CAMPBELTOWN & KINTYRE
What’s not to love about a town that is a Scottish whisky region in itself? The Wee Toon is the only individual town to have such an honour. Campbeltown made whisky – with more than 30 distilleries at the height of its fame – and whisky made Campbeltown. This, along with the now vanished coalmines and the heyday of the fishing industry, made for a very wealthy town. The entrepreneurs ploughed their cash back into the burgh, building impressive homes, tenements, hotels and civil buildings. It became a little bit of one-upmanship; each trying to out-do the other by hiring a more famous architect.
Today we can thank them for leaving us a fascinating built heritage. Did you know that pro-rata Campbeltown has a higher number of listed buildings than Bath or London?
Campbeltown still makes whisky, but today it goes for quality not quantity. Whisky lovers the world over make sure that a visit to Scotland includes a trip to Campbeltown.
The original A listed library is still home to the town’s museum, which houses an eclectic collection, and the building also used for civil wedding ceremonies with use of the Linda McCartney memorial garden in its grounds.
One of the oldest cinemas in the world has been renovated into a two-screen complex and will soon be opening and thriving again in the post-pandemic era.
The centre of town is packed full of independent shops to browse and cafes and eateries to enjoy; with recent investment in renovations has a fresh look and a great buzz about the place.
Campbeltown Bay is an incredible natural harbour and in the season has ferry links to Arran and the Ayrshire coast with a vehicle ferry and the increasingly popular passenger fast rib service to Northern Ireland.
The harbour and its new pontoons are a great place to visit; watch the yachts and ferries come and go, visit the lifeboat station, see the fishing boats bring in their catches and the massive cargo ships load up with timber or check to see which Royal Navy ships or Fishery Protection Vessels are paying a visit.
Or check the tides and walk across the Dhorlin, the natural causeway to Davaar Island to visit the historic cave painting of the Crucifixion – remember: check the tide table.