Kintyre is a special and quiet place, semi-detached from the rest of Scotland. Located on the West of Scotland it is almost an island but not quite. Kintyre is actually a peninsula joined to the mainland by a short, one mile (1.5km) stretch of land at Tarbert. The peninsula is about forty miles (64K) in length and eight miles (13K) wide. The name ‘Kintyre’ is derived from the Gaelic ‘ceann tire’ which means ‘at the head of the land’. Place names in the area reflect the various waves of people movements, principally the Gaels (from Ireland) and Vikings (from Norway). The area can be accessed by:
Catswhiskerstours works with guests to arrange and deliver customised tours. The information below is provided to assist guests determine priorities and focus.
The following summary follows a clockwise tour, starting with the east coast and concluding with a journey up the west coast. Tarbert Located at the northern tip, Tarbert is the gateway to Kintyre. This is a quaint fishing village (population about 1300) which also hosts visiting yachts. At Tarbert there is a Heritage Centre and a ruined castle dating from the 15th century. Skipness Castle Situated just south of Tarbert can be found the ruined Skipness Castle which dates from between the thirteenth-sixteenth centuries. Kilbrannan Chapel Located close to Skipness Castle is Kilbrannan Chapel which is dedicated to St. Brendan and dates from the late 13th century. Carradale About half way down the peninsula on the eastern side is the fishing village (pop about 400) of Carradale, a name of Norse origin. This village is a good spot to relax and enjoy facilities such as walking, golf, water sports, fishing and perhaps a visit to the interesting garden at Carradale House. Other places of interest include a Heritage Centre, castle, iron-age hill fort and sandy beach. Saddell Abbey South of Carradale can be found Saddell Abbey, another name of Norse origin. The building of Saddell Abbey commenced about AD1148 with monks brought in from Mellifont in Ireland to take up the Cistercian life of physical hardship and self-denial. Historically, Saddell Abbey had close connections with Clan Donald and declined in tandem with the demise of the MacDonalds. This abbey is famous for its collection of late medieval grave markers. Saddell Castle This is a four storey Tower House dating from 1512 which was built as a residence for the Bishop of Argyll. Subsequently, the building was closely connected with Clan Campbell. In the 1970s it was rescued from dereliction and converted to self-catering holiday accommodation. Saddell Iron Age Hill Fort Overlooking Saddell Bay and on a summit within Pluck Wood can be found the Hill Fort which probably dates to about 500BC.
Kildonan Galleried Dun Located south of Saddell can be found the Galleried Dun (small fort). Kildonan features a galleried wall to provide maximum stability and evidences considerable architectural skill of the builders. This building probably dates from the Iron Age and may represent a link in building tradition with brochs. Kilchousland Chapel Just north of Campbeltown can be found the medieval chapel of Kilchousland, the earliest part of which dates from the 12th century. Campbeltown: Founded in 1609 and now with a population of about 6000, Campbeltown is home to about half the entire population of Kintyre. This is a peaceful town which has suffered from the demise of traditional industries such as coal- mining, fishing, boat building and whisky distilling. Tourism is hampered by absence of a direct ferry link. However, the town boasts some interesting architecture dating from the 19th century era of prosperity, a whisky distillery, various craft shops and nearby Machrahanish Golf Club. Kilkivan Chapel Located close to Machrahanish and, with views of nearby Islay and Jura, is the ruined medieval chapel of Kilkivan which contains some interesting carved, medieval grave slabs Mull of Kintyre Best known through the connection with Paul McCartney’s 1977 hit single, the Mull of Kintyre is located south of Campbeltown and comprises the headland on the south-west tip of the Kintyre peninsula. Killean On the West Coast can be found the important medieval parish church of Killean which benefited from the patronage of the Lords of the Isles. Although now a sad ruin, it is still possible to identify traces of the high quality design reflecting the wealth and power of the MacDonald benefactors. In the vault can be found a collection of late medieval grave slabs. Clachan On the North West coast can be found the village of Clachan whose churchyard contains a collection of early medieval graveslabs. Gigha This is an island situated some three miles (4.8KM) off the West Coast. The name is Norse and translates as ‘cleft island’. Gigha is reached via a 20 minute ferry journey from Tayinloan.This is a tranquil place offering, sparkling seas, silver sands, rocky coves, superb views, walks, Achmore Gardens (rhododendrons, azaleas and tropical shrubs), wildlife (otters and dolphins), golf, places to eat and alternative health therapy.
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Tel: 44 (0) 141 638 5500
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