The Info List - Kintyre

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(Scottish Gaelic: Cinn Tìre, Scottish Gaelic pronunciation: [kʲʰiɲˈtʲʰiːɾʲə]) is a peninsula in western Scotland, in the southwest of Argyll
and Bute. The peninsula stretches about 30 miles (48 km), from the Mull of Kintyre
Mull of Kintyre
in the south to East Loch Tarbert in the north. The area immediately north of Kintyre
is known as Knapdale. Kintyre
is long and narrow, at no point more than 11 miles (18 km) from west coast to east coast. The east side of the Kintyre
is bounded by Kilbrannan Sound, with a number of coastal peaks such as Torr Mor. The central spine of the peninsula is mostly hilly moorland. The coastal areas and hinterland, however, are rich and fertile. Kintyre
has long been a prized area for settlers, including the early Scots who migrated from Ulster
to western Scotland and the Vikings
or Norsemen
who conquered and settled the area just before the start of the second millennium. The principal town of the area is Campbeltown
(about 5.5 miles (9 km) by road from the Mull), which has been a royal burgh since the mid-18th century. The area's economy has long relied on fishing and farming, although Campbeltown
has a reputation as a producer of some of the world's finest single malt whisky. Campbeltown
Single Malts include the multi-award-winning Springbank. Kintyre Pursuivant
Kintyre Pursuivant
of Arms in Ordinary, one of the officers of arms at the Court of the Lord Lyon, is named after this peninsula.


1 History

1.1 Beginnings 1.2 Norwegian dominion 1.3 Early Scottish rule 1.4 The Campbells and later

2 Towns and villages in Kintyre 3 Transport

3.1 Bus and coach services 3.2 Flights 3.3 Ferry services 3.4 Railways

4 Places of historic interest

4.1 Prehistoric sites

5 Associated peerage titles 6 Test 7 See also 8 Related songs 9 References 10 External links

History[edit] Beginnings[edit]


Kintyre, like Knapdale, contains several stone age sites; at Ballochroy
is a trio of megaliths aligned with land features on the island of Jura, while a number of burial cairns still stand at Blasthill (near Southend, Argyll). Remains from the iron age are no less present, with the imposing Dun
Skeig, a Celtic hillfort, located at the northern edge of Kintyre. The history of the presumed Pictish inhabitants of Kintyre
is not recorded, but a 2nd century BC stone fort survives at Kildonan (near Saddell), and it is not implausible that they continued to use Dun
Skeig. The tip of Kintyre
is just 12 miles from Ulster, and there has long been interaction across the straits of Moyle, as evidenced by neolithic finds in Kintyre, such as flint tools characteristic of Antrim. In the early first millennium, an Irish invasion led to Gaelic colonisation of an area centred on the Kintyre
peninsula, establishing the Gaelic kingdom of Dál Riata. The latter was divided into a handful of regions, controlled by particular kin groups, of which the most powerful, the Cenél nGabráin, ruled over Kintyre, along with Knapdale, the region between Loch Awe
Loch Awe
and Loch Fyne
Loch Fyne
(Craignish, Ardscotnish, Glassary, and Glenary), Arran, and Moyle (in Ulster). The kingdom thrived for a few centuries, and formed a springboard for Christianisation of the mainland. Sanda, an island adjacent the south coast of Kintyre, is strongly associated with Ninian, the first known missionary to the Picts, and contains an early 5th century chapel said to have been built by him. In 563, Columba
arrived in Kintyre, to pay his respects to the kings of Dal Riata, before continuing to Iona, where he established a base for missionary activity throughout the Pictish regions beyond. Norwegian dominion[edit] Dál Riata
Dál Riata
was ultimately was destroyed when Norse vikings invaded, and established their own domain, spreading more extensively over the islands north and west of the mainland. Following the unification of Norway, they had become the Norwegian Kingdom of the Isles, locally controlled by Godred Crovan, and known by Norway
as Suðreyjar (Old Norse, traditionally anglicised as Sodor), meaning southern isles. The former territory of Dal Riata acquired the geographic description Argyle (now Argyll): the Gaelic coast.

Magnus dragging his boat across the isthmus, as depicted in an 1899 book

In 1093, Magnus, the Norwegian king, launched a military campaign to assert his authority over the isles. Malcolm, the king of Scotland, responded with a written agreement, accepting that Magnus' had sovereign authority of over all the western lands that Magnus could encircle by boat. The unspecific wording led Magnus to have his boat dragged across the narrow isthmus at Tarbert, while he rode within it, so that he would thereby acquire Kintyre, in addition to the more natural islands of Arran and Bute. Supposedly, Magnus's campaign had been part of a conspiracy against Malcolm, by Donalbain, Malcolm's younger brother. When Malcolm was killed in battle a short time later, Donalbain invaded, seized the Scottish kingdom, and displaced Malcolm's sons from the throne; on becoming king, Donalbain confirmed Magnus' gains. Donalbain's apparent keenness to do this, however, weakened his support among the nobility, and Malcolm's son, Duncan, was able to depose him. A few years later, following a rebellion against Magnus' authority in the Isles, he launched another, fiercer, expedition. In 1098, aware of Magnus' actions, the new Scottish king, Edgar (another son of Malcolm), quitclaimed to Magnus all sovereign authority over the isles, and the whole of Kintyre
and Knapdale.

Abbey, founded by Reginald, a son of Somerled

In the mid 12th century, Somerled, the husband of Godred Crovan's granddaughter, led a successful revolt against Norway, transforming Suðreyjar (including Kintyre) into an independent kingdom. After his death, nominal Norwegian authority was re-established, but de-facto authority was split between Somerled's sons and the Crovan dynasty. The exact allocation to Somerled's sons is unclear, but following a family dispute, Donald, Somerled's grandson, acquired Kintyre, together with Knapdale, Islay, and Jura. Donald's father, Reginald, established Saddell
Abbey, in 1207. In the mid 13th century, increased tension between Norway
and Scotland led to a series of Battles, culminating in the Battle of Largs, shortly after which the Norwegian king died. In 1266, his more peaceable successor ceded his nominal authority over Suðreyjar to the Scottish king (Alexander III) by the Treaty of Perth, in return for a very large sum of money. Although Alexander III generally acknowledged the semi-independent authority of Somerled's heirs, he did not give them back control of the mainland territory which Scottish forces had taken during the strife, including parts of Kintyre. Early Scottish rule[edit] In 1293, king John Balliol
John Balliol
established shrieval authority by creating the post of sheriff of Kintyre. Shortly after, Robert de Bruys launched a civil war challenging John for the throne. By this point, Somerled's descendants had formed into three families - the MacRory, the MacDougalls, and the MacDonalds; the MacDougalls took John's side, while the MacDonalds and MacRory backed de Bruys. When de Bruys defeated John, he declared the MacDougall lands forfeit, and gave them to the MacDonalds. The head of the MacDonald family married the heir of the MacRory family, thereby acquiring the remaining share of Somerled's realm, and transforming it into the Lordship of the Isles, which lasted for over a century. After 4 years and 3 children, however, he divorced Amy, and married Margaret, the daughter of Robert II, the Scottish king, who gave him the remaining parts of Kintyre, along with the whole of Knapdale, as a dowry. In 1462, however, John, the then Lord of the Isles, plotted with the English king to conquer Scotland; civil war in England delayed the discovery of this for a decade. Upon the discovery, in 1475, there was a call for forfeiture, but a year John calmed the matter, by quitclaiming Ross
(Easter, Wester, and Skye), Kintyre, and Knapdale, to Scotland. The Campbells and later[edit]

The remains of Tarbert castle

At an unclear point before 1481, the sheriffdom of Kintyre
became Tarbertshire, based at Tarbert at the northern edge of Kintyre; in that year, Tarbertshire was expanded to include Knapdale. However, comital authority remained absent following the quitclaim from the Lord of the Isles; following a law and order crisis in the region, king James IV of Scotland
appointed Archibald Campbell, the Earl of Argyll
as governor of Tarbert Castle, with implied authority over nearby castles such as Skipness. Following the Scottish reformation, the MacDonalds (opponents) and Campbells (supporters) came into more direct dispute. In 1607, Following a series of hostile actions from the MacDonalds, King James VI ordered the lands they landlorded in Kintyre
to be transferred to the Archibald Campbell, heir of the earlier Archibald. Under pressure from the Campbells, the sheriff court moved to Inveraray
at the extreme northeast of Tarbertshire, near the heart of Campbell power; somewhat inevitably, in 1633 shrieval authority was annexed by the sheriff of Argyll. Archibald's son, a dedicated supporter of the religious reformers, developed a plan to establish a large settlement, around the village of Kinlochkilkerran, at the south of Kintyre, composed of loyal Presbyterians from Lowland Scotland, in order to outnumber and undermine the local Catholic
population, and reduce resistance to the state's religious reforms. Under his son, Archibald, this became Campbeltown. Their actions also had the effect of diluting Gaelic culture, gradually replacing it with a lowlands one. Comital powers were abolished by the Heritable Jurisdictions Act, leaving only the shrieval unit. In 1899, counties were formally created, on shrieval boundaries, by a Scottish Local Government Act; Kintyre
therefore became part of the County of Argyll. Following late 20th century reforms, it is now within the wider region of Argyll
and Bute. Towns and villages in Kintyre[edit]

The north-eastern coast of the Kintyre
peninsula looking northward to Skipness
and the Sound of Bute


Achinhoan Bellochantuy Campbeltown Carradale Clachan Claonaig Drumlemble Glenbarr Grogport Kilchenzie Machrihanish Muasdale Peninver Saddell Skipness Southend Stewarton Tayinloan Tarbert Whitehouse

Transport[edit] Information on all forms of public transport is available from Traveline Scotland. Bus and coach services[edit]

Long distance coach services to and from Glasgow
are operated by West Coast Motors on behalf of Scottish Citylink Bus services throughout the Kintyre
peninsula are operated by West Coast Motors alone.


Available between Glasgow
International Airport and Campbeltown Airport

Ferry services[edit]

Operated by Caledonian MacBrayne
Caledonian MacBrayne
on the following routes:

- Lochranza
(in summer) Kennacraig
- Islay Tarbert - Lochranza
(in winter) Tarbert - Portavadie Tayinloan
- Gigha Campbeltown- Ardrossan
(in summer)

Operated by Kintyre

- Troon Campbeltown
- Ballycastle, County Antrim

Railways[edit] No railways remain in use today. From 1876 until 1931 the Campbeltown and Machrihanish
Light Railway operated, initially built to transport coal. Places of historic interest[edit]

Ruins of the old church at Kilchenzie with beehives below

Clachan Church - carved medieval grave slabs Kilchenzie church Kilchousland Chapel, near Peninver Kilcomkill, Southend - St Columba's Chapel, carved grave slabs, "St. Columba's footprints" nearby Killean - St. John's Church - "most important medieval parish church in Kintyre"[1] - carved grave slabs 18th century Killean and Kilchenzie Church (united parish) at A'Chleit Saddell
Abbey Saddell
Castle Skipness
Castle Tarbert Castle

Prehistoric sites[edit]

visible from Torrisdale Bay

Avinagillan standing stone Ballochroy
standing stones Beacharr standing stone, near Tayinloan Corriechrevie cairn - intact Dun Skeig
Dun Skeig
- Iron Age
Iron Age
forts near Clachan Kildonan galleried dun A crag near the chapel of Keil and St. Columba's Well, between Dunaverty Bay and Carskey in Kintyre, has two footprints carved at a place where St. Columba
is reputed to have first set foot in Dál Riata, Scotland. One is recent and the other genuinely old. Kingship rituals may have been connected with this petrosomatoglyph.

Associated peerage titles[edit]

Duke of Kintyre
(extinct) Marquess of Kintyre
and Lorne (subsidiary title of the Duke of Argyll)

Test[edit] The Mull of Kintyre
Mull of Kintyre
test is said to be an unofficial guideline of the British Board of Film Classification
British Board of Film Classification
for the censorship of adult films and images. See also[edit]

Kildonald Bay

Related songs[edit]

The best known of these is Paul McCartney's 1977 track " Mull
of Kintyre", performed by Wings. The song was written in tribute to the picturesque peninsula, where McCartney has owned High Park Farm since 1966, and its headland or Mull
of Kintyre. The song was Wings' biggest hit in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
where it became Christmas number one, and was the first single to sell over two million copies in the United Kingdom.


^ Newton, Norman S (1999). Kintyre. 

External links[edit]

Love Kintyre
- reviews and inside information to help you plan your next visit to Kintyre Kintyre
Way - the official website for the Kintyre
Way, one of Scotland's great trails Kintyre.org - Official visitor and tourist information website for Kintyre VisitKintyre.info - Web Site including webcam, accommodation, news, photo galleries etc EasyWays - walking holiday and guided walk round Kintyre

v t e

Traditional provinces and districts of Scotland

Major districts (former counties, provincial lordships and rural deaneries)

The Aird Annandale Angus Argyll Atholl Boyne Buchan Badenoch Breadalbane Caithness Carrick Clydesdale
(or Strathclyde) Cowal Cunningham Desnes Eskdale Farines Fife Fothriff Galloway Garioch Garmoran The Glenkens Gowrie Kintyre Knapdale Kyle Lauderdale Lennox Liddesdale Lochaber Lorn Lothian Mar Mearns Menteith Merse Moray Nithsdale The Rhinns Ross
(Easter and Wester) Stormont Strathavon Strathbogie Strathearn Strathgryfe Strathnaver Strathspey Sutherland Teviotdale Tweeddale

Minor districts

Applecross Appin Ardgour Ardmeanach Ardnamurchan Assynt Avondale Balquhidder Benderloch The Black Isle Braemar Coigach Cromar Cromdale Douglasdale Durness Dùthaich MhicAoidh Eddrachilles Enzie Ettrickdale Ewesdale Formartine Gairloch Glen Albyn Glen Almond Glen Cassley Glen Clova Glen Dochart Glenelg Glen Esk Glengarry Glen Lethnot Glen Lyon Glen Moriston Glen Orchy Glen Prosen Glenshee Glen Spean Glen Urquhart Gruinard Howe of Fife Howe of the Mearns Kintail Kintyre Knoydart Lochalsh Loch Broom Locheil The Machars Midmar Moidart Morar Morven Muir of Ord Rannoch Moor Rhinns of Kells Strathallan Strathardle Strathbran Strathbraan Strathcarron (Forth) Strathcarron (Oykel) Strathconon Strathdearn Strathdeveron Strathdee (Deeside) Strathdon Strathfarrar Strath Gartney Strathglass Strathisla Strathmore Strath of Kildonan Strath Oykel Strath Tay Strathyre Sunart Trossachs

Insular districts For smaller islands, usually districts in their own right, see List of Scottish islands

Islands of the Clyde

Arran Cumbrae


The Oa Rinns of Islay


Aros Ross
of Mull


Duirinish Minginish Sleat Trotternish Waternish

Outer Hebrides

Harris (North Harris, South Harris) Lewis
(The Lochs, West Side, Point, Back)


Pomona Hoy
and Walls Rousay Shapinsay South Ronaldsay Westray


Mainland (Central Mainland, North Mainland, South Mainland, West Mainland) Fetlar Unst Whalsay Yell North Isles

Border areas

Debatable Lands East March Middl