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Tarbert Harbour, North Kintyre.

Tayinloan, The Atlantic Seaboard.

Carradale Harbour, The Carradale Coast.

Sunset golf, Campbeltown & Machrihanish.

Southend beach, The Mull Of Kintyre.

See & Do - Carradale Coast

History/Archaeology

From Claonaig to Carradale is about 15 miles. At Grogport, across from the picnic area, is a prehistoric ‘cist’, known locally as ‘the sailors grave’. It is probably more than 4000 years old.

At Carradale there is a vitrified Iron Age Fort, and at Carradale Network Centre there is information about the history of the area.

Saddell. The plethora of Norse names along this coast is a sure indication of the extent of the Norse occupation of Kintyre. They were defeated and driven out by Somerled during the 1150s and he went on to become the first ‘Lord of the Isles’. Before he was killed in 1164 he founded the Cistercian abbey at Saddell and the work was completed by his son.

Though much of the Abbey has disappeared, it is clear from the size of the site, just how important this medieval monastery was. Saddell became a centre for the production of carved grave-slabs and there are several on display, including life size stone warriors and clerics. The Heritage Lottery Fund has recently awarded £250,000 for the preservation of the stones and for the provision of interpretation at the site. Work should commence on this fairly soon.

On the other side of the road from the Abbey is the entrance to Saddell estate, with access to Saddell castle. Visitors are welcome to leave their cars at the Gatehouse and to explore the estate on foot.

The castle is an impressive tower house, in a magnificent setting on Saddell Bay and was completed in 1512 as a residence for the Bishop of Argyll. Inevitably it passed into the control of Clan Campbell. Much of the stone for the buildings around the castle came from Saddell Abbey.

The castle and the estate are now owned by the Landmark Trust who have renovated the tower house and cottages and now let them out for self-catering holidays.

At the far end of Saddell Bay, above a tiny cottage, is an Iron Age Hill Fort, dating from before 500BC. It is easily found by climbing up the hill through the trees.

Kildonan Dun. This galleried dun lies three miles south of Saddell, on the seaward side of the road. Park your car at Ballochgair forest picnic site, cross the road, and you will see the dun on the rocks above the beach. It is an impressive fort dating from around AD 200, but was reoccupied in the 9th Century.

Kilchousland Chapel. Just south of Peninver is the medieval chapel of Kilchousland with some interesting grave stones.

Wildlife

This coast is, more the most part, rocky and rugged, but is more tranquil than the west, being protected from the westerly gales.

Three deep glens break the coast and give a pastoral feel, producing beautiful sandy beaches at Carradale, Saddell and Peninver. The mountains of Arran are a constant backdrop and whales, dolphins and basking shark are regularly seen in the Kilbrannan Sound. The many rock pools are full of seashore life.

Carradale and Saddell are great centres for forest walks, where you will see short eared owl, crossbill, coal tit, longtailed tit, woodcock, siskin, white throat and great spotted woodpecker. Red squirrel and 4 species of deer are found in this area (Sika, roe, fallow, red and hybrids). Carradale is famous for its herd of wild goats, which roam over the scenic point. The area is also famous for the number of adders seen in warm summers.

There is a very large permanent seal colony below Greenhill near Torrisdale and there are peregrines nearby.

Peninver also has a good seal population, otters are common, but elusive and buzzards can be seen on almost every telegraph pole!

The central moorland plateau that runs almost the full length of the peninsula is heavily afforested, but contains lochan, heathermoor and sub-montaine ecosystems well worth exploring. This is the haunt of golden eagles, grouse and raven.

Walking

There are several forest walks around Carradale as well as beautiful beach and coast walks. The walk through Saddell estate is an easy and attractive stroll. There is also an interesting coast walk from Kilchousland chapel to Campbeltown, coming out at the Campbeltown shipyard, but this walk is really better approached from the Campbeltown end.

Kintyre Way - walkers trail. Work is currently ongoing regarding a walkers trail from Tarbert to Southend, via the east coast. Most of the trail is on forrestry land with the road making up the connections. Eventually tracks will be made across from the east coast to the west coast which will give the opportunity to incorporate other local trails. Signs and post are being designed and it is hoped that all will be in place for the official launch in June 2006. Meanwhile, some tracks can be walked by visitors at various location (although not sign posted).

Cycling

Carradale coast road is a designated ‘SUSTRANS’ route. Some of the forest walks are suitable for cycling as well.

Golf

Carradale has a nine hole golf course with quite spectacular views across the Kilbrannan sound to the Island of Arran.
Contact: Mr J S Irvine.
Tel: 01583 431 278

Riding/Pony Trekking

This is available at Peninver from Crosshill Riding School and at Glenbarr.

Yachting

Carradale has a small sheltered harbour used by the local fishing boats. Yachts have to lie along side.

Contact:
The Harbour Master,
Campbeltown Harbour.
Tel: 01586 552 552

Eating Out

The number of eating out places on this road is limited. Carradale village has a ‘Taste of Scotland’ Hotel and two other small hotels serving meals. There is a tea room in the Network Centre at Carradale and in the Craft Shop near Torrisdale.

Crafts

Organic Tanning is unique to Kintyre and there are two of them, run by a mother and daughter; no smell, no chemicals, no pollution – just superb sheepskins, deerskins, and just about any other kind of skin you can think of. The tanneryis at Torrisdale Castle.

Contact: Mrs. Macalister–Hall (Torrisdale) Tel: 01583 431233.

Wallis Hunter (Carradale) makes exquisite silver jewellery. There is a workshop, retail sales and mail order.

Contact: Tel: 01583 431683