Gigha (Gaelic: Giogha) is a small island 3 miles off the west coast of Argyll in Scotland. The name is probably from Norse Guðey, “god’s island” or “good island”. It’s about 6 miles long north-south by 1½ miles wide. The main attraction is Achamore Gardens.
A small roro Calmac ferry plies between Tayinloan on the mainland to Gigha, taking 15 min. This sails daily year-round, hourly; April-Oct it’s 09:00-18:00 and Nov-March until around 16:00. Return fares are £16 for a car and £5.60 per adult including the driver (Dec 2019).
Gigha's main settlement of 1 Ardminish straggles along the lane south of the ferry pier.
The mainland pier at 1 Tayinloan is half a mile off the A83 to Campbeltown. The usual approach is via Loch Lomond, Inveraray, Lochgilphead and Tarbert, maybe three hours from Glasgow. Another route is by ferry from Ardrossan to Brodick on the Isle of Arran, then a smaller ferry from Lochranza to Claonaig south of Tarbert, then A83. (Satnav users beware: "Tarbert / Tarbet" is a common Scottish place-name, there's even one on Gigha.) You can leave your car in the free car-park at Tayinloan, but Gigha is just about big enough to be worth bringing a car.
Scottish Citylink Bus 926 runs 4 or 5 times daily from Glasgow Buchanan station to Tayinloan (3 hr 30 min) on its way to Campbeltown. The route is via Dumbarton, Tarbet on Loch Lomond, Inveraray, Lochgilphead, Tarbert (Loch Fyne) and Kennacraig (for ferries to Islay). One bus a day runs via Glasgow Airport. Booking is recommended, as this is a busy route connecting with several ferries.
On school days there are a couple of extra runs along A83 by West Coast Bus 449 from Lochgilphead via Tarbert, Kennacraig, Tayinloan and Muasdale to Campbeltown.
On foot, or hire a bike to see the north end.
- Prehistoric remains: there are several standing stones, cairns and duns on the island. The most striking is the Ogham stone near Kilchattan. It’s badly weathered and the inscription can’t be deciphered.
- Achamore House & Gardens (on an elevated site in the centre of the island of Gigha). The house, a venerable mansion which has been run as a B&B, is closed and for sale as of June 2019. However in summer you can still see the gardens, open daily 08:00-18:00. The mild climate allows species from Australia, New Zealand and the Andes to thrive here.
- Wildlife includes guillemot and eider. Lots of other ducks, grouse and pheasant, but seldom geese. Gigha lacks many mainland mammals, such as deer, weasels or hares, a bonus for the nesting birds.
- Ireland! Climb the highest hill Creag Bhàn (100 m) on a clear day, and Rathlin Island and the hills of Ulster can be seen to the southwest.
- Other small, uninhabited islands close to Gigha are Gigalum then Cara to the south, and Craro to the west. Islay and Jura are prominent to the west.
- 1 Gigha Hotel (near the ferry pier at Ardminish.). Open through summer,. Hotel with restaurant. They also run two self-catering cottages.
- Springbank B&B (opposite Achamore House), ☏ . 3-room B&B.
Back to the mainland it must be.