Situated on the heavily indented Atlantic seaboard of western Scotland, Argyll and Bute is a land of lochs, mountains and islands. Within its bounds lie the Cowal peninsula and the long peninsula known as the Mull of Kintyre, Lochs Awe, Fyne and Etive, and many of the inner isles of Scotland including Mull, Coll, Tiree, Islay, Jura, Colonsay, Gigha, Lismore and Bute. Its main settlements are Lochgilphead, Campbeltown, Oban, Dunoon, Inveraray, Arrochar, Helensburgh and Tobermory.
At 7023 sq. km (2711 sq. miles), Argyll and Bute is the second largest of Scotland's unitary local authorities by area, yet it is the 11th smallest in terms of population.
Local industries include forestry, farming, fishing and fish farming. Tourism is of great importance and attractions include picturesque scenery, sizeable mountains, ancient castles and whisky distilleries. Numerous distilleries include those at Oban and Campbeltown, but it is on the island of Islay where its eight distilleries are particularly noted for the rich peaty qualities of their malts. The region includes a significant number of native Gaelic speakers, approaching 10% of the population.