The long finger of the Kintyre Peninsula, on the west coast of Scotland feels almost like an island as the sea is never far away and when you arrive you feel truly off the beaten track. This scenic and historic area is well worth exploring for a few days. With quiet roads and different views around every corner it is perfect for a campervan trip.
We took the ferry to Tarbert and arriving by boat in this pretty port felt like the best way to start our tour. We explored the town that has a pleasant buoyant atmosphere, climbing up to the castle and visited the Loch Fyne Gallery overlooking the quay. Here among the quirky and beautiful items I found perfect gifts for friends.
Not far from Tarbert, walk through the ornate gateway to find the impressive ruins of Skipness Castle. Built in the 13th century you can still climb a staircase for the view out to sea and to the tiny chapel at Skipness Point.
Not to missed is Big Jessie’s Tearoom. Park up and enjoy a friendly welcome and homemade cake or lunch or breakfast with a good cup of tea and a sea view. Campervans and motorhomes are welcome to stay overnight in the field next to the ferry car park. You can use the ferry car park too but this can get busy.
Gigha, a community-owned island off the coast of Kintyre, is the perfect size for cycling, being around 10 km long and also happens to be a stunning and friendly place to visit. We took our bikes on the ferry and cycled the one road from top to bottom. The spring colour of rhododendrons and camellias and the woodland and walled garden at Achamore Gardens are dazzling. Like us, you will probably have the bays on the northern tip of Gigha to yourself and enjoy good food, coffee and cakes along with a view at The Boathouse.
After exploring Campbeltown, check the tide times and walk out to the tidal Davaar Island. It is safe to walk along the causeway three hours either side of low tide and you will have so much fun you need to give yourself plenty of time to get back. The walk across the stony causeway with the sea on either side has a marvellous airy feel with fantastic views. On the island scramble around the cliffs on the south side to find the hidden cave painting of the Crucifixion. This was painted in 1887 by a local artist, Archibald MacKinnon.
On the fresh Atlantic coast of Kintyre is Machrihanish Bay, a beautiful sweep of sand that is three miles long. The sky is big here and watching the sun set into the sea here is a real treat. Find a comfy rock to sit on and take in the views of the Paps of Jura and Islay on the horizon and you will hopefully spot seals and maybe an otter.
Follow the narrow and winding road on the east coast and you come to the tiny hamlet of Saddell. Here you can stroll around the atmospheric Saddell Bay with Saddell Castle, a 16th century tower house that is available to rent through the Landmark Trust. Inland we found the remains of the Abbey and remarkable medieval grave slabs with effigies of the people buried there.
The Kintyre Way weaves for 161 km around this wonderful and varied peninsular. We walked a short and easy to follow section of this trail from Carradale to Cnoc nan Gabhar for wide views over Carradale Bay and beyond to Arran.
Big Jessie’s Tea Room, Gigha Ferry Terminal – free overnight if you don’t count the homemade cake
Machrihanish Holiday Park a great value campsite that feels spacious and has wide open views and great separate bathrooms, near to a village with a pub.
Carradale Bay Caravan Site – a popular site on a lovely bay.