It is no doubt a cause of regret for many Scottish football fans that their homeland has never hosted a World Cup. However, in 2008 the tiny village of Strachur on the east shore of Loch Fyne provided some consolation when it acted as the venue for the Swamp Soccer World Championships. This deliciously messy sport, which originated in Finland, is played out on a muddy field by two teams of six, and these teams can be made up of all men, all women, or a mixture of the two. It has its own set of rules distinct from the normal version of soccer, for example the offside rule does not apply, and numerous substitutions are allowed. As a matter of fact, Strachur was not the first place in Scotland to host the tournament: it was held in Dunoon two years earlier. The village of Strachur is a short distance inland from the shore, and includes the attractive Strachur Parish Church, which dates from the 18th century, although there are carved grave slabs from a much earlier time built into the wall. The church stands within a raised oval churchyard. The village also has a Smiddy Museum and craft shop which recalls the role of the village blacksmiths in local life. Meanwhile, back on the shore there is an inn offering accommodation and wonderful views across the loch towards Inveraray. A few miles further down the shore of the loch is Castle Lachlan, seat of the Clan Maclachlan. The castle is a beautiful baronial house in an extensive estate, and it offers accommodation and can be used for weddings.
Map of the area.
© 2006 William Craig, via Wikimedia Commons