PLACES OF INTEREST IN KINTYRE
Campbeltown itself was originally named Ceann Loch Kilkerran (Head of the Loch by the Kirk of St Kieran). In the 17th century it was re-named Campbell’s Town, for the Duke of Argyll, Archibald Campbell. Boasting around 34 Distilleries at the turn of the 20th Century, it was an extremely affluent town, important for fishing, and with a coal mine at Machrihanish. In the year 1900, Campbeltown had the highest per capita income in the whole of the UK! With a population of c5000, it is the largest town in Kintyre.
There are several digital aids to assist you in finding your way around Campbeltown and the local area.
Explore Campbeltown website carries lots of information about the history of Campbeltown, a blog, a list of local businesses, and gives up to date details of What’s On. See more on: www.explorecampbeltown.com
Explore Kintyre and Gigha is a resource for the whole of the peninsula and is part of the Wild About Argyll website. It gives details of things to do and places to visit all over Kintyre and Gigha, and also introduces the new K66 route around the peninsula. Find more on: www.wildaboutargyll.co.uk/destinations/kintyre-and-gigha/
The Kintyre Forum is useful for connecting directly with others. It can be an aid for those interested in tracing their roots or history of the local area, or simply to find lost friends. One has to join the Forum, but there are several varying strands and themes within the website. See more on:
Discover Campbeltown is a new digital app, designed to help find your way around. With maps, Heritage info, Whisky memorabilia, trails, family quiz, scavenger hunt, and information, it is a modern one-stop-shop for Campbeltown. Find it in your app store, available for Android and iphone.
DIGITAL AIDS TO DISCOVERING
CAMPBELTOWN AND KINTYRE
Saddell was an important early Christian settlement. The Cistercian Abbey was founded in c1160 by Somerled, Lord of the Isles, a great warrior who wrested this area back from the Vikings. Also of note are the important life-size grave slabs in the distinctive Kintyre style.
While in Saddell take the opportunity to roam the glorious beach, past Saddell Castle. Famous as the beach in the ‘Mull of Kintyre’ video by Paul McCartney and Wings, it now boasts an Antony Gormley statue, staring enigmatically out to sea. Commissioned by the Landmark Trust, it guards one of their properties!
Carradale has a beautiful beach, and a quaint harbour. There is a woodland walk. Beyond lies the ferry terminal at Claonaig, for a half hour trip over to Lochranza, on the Isle of Arran (see timetable www.calmac.co.uk).
Skipness is next, a tiny seaside village with a ruined castle and chapel.
Further South, at Southend, Saint Columba reputedly left his footsteps in the stone rock, beside his Cave, as he landed in Kintyre on his pilgrimage from Ireland in 563AD. He continued North through Dalriada, and on to Iona, where he founded an abbey, to fulfil his mission. Unfortunately, the home baking at Muneroy Shop and Tearoom probably wasn't available then – but it is now and well worth a stop!
Nearby, the jutting Dunaverty Rock strategically commands the coast and has long been fortified. During its long history, the rock has many stories, but in 1306 the castle sheltered Robert the Bruce, and much later, in 1647, the fortification was razed to the ground by the Covenanting forces of General Leslie, when they massacred the defeated Royalist forces after a long siege and surrender.
Passing beautiful beaches, the road winds to the Mull of Kintyre, a great headland, with a lighthouse, now automated. Straight ahead is Northern Ireland, only 12.1 miles away – the USA is next stop!
To the right Islay, Jura and Gigha can be seen Achamore Gardens on the Isle of Gigha has walled and woodland gardens. They are celebrated for their rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and rare exotic plants. To the North lie beautiful beaches. Bike hire is available and there is also a 9 hole golf course.
Ferry available from Tayinloan see timetable www.calmac.co.uk
Finally, Tarbert, at the Northern tip of the peninsula, is Gaelic for isthmus or neck of land between two lochs. The village is located in such a land profile, between Loch Fyne and West Loch Tarbert, and legend has it that the Viking Warlord Magnus Barelegs', in a bid to sue for peace, was offered all of the Hebridean islands he could claim by occupation, which could be navigated by a ship with a set rudder. Gaining the nickname for his habit of wearing the local knee length tunic, he used a clever ploy to claim the fertile lands of Kintyre for his own. By sitting in a fishing skiff and holding the rudder firmly he was pulled across the isthmus on rollers, thus 'navigating' the 'island'.
Still a haven for seafarers, Tarbert hosts a thriving marina and working harbour, with the busy wharf alive with shellfish and other seafood, which is regularly transported as far as Spain in refrigerated lorries. In May the village is alive with 200 visiting yachts for the Bell Lawrie Scottish Series Yacht
Race, and in July the lively Seafood Festival takes over the harbour, with stalls, a fair, and plenty more, including cookery demonstrations by both local and nationally acclaimed chefs. With the ruins of Robert the Bruce's Castle, a number of shops, local jewellers, artists and a gallery, this picturesque fishing village is not to be missed.