Things to do and see...
Campbeltown itself is dominated by the famous Loch and its working harbour.
Visitors can while away some time just taking in the busy scene at the pier. Don't
miss the opportunity to visit the Lifeboat and RNLI shop, and the Tourist
Information Centre, both on the pier.
|Nearby, past the Town Cross in its pleasant garden, is the Art Nouveau and Art Deco Cinema, built c1913, and universally known as 'The Wee Pictures' (as opposed to the 'Big Pictures' – the Rex Cinema - which used to lie further along the front). This is the oldest working cinema in Scotland. It is currently being refurbished, but still shows films every night but Friday.
|The Heritage Centre, on the route to Machrihanish, provides a very interesting and graphic representation of past life in the town, as well as information on local geology and wildlife. There is also a Museum on Hall Street, just along from the Wee Pictures. The newly opened Aqualibrium Centre combines a 25m swimming pool with a well-stocked gym, Library and upstairs Café. The varied shops and impressive architecture of the town make for an enjoyable stroll.
Both Campbeltown and the Kintyre Peninsula have much to offer, whether your choice is simply to admire the scenery and enjoy the scrumptious food, or perhaps you are keen to participate in some of the exciting leisure pursuits on offer...
Kintyre is a quiet haven for golf enthusiasts. A championship course that is not absolutely mobbed with visitors? Look no farther than ten minutes from the hotel! Machrihanish Golf Club: a renowned links course with, reputedly, the world's finest first hole, a drive across the Atlantic Ocean. The views are spectacular and the beautifully kept course is a pleasure. Ranked 84th in the World Top 100 golf Courses (and also Best Value British Course), it is also ranked 37 in Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Courses for 2010. Residents of this hotel benefit from a 10% discount on Green Fees. There is also a good value nine hole course, The Pans Course, suitable for children or family play www.machgolf.com Tel: 01586 810277
Machrihanish Dunes Golf Club lies immediately to the North of Machrihanish, along the same set of dunes. Completed in 2009, this challenging links course boasts a number of tees and greens adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean. The only course to be built on a Site of Special Scientific Interest, considerable difficulties were faced by the Course Architect, David McLay Kidd and his team, but the results have been worth it. It is ranked 91 in Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Courses for 2010. www.thewaygolfbegan.com.
Tel: 01586 810000
|Across the Mull of Kintyre, a mere 25 minutes South from the Hotel, lies Dunaverty GC, a peaceful natural links course with panoramic views of Sanda Island, Ailsa Craig and the Northern Irish coastline. This course offers the golfer a testing challenge, with ample opportunity to spot wildlife, such as sea otter and other flora and fauna. It is also tremendous value for money, always beautifully kept, and with friendly people. www.dunavertygolfclub.com
Tel: 01586 830677
Farther afield, Carradale GC, North East of Cambeltown, is a nine hole course, offering the golfer everything from a challenge to a scenic feast for the eyes. SSS 64, the short course is very welcoming to children, it being possible for the whole family to play together. However, watch your ball – as there are wild goats on this course! www.carradalegolfclub.co.uk
Tarbert Golf Club, at the neck of the peninsula, is another scenic nine hole parkland and woodland course, with some testing holes. Known as 'The Dookers' by Campbeltonians, due to its low-lying holes being prone to flooding! The views over West Loch Tarbert are spectacular. Tel: (01880) 820565
Also accessible by nearby ferry, the islands of Gigha, Islay and Arran all have golf courses to enjoy.
For the youngsters, or those still learning, there is a pitch and putt course on the Esplanade, on the opposite side of Campbeltown Loch to the hotel!
- Gigha boasts a nine hole course, par 65, for only £15 per day ticket. (01586 505242)
- Islay has the more challenging Machrie Golf Links, a classic natural links course completed in 1891.
- On Arran, there are seven courses, all with different characteristics:
- Lochranza Golf Club (01770 830 273)
- Lamlash GC (01770 600 296)
- Machrie Bay GC (01770 840 213)
- Shiskine G&TC (01770 860 226)
- Whiting Bay GC (01770 700 775)
- Brodick GC (01770 302 394)
- Corrie GC (01770 810 223)
Campbeltown is a must-visit for the whisky enthusiast, being one of the four major production areas, the others being Highland, Lowland and Islay. Each region's characteristics are captured from the soil through which the spring water flows, as well as the method of drying the malted barley (ie with or without peat) before being transformed into the water of life – Uisge Beatha.
Springbank, run by J&A Mitchell and Co Ltd , through descendants of the original owners, is one of only three survivors of a reputed 34 distilleries producing in the town in the 1900s. Winning the accolade 'Whisky Distillers of the Year 2010'. In production since 1828, Single Malt brands include Springbank 10, 15 and 18 year olds; Longrow and the unpeated Hazelburn which are both named in honour of former Distilleries in the town. All brands are bottled at various ages and in a variety of hogsheads such as Bourbon, Sauternes, Shiraz etc, as well as many other Wood expressions - and a variety of blends under the banner - Campbeltown Loch. Springbank Distillery is unique in many respects, still hand malting and controlling all aspects of the production process on the one site, including bottling. However, Mitchell's, as well as being the owners of the oldest Distillery in Campbeltown, are now also responsible for the newest, having re-opened the Old Glengyle Distillery, on its original site, in March 2004. The first bottling of the new single malt Kilkerran - A Work in Progress is now on sale.
|Springbank welcomes visitors by appointment. Contact www.springbankdistillers.com to discover more about the Springbank Society, distillery visits and more...Or visit Cadenheads Whisky Shop, in Longrow to check in for Distillery visits and buy from a huge range of Malt Whisky and other spirits...
Glen Scotia is the third Campbeltown Distillery, owned by Loch Lomond Distillery, it is reputedly haunted at night by the spectre of a previous owner who drowned himself in Campbeltown Loch. There are a number of expressions of the Glen Scotia single malt brand: a 12 year old, and peated versions quietly maturing.
The recently completed Kintyre Way offers an opportunity to explore the Kintyre Peninsula from coast to coast and North to South for a total of some 103 miles. Newly created paths, many from areas previously closed to the public, offer everything from a gentle ramble to a serious hike or hillwalk. The distinctive blue posts mark the way, which runs from Tarbert to Southend with spurs from side to side. See www.kintyreway.com
Mull of Kintyre Lighthouse also offers a challenging walk, as well as wonderful scenic views – both en route by car, and during the trek. From the car park, high on the craggy hill, the path down meanders to the Lighthouse itself, now fully automatic and unmanned. The challenge is in the return journey – but the feeling of standing on the edge of the world is worth it! The view to your left is Northern Ireland, only 12.1 miles away, then traverse right and you can see Islay, Jura and Gigha on a good day.
Davaar Island can be reached at low water by a shingle causeway called the Doirlinn. Tide times can be checked at the hotel or Tourist Information Centre. Suitable footwear should be worn, as the rocky island is not sandal-friendly! A traverse across the rocks to the seventh cave will reveal a cave painting of the Crucifixion, painted by local teacher Archibald MacKinnon in 1887, who reputedly followed directions shown to him in a dream. Davaar is also noted for its herd of wild goats, and a lighthouse protecting the shipping lane to the North.
The Mull of Kintyre Half Marathon and 10K runs are held annually in May (2012 in June as Spring bank holiday moving for Queen's Jubilee), see www.mokrun.com. The 10K race is mainly very flat and is held around Campbeltown Loch, while the half marathon goes farther afield, taking in a kilometre of the sandy Westport Beach – home to the rolling Atlantic surf. In 2006, around 300 people from all over the UK participated, by 2011 the field had increased to 700. The event has been voted Best UK Half Marathon by 'Runners World' voters. There are opportunities to run for charity, and other convivial events take place over the weekend. One runner's favoured memory was the lone piper encouraging runners at the head of the beach!
Running / jogging for pleasure
A number of suitable routes for running / jogging exist around the hotel. Some examples are:
The town and surrounding area offer many other opportunities for running, with miles of white sandy beaches to choose from.
- Route 1 - from the hotel to MacCringan's Point, opposite Davaar Island (road, path, beach and back;
- Route 2 - circling Campbeltown Loch and return (road, grass and back);
- Route 3 - stretches along the High Street, then around past Tesco and the Co-op, across Kinloch Green and back (partly circular route, road, grass, road).
Cycling / Mountain Biking
The quiet and scenic coastal roads offer the cyclist a peaceful journey from place to place, while there are plenty of 'off-road' opportunities – such as the Trans-Kintyre 12 mile route between Ballochgair and Corputechan. Often the hilly forestry roads provide a challenging cycle route, while some sections of the Kintyre Way are viable for cyclists. Bheinn Ghuilean (the high point opposite the hotel) boasts some interesting and sometimes intimidating Mountain Biking routes.
Horse Riding / Pony Trekking
Alternatively, Ileene Duncan at Highland Horse Riding, Tarbert, offers her Highland Ponies for hacking and trekking over open hills, native woodland and farm tracks. 1:1 or small groups only; Min age 8 years; open seasonally Easter to end October. Contact tel: 01880 820583/820333. www.highlandhorseriding.com
The unspoilt countryside, woodland trails and quiet roads and beaches of Kintyre offer boundless opportunities for horse riding or pony trekking. Visitors can try their hand at beach trekking, on one of Claire Peters' eight cob type horses, at nearby Crosshill Training and Trekking in Peninver. Contact Claire on 01586 551791.
Fly Fishing is good sport on either Loch or river in Kintyre. For those of you who are hooked (sorry!) why not try for Brown Trout at Lochs Auchalochy and Ruan, Rainbow Trout at Lussa Loch, or Pike (any legal method), which has now been introduced at Crosshill Loch, to the detriment of the Brown Trout. The Conieglen River is fly only, except when the river is in spate. Anglers have a good chance of Salmon or Sea Trout, particularly after rain. Permits are available from Kintyre Angling Club (email email@example.com) and can be purchased at The Hardware Shop on Longrow.
Salmon and Sea Trout also inhabit the Carradale River, to the North East of Craigard. Details and Permit prices on request from Semple's Garage in Carradale, Tel: 01583 431 209.
It may be possible to offer fly fishing tuition, as I have found a contact in the town. Email Lori and I will try to put you together!
To the East of Campbeltown, The Kilbrannan Sound and The Firth of Clyde offer the options of cruises to Arran, Bute, and The Cumbraes in addition to the Mainland.
The sheltered bay of Campbeltown Loch offers a haven for yachtsmen. With many facilities available, including pier and pontoon in the harbour, or mooring beside the Craigard House Hotel to choose from, there is no excuse to bypass this vibrant seafaring centre. Visitors to Campbeltown are in an ideal position to make onward journeys to Rathlin Island and the Antrim Coast of Northern Ireland; the Southern Hebridean Islands of Cara, Gigha, Islay, Jura and Colonsay, and, not for the faint-hearted, perhaps negotiate the infamous Corryvreckan. The picturesque Crinan Canal links the Atlantic Ocean with Loch Gilp at the head of Loch Fyne.
Mull of Kintyre Sea Tours contact Mike Taylor, www.mull-of-kintyre-co.ukoffer a variety of trips around the Kintyre coast from Campbeltown, in the latest design of rigid inflatable boat (RIB). There are superb opportunities to see the coastline and the varied wildlife in this exciting two hour trip.
Sanda Island has now been bought and the accommodation and pub/restaurant has been refurbished. It was open for summer 2011, but is now closed until 25 March 2012. For trips to the Island, see the Sanda Island shop in Kirk Street, off Main Street or email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Tayinloan Ferry - Cross to Gigha on the ferry from Tayinloan. Achamore Gardens, a golf course, bike trips and more... Daily – various trips seewww.calmac.co.uk/timetablesand look for Gigha Kintyre Express - Cross to Ballycastle in Northern Island, or Troon, Ayrshire on the Kintyre Express Passenger Ferry – an enclosed Fast Rib – www.kintyreexpress.com
Both Westport and Machrihanish beaches offer exceptional surfing opportunities to ride those Atlantic rollers (West facing) - with Southend beach (South facing) also coming into its own in the right wind and weather conditions.
Windsurfing takes place in various places around the coast of Kintyre, particularly Westport and Machrihanish if conditions are favourable, with Campbeltown Loch offering a wide and sheltered bay, close to the hotel.
Loch Fyne Dive Charters, based in Tarbert, caters for diving parties in the unspoilt waters of Loch Fyne, and also pleasure and educational trips as far as Arran and Bute. Contact Malcolm Goodchild. www.fyne-diving.co.uk
Ornithology and Wildlife
The coastline around Campbeltown abounds with Oystercatchers and Herons, while wintering ducks and waders are a common sight, as are the Arctic and Common Tern. Other seabirds can be viewed from the Machrihanish Seabird Observatory at Usead Point, with the nearby Gauldrens offering a great walk and a vantage point for a variety of wildlife.
Birds spotted in our garden recently include Robin, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Sparrow, Dunnock, Pied Wagtail, Siskine, Bluetit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Collared Dove, Songthrush, Swallow, Jackdaw, Hooded Crow. Oystercatchers and Herons are always around the shore in front of the hotel, as is a family of Swans adapted to sea water.
There is an excellent chance of spotting basking seals in the small bay beyond the Golf Course at Machrihanish. You may even be lucky enough to spot an elusive sea otter.
Sanda Island Bird Observatory is noted for its colonies of Manx Shearwater, Storm Petrel, Guillemots, Razorbill, Puffin, Gannets, Shag and Gulls. Boat trips are available, when you also have a good chance of spotting dolphin, porpoise, Basking Shark, Minke or Pilot Whale.
The whole of Campbeltown is enthusiastic about the four-day music festival on 4th weekend in August. A number of gigs are free, and all are very good value. Every venue is filled to capacity, with halls, hotels and pubs utilising every space available. Street fairs and parades, live concerts, open mic sessions, fiddle and guitar tuition, discos, folk nights, pipe and brass bands and the ever popular Festival Ceilidh offer a grand programme, with events for everyone.
For your information Kintyre Schools Pipe Band are the current British, European and World Champions, and Band of Bands at the last competition of the 2011 season!
We hope you find something interesting to do or see in Kintyre. If you need any help or advice on local activities – please just ask...