s Island’ in Norse, and visitors to this magical wee island may well agree. With crystal turquoise waters and beaches that rival the Caribbean for beauty, Gigha is a tranquil emerald gem. Add to that friendly Hebridean hospitality, and it is a quintessential island getaway for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Visitors arrive by Caledonian MacBrayne ferry from tiny Tayinloan on the Kintyre coast, landing at Ardminish Bay. Gigha (pronounced Geea) is only seven miles long and mile and a half wide, but it has been an enviable location for millennia. The Vikings visited in the 1200s, calling it Gudey, or ‘the Good Isle.’ Highly desired by the Lords of the Isles, as well as the Scottish crown, it was fought over for centuries, then it changed hands many times before being bought by the community.
Now the Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust manages most of the island. The Trust bought the land in 2001, helped by £3.5 million from the Scottish Land Fund through the National Lottery and £500,000 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise. Less than 175 people live on the island today.
Gigha is an ideal spot for bicycling and water sports of all kinds, from sea kayaking and paddle boarding to rowboating and snorkelling. The Isle of Gigha Activity Centre is the place to hire equipment and boats for a fun day out on the sea. There is a brand new, nicely appointment campground with pitches for tents and tourers.
Whether staying as a base for walking, cycling or sailing, attending a special event or settling in for a quiet getaway, the Gigha Hotel is a top choice for visitors to this lovely wee isle any time of year, from the long days of summer to the festive season. It has beautifully appointed rooms and cottages, as well as first class dining and a popular island bar.
The ‘Jewel in the Crown’ of Gigha is Achamore Gardens, a 54-acre paradise that, thanks to the isle’s warm microclimate, hosts an amazing collection of rare rhododendron, along with a stunning variety of flowers and greenery- a treat for the eyes and nose any time of year.
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