Argyll is packed with unforgettable award-winning experiences, from incredible restaurants to amazing events, delicious food products to epic outdoor adventures. The region is home to loads of quirky, welcoming hotels, pubs, restaurants and visitor attractions and many are now being recognised for their brilliance. Here’s a sample of some of the Argyll people, places and producers who have been winning awards.
Stay and eat
Inver must be one of Scotland’s best places to eat. Sitting on the eastern shore of Loch Fyne looking out over Castle Lachlan, Inver serves up exceptional food. The restaurant has been picking up accolades and awards galore since opening in 2015, including ‘Restaurant of the Year – Scotland’, the AA Hospitality Awards 2016/17 and the ‘Sunday Times top 100 restaurants – Regional winner, Scotland & N Ireland’ in 2017.
Out on the island of Mull, Pennygate Lodge, a restaurant with rooms, had an award-winning year. The establishment, which only opened in 2017, was a finalist in 'Best Newcomer' at the Scotsman Food and Drink Awards and finalist in the ‘Hotel of the Year’ category at the Scottish Food and Drink Awards. And at the tender age of just 23, Head Chef Jordan Clark was a finalist in the prestigious ‘Chef of the Year’ category at the Scottish Food and Drink Awards. Also on Mull, the fabulous Ninth Wave Restaurant was a finalist in the ‘Restaurant of the Year’ category at the Highland Food & Drink Awards 2018.
Etive in Oban is another newcomer making waves on the Argyll dining scene. The restaurant opened in January 2018 and picked up the Rising Star Award for the Highland region from the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards 2018.
Knockderry House in Cove was awarded the Best Eating Experience accolade sponsored by Caledonian MacBrayne at the Scottish Thistle Awards’ west regional finals. Nearby in Helensburgh, Sugar Boat was given a Michelin Bib Gourmand award, one of only two restaurants in Scotland to earn this distinction this year. It’s a wonderfully relaxed neighbourhood bistro offering fabulous food in a warm and welcoming environment. Helensburgh is also home to an award-winning chippie! The Wee Kelpie fish and chip shop was awarded the 'Best Takeaway' at the Scottish Entertainment and Hospitality Awards.
Fancy afternoon tea and cake? Then Muneroy Tearoom at Southend in Kintyre should be on your list! It won ‘Tearoom Destination of the Year’ in the Scottish Food Award 2017. Just wait till you taste the cakes!
Ballygrant Inn on Islay was named ‘Whisky Bar of the Year’ at the Scottish Licensed Trade News Awards this year. The whisky bar – known locally as Robolls bar – has a huge selection of over 400 whiskies, many from Islay. It’s a great place to relax, dram in hand, by the log burning stove. Also on Islay, Glenegedale House was awarded the most ‘Hospitable Bed and Breakfast in the West of Scotland’ at the Thistle Awards.
People and products
The historic Campbeltown Creamery in Kintyre scooped a number of awards at this year’s British Cheese Awards including gold in the smoked cheddar section for its Mull of Kintyre Cheddar offering. Another Kintyre producer gaining recognition this year was Beinn an Tuirc Distillers and their delicious Kintyre Gin. They scooped ‘Best Newcomer’ at the Scottish Gin Awards this year. Another Argyll gin, Lussa Gin which is made on the island of Jura, won a Gold Award for best product in the drinks category at the Scotland Speciality Food Show.
Bute Island Foods has also had an award-wining year. They have just been shortlisted for the Vegan Food & Living Awards. They also won Gold in the Quality Food Awards and the Free From Food Awards, as well as ‘Best Vegan Cheese’ at the Vegan Awards.
Bute butchers Macqueens of Rothesay secured a hat-trick of accolades in the Scottish Craft Butchers Haggis Products Awards 2019. The shop picked up a Gold Award for its mini haggis and sweet mash pie.
Mull Eagle Watch is an unforgettable experience and it has racked up even more awards this year. It won the ‘Working Together for Tourism’ category at the Highlands & Islands Tourism Awards 2018 and is a finalist in the ‘Conservation & Environment’ category at the Scottish Rural Awards 2019. Nature Scotland, which provides wildlife tours and expeditions on the Isle of Mull, is another award-winning venture. They won ‘Scotland's Best Outdoor Experience’ at the Scottish Outdoor and Leisure Awards and were finalists in the ‘Best Outdoor Experience’ category at the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards.
It's great to see so many Argyll products gaining recognition. There are lots more award-winning places to stay and eat, as well as products and experiences, in Argyll. Come and discover them!