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Gigha: where great food meets glorious scenery

Gigha: where great food meets glorious scenery
Gigha is a gem of an island. Sitting three miles west of Kintyre, it’s the most southerly and one of the most beautiful of the Hebridean Islands. It may be small - just seven miles long by a mile and a half wide – but it packs a big punch. Step ashore and you’ll discover white sandy bays, azure waters and stunning views. You’ll also find some of the best food that the West Coast of Scotland has to offer. There are some cracking eateries serving up delicious Gigha produce in stunning locations. So if you like your food with a view, isn’t it time you visited Gigha?

Local producers
Gigha is home to a thriving community of artisan food producers, while the clear cold Atlantic waters that surround the island provide some of the best seafood in Scotland. Gigha Halibut, a small family-run business, has perfected the art of hand-rearing sustainable halibut on the island. The fish are grown using a unique land-based farming system that harnesses the clean waters from the Sound of Gigha. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to try Smoked Gigha Halibut, which is smoked using whisky-barrel oak chips from the Kilmochan Distillery on neighbouring Islay.

Tony and Cat at Gigha Oysters, meanwhile, have been growing oysters in the beautiful clean waters around Gigha since 2011. You can try the oysters at The Boathouse Restaurant or Gigha Hotel.

Another delicious local treat to look out for is milk and ice cream by Wee Isle Dairy. Brother and sister team, Emma Rennie Dennis and Mark Rennie, have around 60 cows that produce the wonderfully rich whole milk that in turn creates the most delicious artisan ice cream. Try the bramble and whisky flavour!

Eating out
The Boathouse Café Bar at Ardminish Bay is a fantastic place to sample this local produce. It’s a wonderful restaurant serving up exceptional seafood and other foodie delights right on the beach. Check out the daily ‘fresh in’ board, which features the catch of the day. There’s a fabulous outdoor seating area and the views out over the sea are simply stunning. Kids will have a great time playing on the beach and paddling while you finish off your feast! The Boathouse is open from Easter to the end of September. It also has a small campsite.

The Gigha Hotel is the other place to dine out on Gigha. The menu is varied and practically all of the dishes feature local produce, including prawns, crab, clams and lobster freshly caught by local fishermen. Admire the views over Ardminish Bay towards the mainland of Scotland as you feast on local shellfish and watch colourful yachts sailing by. There’s a lovely garden for al fresco dining on a sunny day. For some great home baking or a light lunch, head to the Gigha Gallery in Ardminish, which is home to the Pottery Tearoom.

Pack a picnic
Gigha is an island paradise just waiting to be explored. You’ll be treated to beautiful views in all directions. On a clear day you can see the coast of Antrim in Ireland to the south west, the long mountainous shapes of Islay and Jura to the north west, Ben More on Mull far to the north, the hills of Kilberry to the north east, and Goat Fell on Arran rising behind the hills of Kintyre to the east. So why not pack a picnic and see Gigha in all its glory, from the secret coves to the heather-clad hillsides?

Pick up your picnic supplies at Ardminish Stores, which is fully stocked with fresh fruit and veg, cheese bread and more. There’s also a wee deli selling local products including Gigha Halibut, home-made jams and chutney, quail eggs and Wee Isle Dairy milk and ice cream.

Gigha is fabulous for walking or cycling. You can get the ‘Walk Gigha’ booklet from Gigha Stores or Gigha Hotel. Highlights include a walk to the ‘spouting cave’, a natural rocky blowhole on the southern point of Gigha, a stroll to the ancient standing stones of Bodach and Cailleach and a ramble to the secluded coves of Gallochoille. Or how about picnicking on the highest hill on the island, Creag Bhan? The views are awesome!

If you don’t have long to spend on Gigha then cycling is the best way to see the island. There’s just one road leading from one end to the other with small tracks leading off it. The road’s fairly flat and virtually traffic free, so it’s ideal for a gentle cycle that all the family can enjoy. You can hire bikes at the Gigha Boats Activity Centre.

Getting there
Gigha is just a 20-minute CalMac ferry journey from Tayinloan on Kintyre. The ferry drops you at the island's only village, Ardminish, where you'll find the post office, shop and other amenities. There are several accommodation options, including the Gigha Hotel, self-catering cottages, B&Bs and camping.

Find out more about things to see and do in Kintyre & Gigha.

Header image: Gigha Halibut
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