Hannah Drake

Gigha, Scotland

TravelHannah Drake2 Comments

While we were in Scotland, staying at the Balinakill Country House, Luke and I spent an afternoon on the Isle of Gigha. First things first, it's pronounced like "gear". Scottish, am I right? It's the southernmost, and I'll say the most beautiful, of the Hebridean Islands off the west coast of Scotland.

Most of the Drakes at the house had already been on the island earlier in the week and recommended it for our Saturday activity, highly recommending the Boathouse Restaurant for a delicious seafood lunch. It didn't take much convincing on their part. A picturesque island and seafood fresh from the ocean? What more could you want?

We slept in on Saturday and had breakfast at the house with Luke's parents before setting off toward the ferry. It wasn't a long drive, but it was definitely a gorgeous one. We were a bit early for the ferry and it was starting to rain, so we ducked inside the shop for a cup of tea. I think it was around £5 each for a round trip and with the island being so small, we decided to leave the car on the mainland. It started drizzling as we began our journey, but from across the ocean, you could see that the clouds were broken over the island and the sunlight was pouring down. After the short journey, we were in a completely different weather system, staring out at the rain on the other side of the channel. It still boggles my mind how different they were with how close together they are.

Our main goal was to have lunch at the restaurant, so we decided to stop in first to make a reservation for an hour or so later. Unfortunately, when we got there, they said they were fully booked for the rest of the afternoon and couldn't accommodate us. That really cramped my style, to be honest. I was so disappointed that this place had been talked up so much and we weren't going to be able to eat there.

We decided instead to just start exploring. We turned up the main road to go toward the north shore of the isle, immediately passing a field housing dozens of cows, most of whom were right near the fence we were walking by. Watching the cows somehow managed to lift my crushed spirits and we continued on. After walking probably the length of a football field, we decided to go back to rent bikes at the corner shop we had passed.

Now on wheels, we were ready to actually explore. We rode up the main road passing all the farms that dot the hills of the island. We saw lots of cows, sheep, horses, and even made friends with a dog on the road.

It was easily one of the most beautiful bike rides I've ever taken, but it was kind of hard work. At one point, I had to hop off and walk my bike up a really steep hill as Luke cruised by me. We had the perfect weather too. It wasn't too hot (which we loved as a break in the middle of the hottest English summer on record), it wasn't raining, and the fresh sea air filled our lungs as we rode.

We really had no idea where we were or where we were going, but the isle is small enough that there's only one road from end to end. The man at the shop had told us it was 5 miles to the north end and only 2 to the south, but those 5 miles seemed quite long. When we got to a good vantage point and had been riding for quite some time, we decided to turn back to drive to Skipness for lunch, since Luke's brother had recommended a different seafood restaurant nearby.

We rode back without stopping as much and were pleased to see the dog from earlier back at the shop where we rented our bikes. (By the way, they were only £10 each for the afternoon.) We walked back toward the ferry and arrived just in time to catch it to go back. We were both getting pretty hungry and were a bit surprised to discover Skipness was 40 minutes away.

Unfortunately when we got there, we discovered that the Skipness Seafood Cabin is CLOSED ON SATURDAYS! Seriously! At this point, I was full-on hangry and all we had to eat were wine gums left over from our road trip.

We were able to eat at the Skipness Seafood Cabin the next day with Luke's parents before we started our journey home. Luke and I split the seafood platter and it was so good! It was in such a cool spot too and had beautiful views of the Isle of Arran.

Hindsight is of course 20/20, but I wish we had done some research before leaving the island. If we had looked up the restaurant before we left, we would have known it was closed. We could have stayed on the island and ridden toward the south, which had more restaurants and shops. And next time, I'm going to make sure I pack some snacks in our Muzmm backpack when we're out exploring because even though it looks picture perfect, it was kind of a disaster of a day. (By the way, you can use the code HANNAH10 to get 10% off your order at Muzmm and they've got a ton of cute styles.)

I would love to go back to Gigha someday and do it right next time! There's so much on the island that we didn't even realise. But despite all of our lunch and seafood troubles, it really was a great day and a memory I'll always cherish.