12 Awesome Things To Do on Kintyre
The very first time you visit Kintyre it seems like a completely deserted area, patched with farmlands, cows, and horses.
This obvious and superficial side of Mull of Kintyre disappears when you get to know this area which is rich in rural landscapes and peaceful vibes.
Before we discovered it yourself we wondered why Paul McCartney, stayed here.
After our visit that everything became clear, this is an ideal get away from busy every day where you can enjoy complete retreat for your body and mind.
Become a ‘cavesplorer’
There are at least five areas with generous cave formations that are easy to explore. The two most famous and accessible ones are Keil Caves and Davaar Crucifixion Cave.
The later is one of the most famous caves in Scotland with a Crucifixion painting on its walls. The painting was discovered in 1887 by a local by fisherman. It soon became apparent that this was painted by local art teacher Alexander MacKinnon. The painting is being restored constantly up to this day.
Other caves worth mentioning are Keil Caves located a mile from village of Southend. The biggest of the caves was still mentioned as a house to a local family in The 1881 Census.
Tip: There is a generous parking space just past the Caves on Keil Point
Treat yourself well
There is a fair chance that you will get hungry after all this “cavesploration”. We recommend visiting Muneroy Cafe at Southend where you can taste some of the best home baked cakes in a lovely warm atmosphere.
The cakes are out of this world and surely will stay in your memory for a long time.
Long stroll (way nicer than in Great Glen)
Kintyre has it’s own crisscrossed long distance walk called Kintyre Way. It’s 100 miles long and depending on your abilities will take from 4 to 7 days to complete. It is one of the best ways to discover all that this peninsula has to offer at your own pace.
It starts north of lovely village town of Tarbert (called the gateway to Kintyre) and ends in small golf village of Machrihanish. Your arrival will surely be noticed by seals chilling out on nearby rocks.
Take a part in local event
There are lots of amazing events happening here throughout the year, such as Mull of Kintyre Music Festival. A great mix of traditional and contemporary Scottish and Irish music that takes place in the summer, or even extremely local ones like Carradale Harbour Day.
Where community along with the local business provide lots of fun and entertainment for friends and family with an amazing views across the water towards the Isle of Arran in the east.
One of the most amazing and random things that can happen to you on Kintyre is to spot some wild animals.
You can, for example, find yourself watching seals basking on the rocks or pass a few wild goats while on Davaar Island. Wild goats inhabited Davaar since ancient times, Kintyre is still mostly unspoiled landscape abundant in wildlife.
Have a closer look at the lighthouses
Kintyre is home to two lighthouses, including the second oldest lighthouse in Scotland.
Mull Of Kintyre Lighthouse from 1820’s is located on the left side of the Peninsula, to reach it you need to follow steep and narrow single track road. Your troubules will soon be rewarded by some amazing views across the northern part of Kintyre.
The road ends with a small car park where you will need to continue your journey on foot. The path leading to the lighthouse is clearly marked.
From here on a good day, you can see shores of Northern Ireland, that are just 12 miles away.
The second lighthouse is located on Davaar Island which we mentioned already in “Cavesploring” section. The Island is situated at the mouth of Campbeltown Loch and is one of the 17 Scottish tidal islands. Lighthouse was built on the north side of the island in 1850’s.
Feel the adrenaline surfing
West Port Beach is a name well-known to surfers. Here you can feel the rush of adrenaline while riding the Atlantic waves reaching up to 8 feet. You will find people surfing here every single day.
There’s even a live webcam to check the weather and the height of the waves.
Have a picnic on the beach
But If you not really into surfing (like us) you will surely enjoy a relaxing day out on one of the prettiest and longest sandy beaches in Scotland stretching from West Port to Machrihanish.
Another local beach worth mentioning is Dunaverty Beach with Dunaverty Rock / Castle, towering above it, which in olden days served as a fortress for clan MacDonald.
Nowadays there is almost no trace of the castle but you can still climb the hill where it once stood. Next, to the hill lies the incredible Carrdale Bay with superb panoramic views over the sea and surrounding countryside.
Tee it high
Scotland is surely the home of golf, so it’s no surprise you will find a couple of interesting golf courses here. Moreover, Kintyre is home to the one of the best golf clubs in the United Kingdom, if not the world – Machrihanish Golf Club, which is the 18 hole championship course.
North of here there’s the Machrihanish Dunes golf club located on the sand dunes.
Dunaverty Golf Club is overlooking the island of Sanda to the south, Ailsa Craig and Ayrshire to the east and Northern Ireland to the south West.
Sail to Gigha
Gigha pronounced Geea is a small island on the west coast of Kintyre. Named ‘Gudey’ by the Vikings, the good Isle or God’s Isle.
Gigha can be easily reached by a ferry that runs over every hour and it only takes 20 minutes to sail across.
The island is famous for its 50 acres Achamore Garden where there are plenty of trees, plants and flowers arranged in a marvelous features.
The highest point on the island is at 330 feet. From here you can admire the Islay and Jura, but above all also the beautiful white beaches, clear green water and amazing tranquillity of the area.
Explore lesser known historical sites
Kintyre is home to many scattered forgotten sites from the time of the Dalriada and the Standing Stones, like for example 9 feet knockstapple standing Stone. While exploring Keil Caves you won’t miss the sign that leads to Columba Steps.
It is believed that St Columba landed in this part of Kintyre in 563AD. He left to live on Isle of Iona, where the famous Iona Abbey stands to this day.
Notice also the ruins of Keil House, damaged by a serious fire years ago and a big white building that used to be Keil Hotel and served as a military hospital during WWII.
Regardless from which side you approach Kintyre you will always pass by a castle with an interesting story to tell.
If you visit it from the mainland, don’t miss the beautiful village of Tarbert, with the ruins of Castle of Tarbert towering above the village, which once was a fortress built by the famous King of Scotland, Robert the Bruce.
If you are coming from the Isle of Arran, there’s the 13th century Skippness Castle, abandoned in the 17th century. If you’re to explore the east coast of Kintyre you should stop in the small idyllic village of Saddel.
It was on this beach that immortal track of The wings – Mull of Kintyre was shoot, Overlooking the Saddel Castle from the 16th century.
At the moment the Castle is a landmark holiday accommodation. While being in Saddel take a short walk to haunted Saddel Abbey ruins with a magnificent gallery of carved medieval Stones.
Try local tastes – Tarbert
Although Scotland is famous for making best whisky, this year much attention has been given to gin.
With the opening of the New Scottish distillery Beinn an Tuirc, which began production of Kintyre Gin in July, it looks like Kintyre is back to its glory again.
Although once this land was claiming the title of “whisky capital of the world” with 34 open distilleries, today only 3 are still in operation – Glenscotia, Glengyle and Springbank.