Ellary & Castle Sween

Things to do at Ellary

Let the journey begin, a world of adventures, relaxation, and memories awaits!


Perhaps one of the best features of Ellary is the wildlife that inhabit the estate. Regular visitors include deer, red squirrels, otters, seals, foxes, herons and buzzards. Over eighty different varieties of birds have been spotted at Ellary and Castle Sween, and if you’re lucky you might even spot an eagle! There is an abundance of wild flowers growing here, including some quite rare ones.


The coastline and cottages at Ellary offer the perfect place to bring a boat or canoes. This side of the peninsula is quiet, and you will likely have the loch virtually to yourself.

Most of our cottages has space to store a boat, and there is a harbour on the estate which you are welcome to moor your boat in for the duration of your stay. Given appropriate notice, we are able to cater to most sizes of boat and can help with launching etc. If you intend to bring a boat and require assistance with launching, please let us know in advance so that we can make sure the appropriate vehicles are available for use.

Ellary is also a great place for canoes and kayaks, with it being possible to launch them from lots of different places around the estate. There are various islands to be explored along the Ellary coastline, making it an adventure to remember!


Staying at Ellary, you have access to the whole estate. You will find plenty of walks to keep everyone entertained all holiday. You can explore the coastline, visiting beaches and going down as far as the abandoned Stronefield village, or head up into the hills and over as far as Castle Sween. When you get over to the Loch Sween side of the peninsula, you will find Kilmory Chapel, Kilmory Beach, and Castle Sween itself, along with the caravan park and Rafters Restaurant, ideal to break up the day. Back on the Ellary side, you can visit St Columbas Cave, or the ruins of the old Free Church – both are within easy walking distance of the road if you feel like a shorter walk. There are OS maps in all of the cottages, and if you want to come up to the office then we can show you a few of the good routes to take.


Permits can be obtained from the office to fish for trout in our 11 hill lochs, and in the Lochead Burn. You can also fish for salmon, however due to conservation rules, salmon can only be fished on a catch-and-release basis. Permits are charged at £25 per rod, per week, and are available to Ellary guests only.


There is a practice golf course beside the main house at Ellary, which guests are welcome to use free of charge. Score cards can be obtained from the office if desired.


The remains of ruined settlements, chapels, castles, forts and graveyards indicate that long ago, this area was much more populated than it is today. The various reasons for this include the colonisation of the New World, the migration of people to the cities, the invention of the motor car (thus making transport and communication by sea less important). There is also evidence suggesting that the climate was warmer a thousand years ago. It is established that this area supported a significant population for a long while, and there is archaeological evidence of this going right back to pre-Christian times. Have a look at Castle Sween itself, Kilmory Chapel, the Viking Forts above Castle Sween (Dun a Bhuilg & Crannaig), and St Columbas Cave. These are just some of the interesting sites at Ellary and Castle Sween, and the shortest of trips can take you to equally interesting areas – like Kilmartin Glen, for example.

Day Trips

Ellary & Castle Sween gives the impression of being isolated due to not many people inhabiting the area. This is in part true, however many places of interest are within easy distance: Oban and Fort William are situated to the North, Glasgow and Central Scotland to the East, and various islands to the South and West. Ferry trips make the ideal day out, and Arran, Gigha, Islay, Jura, Mull & Iona are all ideal for day trips. This area houses some of Scotland’s most famous gardens (Brodick, Achamore, Arduaine, Crarae, etc), which are well worth a visit if you have an interest in plants. There are various distilleries in the area, with some people visiting this part of Scotland solely for that reason. The Jacobite steam train runs from Fort William to Mallaig, passing over the famous Glenfinnan viaduct (featured in the Harry Potter films).

Castle Sween

As previously mentioned, you can walk over to Castle Sween – it is about 8 miles though. If you would like to visit it without the walk, then we can give you a key to the private hill track – which is reserved exclusively for the use of Ellary residents. The key does the padlock at both ends of the road, and can be obtained by visiting the office.