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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 55°25′24″N 5°36′28″W / 55.42331°N 5.60773°W / 55.42331; -5.60773

Scottish Gaelic: Ceann Loch Chille Chiarain
Campbeltown seafront.jpg
Campbeltown waterfront
Campbeltown is located in Scotland

 Campbeltown shown within Scotland
Population 5,144 [1] (2001 census)
est. 5,040[2] (2006)
OS grid reference NR718203
Council area Argyll and Bute
Lieutenancy area Argyll and Bute
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Police Strathclyde
Fire Strathclyde
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament Argyll and Bute
Scottish Parliament Argyll and Bute
List of places: UK • Scotland •

Campbeltown (Scottish Gaelic: "Ceann Loch Chille Chiarain") is a town and former royal burgh in Argyll and Bute, Scotland, located by Campbeltown Loch on the Kintyre peninsula. Originally known as Kinlochkilkerran (Eng: The head of the loch by the kirk of St. Kieran) - this form is still used in Gaelic. It was renamed in the 17th century as 'Campbell's town', Archibald Campbell, Earl of Argyle, having been granted the site in 1667 for the erection of a burgh of barony [3]. Campbeltown became an important centre for shipbuilding and Scotch whisky, and a busy fishing port.



Campbeltown is one of the handful of areas in Scotland categorised as a distinct whisky producing region, and is home to the Campbeltown Single Malts, at one point having 34 distilleries and proclaiming itself "the whisky capital of the world". However, a focus on quantity rather than quality, and the combination of prohibition and the Great Depression in the United States, led to most distilleries going out of business. Today only three active distilleries remain in Campbeltown, which have, or in one case is expected to have, an excellent reputation for their quality.

The well known folk song titled Campbeltown Loch, I wish you were whisky is based on the town's history in this industry.


Apart from the distilleries, Campbeltown boasts a museum and a heritage centre. The museum has a varied collection of items from Campbeltown's past, and prehistoric items excavated from sites around Kintyre, such as axeheads, jewellery and combs. The 19th century building also houses the library and has plaques or exhibits related to famous Kintyre people: for example, William McTaggart and William Mackinnon. Near the museum is the Wee Picture House, a small but distinctive Art Deco cinema dating from 1913 and believed to be the oldest surviving purpose-built cinema in Scotland. These buildings are on the waterfront, as is a 14th century Celtic cross that also served as a mercat cross.[4] St. Kieran lived in this area before the town existed. A cave named after him can be visited at low tide, as can the cave on nearby Davaar Island where pilgrims and tourists go to see a 19th century crucifixion painting.

Campbeltown also hosts the annual Mull Of Kintyre Music Festival, which has seen acts ranging from up-and-coming local bands to well-established groups such as Deacon Blue, The Stranglers and Idlewild perform.[5]

On Friday 16 June 2006, First Minister Jack McConnell flew to Campbeltown to officially open Campbeltown's new 'Aqualibrium' Centre. Aqualibrium replaced the old Campbeltown swimming pool, which closed 7 years ago due to safety reasons, and houses Campbeltown's library (with the old building being the museum only), swimming pool, gym, conference centre and 'Mussel Ebb' Cafe.

The Kintyre Camanachd are a local shinty team that belongs to the Camanachd Association.

Argyll FM is a local radio station based in Campbeltown on 106.5, 107.1 & 107.7


Campbeltown Airport lies near the burgh, and a scheduled service[6] runs between here and Glasgow Airport on weekdays, but not weekends.

Due to the town's isolated location near the far end of a long peninsula, in many ways it resembles sizeable communities on the islands of the Inner Hebrides in that transport by sea is particularly important, although nonetheless it is linked to the rest of Scotland by the A83 (to Tarbet) and A82 (from Tarbet to Glasgow).

Davaar Island at the mouth of Campbeltown Loch

Ferries once sailed from Campbeltown to Ballycastle in Northern Ireland, but the service was suspended in June 2002 until further notice. According to the Campbeltown Courier, the Scottish Executive repeatedly gives the message "not this year, maybe next" about this ferry service.

In 2006 a foot passenger ferry, The Kintyre Express, ran between Campbeltown and Troon every Monday, Wednesday and Friday with a crossing time of one hour in calm weather. By 2007 this ferry no longer ran, although the vessel can be chartered privately.[7]

Campbeltown was linked to Machrihanish by a canal (1794-mid 1880s) that was superseded by the Campbeltown and Machrihanish Light Railway that closed in 1932.


Campbeltown is traditionally one of the few communities in the Scottish Highlands where the Scots language has predominated, rather than the previously widespread Scottish Gaelic. This was due to the plantation of lowland merchants to the burgh in the Middle Ages. Today the English language, in the form of the Scottish English dialect, is the predominant language in the town.

Notable people


  1. ^ "Comparative Population Profile: Campbeltown Locality". Scotland's Census Results Online. 2001-04-29. Retrieved 2008-09-01. 
  2. ^ "General Register Office for Scotland - Statistics - Publications and Data". 2008-07-31. Retrieved 2009-08-21. 
  3. ^ "Campbeltown" in A Dictionary of British Place-Names, A. D. Mills, Oxford University Press, 2003. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. University of Hull. 12 December 2009 <>
  4. ^ "Campbeltown Cross". 1950-12-28. Retrieved 2009-08-21. 
  5. ^ "Mull of Kintyre Music Festival". Retrieved 2009-08-21. 
  6. ^ "Flybe". Flybe. 2009-02-25. Retrieved 2009-08-21. 
  7. ^ Plan B - The Creative Edge. "Kintyre Express". Kintyre Express. Retrieved 2009-08-21. 
  8. ^ "Scotland's Mark on America". 2007-05-28. Retrieved 2009-08-21. 
  9. ^

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Campbeltown (Scottish Gaelic:Ceann Loch Chille Chiarain) is located on the southern portion of the Kintyre Peninsula in Argyll and Bute, Scotland.

Get in

By Bus

Campbeltown is served by the citylink bus from Glasgow to Campbeltown 3 times per day (including Sundays). Note that this bus calls at every settlement along the way which results in a long journey time. The bus also calls at various places allowing passengers to transfer onto ferries run by Caledonian MacBrayne (see below). Buses can get very busy during peak season - you may see two buses running in convoy!

By Air

Twice daily service (not weekends) run by British Airways (operated under the name Loganair). Flight time is approximately 30 mins, though with the right weather behind the plane can be done in about 10!

  • Caledonian MacBrayne, [1] runs the following car ferries which allow access to the various islands around the Kintyre peninsula.
    • Tarbert to Portavadie every hour or so (daytime) daily. Together with the Gourock to Dunoon service, this provides a shorter route from Glasgow, or makes part of various circular routes.
    • Kennacraig to Islay twice a day. Kennacraig is 6 miles South of Tarbert.
    • Claonaig to Lochranza every 1 1/4 hours daily in summer only. Claonaig is 4.5 miles south of Kennacraig

The first 2 ports are served by the Citylink bus service to Campbeltown (see above). Claonaig is served by a 3 times per day Mon-Sat by West Coast Motors service 448 from Tarbert.

Get around

A variety of local bus services operate in and around Campbeltown, all operated by West Coast Motors [2]. There is a town service (number 100 or 440) that runs every half hour Monday-Saturday daytime.

  • See whisky being made at the Springbank Distillery at 85 Longrow, Campbeltown, PA28 6EX [3]. Book on +44(0)1586 551710.
  • Mull of Kintyre Seatours, 07785 542811, [4]. Fast boat trips around Kintyre and to Arran, the Firth of Clyde, Islay and Northern Ireland. Also run regular wildlife-watching trips to Sanda Island, Ailsa Craig and the Mull of Kintyre.  edit
  • Drink the locally distilled whisky from Springbank, Glengyle, or Glen Scotia. Then sing the song "Campbeltown Loch, I wish you were whisky".
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

CAMPBELTOWN, a royal, municipal and police burgh, and seaport of Argyllshire, Scotland. Pop. (1901) 8286. It is situated on a fine bay, towards the S.E. extremity of the peninsula of Kintyre, 11 m. N.E. of the Mull and 83 m. S.W. of Glasgow by water. The seat of the Dalriad monarchy in the 6th or 7th century, its importance declined when the capital was transferred to Forteviot. No memorial of its antiquity has survived, but the finely sculptured granite cross standing on a pedestal in the market-place belongs to the 12th century, and there are ruins of some venerable chapels and churches. Through the interest of the Campbells, who are still the overlords and from whom it takes its name, it became a royal burgh in 1700. It was the birthplace of the Rev. Dr Norman Macleod (1812). The chief public buildings are the churches (one of which occupies the site of a castle of the Macdonalds), the town house, the Academy and the Athenaeum. The staple industry is whisky distilling, of which the annual output is 2,000,000 gallons, more than half for export. The port is the head of a fishery district and does a thriving trade. Shipbuilding, net and rope-making, and woollen manufacturing are other industries, and coal is mined in the vicinity. There are three piers and a safe and capacious harbour, the bay, called Campbeltown Loch, measuring 2 m. in length by 1 in breadth. At its entrance stands a lighthouse on the island of Davaar. On the Atlantic shore is the splendid golf-course of Machrihanish, 5 m. distant. Machrihanish is connected with Campbeltown by a light railway. Near the village of Southend is Machrireoch, the duke of Argyll's shooting-lodge, an old structure modernized, commanding superb views of the Firth of Clyde and its islands, and of Ireland. On the rock of Dunaverty stood the castle of Macdonald of the Isles, who was dispossessed by the Campbells in the beginning of the 17th century. At this place in 1647 General David Leslie is said to have ordered 300 of the Macdonalds to be slain after their surrender. Of the ancient church founded here by Columba, only the walls remain. Campbeltown unites with Ayr, Inveraray, Irvine and Oban in sending one member (for the "Ayr Burghs") to parliament.

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