Scotlands hidden gem

Kintyre

Amazing locations

  • Peace and quiet of Carradale
  • More facilities in Campbeltown

Either of our gorgeous accommodations allows you to explore Kintyre in the style and comfort you want. Cuilidh in Carradale offers a central, picturesque location from which you can organise your exploratory trips around Kintyre. 

Thirty minutes apart by car, Gowanlea in Campbeltown offers you a similar exploratory capability from the southern end of Kintyre, giving you a hearty breakfast to start the day and the facilities of town close to hand.

Local attractions

There’s quite literally too much to fit into one page, suffice to say Kintyre has been well renowned in the past for its natural beauty and historic importance. The Victorians raved about the whisky and recuperative spring waters from Campbeltown and came to visit in their droves. Tourism is experiencing a come back now, click the headers above to learn why.

Click on the photos to learn more about Kintyre

Golf in Kintyre

Kintyre boasts amazing scenery and one of the best pastimes to appreciate that is through Golfing. With no less than 5 golf courses to choose from and fore (sorry, four) on the peninsula itself, you’ll have enough to keep you busy!


Local to Cuildh self-catering in Carradale and thirty minutes from Gowanlea in Campbeltown:

Carradale Golf Course

… with stunning panoramas across the Kilbrannan Sound to Arran, Ailsa Craig and on a good day to Ayrshire, their nine-hole golf course has something for every ability – and presents enough of a challenge for even the most experienced players.
Website: http://www.carradalegolf.com/
Tel: 01583 431 393
Email: [email protected]


Approximately 45 minutes’ drive from Cuilidh self-catering in Carradale and 15 minutes from Gowanlea in Campbeltown:

Machrihanish Golf Course

A historic golf course fully recovered from a recent fire and offers both an 18 hole and a 9 hole course. The 18 hole championship course has an exceptional first hole and they offer amazing views of the Isles of Jura, Islay and Gigha.

Website: https://www.machgolf.com/
Tel: 01586 810213
Email: [email protected]

Dunaverty Golf Course

The course is a fine par 66 18 hole with fine views of Sanda Island, Ailsa Craig, Ayrshire and even Northern Ireland! It’s situated near Southend which itself has a glorious beach and there are loads of things to occupy any non-golfers.

Website: http://www.dunavertygolfclub.com/
Tel: 01586 830677
Email: [email protected]


Approximately 50 minutes from both Cuilidh self-catering in Carradale and Gowanlea in Campbeltown:

Tarbert Golf Course

This is a nine-hole golf course you may have passed on your way down the A83 to Carradale or Campbeltown! This nine-hole course, established on this site in 1924, is attractively situated on the shores of West Loch, Tarbert. 

Website: http://www.tarbertgolfclub.com/
Tel: 01880 820565
Email: [email protected]


About an hour + from Cuilidh self-catering in Carradale and Gowanlea in Campbeltown:

Isle of Gigha

Gigha’s lovely little 9-hole golf course offers you the most wonderful panoramic views of the island and mainland.. Get the ferry over to Gigha which will take about 20 minutes from Tayinloan, no booking required. Tayinloan is approximately 40 minutes’ drive from Cuilidh self-catering in Carradale and about the same from Gowanlea in Campbeltown.

Website: http://www.gigha.org.uk/viewItem.php?id=8908&sectionTitle=Attractions
Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust: 01583 505390
The contact form on site.
Ferry information: https://www.calmac.co.uk/article/2129/Gigha

Whisky & Gin Distilleries, and a brewery or two!

The whisky distilleries listed first are all in Campbeltown only a few minutes from Gowanlea, Campbeltown. To drive from Cuilidh self-catering in Carradale would take about 30 minutes. Vice versa for the Gin Distillery which is closer to Carradale. All of them offer tours and tastings at various times so we'd urge you to contact them first before setting out. Lastly, we include the Isle of Arran distillery and brewery which requires ferry travel.


Mitchells Glengyle Distillery

Producing Kilkerran single malt.

Recently re-opened and with a fantastic history, tours are available twice a day Monday to Saturday and if you ask, they might be able to help with a group on a Sunday

Mitchell’s Glengyle Ltd.
9 Bolgam Street
Campbeltown
PA28 6HZ

Tel: 01586 551710
https://kilkerran.scot


Springbank Distillery

Sharing the same office as Mitchell’s and a lot of history together (but separate!) Springbank was established in 1828 on the site of Archibald Mitchell’s illicit still. Offering multiple tours and tasting options including a four hour guided walk through Campbeltown, you’re certain to find an option to suit your timings and budget.

Springbank Distillers Ltd
9 Bolgam Street
Campbeltown
PA28 6HZ

Tel: 01586 552009
http://springbank.scot/


Glen Scotia Distillery

Glen Scotia is perhaps the most corporate of the distilleries being owned by the Loch Lomond Group, they offer a wide range of interesting tours and tastings for a variety of fees.

Glen Scotia Distillery
12 High Street
Campbeltown
PA28 6DS

Tel: 01586 552 288

[email protected]
https://www.glenscotia.com


Beinn an Tuirc Distillery

Produces Kintyre Gin
...and occupies a former piggery building located on Torrisdale Castle Estate in Kintyre, Scotland. Tours are offered that last around an hour.

Torrisdale Castle is 10 minutes from Cuilidh self-catering in Carradale and about 25/30 minutes’ drive from Gowanlea in Campbeltown.

Lephincorrach Farm
Torrisdale
Carradale
PA28 6QT

Tel: 01583 431 528
[email protected]
https://www.kintyregin.com/


Fyne Ales

Okay, not a distillery at all but a brewery that produces one of my personal favourite ales, Jarl! You'll pass it on the way here if you go via Loch Fyne and the Rest and Be Thankful, and if you missed it go on the way back home. 

Fyne Ales,
Achadunan,
Cairndow,
Argyll,
PA26 8BJ

[email protected]
https://fyneales.com

Tel: 01499 600120


FERRY TRAVEL REQUIRED

To get there from Kintyre you can take the car across on the Claonaig Lochranza ferry service run by Calmac ferries.

Isle of Arran Distillery

The award-winning Isle of Arran distillery is not to be missed just a short drive from the Lochranza ferry point. They offer tours, tastings and intriguing chocolate pairings! 

Isle of Arran Distillers Ltd,
Lochranza,
The Isle of Arran,
KA27 8HJ

Tel: 01770 830264
[email protected]
https://www.arranwhisky.com


Isle of Arran Brewery

Brewing a selection of craft beers for over a decade the visitor centre was recently built to satisfy demand! Worth a visit to walk through the brewing process, maybe get a bottle or two of Blonde, yum!

Isle of Arran Brewery
Near Cladach
Isle of Arran

Tel: 01770 302353
https://www.arranbrewery.co.uk/

Kintyre has a marvellous history with settlements before the early AD’s at least.

Megalithic Stones!

The Ballochroy Stones are a fantastic megalithic monument with various theories around their use. The most common theory being that of marking the Solstices.
https://goo.gl/maps/CxUf9imCoDGWBCD1A
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballochroy

A solitary menhir is at Avinagillan just off the B8024 road: https://www.britainexpress.com/scotland/Strathclyde/ancient/avinagillan.htm

Machrie Moor Stones

And for a fab day trip to the Isle of Arran, you can’t go wrong with a visit to the Machrie Moor Stone Circles. Seven of them!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machrie_Moor_Stone_Circles


Moving closer to the present ever so slightly, two Duns (hill fort sites) are worth a visit.

Kildonan Dun near Saddell https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saddell#Kildonan_Dun and Dun Skeig https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dun_Skeig
We’ll come back to Saddell later in the timeline...


As we’re now understanding, Kintyre was home to many people and for a time it was part of the Scoti Kingdom of Dalriada (Dál Riata). Kintyre has been occupied by the Irish, the Picts, the Scoti, the Vikings and, well, now everyone is welcome.

The relatively stable and progressive Kingdom of Dalriada formed the societal platform that made the adoption of Celtic Christianity much more possible and two main figures are credited with using this.

Ninian and Columba.

Ninian was probably the first and the Isle of Sanda has an early 5th Century Chapel said to have been built by him. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ninian Sanda is privately owned now and it’s unlikely anyone will be able to visit except for the birds enjoying the sanctuary there.

Columba, 521 – 597, was an Irish abbot mainly credited with spreading Christianity in what is today Scotland (named after the Scoti). In 563, he travelled to Scotland with twelve companions and first landed on the Kintyre Peninsula, near Southend.

Near Southend and next to a glorious beach, there are four historic sites, three of which are linked to St Columba. Within easy walking distance of each other are Keil Caves, used since prehistoric times, a holy well said to have been established by St Columba, a medieval chapel, and a fascinating footprint carved into a rock, said to be Columbas'. https://www.britainexpress.com/scotland/Strathclyde/churches/st-columbas-chapel.htm

Columba moved farther north up the west coast of Scotland and the island of Iona was made over to him by his mate Conall mac Comgaill King of Dál Riata where he founded an abbey which became central to the region for centuries and was credited with much of the arts, stone craft and culture of the area.

The rest, as they say, is history. Check this out! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columba


War, huh, what is it good for?

War inevitably occurs and the Kintyre region didn’t escape the conflict. Once the Vikings invaded the Kingdom of Dalriada it was ultimately destroyed. In its place, the region became named Argyle (now Argyll) which means Gaelic Coast and this was ruled locally by a chap called Godred Crovan. Remember this name!

On to the Battle of the Kings!

Basically, in 1093 the King of Norway, Magnus, had had enough of being Mr Nice Guy and decided he was going to let Malcolm, the King of Scotland have some and take his lands! To stop unnecessary bloodshed, Malcolm promised Magnus he could have the western islands but couldn’t have the mainland. Except he worded it rather carelessly and said something like, "If thouest can sail around land and your rudder is deployed you may have that land west of Scotland". He should have just said you can have the western islands, but no, he had to be clever.

Tarbert Boat Dragging, aye!

In response, and after studying the poor wording, Magnus had his boat dragged over the isthmus at Tarbert while he was in it and gained Kintyre as part of his Kingdom. After all, he’d now “sailed” around it so it must have been an island, right? This is celebrated every summer in Tarbert so watch out for the epic merry boat dragging called portage that belies the horror and bloodshed of the wars that followed as a result.  

In a plot worthy of Dynasty (apparently) this was all the idea of the scheming little brother of Malcolm, Donalbain. In true Machiavellian style when Malcolm was later killed in battle, Donalbain quickly took the throne and confirmed Magnus should indeed have Kintyre. However, this made him very unpopular for some strange reason and Malcolm's son Duncan later deposed him after what may have been a very uncomfortable conversation!

War, huh, oh wait.

Rebellion against Magnus followed, and much fighting ensued until Edgar, another son of Malcolm, signed over the entirety of Kintyre to Magnus. But the fighting didn’t end there either and now I'm confused as to who's on what side here!

Revenge!

Roll on to mid 12th century and Somerled, the husband of Godred Crovan’s grand-daughter led a successful revolt against Norway and Kintyre once again became independent. (Remember Godred?) Imagine how Magnus' rule must have burned in his mind for his family to take up the cause! Talk about holding a grudge! 

Saddell Abbey

Somerled’s grandson Donald then established Saddell Abbey in 1207 and the remains stand to this day with some fantastic examples of the stone carvings of the period. These are just a short drive from the Cuilidh Kintyre Holiday Home in Carradale and about 25 minutes from Gowanlea Heights B&B in Campbeltown.

There’s so much more history to explore, we’ve not even touched on the Suppression of the Isles and Skipness Castle, the ghost, Tarbert Castle and Saddell Castle or Robert the Bruce and the abundance of caves he reputedly sheltered in with a spider (there’s one at Port Righ too, 10 minutes walk in Carradale!) Read more and explore  links at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kintyre

All of Kintyre is within easy reach of our accommodations.

Carradale Walks

Carradale is an excellent base of operations. Remote enough to give you that feeling of seclusion and with enough amenities to make you feel at home. Nearby are three popular walks with the fourth part of The Kintyre Way:

The Carradale Explorer
Deer Hill (Cnoc nan Gabhar)
Kirnashie Walk
The Kintyre Way, Carradale to Campbeltown


Kintyre Walks

The Kintyre Way is the obvious walk to mention here. There have been some management irregularities in the past and to improve on that situation a new charity has taken over the management of this wonderfully challenging scenic walk. The new, official site with map and contact details is http://thekintyreway.com so please only use that as the prime source of information and contact point.

Along 100 miles over 4-7 days you will discover hidden coves, deserted beaches, woods & forests, castles & fishing villages and an abundance of wildlife. Stretching from Tarbert in the North to Machrihanish in the South, the seven graded & way-marked sections offer a variety of walking terrain from serious hiking to gentle rambles.

If you want to go off the beaten track there are a good selection of walks throughout the Kintyre Peninsula within convenient reach of both Carradale and Campbeltown, including GPX files. Give Walk Highlands a visit.


Davaar Island

Davaar Island is situated at the mouth of Campbeltown Loch and can be reached by the causeway called the Dhorlin at low tide. This is one of only 17 islands that can be reached by walking from mainland Scotland. With an operating lighthouse and inhabited by goats, sheep and mink, the island also has a hidden treasure. Inside one of the caves is a painting of the Crucifixion by local artist Archibald MacKinnon in 1887. Take a trip there yourself to investigate!

Get the tide times from us here for an excellent day out.


Mull of Kintyre

Well, who can forget this? Even if you weren't around in the seventies the echoes of Paul McCartney & Wings performing Mull of Kintyre reverberates through history for good reason.

Yes, you can visit the actual Mull of Kintyre, it's here.  There's also Linda McCartney's Memorial Garden near the Campbeltown Heritage Center and the actual cottage that featured in the video that was filmed at Saddell Bay

If this is the sort of pilgrimage you were after, then why not?


Skipness Castle and Chapel

The main structure of the castle was built in the early 13th century by the Clan MacSween, with later fortifications and other additions made to the castle through the 13th, 14th and 16th centuries.

The castle was garrisoned with royal troops in 1494, during King James IV of Scotland's Suppression of the Isles and was abandoned in the 17th century shortly after The Wars of the Three Kingdoms. Watch out for the ghost of the Green Lady and you simply MUST have a snack in The Seafood Cabin nearby. Delicious!  More details here.



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