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Scottish Gaelic: Ceann Loch Chille Chiarain[1]
Campbeltown seafront.jpg
Campbeltown waterfront
Campbeltown is located in Argyll and Bute
 Campbeltown shown within Argyll and Bute
Population 4,852 2011 census[3]
OS grid reference NR718203
Council area Argyll and Bute
Lieutenancy area Argyll and Bute
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Campbeltown
Postcode district PA28
Police Scottish
Fire Scottish
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament Argyll and Bute
Scottish Parliament Argyll and Bute
List of places

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Campbeltown (Listeni/ˈkæmbəltən/; 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 shipbuilding and Scotch whisky, and a busy fishing port.


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.[5][6][7][8]

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


The old Library and Museum
The Wee Picture House

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 a library and has plaques or exhibits related to famous Kintyre people: for example, William McTaggart and William Mackinnon.[9] 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.[10] These buildings are on the waterfront, as is a 14th-century Celtic cross that also served as a mercat cross.[11][12]

St Kieran (Ciarán of Clonmacnoise) lived in this area before the town existed.[13] 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.[14]

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 closed 7 years ago[when?] due to safety concerns, 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 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.[15][16]


Campbeltown Airport, lies near the burgh, and a scheduled service[17] runs between here and Glasgow International Airport on weekdays and some summer Sundays.

The town is the westernmost town in Great Britain (for the avoidance of doubt, the island of Great Britain) by reference to which it has the population of a large village, laying claim to its town status due to port status and its central close grid of streets. 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.[18] 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.[18]

Starting 23 May 2013, Caledonian MacBrayne began operating a pilot ferry service to Ardrossan calling at Brodick on Saturdays.[19]

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. The railway. which was originally built to serve the Machrihanish Coalfield, ran from Campbeltown railway station to Machrihanish railway station.


As with the rest of the British Isles and Scotland, Cambeltown 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.[20]

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 (≥ 0.1 mm) 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[21]


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
Campbeltown Loch and Campbeltown. Looking down from the top of Davaar. In the foreground is the Doirlinn, then the loch. On the western side of the loch is Campbeltown and beyond that Machrihanish Bay can be seen

See also


  1. Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba ~ Gaelic Place-names of Scotland
  2. Scots Language Centre: Scottish Place Names in Scots
  3. "Scotland's Census 2011 - National Records of Scotland, Table QS103SC - Age by single year". Scotland's Census Results Online. Retrieved 8 January 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  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. The World of Scotch Whisky
  6. The Five Single Malt Regions of Scotland
  7. Whisky Regions & Tours
  8. The Distilleries Of Campbeltown The Rise and Fall of the Whisky Capital of the World
  9. St John Street and Hall Street, Public Library and Museum, with Librarian's House, Garden, Railings, gates, And Gatepiers (Ref:22964)
  10. Hall Street, The Picture House (Ref:22965)
  11. "Campbeltown Cross". 28 December 1950. Archived from the original on 21 August 2008. Retrieved 2009-08-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Campbeltown Cross,Hall Street
  13. A Calendar of Scottish Saints
  14. "Mull of Kintyre Music Festival". Retrieved 2009-08-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "BBC News - 'Vulnerable' Scottish rural towns listed". 28 May 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Revealed: our rural towns on the brink". The Scotsman. 12 May 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Flybe timetable: flight from Campbelltown Airport". Flybe. Retrieved 11 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. 18.0 18.1 Plan B - The Creative Edge. "Kintyre Express". Kintyre Express. Retrieved 2009-08-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "New ferry link for Campbeltown". Caledonian MacBrayne. 15 April 2013. Retrieved 9 June 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "2010 minimum". UKMO.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "Machrihanish Climate period: 1981-2010". Met Office. Retrieved 8 January 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. "Scotland's Mark on America". 28 May 2007. Archived from the original on 1 April 2013. Retrieved 2009-08-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23.  Sidney Lee, ed. (1901). "Beith, Alexander". Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 supplement​. London: Smith, Elder & Co.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. Thomas Lindsay Galloway
  25. James Gulliver, Chairman Of Food Group, Dies at 66
  26. Mackinnon, Sir William, 1st Baronet
  27.  "Macleod, Norman (1783-1862)". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. Norman MacLeod
  29. Angus MacVicar
  30. Duncan McNab McEachran at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography
  31. Paul McCartney and the Mull of Kintyre: 'Maybe the memories make it too painful for him to return’
  32. Biography
  33. Jamie is nominated on most eligible men list
  34. Lincoln City Football Club
  35. Olympic sailor asks to be removed from Scottish Sports Hall of Fame.. because he's English
  36. Sir George Pirie 1863–1946
  37. Secretary-General Appoints Kieran Prendergast of United Kingdom as USG for Political Affairs
  38. Robert Pursell
  39. Rothesay in line for £1.5m in heritage funding
  40. College of Justice
  41. Mr John (2) STEWART (1876 - 1957)
  42. Gerald Tait
  43. Celtic humour keeps Lawrence Tynes on song

External links