Campbeltown of Historic Scotland

 Campbeltown B Campbeltown Heritage Centre B Campbeltown Museum A Campbeltown Cross E Lady Linda McCartney Memorial Gardens Campbeltown has the reputation of being the most isolated town on the British mainland. It sits on the Mull of Kintyre, that great peninsula hanging down from the main body of Argyll. It received its royal charter in 1700, making it the second youngest royal burgh in Scotland. Though 140 miles from Glasgow by road, it is only 30 miles from Ballycastle in Northern Ireland. It also has the distinction of being the most southerly town in the Scottish Highlands, and is 25 miles further south than Berwick-upon-Tweed.

 At one time the main industries were fishing and distilling, but the fishing fleet has gone now, and only three distilleries remain of the 30 or so that once produced more than two million gallons of whisky a year. There are conducted tours, by appointment only, round Springbank Distillery, established in 1828.

 At the Campbeltown Heritage Centre, in an old kirk, there are displays and exhibits about South Kintyre, including photos of the light railway that once connected the town with Machrihanish on the peninsula’s west coast, where the town’s airport now stands. The airport has one of the longest runways in Europe, though only one flight uses it - a Loganair flight to Glasgow. 

The Campbeltown Museum in Hall Street has exhibits on the geology, wildlife and archaeology of the Kintyre Peninsula. The town sits beside Campbeltown Loch, which is guarded by the small island of Davaar. Within a cave on the island is a famous painting of the Crucifixion by local artist David MacKinnon, dating from 1887. The island can be reached on foot at low tide by a long shingle beach known as The Doirlinn. Campbeltown Cross, erected near the harbour, dates from the 14th century. It was used as the mercat (market) cross after the town became a royal burgh. 

In the grounds of Campbeltown Library are the Lady Linda McCartney Memorial Gardens, named after the late wife of Sir Paul McCartney who has a holiday home on Kintyre. Campbeltown Picture House was built in 1913, and is the oldest cinema still functioning in Scotland Around Campbeltown SOUTHEND 8 miles S of Campbeltown on the B842 C Knockstapple Standing Stone This is the most southerly village in Argyll. It was near here, at Keil, that St Columba is supposed to have first set foot on Scottish soil before sailing north towards Iona.

 In the ancient churchyard at Keil are footprints that are said to mark the spot. It was near here, too, that a massacre of 300 MacDonald clansmen under Sir Alasdair MacDonald took place in 1647. The nine feet tall Knockstapple Standing Stone can be seen from the Campbeltown to Southend Road. The remote Sanda Island, two miles south of the village, can be reached by boat from Campbeltown. Though remote, it still has a pub - the Byron Darnton Tavern, built in traditional style and opened in 2003. It is named after the largest vessel to have been wrecked on the island, in 1946.

SADDELL 9 miles N of Campbeltown on the B842 A Saddell Abbey Saddell Abbey (Historic Scotland) was founded by Somerled, Lord of the Isles, in 1148 for Cistercian monks, and completed by his son Reginald, who also founded Iona Abbey and Nunnery. Only scant remains can now be seen, most notably the presbytery and the north transept. As at other places in Argyll, stone carving once flourished here, and no fewer than 11 beautiful grave slabs, each one showing a monk or a knight in full armour, can be seen. After the Battle of Renfrew in 1164, the bodies of Somerled and his heir were brought to Saddell for burial. Saddell Castle (private) was built in 1805

CARRADALE 12 miles N of Campbeltown on the B879 B Network Carradale Heritage Centre A Carradale House This quiet fishing village lies opposite Arran, on the east coast of the Mull of Kintyre. The Network Carradale Heritage Centre, in a former school, has displays about fishing, farming and forestry in the area, as well as hands-on activities for children.

 Carradale House dates from the 18th century, but was extended in 1804 for the then owner Richard Campbell. In its grounds are gardens noted for their rhododendrons, of which there are more than 100 varieties. Torrisdale Castle, which has been converted into holiday accommodation, was built in 1815, and has a tannery open to visitors. GLENBARR 10 miles N of Campbeltown on the A83 B Macalister Clan Centre At the Macalister Clan Centre (see panel above) in Glenbarr Abbey (not an abbey but a mansion house) are exhibits tracing the history of the Macalister Clan as far back as Somerled, Lord of the Isles, nearly 900 years ago. The castle was presented to the clan in 1984 by Angus C Macalister, 5th Laird of Glenbarr. The mansion house itself is open to the public between Easter and mid-October each year

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