Taynuilt is a village in Argyll and Bute in the Highlands of Scotland. It's on the south shore of Loch Etive, at a point where the loch is pinched, so for centuries it was a ferry crossing. The ferry closed in 1966 when Connel Bridge downstream became the main route north. Taynuilt is set among scenic hills, but the main reasons to visit are two industrial sites: the 18th / 19th century ironworks, and 10 miles east is Cruachan power station deep within the mountain.
From central Scotland by car, follow A85 / A82 through Crianlarich and Tyndrum then west on A85 towards Oban. Citylink Bus 976 runs four times a day from Glasgow Buchanan Street via Tarbet & Arrochar and Inveraray to Taynuilt, taking 2 hours 40 min and continuing to Oban.
Trains from Glasgow Queen Street run up The West Highland Line via Dumbarton and Crianlarich to Taynuilt, taking 2 hours 45 min and continuing to Oban. They run every three hours or so M-Sat, with only three on Sunday.
The ironworks can be reached by foot, car or bicycle; a lane branches off A85 to run through the village. Buses and trains run along the valley but you really need a car to see Cruachan and the castle.
- 1 Bonawe Ironworks, Taynuilt PA35 1JQ. Apr-Sept W-F 09:30-17:30. This complex was built in 1753 to make pig iron, because the area had lots of water, and wood to make charcoal to fire the furnace. A major product was cannonballs. When more efficient blast furnaces opened in the lowlands, the works became unprofitable and closed in 1876. Adult £6.
- 2 Cruachan, Dalmally PA33 1AN (A85 five miles east of Taynuilt), ☏ . Apr-Oct M-F 09:30-16:30, Nov & Feb-Mar M-F 10:00-15:30, closed mid-Dec to Jan. Ben Cruachan is "the hollow mountain", with a hydro-electric power station deep inside. A weird experience where 20th century massive engineering meets Peer Gynt's "Hall of the Mountain King". Adult £7.50, conc £6.50, child £2.50.
- You can also hike to the dam above, or ascend Ben Cruachan (3694 feet / 1126 m).
- 3 Kilchurn Castle, Dalmally PA33 1AF (head of Loch Awe). Apr-Sept daily 09:30-17:00. Picturesque ruin of a four-storey tower, a redoubt of Clan Campbell. In 1760 it was wrecked by a massive thunderbolt, with a tower turret blown away to sit upside down in the courtyard. When first built around 1450 it was on a small island, but the loch water level was later drained so it became a peninsula - usually. High water levels occasionally flood the access path under the railway tracks and it returns to being an island. Free.
- Golf: Taynuilt Golf Club is a scenic 9 hole parkland course just north of the railway line; 9 holes £12, 18 holes £20.
- Taynuilt Highland Games are held annually in late July. The 2020 event was cancelled so the next are probably Sat 17 July 2021, tbc.
- Loch Etive is a sea loch almost 20 miles long. Its scenic upper reaches have no roads and can only be accessed by boat. Boat trips run in summer but these depart from Dunstaffnage marina near Oban; it may be possible to negotiate a pick-up in Taynuilt. Boat hire is available at TFC Boats just west of the village.
Smoked salmon from the smokehouse at Inverawe, east of the river, open daily 09:00-17:00.
Robin's Nest Tearoom on village Main Street serves freshly prepared lunches and homebaked cakes. It's open Th-Su 10:00-16:30.
- There's B&B at Brander Lodge on A85 east of the village, Ceo Mara Croft a mile west, and Tanglewood Lodge on B845 going south.
- Taynuilt Inn, Taynuilt PA35 1JN (by railway station), ☏ . 10 room old coaching inn, now under new ownership, does pub grub. B&B double £100.
- Several self-catering cottages, eg Bonawe House Cottages near the old furnace, and static caravan sites at Curacao in village centre and Loch Awe Holiday Park on A85 two miles east.