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Arts, Crafts and Places of Interest in Kintyre

Kintyre with its scenic beauty and quality of light, has long been a refuge and inspiration for artists. William McTaggart RSA (1835-1910) born in this area, was the leading Scottish landscape painter of his day.

William McTaggart Image

In 1887, local artist and teacher Archibald Mackinnon awoke from a dream, after which he was impelled to paint a depiction of the Crucifixion. His dream had even indicated the place where the painting was to be – a cave on Davaar Island, in the mouth of Campbeltown Loch, click here to see it. See 'Leisure Activities - Walking' for directions to Davaar.

A thriving community of artists, jewellery artisans and craftspeople is at work in the area today and several works are displayed in the 'Coastal Design' Gallery on the Esplanade. This shop also has a superb selection of gifts and cards, and jewellery from a range of makers, including Goldsmith, Grant Logan, who hand crafts exquisite gold jewellery inspired by his native Kintyre landscape, in his attractive lochside studio along the Kilkerran Road www.grantlogan.co.uk

Gifts, jewellery and other trinkets are available in several shops in Main Street and Longrow, such as Morrison's, M&A Brown, the Courier Centre, Kintyre Crafts, The Treehouse, and Gift Shop, who all sell delightful ranges, some of their pieces are unique and can be found nowhere else.

Nickel & Dime is a prominent Aladdin's Cave near the harbour, selling everything from a CD to a chest of drawers, this is a huge shop and will easily occupy an hour should a shower occur!  Similarly The Factory Shop also sells everything, on two floors in the Main Street.

Cadenhead's Whisky Shop on Longrow South sells a superb range of liquid gifts – ie the whole range of Springbank, Longrow and Hazelburn Malts, as well as Glen Scotia, Malts from all over Scotland and some very rare (and spectacularly expensive) spirits for the enthusiast or collector!

The award-winning Inverloch Cheese Company sells the famous Gigha Fruit Cheeses, delicious Springbank and Laphroaig Whisky Cheese, Inverloch Brie, Drumloch Goats Cheese, Chive, Chutney, Claret and many more flavoured cheeses. Find them on Kirk Street.

As well as the usual wet fish, and produce of Kintyre such as Scallops, Langoustines etc, MacMillan's Fish Shop on Longrow sells the superb products of the Campbeltown 'Old Smokehouse', such as the absolutely delicious smoked and hot roast salmon, smoked mussels and scallops, kippers or smoked haddock.  These products are distributed worldwide and we are lucky to have such a resource on our doorstep. If you cannot see the products in the shop, just ask and they will be brought direct from the Smokehouse.

Two bookshops in Martin's on the Main Street and the Old Bookshelf will fulfil your needs for maps, calendar and as much reading matter as you could wish for.

Simon X Rochford at The Campbeltown Pottery in Bolgam Street manufactures several colourful ranges of handthrown and handmade pottery. The Kintyre range is available in blue-green or plum, while distinctive water jugs are also manufactured for the Springbank Distillery, and associated brands such as Longrown, Hazelburn and Kilkerran. Tel: 01586 553550

Taking a circular tour around the peninsula, to the North East, in Carradale, Wallis Hunter manufactures beautiful silver and gold jewellery which is sold in the adjacent shop - The Carradale Gold Foundry - alongside trinkets and gifts of all types www.wallishunter-jewellery.com

Nearby Torrisdale Castle has the Organic Tannery and Crafty Sheep Shop. Sheepskins are tanned using a tree bark formula, and no modern chemicals, providing a softer and odour-free rug.

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.

Further South, at Southend, Saint Columba reputedly left his footsteps in the stone rock as he landed in Kintyre on his pilgrimage from Ireland in 563AD. 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.

Dunavety Rock Image

Glenbarr Abbey (not an Abbey!), home of the Macalister Clan offers a glimpse of 18th century family living. In addition to Mary Queen of Scots' gloves, there are gardens, walks, and a tea shop. Tel: 01583 421247

Also at Glenbarr is a lovely tearoom, and farm shop, serving and selling delicious local and home-made produce.

Achamore Gardens on the Isle of Gigha has walled and woodland gardens. They are celebrated for their rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and rare exotic plants. Bike hire is available and there is also a 9 hole golf course. Ferry available from Tayinloan see 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'.

Tarbet Image

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, artisists and a gallery, this picturesque fishing village is not to be missed.

Kintyre has much more to offer.... contact the Tourist Information Centre in Campbeltown for more details, or see www.visitscotland.com

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