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Campbeltown seafront.jpg
Campbeltown waterfront
Location within Argyll and Bute
Population4,852 2011 census[3]
OS grid referenceNR 71800 20300
Edinburgh101 mi (163 km)
London352 mi (566 km)
Council area
  • Argyll and Bute
Lieutenancy area
  • Argyll and Bute
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townCampbeltown
Postcode districtPA28
Dialling code01586
UK Parliament
  • Argyll and Bute
Scottish Parliament
  • Argyll and Bute

Campbeltown (; Scottish Gaelic: Ceann Loch Chille Chiarain or Ceann Locha) is a town and former royal burgh in Argyll and Bute, Scotland. It lies by Campbeltown Loch on the Kintyre peninsula. Originally known as Kinlochkilkerran (an anglicization of the Gaelic, which means "head of the loch by the kirk of Ciarán"), it was renamed in the 17th century as Campbell's Town after Archibald Campbell (Earl of Argyle) was granted the site in 1667.[4] Campbeltown became an important centre for Scotch whisky, and a busy fishing port.

The 2018 population estimate was 4,600 indicating a reduction since the 2011 Census.[5]


Campbeltown is one of five areas in Scotland categorised as a distinct malt whisky producing region, and is home to the Campbeltown single malts. At one point it had over 30 distilleries and proclaimed 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: Glen Scotia, Glengyle, and Springbank.[6][7][8][9]

Campbeltown is a "protected locality" for Scotch Whisky distilling under UK Government legislation.[10]

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


Main Street Campbeltown (2006)

In addition to the benefits of distilling, and whisky tourism, there were two major employers in 2018, Campbeltown Creamery and CS Wind UK, who provided "a substantial portion of the Campbeltown area's high skilled jobs and are a vital part of the local economy," according to the Scottish government. A report in October 2019 had raised warning signs for the economy of Argyle & Bute; the report also suggested that up to 70 jobs at CS Wind UK could be lost but did not specify a time frame.[11]

Both companies confirmed the prediction of job redundancies, leading the Scottish government to hold an emergency Summit in November 2019 to discuss steps that might be taken for improving the local economy. Participants included Argyll & Bute Council, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, trades unions and local employers.[12][13] After the Summit, a "working group" was formed in late November 2019.[14]

The Creamery was expected to close unless new investors were willing to take over. A plan by local farmers to do so failed in early December 2019.[15][16] John Smith, NFU Scotland Dairy Chairman made this comment about the creamery's probable closure: "That is due to the harsh, economic reality of processing milk in an incredibly tough dairy industry that has witnessed so many casualties at both farm and processing level in recent times".[17]

By early December 2019, CS Wind UK had declared 22 jobs redundant. The Scottish government was working with the company to search for long-term solutions.[18] Preliminary discussions did not produce optimism about the future stability of the company. The Unite union indicated that while CS Wind had been profitable, it was not receiving an adequate number of orders to sustain full employment.[19]


The old Library and Museum

There are several listed buildings in Category A in the town and include the following.

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, by John James Burnet, also houses the Registrars office and Customer Service Point for Argyll and Bute council and has plaques or exhibits related to famous Kintyre people: for example, William McTaggart and William Mackinnon.[20] Near the museum is the cinema known as the Wee Picture House, a small but distinctive Art Nouveau building of the Glasgow School dating from 1913 and believed to be the oldest surviving purpose-built cinema in Scotland.[21] These buildings are on the waterfront, as is a 14th-century Celtic cross that also served as a mercat cross.[22][23]

St Kieran (Ciarán of Clonmacnoise) lived in this area before the town existed.[24] A cave named after him can be visited at low tide, as can the cave on nearby Island Davaar 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.[25]

A recent addition has been the Kintyre Songwriters Festival, a fairly low key annual gathering aimed at promoting the wealth and variety of original music across the area. The festival is held during the last weekend of May and is open to anyone interested in performing.

On Friday 16 June 2006, First Minister Jack McConnell flew to Campbeltown to officially open Campbeltown's new 'Aqualibrium' Centre. Aqualibrium, designed by Page\Park Architects, replaced the old Campbeltown swimming pool, which was previously closed due to safety concerns; the centre 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.

The local amateur football team, Campbeltown Pupils AFC, are members of the Scottish Amateur Football League which largely comprises clubs based in the Greater Glasgow and Inverclyde areas, requiring the Campbeltown team to make a round trip of over 200 miles (320 km) for away fixtures most weekends.[26]

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

In May 2012 Campbeltown and Dunoon were jointly named in a report by the Scottish Agricultural College as the rural places in Scotland most vulnerable to a downturn. The "vulnerability index" ranked 90 Scottish locations according to factors associated with economic and social change.[27][28]


Campbeltown Airport is near the town, and has a scheduled service[29] to/from Glasgow International Airport on weekdays and some summer Sundays.

The town is the westernmost town in the island of Great Britain (if the port of Mallaig is not counted as a town). It has the population of a large village, but lays claim to its town status based on its port and its central close grid of streets. Its position near the end of a long peninsula makes for a time-consuming road journey, and to some extent the area relies on sea and air transport, like the Inner Hebrides. However it is linked to the rest of Scotland by the A83 (to Tarbet) and A82 (from Tarbet to Glasgow). Bus service is provided by West Coast Motors.

Davaar Island at the mouth of Campbeltown Loch

Ferries sail from Campbeltown to Ballycastle in Northern Ireland, operated by Kintyre Express.[30] An earlier service had been suspended in June 2002; the new service, which runs to Ballycastle every Friday to Monday during summer months and on Mondays and Fridays during the winter months, commenced in 2011.

In 2006 a foot passenger ferry operated by 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.[30]

Starting 23 May 2013, Caledonian MacBrayne began operating a pilot ferry service across the Firth of Clyde to Ardrossan calling at Brodick on Saturdays.[31]

Campbeltown was linked to Machrihanish by a canal (1794-mid-1880s) that was superseded by the Campbeltown and Machrihanish Light Railway, which closed in 1932. The railway, which was originally built to serve the Machrihanish Coalfield, ran from Campbeltown railway station to Machrihanish railway station.

Preceding station   Ferry   Following station
Terminus   Caledonian MacBrayne
Kintyre Ferry
(Summer only)
(Saturdays only)
Terminus   Kintyre Express


As with the rest of Scotland, Campbeltown experiences a maritime climate with cool summers and mild winters. The nearest official Met Office weather station for which online records are available is at Campbeltown Airport/RAF Machrihanish, about 3 mi (4.8 km) west of the town centre.

The lowest temperature to be reported in recent years was -12.9 °C (8.8 °F) during December 2010.[32]

Climate data for Machrihanish, 10 m (33 ft) ASL, 1981-2010
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 7.8
Average low °C (°F) 2.6
Average rainfall mm (inches) 128.5
Average rainy days 17.7 13.9 16.0 12.2 12.2 11.5 13.0 14.0 15.0 17.8 17.8 16.7 177.7
Mean monthly sunshine hours 47.8 75.1 101.6 163.4 214.8 181.1 157.7 159.7 126.8 87.1 54.7 42.8 1,412.5
Source: Met Office[33]


Campbeltown is one of the few communities in the Scottish Highlands where the Scots language predominated in recent centuries, rather than the previously widespread Scottish Gaelic, an enclave of Lowland Scots speech surrounded by Highland Scottish speech. This was due to the plantation of lowland merchants in the burgh in the 17th century. The dominant position that Lowland Scots had in the town has today been taken by the English language, in the form of the Scottish English dialect.

Notable people

Main Street and Campbeltown Cross
Campbeltown harbour


See also

Town twinnings

Campbeltown is twinned with Kümmersbruck, Bavaria, Germany. [55]


  1. ^ "Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba - Gaelic Place-Names of Scotland - Database".
  2. ^ " - Names in Scots - Places in Scotland".
  3. ^ "Scotland's Census 2011 - National Records of Scotland, Table QS103SC - Age by single year". Scotland's Census Results Online. Retrieved 2014.
  4. ^ "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
  5. ^ CAMPBELTOWN in Argyll and Bute
  6. ^ The World of Scotch Whisky Archived 9 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ The Five Single Malt Regions of Scotland
  8. ^ D8. "Scotch Whisky Association - Whisky Regions & Tours".
  9. ^ Stirk, David (1 January 2005). The Distilleries of Campbeltown: The Rise and Fall of the Whisky Capital of the World. Angels' Share. ISBN 9781903238844 – via Google Books.
  10. ^ Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009, Section 10: Locality and region geographical indications
  11. ^ Largely negative economic data and a slew of job losses, the North Coast 500 shows which economic road to take
  12. ^ Campbeltown economic summit
  13. ^ Farmers join forces in attempt to save Campbeltown Creamery
  14. ^ Working group formed after emergency economic summit
  15. ^ Farmers join forces in attempt to save Campbeltown Creamery
  16. ^ Dairy story that ended unhappily ever after
  17. ^ First Milk to close Campbeltown Creamery
  18. ^ First Minister intervention plea as jobs go at CS Wind
  19. ^ [1]
  20. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "St John Street and Hall Street, Public Library and Museum, with Librarian's House, Garden, Railings, Gates, and Gatepiers  (Category A) (LB22964)". Retrieved 2019.
  21. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "Hall Street, The Picture House  (Category A) (LB22965)". Retrieved 2019.
  22. ^ "Campbeltown Cross". 28 December 1950. Archived from the original on 21 August 2008. Retrieved 2009.
  23. ^ Campbeltown Cross,Hall Street
  24. ^ A Calendar of Scottish Saints Archived 9 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ "Mull of Kintyre Music Festival". Retrieved 2009.
  26. ^ Join Campbeltown Pupils AFC as they make a 260 mile trip just for a game of football, A View from the Terrace (BBC Scotland), 28 February 2020
  27. ^ "BBC News - 'Vulnerable' Scottish rural towns listed". 28 May 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  28. ^ "Revealed: our rural towns on the brink". The Scotsman. 12 May 2012. Retrieved 2014.
  29. ^ "Flybe timetable: flight from Campbelltown Airport". Flybe. Retrieved 2014.
  30. ^ a b Plan B - The Creative Edge. "Kintyre Express". Kintyre Express. Retrieved 2009.
  31. ^ "New ferry link for Campbeltown". Caledonian MacBrayne. 15 April 2013. Retrieved 2014.
  32. ^ "2010 minimum". UKMO. 24 December 2010.
  33. ^ "Machrihanish Climate period: 1981-2010". Met Office. Retrieved 2014.
  34. ^ "Beith, Alexander" . Dictionary of National Biography (1st supplement). London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1901.
  35. ^ "Scotland's Mark on America". 28 May 2007. Archived from the original on 1 April 2013. Retrieved 2009.
  36. ^ Thomas Lindsay Galloway
  37. ^ "James Gulliver, Chairman Of Food Group, Dies at 66". The New York Times. 17 September 1996.
  38. ^ Mackinnon, Sir William, 1st Baronet
  39. ^ "Macleod, Norman (1783-1862)" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885-1900.
  40. ^ "Memoirs and portraits of one hundred Glasgow men: 61. Norman Macleod".
  41. ^ Angus MacVicar
  42. ^ Rowley, Tom (11 October 2013). "Paul McCartney and the Mull of Kintyre: 'Maybe the memories make it too painful for him to return'".
  43. ^ "Jill McGown".
  44. ^ Duncan McNab McEachran at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography
  45. ^ Vickers, John. "The Lincoln City FC Archive". Archived from the original on 25 May 2012. Retrieved 2014.
  46. ^ Campbell, Alan (8 May 2012). "Olympic sailor asks to be removed from Scottish Sports Hall of Fame.. because he's English".
  47. ^ Tate. "Sir George Pirie (1863-1946) - Tate".
  49. ^ "Robert Pursell". Archived from the original on 28 January 2012.
  50. ^ "Rothesay in line for £1.5m in heritage funding".
  51. ^, Scottish Government, St. Andrew's House, Regent Road, Edinburgh EH1 3DG Tel:0131 556 8400 (14 October 2010). "College of Justice".
  52. ^ Mr John (2) STEWART (1876 - 1957)
  53. ^ "Gerald Tait Olympic medals and stats". Archived from the original on 24 March 2013.
  54. ^ Brown, By Oliver (22 January 2008). "Celtic humour keeps Lawrence Tynes on song".
  55. ^ Bayer, Josef. "Schottland zu Gast".

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Music Scenes