Our decision to visit the Scottish Highlands was a relatively last minute one and in mid-July, most places were either fully booked up or way out of our price range. We were delighted to find 9 Ben Arthur Place in Lochgoilhead for £65 per night for a 5 night stay, sleeping two of us.
I couldn't find any published reviews on Tripadvisor but this didn't put me off as I had the full reassurance of the Peace of Mind Payment Protection service that Tripadvisor offer when booking rentals directly through them. The Property Manager made contact with me via my Rentals Inbox to confirm my booking within about 8 hours which was fantastic and we were furnished with all of the information that we needed to feel fully confident about our stay.
We arrived via the 302 bus service from Helensburgh which stops usefully just outside of the Post Office/General Store. From here, you then need to retrace your steps backwards a short distance and you will see a row of beige coloured town houses on your right hand side with brown doors. They all have door numbers and the property exactly matched the description/photos provided by the Property Manager.
There is a boot scrubber outside the property and two internal doormats in the initial reception area so no excuses for trailing your muddy boots across the spotless beige carpets! A shoe rack provides ample space and we loved the pig's bum coat hooks!
The main living area faces out onto the main street leading into the village of Lochgoilhead and the large windows are covered on all sides by curtains so you can control how much light you want to let in/how much privacy you want. The sofa was comfortable with a long coffee table and there were two armchairs. The TV/TV box all worked fine and were modern/brand new. A DVD player/DVD's are provided but we didn't use these.
A bookshelf with a selection of books is provided. There is a black folder with some details about the walks you can take in the area and although some of the literature within the folder was over 10 years old, we found it invaluable and it gave us some great ideas and helped us to plan journeys.
The bedroom is two pine single beds which are both very comfortable with good quality mattresses/duvets and spotless sheets. A pine wardrobe, dresser and bedside cabinet provided ample storage/hanging space. There was also an extra pillow and blanket which would be useful in the winter months. The router for the excellent and free wi-fi is also in here.
The bathroom is wonderful! (we found some photos which suggest a bath may have previously been in there) but now, there is just a highly modern self-enclosed shower cubicle with a gorgeous, powerful, spacious shower, along with sink basin and toilet and a window which lets in lots of lovely light.
The kitchen (my favourite room as I spent so much time in there!!!) is well equipped with fridge, freezer, microwave, electric oven with 4 hobs and grill, toastie maker, kettle, a pine table with two chairs etc. Everything comes with instructions or a contact number for someone to help you if you get stuck (but it was all pretty self-explanatory!) There is reference to a dishwasher but I didn't see one (and I've never used one in my life and had no intentions of starting here anyway) so no big deal.
When booking, you are told you only need to bring towels/dish towels and everything else is provided. For the most part, this is accurate, but of course, everyone is different and has their own needs and requirements. I shall list a few constructive moans below;
The only frying pan I could find was a griddle pan which was great for sizzling bacon and tomatoes, but not so great for frying eggs (which meant we had to have soft boiled eggs all week - no problem, they were delicious eggs from Dunoon!).
There were tea towels in the drawer and dish scrubbers so it wasn't necessary for us to bring our own in the end (I acknowledge these may have just been left by previous guests.
I'm not convinced that the washing up liquid is provided by the property and feel it's more likely that the quarter of a bottle that was left was left by previous guests (I've used it all so hopefully the next group who stay get it replenished!).
There are no extra black bin bags for the kitchen bin and unfortunately, whoever put our bin bag in didn't do a great job of it meaning one night when I was tipping leftovers into it, they all went into the bin (thankfully, there was some bin cleaner in the cupboard under the sink meaning I could give everything a good scrub!). Although we ate out must nights and are conscious recyclers, we still would have liked the option to change our bin and didn't particularly want to go to the store to buy a full roll of bin liners for the sake of a few nights.
We had a similar issue with toilet roll which I felt should have been provided (one roll when arriving late on a Saturday and the local store is closed on a Sunday is not great when you have to waste your Sunday morning walking to the Costcutter on the other side of the village just to get some more!).
The fridge is not big enough to fit in the 4 pint bottles of milk that the local Post Office sell. If you try and lay down the milk bottle, it will leak, meaning we had to decant our milk into empty plastic water bottles we'd been saving for the recycle bin.
The property does not provide any tea bags/coffee/cooking oil/butter/milk and nor does it let you leave any of these things behind after you have gone to the expense of buying them yourself, so you either need to bin them or take them back home with you so bear this in mind!
The key safe on departure was a bit of a struggle to close the flap (we nearly missed our bus!) so it might be advantageous to have a practise with it before leaving which is what we should have done to get confident with it.
There are plenty of plates, cutlery, mugs, glasses, a chopping board, a drainer for the washing up, egg cups, cheese grater etc
The boiler provides plenty of hot water and there are heaters in the rooms.
The rear rooms of the property (kitchen and bedroom) offer a lovely view up the hills.
Nearby facilities/amenities include;
The Post Office which is great for stocking up on your day to day bits and bobs and is just a few steps down the road by the Loch. You can then hop on the bus and begin your day trip as the stop is just across the road.
The Shore House Inn where we had two wonderful meals is a short stroll down a path across the road. A must if you like good home cooking and a friendly atmosphere with a Loch View at every table!
The Drymsynie Holiday Park is a pleasant stroll around the Loch and over here you have the Costcutter for more groceries, the Rob Roy Lounge which is a family pub and La Rustica (Italian Restaurant which was closed when we went so didn't get to try it).
The Goil Inn is the closest pub to the cottage and we didn't actually pop in until our final night as we noticed they did take away. They do really good chippy style food to take out (burgers, haggis pakora, etc) and take away hot drinks as well. We wished we'd stayed for a meal now as the service was very friendly!
Overall, we were absolutely delighted with our stay at 9 Ben Arthur Place. The property was exactly as described, well located, safe, secure, cosy, brilliant wi-fi- I would move in tomorrow if I could!!!
Lochgoilhead is such a wonderful gateway to so many places. We used public transport for everything as we don't drive and although the village is only infrequently serviced by buses, we managed to do the following trips which come highly recommended;
- Drymsynie Circular Walk/Lettermay Burn (all accessed on foot from the village and gives great views over the Loch with some waterfalls on the way)
- Donich Falls Circular Walk (all accessed on foot from the village and great for meeting the Highland cows and seeing even more stunning waterfalls!)
- Puck's Glenn (taking the 484 bus from the Post Office/Car Park there and back again - a lovely way to spend a morning with more wonderful waterfalls and so much greenery)
- The Cobbler (taking the 302 bus from the Post Office/Car Park to Succoth car park - a real hard slog but completely worth it, a must!!!)
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