Scotland's Most Expensive Eagles
‘Scotland’s Only Mainland Island’
Welcome to the Kintyre Peninsula.
Join us on the Kintyre Trail and find out what so captivated Sir Paul McCartney that he wrote one of the world’s best selling hit songs, ‘Mull of Kintyre’ about the area.
Kintyre is on the extreme west coast of Scotland, joined to the mainland by a narrow isthmus at Tarbert and has all the characteristics of island living without the hassle and expense of ferry crossings (though you can come by ferry as well.)
The peninsula is about forty miles long and contains within it everything which makes Scotland such an attractive holiday destination. Here you will find the hills, lochs, rivers, forests, seascapes, sandy beaches, history and archaeology and the sea food which have made Scotland so famous, but with the addition of those ‘little extras’ which make us almost unique; the palm trees showing the effect of the Gulf Stream, the low rainfall ( less than 40% of the rest of the west of Scotland), the most expensive eagles in the world, the absence of cars( our one traffic warden is the last example of an endangered species), a world class golf course on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean featuring the ‘best first hole in the world’, a land which is the very cradle of Celtic Scotland, and ………….
But why not take a quick cyber – trek around the Kintyre Trail and find out for yourself?
Why are we Scotland’s ‘ Only Mainland Island?’
According to Norse sagas, King Magnus Barelegs, while trying to re-establish control over parts of western Scotland reached an agreement with King Malcolm of Scotland that Magnus could have all the islands off the west coast of Scotland round which he could sail his boat.
Determined to have the Kintyre Peninsula as well, King Magnus had his warriors drag a Viking longboat across the narrow isthmus at the northern end of the peninsula.
‘The king himself sat down in the poop and took hold of the helm-ball and thus he got possession of all the coasts lying on the larboard side.’ The Magnus Saga.
Kintyre had indeed become an island!
While the same feat was repeated by King Robert the Bruce in the 14th Century it does seem likely that it was fairly common for small boats to be dragged across the isthmus to save the long and dangerous voyage around the Mull of Kintyre.
Pick up the Kintyre Trail on the A83 just north of the beautiful, bustling fishing village of Tarbert, a haven for yachtsmen from all over the country and host to the second largest yachting regatta in the UK, as well as home to some of the finest eating places in Scotland.
The road then crosses the isthmus from East Loch Tarbert to the West Loch and then presents you with a choice:
- to continue on the A83 down the west side of the peninsula returning by the east side; or,
- to turn left onto the B842 and to follow the trail in reverse.
Whichever route you choose you are guaranteed some of the most spectacular scenery in Scotland.
Take the west coast road and you will find yourself spellbound with the views down West Loch Tarbert to the islands of the Inner Hebrides, Islay and Jura, dominated by the mountainous Paps of Jura. The road then drops down to the Atlantic shore which it follows for many miles. Look out for the colonies of seals on the rocks and the occasional buzzard searching for its lunch.
Rocky coves, miles of sandy beaches and crashing Atlantic rollers form the perfect setting for the outstanding views to the Island of Gigha, Rathlin and Northern Ireland! At Westport the road swings inland and crosses the Peninsula to Campbeltown, The Wee Toon.
While it is possible to continue the circle by heading North again on the East coast road it would be a pity not to explore the small roads South of Campbeltown leading ultimately to the spectacular road out to the Mull of Kintyre itself. Stand at the top of the cliffs looking across to Ireland which is barely eleven miles away and you can well understand why Sir Paul McCartney was so captivated.
Now return to Campbeltown by the narrow coast road which gives outstanding views down the Firth of Clyde to Ailsa Craig.
By total contrast the East coast road to complete the Kintyre Trail climbs and plunges from one river gorge to the next; one moment there is wild moorland, then forest, but all the time with magnificent views across the Kilbrannan Sound to the Island of Arran. Again wild life is in abundance and you might be lucky enough to see Scotland’s most expensive Eagles over the hills above Carradale.
At the North end of the peninsula the road turns to rejoin the A83 and you have completed The Kintyre Trail.
While it is possible to complete the Trail in a short time by doing so you will miss out on many of Kintyre’s attractions. For more detailed information click on the appropriate section of the map and come and visit us.
The Kintyre Marketing Group is very grateful to Argyll and the Islands Enterprise and to Argyll the Isles Loch Lomond Stirling and Trossachs Tourist Board for their financial help in setting up this website.
The new Kintyre Way walk launches on 12th August 2006. The route will allow visitors to walk from Tarbert to Southend - approx 89 miles. Time to complete about 4-7 days (depending on ability). See www.kintyreway.com for more information. (Copy and paste the web address into your web browser)
Kintyre Peninsula - The Atlantic Seaboard
Kintyre Peninsula - Tarbert and North Kintyre
Kintyre Peninsula - The Mull of Kintyre
Kintyre Peninsula - The Carradale Coast
Kintyre Peninsula - Campbeltown and Machrihanish