Argyll and Bute Campsites
Kintyre is a long tongue of land reaching from the Highlands towards Northern Ireland, and protecting the Isle of Arran against the Atlantic westerlies. On the east coast of Kintyre, not far from the tip, is Campbeltown, its main centre. The excellent anchorage encouraged the growth of a herring fishing fleet; coal was discovered; other industries were established. At the end of the 19th century, about 650 fishing boats were based there, and the town has 30 distilleries producing the celebrated Campbeltown malt whisky. Now it is tourism that keeps the town alive. The museum is worth a visit; facilities for sea angling, sailing, and so on are good, and the golf course at nearby Machrihanish is famous. In a cave on Davaar Island at the mouth of Campbeltown Loch an artist named Archibald MacKinnon painted the Crucifixion. Lit by a shaft of daylight that pierces a hole in the rock, the effect is dramatic.
Near the northern end of Loch Fyne surrounded by beautiful woods is this picturesque white-walled burgh, the hereditary seat of the Dukes of Argyll heads of the Clan Campbell. It was destroyed by the Royalist Marquis of Montrose in 1644. The new town was built between 1746 and 1780 by the 3rd Duke of Argyll and the castle was built by Roger Morris and William Adam, with at least one of his two famous sons. The magnificent interior decoration was carried out by Robert Mylne at a later date. The castle contains many historic relics and a good picture collection. In the grounds is a cannon from the Spanish Armada ship Florida. A fivemile walk up Glen Shira leads to the ruined home of Rob Roy. The town is mentioned by Scott in Legend of Montrose, and Heart of Midlothian, and by Stevenson in the closing scenes of Catriona. A Celtic cross from Iona stands at one end of the main street. The parish church is divided by a wall separating services in Gaelic and English.
Dunadd Fort, three miles south of Kilmartin, is a prehistoric hill-fort which was once the capital of the ancient Scots kingdom of Dalriada. Other prehistoric remains include the Temple Wood circle and cist and several cairns and groups of cup-andring marked rocks. Carnasserie Castle overlooks the valley from a high point about a mile north of Kilmartin, and the ruins of another castle stand on the a uotskirts of the village
Loch Awe is long and narrow, 22 miles long and only about a mile wide in most places. A ruined castle stands at each end Fincharn in the south and Kilchurn to the north and there is another on the island of Fraoch Eilean, whilst the Isle of Inishail has an ancient chapel and burial ground. To the north towers 3689ft Ben Cruachan, where the world’s second-largest hydro-electric power station pumps water from the loch to a reservoir 1315ft up the mountain.
Loch Fyne, one of the longest sea lochs in Scotland, stretches 40 miles from the Sound of Bute. It is famed for the spectacular scenery at its mountainous head, and more mundanely for its herring catch, a large proportion of which is smoked to make kippers.
Four miles north west of Lochgilphead, a town at the head of Lock Gilp, an inlet of Loch Fyne, is Dunadd Fort. This ancient hillfort was the site of the ancient kingdom of Dalriada (c500-800), out of which came the Celtic kingdom of Scotland. The highest rock on the site is carved with the figure of a bow and the sign of a footprint this is thought to be where the early Scottish kings were invested.
The Seafood Capital of Scotland!
Overlooking the town is MacCaig’s Tower, an unfinished replica of the Colosseum in Rome. It was built in 1890 by a banker, John Stuart MacCaig, as a memorial to his family and to give work to local craftsmen during the depression of the 1890’s. Oban is a popular highland resort, with all the usual amenities, including golf, and is an ideal base for exploring the beautiful countryside of Lorne. Games Day, or the Argyllshire Gathering, takes place here at the end of August. At the Oban glassworks on Lochavullin estate, Caithness glass is made, and MacDonald’s Mill demonstrates spinning and weaving. Dunstaffnage Castle is a ruined Campbell stronghold where Flora Macdonald was once imprisoned. There are car ferries from Oban to many of the islands of the Inner and Outer Hebrides: Mull, Iona, Coll, Tiree, Barra, South Uist, Colonsay and Lismore. There are fine views from Pulpit Hill.
Staffa, Isle of
Staffa is uninhabited and ships from Oban can land visitors only when the weather is calm. The island is famous for its dramatic coastline and caves – notably Fingal’s, celebrated by Mendelssohn. Fingal (or Finn hIcCoul to be correct) was a giant who created Staffa, according to legend.