Kyles of Bute

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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Kyles of Bute, a semicircular belt of sea, for 165/8 miles engirdling the northern half of Bute island, and separating that island from the Cowal district of Argyllshire. Connecting at both ends with the Firth of Clyde, it opens on the E, between Bogany Point in Bute and Toward Point in Cowal, with a width of 21/8 miles; and suddenly expands, on the Bute side, into Rothesay Bay, soon after into Kames Bay; whilst, at a point 4 miles N of Rothesay, it sends off, north-north-westward into Cowal, long mountain-screened Loch Striven. During the first 5 miles it exhibits the character of a capacious and most picturesque bay, with outlook to Big Cumbrae and Ayrshire; but afterwards, for 6¾ miles, it curves gently north-westward and south-westward, with a varying width of 2 and 5½ furlongs, and displays contractions and windings like those of a river, flanked by steep hills, rugged acclivities, and rocky eminences. In the N, where it makes a sudden angular bend, it contains Eilean Dheirrig and three other small rocky islands, and there is met by Loch Riddon; and from Tighnabruaich it curves south-south-eastward, with gradually increasing width, till, at Ardlamont Point, the south-western extremity of Cowal, it terminates with a width of 23/8 miles, and becomes lost in the conjoint expanse of the Sound of Bute, Kilbrannan sound, and Loch Fyne. It displays, from end to end, in many styles, and with ever-changing combinations, a continuous series of picturesque and romantic views; and it is traversed throughout by the steamers plying between Greenock and Inveraray. The Queen passed through the Kyles on 18 Aug. 1847.—Ord. Sur., sh. 29, 1873.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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