Seven Secret Coast locations that inspired an artist.

Jane Hunter is a visual artist from Paisley whose work is often cartographic and influenced by the geology of the west of Scotland. Her latest exhibition “HUSH - a quiet exploration of the Cowal Peninsula, in textiles” shows at Tighnabruaich Gallery from Saturday 28th July to 2nd September 2018. She visited Argyll’s Secret Coast on four occasions over the course of a year as part of her reseach for the exhibition. In this guest post, she picks seven locations on Argyll's Secret Coast that inspired her.

I visited once in May, July, March and April. I have driven there from Paisley, passing the busy Loch Lomond; I have popped over on the boat to Hunter’s Quay; I have covered every mile of coastline from the Clyde to Loch Striven and the Kyles of Bute to Loch Fyne. Long fingers of terrain are separated by narrow fjord-like channels. You’re never far from the sea. There is a calmness to this place, a sense of feeling protected, sheltered by undulating hills long since sculpted by ice. And quiet. It is blissfully quiet. Here are some beautiful spots I found to sit and listen to the hush.

Otter Ferry
A clear calm evening, the smooth sweep of the bay, long sand and shingle spit reaching out into the waters of Loch Fyne and maybe Scotland’s best fish and chips with a cool glass of ale at The Oystercatcher.

Kilfinan Bay
Walk down the hill through some slightly boggy fields, past a flock of exuberant sheep, to the sandy spits shaped by tides and a wee burn. A glorious sunset gently reflecting on the water.

Auchalick Bay
Hike along a farm track and down the hill towards a secret holiday cottage, nestled between two rocky headlands. Another fascinating shoreline shaped by the meanders and tides. On analysis the ‘sand’ is made up of billions of tiny shells, only slightly more numerous than the rabbits playing on the foreshore.

From the holiday resort of Portavadie take a walk north along the woodland track for a few hundred metres. Here I sat on the rocks with my watercolours watching the ferry to Tarbet slipping through the skerries, the ship's wake lapping up to cool my feet.

Kilbride Bay
Glimpse the sparkling waters from the high road, through the bluebells. A leisurely stroll for half a mile down the path. The reveal comes as you set foot on the vast stretch of white sands when, from behind the dunes, the granite mountains of Arran loom large on the horizon. A fascinating look at these hills from a different perspective from what I’m used to.

Ardlamont Point
A rocky coastal scramble to the southernmost tip of the peninsula offers up views of the west of Bute and Inchmarnock, Mull of Kintyre and Arran. It’s like the most peaceful crossroad, silent traffic sailing up and down the channels.

This wee village sits on the shore with the enviable position of looking over to the many layers of rugged terrain from northern Bute, past it’s pretty neighbour, Tighnabruaich and through the narrow sea channel at Rubha Ban to the hills beyond.

Intrigued to find out more? Come along to the preview of the exhibition at Tighnabruaich Gallery, meet Jane and see the work on Saturday 28th July, 3.00-5.00pm.