Fun

Kintyre 66 – travel this route around the West of Scotland

The Kintyre 66 route is a 66-mile loop around Kintyre, a peninsula in the West of Scotland. The route was designed to allow people to explore the area fully, taking in the beautiful sea views and taking in views of Gigha, Islay, and Jura to the west and Arran to the east.

We wanted to highlight the Kintyre 66 because it is a fantastic route to take if you want to explore the best parts of Western Scotland. Let's get into the specifics of the route:

 

Where is Kintyre?

So, where is Kintyre? Many think it is way up in the highlands but in reality, it is on the end of a western peninsular, west of the Isle of Arran and slightly south of the city of Glasgow. To get to Kintyre may require a bit of a detour as far north as Inveraray, and back south towards Campbeltown.

How do you travel the route (& How Long is it)?

At 66 miles in length, this is definitely a driving route (in the same way the North Coast 500 is), but you can arrive in Kintyre via air or ferry if you like. You can start from Tarbert and head down to the Kilbrannan Sound coast. From there, you can follow the same road all the way down to Campbeltown, and then you can loop round towards Torrisdale. At Carradale you can jump onto Saddell Bay, which is probably the most beautiful beach that Kintyre has to offer (plus you get views of Arran from the sand).

As we say, there is no right way to travel the Kintyre 66. But this is probably the best way to do it. This is a more chilled alternative to the North Coast 500.

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How Long Does It Take To Drive the Kintyre 66?

The answer to how long it takes to drive the Kintyre 66 is completely up to you. After all, the route is only 66 miles so it is easily driven within a few hours if you wanted to.
The whole point of the route is to enjoy it, to stop off at the walking trails, coastlines, castles and beaches.
If you plan to drive the route, consider a few stops along the way and make sure you stay overnight in at least one of the many beautiful hotels on the way. You'll not regret it.
Kintyre 66 Map

What is there to see along the route?

There is plenty to see across the 66 miles, but here are a few highlights:

 

Achamore Gardens, Gigha

The 54-acre gardens on Gigha are home to a variety of unusual plants and trees from around the world, and are beautiful to explore.

Ballochroy Standing Stones

3 standing stones might not sound special, but these stones are special - this is a megalithic site shrowded in mystery, as nobody knows the meaning of why the stones were stood there.

Davaar Island

This is a tidal island that is attached to the mainland via a natural causeway that can be crossed during low tide. The island is very peaceful and relaxing and there is an impressive cave to visit.

Skipness Castle

This is an early 13th-century castle that has been rebuilt a few times over the years and therefore reflects architectural styles from different time periods.

St Columba’s Footprints

There is an ancient large footprint the Mull of Kintyre that is allegedly the real footprint of St Columba

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Specific travel information

The trail is quite loose and doesn't really have an exact route, but if you're looking for a specific route then this what we recommend:

  • As you leave Inverness, follow the A9 northwards over the Kessock Bridge to the Black Isle
  • Follow the signs towards Groam House Museum, Rosemarkie
  • You can continue from here across the Cromarty – Nigg car ferry or follow the coast road around the Black Isle to Dingwall and Strathpeffer
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Why you should visit Campbeltown (and what to see there)

If you get the chance to visit this town during your trip, you absolutely should. It is a very underrated Scottish town and there is quite a bit to see and do there. Here are our recommendations for the best things to see and do during your time in Campbeltown.

Glen Scotia Distillery

We write lots of blog posts about Scottish whisky, and it goes without saying that Scotland is the place to be for great whisky. Campbeltown was actually once known as the whisky capital of the world due to the fact that it had a whopping 34 distilleries in the town. Only 3 distilleries now remain, and we think Glen Scotia Distillery is probably the best to visit. Founded in 1832, the distillery is one of the smallest in Scotland but is a big name among Scottish whisky fans and was actually recognised as Scotland's distillery of the year for 2021. You can join a distillery tour which is really interesting, especially when you realise that much of the interior is original and dates from the 1830s, including the fermenters and the stillroom. We highly recommend a visit during your time in Campbeltown, learn more here - glenscotia.com

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Head to Davaar Island

From Campbeltown you can easily reach Davaar Island - it's just 3 miles south. If you follow the coast road from Campbeltown until you reach the NATO depot on your right.  Here you'll see a large layby on your left, which is the parking area for Davaar Island. The island is wonderful to explore and you can often spot some really interesting wildlife such as eagles and otters. It is possible to walk to the island at low tide which takes some planning, get an idea of what the tides will be like using this guide from the BBC - bbc.co.uk

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Visit Campbeltown Museum

This striking red sandstone building at the centre of Campbeltown is not just impressive to look at, it also houses a very interesting museum. The museum is small and you can see everything quite quickly, but this doesn't mean it isn't worth a visit - if you're looking for a great overview of the history of Kintyre and the town, then it's a great stopping point. The museum also houses some really impressive artefacts, including a 4000-year-old Bronze Age jet necklace. The Linda McCartney garden is also here, which we discuss in more detail below.

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Linda McCartney Memorial Garden

This is a great and slightly quirky memorial to visit. Created in memory of Linda McCartney, this small garden in Campbeltown is a tribute to a woman who loved Kintyre and who had her ashes spread in the area. The bronze sculpture of Linda is very good and was created by Jane Robbins, a talented sculptor. The garden is a quiet place for contemplation and we'd recommend a visit during your time in Campbeltown, learn more here - lindasgarden.co.uk

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An Ceardach Garden

For many people, visiting this garden is often the highlight of their trip to Campbeltown. It's a bit of a hidden gem which makes it even more special - owned by a family who carefully and lovingly tend to it, An Ceardach Gardens is actually

It's not just lovely plants and flowers here either - the garden features some quirky artwork as well as little fairy doors which are fun for kids to explore. You've also got amazing views across the Kilbrannan Sound all the way to the Isle of Arran. We'd highly recommend a visit here, but we suspect you'll have to ask a local for directions if you plan to visit.

FireShot Capture 1772 - An Ceardach Gardens. Near Carradale, Kintyre - Kintyre Hotel - Carra_ - carradales.com

If you're interested in similar walks but at the opposite end of Scotland, check out our guide about the Borders Abbey Way. We've also got guides about other excellent areas of Scotland including Argyll & the isles, Greater Speyside, and the Banffshire Coast.

Finn is the editor of You Well and has been writing about travel, health, and more for over 10 years.

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