Campbeltown (Scottish Gaelic: "Ceann Loch Chille Chiarain") is a town and former royal burgh in Argyll and Bute, Scotland, located by Campbeltown Loch on the Kintyre peninsula. Originally known as Kinlochkilkerran (Eng: The head of the loch by the kirk of St. Kieran) - this form is still used in Gaelic. It was renamed in the 17th century and became an important centre for shipbuilding and Scotch whisky, and a busy fishing port.
Campbeltown is one of the handful of areas in Scotland categorised as a distinct whisky
producing region, and is home to the Campbeltown Single Malts
, at one point having 34 distilleries
and proclaiming 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, which have, or in one case is expected to have, an excellent reputation for their quality.
The well known folk song titled Campbeltown Loch, I wish you were whisky is based on the town's history in this industry.
Apart from the distilleries, 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 also houses the library and has plaques or exhibits related to famous Kintyre people: for example, William McTaggart
and William Mackinnon
. Near the museum is the Wee Picture House
, a small but distinctive Art Deco cinema
dating from 1913 and believed to be the oldest surviving purpose-built cinema in Scotland. These buildings are on the waterfront, as is a 14th century Celtic cross
that also served as a mercat cross
. St. Kieran lived in this area before the town existed. 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
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.
On Friday 16 June 2006, First Minister Jack McConnell flew to Campbeltown to officially open Campbeltown's new 'Aqualibrium' Centre. Aqualibrium replaced the old Campbeltown swimming pool, which closed 7 years ago due to safety reasons, 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 & 107.7
lies near the burgh, and a scheduled service runs between here and Glasgow Airport on weekdays, but not weekends.
Due to the town's isolated location near the far end of a long peninsula, in many ways it resembles sizeable communities on the islands of the Inner Hebrides in that transport by sea is particularly important, although nonetheless it is linked to the rest of Scotland by the A83 (to Tarbet) and A82 (from Tarbet to Glasgow).
Ferries once sailed from Campbeltown to Ballycastle in Northern Ireland, but the service was suspended in June 2002 until further notice. According to the Campbeltown Courier, the Scottish Executive repeatedly gives the message "not this year, maybe next" about this ferry service.
In 2006 a foot passenger ferry, The 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.
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.
Campbeltown is traditionally one of the few communities in the Scottish Highlands
where the Scots language
has predominated, rather than the previously widespread Scottish Gaelic
. This was due to the plantation
merchants to the burgh in the Middle Ages
. Today the English language
, in the form of the Scottish English dialect
, is the predominant language in the town.
- Jill McGown, British writer of mystery novels
- Sir William Mackinnon, 1st Baronet, Scottish ship-owner and businessman
- James C. Russell, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
- Norman MacLeod, Scottish clergyman and author
- Paul McCartney, musician and singer leader of Wings and member of the Beatles
- Duncan McNab McEachran, Canadian veterinarian and academic
- Hugh Henry Brackenridge, American writer, lawyer, judge, and justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court
- Rodney Pattisson, sailor, Olympic gold medalist at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics and 1972 Munich Olympics along with a silver medal at the 1976 Montreal Olympics