But for the mile-long isthmus between West Loch Tarbert and the much smaller East Loch Tarbert, the little-visited peninsula of KINTYRE – from the Gaelic Ceann Tire, “land’s end” – would be an island. Despite its relative proximity to Scotland’s Central Belt, Kintyre remains quiet and unfashionable; its main towns, Tarbert and Campbeltown, have few obvious attractions, but that’s part of their appeal. In many ways, it’s a peninsula in a time warp, where you can hole up in perfect solitude.
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Isle of Gigha
Isle of Gigha
Gigha – pronounced “geeya” – is a low-lying, fertile island three miles off the west coast of Kintyre, reputedly occupied for 5000 years. Like many of the smaller Hebrides, Gigha was bought and sold numerous times after its original lairds, the MacNeils, sold up in 1865, and was finally bought by the islanders themselves in 2002. The island is so small – six miles by one – that most visitors come here just for the day. The real draw, apart from the peace and quiet, is the white sandy beaches.
The ferry from Tayinloan, 23 miles south of Tarbert, deposits you at Gigha’s only village, ARDMINISH, where you’ll find the post office and shop, and a lovely beach. A mile and a half south, the Achamore Gardens were established by the first postwar owner, Sir James Horlick (of hot-drink fame). Their spectacularly colourful display of azaleas is best seen in early summer.