Almost An Island
Atmospheric Kintyre has attracted saints, ancient Norwegians, visionary artists, Sea Scouts and music fans – with good reason…
IT’S a long and winding road to the Mull of Kintyre. Paul Mccartney thought so, too – and just as he and his wife Linda were inspired by mist rolling in from the sea and the sunsets on fire, many others are discovering what this comparatively remote part of Scotland has to offer.
I recently travelled its quiet miles by campervan, as part of my Christmas television programmes for BBC Scotland, Roads Less Travelled.
The Kintyre Peninsula is a long, narrow leg of the old county of Argyll, only thwarted of island status by a mile stretch of road that runs between Tarbert and the head of West Loch Tarbert. That tiny neck of land was to prove fortuitous for a certain Viking king.
In 1093, some six centuries after Fergus Mor Mac Eirc and his tribe of Scotti warriors arrived here from Ireland to create the ancient kingdom of Dalriada, the Norwegian monarch Magnus Olafsson laid claim to the Scottish isles. At that time the King of Scotland was facing internal rivalry to his own throne so he agreed the Norwegian could have some of the western islands, but there was a catch. He had to circle the