KINTYRE - SCOTLAND’S ONLY “MAINLAND ISLAND”
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Wildlife

Even in the towns and villages, especially Campbeltown - the largest, Carradale and Machrihanish, deer and feral goats are regular visitors to domestic gardens, and various species like Buzzards and other birds of prey are found close to all of the villages in Kintyre. A casual walk in the forests around Carradale will bring one into contact with birds such as Siskin, Coaltit, Goldcrest, Woodcock and Owls. Red squirrel and Red, Sika and Roe deer may be seen in and around woodland areas whilst on the moorland and heathland areas, Slow-worms and Adders are present.

The Mealdarroch National Nature Reserve offers limited access opportunities, however the splendid walk from Tarbert to Skipness allows views of the native woodland, once common throughout Kintyre. The woodland consists of Oak, Rowan, Birch, Hazel, Holly, Ash and Elm providing ideal conditions for a profusion of Mosses, Liverworts and Ferns. Rhunahaorine Point and the surrounding farmland, is of international importance as a winter feeding area for geese, including Greenland White-Fronted and Greylag varieties. Occasionally, numbers of Barnacle, Brent and Pink-footed geese can also be seen. At dusk, they fly to roosts on the upland lochs including Lussa and Tangy Lochs.

Walks into the interior will provide further opportunities to view many specialised plants including sundews and butterworts, mainly found on peatland, water lilies and bog bean on upland pools and lochans. Moorland birds such as Red Grouse, Golden Plover, Hen Harriers and Golden Eagles are present, but may require early starts to afford best viewing opportunities.

Uisaed Point and the Gauldrons are found by following the road right through Machrihanish to where it ends close to the Marine Research Station and Macrihanish Sea Bird & Wildlife Observatory. (Parking is restricted). This is without doubt the best location in Kintyre for watching seabirds and passing migrants, particularly at first light following stormy weather at sea. Almost 200 bird species have been recorded from this location including several rarities. Seals and Otters are seen regularly, and porpoises and whales occasionally. Walking southward along the coast for half a mile brings you to a dramatic bay backed by an amphitheatre of cliffs, the Gauldrons, where several interesting plant species can be found.

Largiebaan can be reached by continuing along the coast from the Gauldrons, mentioned above or from the B842 leaving Campbeltown taking the single track road which is signposted to Homeston Farm. About one mile along this road (on the right) is an unsurfaced road, follow this to the deserted steading at Glenahanty, proceed on foot to Largiebaan Farm, beyond which follow the 220 metre contour through a forestry plantation, across the shoulder of Cnoc Moy, until the sea cliffs are reached at Rubha Duin Bhain. This is a strenuous walk, and the cliffs are dangerous so care is required. The majestic section of coastline is now a Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT) reserve. The cliffs support nationally important plant species including Alpine varieties. Such species include Yellow Milkvetch, Mountain Avens and Purple Saxifrage. Again birds of prey are present and a population of wild goats are established along this coastline, using many of the caves for shelter.

Kintyre supports a varied and interesting natural environment; please respect this precious asset to allow future generations the chance to enjoy this magical mainland island.

Remember the Country Code:

1) Enjoy the countryside, respect its life and work
2) Guard against all risk of fire
3) Fasten all gates
4) Use gates and stiles to cross fences, hedges and walks
5) Leave Livestock and machinery alone
6) Take Litter Home
7) Help to keep all water clean
8) Protect wildlife, plants and trees
9) Take care on country and walls roads
10) Keep dogs under control