Science is everywhere in Scotland's Heart of Argyll.
Nestled in the West Highlands, the Heart of Argyll is sometimes described as the heart and soul of Scotland. This is an area with lots of learning that the locals are keen to share.
It is an area rich in history, with neolithic monuments, standing stones and ghostly abandoned villages. Kilmartin Glen and Knapdale boast standing stones and burial cairns, while Dunadd Fort was home to Gaelic Kings as far back as 500A. These are great places to explore and there's lots of information on the Heart of Argyll website to help you understand what you are seeing. The Dalriada area offers a wonderful exploration of history, biodiversity, archaeology and community.
Kilmartin Museum completes its multi-million-pound redevelopment in the Spring of 2023, making it the destination to learn more about local history, archaeology and ancient culture. Kilmartin Glen is the most internationally important archaeological landscape in mainland Scotland, Visit the museum, take a guided tour or just explore the walking trails through the ancient monuments including standing stones, henge, cists, burial chambers, cairns and cup and ring carved stone slabs.
The picturesque towns and villages also have a strong heritage. Tarbert, on Loch Fyne, is overlooked by Robert The Bruce's 14th-century castle. Tarbert Life is mapping the history of the village which makes for fascinating reading. The Egg Shed at the Ardrishaig end of the famous Crinan Canal showcases maritime and cultural history and Auchindrain near Inveraray is the most complete and well-preserved example of a Scottish Highland farm township.
Wildlife is abundant and there are many local experts who can help you discover rare habitats and spot wild beavers, red squirrels, pine marten and golden eagles. You can even explore the many bodies of water with Argyll's resident Merman, Dan the Merman.
Stay a wee while to enjoy traditional Scottish life, history and culture. There's so much to experience and so much to learn.
We've handpicked some adventures in science tourism below, and you can find more at Heart of Argyll.
The Heart of Argyll region includes a truly precious environment.
Waymarked trails in both Taynish and Moine Mhor National Nature Reserve, a mosaic of Marine Protected Areas and areas of SSSI and ancient woodland managed by The Woodland Trust combined with the walking and cycling trails throughout Forest and Land Scotland-managed forests plus the towpath of the Crinan Canal all provide opportunities for getting outside safely, exploring nature, having fun and enjoying the tranquillity of our landscape whatever your interests and abilities.
Discover Atlantic woodlands, rare temperate rainforest, its canopy dripping with epiphytes and forest floor swathed in moss, explore the official area for Scottish beaver re-introduction and their expanding eco-engineered wetlands linking freshwater lochs throughout their territory. Our coastal margins are varied with expansive areas of alder carr, salt marsh, tidal flats and fingers of rocky promontories, the knaps and dales, reaching into the sea, all creating micro-habitats. We are also home to one of Europe’s largest and most endangered of habitats, the raised peat bog at Moine Mhor (Great Moss). Sited at the foot of historic Kilmartin Glen, you can look out over 5,000 years of history within this ancient landscape.
The Argyll Hope Spot includes tidal races, deep water trenches just offshore, narrows, rocky islands and sheltered inlets, sand, shell or pebble beaches and is host to some of the world's most endangered species, above and below the waterline. Our marine biodiversity is second only to the remote Island of St Kilda in the UK and so much more accessible.
Deep diving species like Minke whales can be spotted from the shore as they take advantage of the marine trenches and tidal movements of the Sound of Jura.“Sea-wilding” is as important to us as the carefully orchestrated re-wilding of our protected landscape.
"Sea-wilding is as important to us as the carefully orchestrated re-wilding of our protected landscape."
The reintroduction of native oysters, sea grass and protective zones around Loch Craignish take advantage of and enhance our fragile coastal water habitats.
Open your senses to the natural world. See, hear, smell, taste and touch the Heart of Argyll.
All the iconic Scottish species are here. Red, fallow and sika deer, red squirrels, pine martens and badgers in the forests and woods along with wild beavers. Otters and white-tailed sea eagles, ospreys, peregrines, hen harriers, buzzards and owls hunt our coastal margins, rare butterflies, moths and dragonflies dance in the air. Common lizards, slow worms, grass snakes and adders bask in the sun. Seals, porpoises, dolphins, whales and basking sharks glide through our waters.
Throw in a spot of wildlife watching, photography, a touch of local history and folklore, archaeology, foraging, learning a new skill or contributing to a citizen science project you have all the ingredients for a perfect Wonder Seekers adventure.
At the end of the day, however you choose to spend it, you could be in for a surprise. Our western facing coast is renowned for colourful sunsets, so wherever you are as the sun dips below the horizon, remember to look up.