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Young or young at heart? The top ten things to do in Argyll during the Year of Young People

Young or young at heart? The top ten things to do in Argyll during the Year of Young People
2018 is the Visit Scotland Year of Young People and we have an action-packed 12 months ahead of us in Argyll & The Isles. From adrenalin-fuelled adventure to road trips, music festivals and island hopping, Argyll is packed with great activities and events for families and young people. Whether you want to hit the open road, go wild camping or try your hand at kayaking, bring your friends and family and have an unforgettable time in Argyll & The Isles this year.

Music festivals
There are music festivals galore in Argyll and they often take place in the most glorious locations, including castle grounds, tiny islands and beautiful glens. As well as live music, many of the festivals feature local food and drink. If you love great music and beer, then don’t miss FyneFest organised by Argyll brewers Fyne Ales. Whisky and music come together at Islay Festival of Music & Malt. For island music festivals try Bute Fest, Tiree Music Festival, Jura Music Festival and Gigha Music Festival. And for an amazing weekend of Scottish music, Oban Live, MOKFest and Best of the West should be on your list.

Road trips
With incredible scenery, quiet roads and fantastic places to stay, eat and drink, Argyll & The Isles has all the ingredients for a great road trip. There are some epic routes in Argyll that will take you through some of Scotland’s most awe-inspiring landscapes. And you’ve got all those islands to visit, which are an essential part of any Argyll road trip experience! The Argyll Coastal Route is a cracker. Take a look at our journeys for more inspiration and have the drive of your life in Argyll.

Outdoor adventures
Where to start? Argyll & The Isles was made for outdoor adventures! Argyll has unique outdoor adventure experiences to offer, all making use of the stunning landscape and coastline that the region is famous for. There are plenty of activity providers based in Argyll, delivering everything from quad-biking adventures to Land Rover safaris. Whether you want to try your hand at a new activity or tick an item off your bucket list, Argyll is the place to get stuck in! Learn to sail with Tighnabruaich Sailing School, go quad-biking with Quadmania, book an adventure holiday with Stramash or bag some Munros – you choose.

Great trails
For an epic adventure, why not tackle one of Argyll’s Great Trails? The region is home to some unforgettable routes for walkers, cyclists and kayakers. Traversing Argyll’s landscape, you can weave your way along these trails and explore glens, climb hills and discover an intricate coastline. Lose yourself in the Highland wilderness, marvel at the wildlife and see ruined castles, ancient sites and vibrant communities along the way. Try the Cowal Way, Kintyre Way, West Island Way or John Muir Way. Or how about the Argyll Sea Kayak Trail or Wild About Argyll Bikepacking Trail.

Mountain biking
With its vast areas of forest, Argyll is great for a mountain biking adventure. There are literally thousands of miles of trails and tracks to explore. You’ll find something for all levels, from technically tough trails to fun rides for all the family. The Fire Tower Trail near Lochgilphead has big climbs, thrilling descents and hairy drop-offs, and is a great place to test your bike-handling skills. Argyll Forest Park stretches across much of Cowal, from Holy Loch at Dunoon to the jagged peaks of the Arrochar Alps, providing excellent cross-country mountain biking trails. In recent years, Dunoon has become a magnet for savvy mountain bikers.

Have your very own Robinson Crusoe moment in Argyll! Many of Scotland’s most beautiful beaches are to be found in the region. Some, like Calgary Bay on Mull with its shallow turquoise water and sugary sand, provide sheltered oases, while others are pounded by Atlantic rollers and make for world-class watersports. Build a fire, enjoy a windswept stroll, camp out, catch a fish, sketch, picnic, paddle, swim, surf, fly a kite, play rounders or beachcomb: Argyll’s brilliant beaches are waiting to be discovered.

The dramatic coast and unique light of Argyll have inspired generations of artists. Many artists have chosen to live and work here and you’ll find galleries all over the region - hidden deep in the countryside, perched on the shores and nestled in the villages. There are a number of open studio events and artist trails throughout the year in Argyll, including the Cowal Open Studios, Bute Studio Trail and ArtMap Argyll. They’re a great way to meet the artists and see the landscapes that inspire them.

Island hopping
With 23 inhabited islands to explore and a comprehensive ferry network connecting them, Argyll & The Isles is ideal for an island hopping holiday. From the Hebridean islands of Mull, Iona, Coll and Tiree in the far north west of Argyll to Bute in the south, Argyll’s islands offer so much. Discover the dark skies of Coll, the rugged peaks of Mull, the sandy beaches and surfing of Tiree and the famous peaty drams of Islay. CalMac provides an extensive service from Oban to the islands and offers special Hopscotch tickets.

Wild camping
Argyll’s wild and diverse landscape is perfect for a wild camping adventure. Leave the crowds behind and head out, pack on back and map in hand, for a night or two under the stars. Camp on a remote beach, uninhabited island or even up a mountain. Go by foot, by bike or even by kayak. You can find stunning places to wild camp right along the length of the Argyll Sea Kayak Trail. Wild camping in Scotland is legal and well accepted – as long as you do it responsibly. Familiarise yourself with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code before you go.

Star gazing
There’s very little light pollution in Argyll, making it one of the best places in Scotland to watch the night sky. With its sparse population, no street lights and geographic isolation, Coll has some of the darkest skies in Europe. The island has been awarded official Dark Sky Status by the International Dark Sky Association. A great way to experience Coll’s dark skies is to take part in a star-gazing weekend on the island. Coll Bunkhouse and Cosmos Planetarium have teamed up to offer Coll & the Cosmos, an incredible stargazing adventure on Coll. The next courses are on 10th & 11th March 2018 and 6th & 7th October 2018.

Surfing & windsurfing
Argyll has some of Scotland’s top surfing spots. The west coast, with its uncrowded sandy beaches, clear waters and Atlantic swells, attracts adventurous surfers from around the world. There’s something for everyone, from the beginner looking for surfing lessons to hard-core riders seeking pounding breakers. Tiree has a vibrant surfing scene and is home to some excellent surfing schools, Suds Surf, Wild Diamond and Blackhouse Watersports. The west coast of the Kintyre peninsula is another of Argyll’s surfing spots. Huge sandy beaches are often pounded by Atlantic breakers. Pete’s Surf School operates from the car park at Westport Beach, a sandy beach that stretches for six miles to Machrihanish.

Whatever you do, don't forget to share your amazing moments during the Year of Young People using #YOYP2018 and #wildaboutargyll.

Header image: Tighnabruaich Sailing School on the Kyles of Bute.
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