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Campbeltown

(Kinlochkilkerran, The Wee Toon)
Argyll and Bute

The chief town and port of the Kintyre Peninsula of Argyll and Bute, Campbeltown sits at the head of Campbeltown Loch, 30 miles (48 km) south of Tarbert. Originally called Kinlochkilkerran and now informally known as The Wee Toon, this was a former seat of the Kings of Dalriada and was granted by King James V to the Campbells of Argyll who were charged with maintaining royal power and authority in this rebellious corner of Scotland. The Campbells later created Kilkerran Castle and renamed the existing small settlement Campbeltown. Lowlanders from Ayrshire and Renfrewshire settled in the town in the 17th Century, enhancing its status as a burgh of barony (1667) and a royal burgh (1700). The town developed in association with coal mining, herring fishing, boat building and whisky distilling, all of which went into decline at the beginning of the 20th Century. Of the 36 distilleries that once operated in Campbeltown, only a handful survive. Its small ship-yard has also closed. The harbour was begun in 1722 on the instructions of the Duchess of Argyll. More recently a NATO Petroleum, Oil and Lubricants (POL) depot was established on the south side of Campbeltown Loch and brings navy vessels into the area. However, a new ferry to Northern Ireland failed after just three years of operation and the ferry terminal (built 1997) remains closed despite efforts to re-establish the service.

Serving as an agricultural service centre and tourist centre, with food processing industries including a creamery which produces an award-winning cheese, Campbeltown also has a local museum and Campbeltown Picture House is one of the oldest surviving cinemas in Scotland (1913). A combined library, swimming and sports centre called Aqualibrium opened in 2006.


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