Ten Things You Can Do to have a More Sustainable Holiday

Make your trip to Argyll and the isles memorable and minimise your impact on the environment with these ten tips to having a more sustainable holiday.

Choosing a sustainable location for your holiday and arriving by public transport are two really positive things you can do to make your holiday more sustainable and ultimately be a more sustainable tourist. So, staycations in Scotland are definitely a win! The fact that you can get to both Dunoon and Oban, where our cruises depart from, by public transport (Scotrail, Megabus, Western and Calmac ferries all serve the harbours) means you can sit back and relax, and count the saved carbon compared to driving.

Sustainable holiday, sustainable tourism

If you are planning a few nights in Argyll, or a longer stay in bonny Scotland, alongside a magical cruise aboard Splendour, here are some helpful tips to get you started on a more sustainable journey.

1. Stay local

If you are looking for accommodation before and after a cruise try to stay local. We love the local B&Bs, glamping sites and bothies dotted around Dunoon and across the Cowal. Evanachan Farm’s shepherd hut overlooking Loch Fyne was handmade out of locally grown timber and the farm is committed to rewilding. 

2. Visit locations, wildlife centres and experiences championing the environment

There are plenty of places where you can learn more about the natural environment in Argyll and our relationship with it. At the Coast Centre in Arran you can learn about how the no take zone in Lamlash Bay is protecting the rare maerl beds and underwater ecosystem. Visit Knapdale and the Argyll Beaver Centre where you can learn about the reintroduction of the beavers, who are a keystone species, and find out more about how they contribute to natural flood management. Or you can take in the Ark above Tighnabruaich, which was constructed from local larch ahead of COP26 in Glasgow. The views down the Kyles of Bute are wonderful on a clear day.

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3. Explore the great outdoors

As well as booking a few extra days for your holiday so you can detour and take the famous West Highland Railway, a positive step you can take is getting active and traveling under your own steam. Walkers can explore the nearby Loch Lomond and Cowal Way, and we also love the Kintyre Way – especially if we can stop for seafood in Skipness! Paddlers can explore the Sea Kayak Trail across Argyll. If you are looking for guided tours and kayaking courses Argyll and Bute Seakayak  often explore the beautiful burnt islands around Colintraive and the idyllic Carry Farm in Tighnabruaich has a sailing school for young and old sailors alike (where Skipper Ted learnt to sail).

4. Visit national parks or nature reserves

You will be spoilt for choice choosing between national parks, nature reserves and community owned woodlands during a visit to Argyll. Near Dunoon you can decide between locations in the Argyll Forest Park, which is part of the Loch Lomond and Trossacks National Park; community owned woodlands like the Kilfinan Community Forest or Cormonachan Community Woodlands, and Glenan Woods, which is a fantastic example of a temperate rainforest with ancient mosses, oak trees and a bit of magic when there are outdoor art installations. Nearer to Oban you can choose to visit Moine Mhor Nature reserve, an important peat bog, and the ever popular Taynish Nature reserve. Bird watchers will love RSPB Inversnaid, and if you are lucky enough to be spending time in the Outer Hebrides the Machair of North Uist at Balranald is a special place where you might be able to hear the elusive Corncrake. 

5. Shop local and buy preloved

Whether you are looking for a new waterproof or for some sustaining snacks on your travels, shopping local is a really powerful way of supporting the local community. If you are looking for new waterproofs, Outside Edge in Oban is a great place to shop for outdoor gear. Or, if you will only use items occasionally on your holidays, you might like to check out Reskinned who sell preloved Finisterre and Seasalt coats. If you are searching for snacks and delicious locally grown produce, you can stock up at the Ecostore in Dunoon or Millstone Wholefoods Oban.  Taste of Argyll and Food from Argyll at the Pier in Oban are also lovely places to pick up a souvenir or two – if they make it all the way home without being eaten…

6. Bring a reusable water bottle and travel mug

Don’t forget to pack a water bottle and coffee cup to reduce single use plastics on your travels. Bonus, you will probably also get discounts on your hot drinks! We love Circular and Co who recycle plastic waste in Cornwall into coffee cups and have a new travel mug

7. Ask for the catch of the day

At the fish and chip shop or in restaurants take a look at what the catch of the day is. This means your fish is most likely from the pier nearby as opposed to from the freezer drawer. You will be surprised how delicious different types of battered fish are, and don’t forget to check the Good Fish Guide for any endangered species or download the app to take with you on your travels. Or if you love oysters and mussels, these are normally carbon neutral or negative as they sequester carbon as they grow!

8. Eat the whole animal (if you eat meat)

Food waste is something we can all minimise to be more sustainable and reduce our carbon footprints. So good news, that means haggis is both a delicious dish and a more sustainable option because it contains lamb offal!

9. Look for environmental standards and sustainability schemes

Whether you are booking accommodation, choosing a place to eat dinner or finding a fun place for an adventure, look out for respected standards and schemes like a Green Tourism award, the Green Key or businesses who are Bcorps. You can find inspiration for your next adventure on the Wild Scotland website. One of our absolute favourite places to celebrate a special occasion is Inver restaurant nestled on the shore of Loch Fyne opposite a stunning castle, which has a coveted green Michelen star. As you watch the sun set, you might find Gigha Halibut and seaweed foraged from the shoreline at Strathlachan on the menu, alongside organic wines, homebrewed kombucha and elderflower presse.

10. Leave no trace

When it is time to pack up the tent or picnic and depart for your journey home, the most important thing you can do is check for any errant litter and evidence that you have visited. Most of the plastics that end up in the oceans are actually blown off the land. The Scottish Outdoor Access code and the Scottish Marine Wildlife Watching code are really practical websites which help you ensure that you leave the place how you found it and you don’t disturb any wildlife without meaning to. During seal pupping season and the nesting season for shore birds, you will often see signs around asking you to keep your dogs on leads.

Finally, don’t forget to share what you have learned about more sustainable holidays with family and friends. They might have a spare travel cup or great recommendation for your next trip too!

We hope to see you soon, and please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team if you want some recommendations to make your trip to Dunoon or Oban even more magical.