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The Distilleries of Campbeltown ScotlandThe Distilleries of Campbeltown, Scotland. Campbeltown was once the whisky capital of the world with twenty nine distilleries operating simultaneously in 1835. How had this remote fishing port and royal burgh become the epicentre of Scotland's greatest export? David Stirk reveals all in this engaging and well illustrated insight into the people who were the movers and shakers behind this huge industry. The origins lie in illicit distilling which was prevalent all over Kintyre in the late 18th century. Many women were involved in this business which made many ordinary folk very wealthy and out of these origins, the legal trade was established in 1817 with Campbeltown Distillery being the first of many. Over the course of the next two decades every street and corner in the burgh had a distillery or brewery built on it. The names were redolent of Kintyre history and placenames: Kinloch, Caledonian, Dalaruan, Lochhead, Longrow, Meadowburn, Burnside, Kintyre, Rieclachan, Union, Argyll, Glenramskill, Highland, Springbank and Albyn, to name only some. It is no idle boast that Campbeltown was the Victorian whisky capital of the world and just as great schemes rise, so do they fall. Ultimately the town's prosperity waned with the Great War, the depression, prohibition in the USA and the failure of local coal seams. Now only Springbank, Glen Scotia and Glen Gyle remain in production, solitary reminders of the once great whisky days of this Royal Burgh. The Distilleries of Campbeltown: The Rise and Fall of the Whisky Capital of the World.

The well known Scottish song titled, Campbeltown Loch, I wish you were whisky, is based on the town's history in the Whisky industry.

Campbeltown from Gallowhill

Campbeltown Heritage Centre. A treasure-trove of information and exhibits covering many aspects of the history and development of South Kintyre, Witchburn Road Campbeltown, Scotland.

The Glen Scotia distillery is a producer of single malt Scotch whisky that was founded in 1832.

Scottish Owl Centre, Campbeltown. Discover the largest collection of owls open to the public in Scotland.

Sir William Mackinnon, 1st Baronet, born 13th March 1823, died 22nd June 1893, was born in Campbeltown, Argyll. He was a Scottish ship-owner and businessman who built up substantial commercial interests in India and East Africa. He established the British India Steam Navigation Company and the Imperial British East Africa Company. Maritime Enterprise and Empire: Sir William Mackinnon and His Business Network, 1823-1893.

Wallis Hunter are Scottish jewellery manufacturers based in Carradale, Kintyre, in the Highlands of Scotland, where we make the Scottish jewellery in our workshop and sell our work in our wee shop The Carradale Gold Foundry and also through shops and galleries all over the UK.

Located in the former laundry building on the Torrisdale Castle Estate, the Torrisdale Tannery specialises in the production of naturally coloured sheepskins and deer skins using an ancient tanning method that produces a superior skin.

Glenbarr Abbey and the MacAlister Clan Visitors Centre is situated on the Kintyre peninsula, in the West of Scotland.

Kilmartin House Museum, Kilmartin, Argyll, Scotland, is a world class centre for archaeology and landscape interpretation which combines a Museum of Ancient Culture and a unique and vibrant visitor centre including intense audio-visual experience.

Half way down the east coast of the Mull of Kintyre stand the remains of Saddell Castle, a large square battlemented tower house dating from 1508. Little is known of the history of Saddell and records do not show it to have played any major part in the history of Scotland. Neither is much known of the more interesting period of Kintyre's history prior to 1508. It is known, however, that there was a castle on the existing site before the present one. This was probably built in the mid-12th Century by Somerled, Lord of the Isles, who was also responsible for the building of Saddell Abbey, the ruins of which stand near the castle. The Mull of Kintyre was one of the gateways to Scotland through which the civilising Christian influence came from Ireland. Located miles north of Campbeltown on west coast of Mull of Kintyre, Scotland.

Saddell Abbey is home to the ruins of a Cistercian Abbey. This was founded around 1160 by Somerled, and completed by his son, whose descendants became the Clan MacDonald and eventual Lords of the Isles. Stone carving was a speciality at Saddell and there are fine examples of carved medieval grave slabs displayed under cover in the grounds of the abbey, now a cemetery. Relief carvings on the stones show warriors in their armour, clerics, ships, huntsmen with stags, large swords and Celtic knotwork designs. Most were carved at Saddell Abbey but some are more typical of the Iona school of stone-carving. Located eight miles from Campbeltown on the road to Carradale, Scotland.

Dunaverty Castle, Southend. The ruins of Dunaverty Castle, an early stronghold of the Lords of the Isles, stand spectacularly on a pyramid of rock with a sheer drop to the sea. In 1493 it was captured by James IV, and again in 1647 by Leslie, who massacred the garrison. All that remains are two mouldering old walls on the rock. Located ten miles south of Campbeltown off the Mull of Kintyre road.

Old Campbeltown and Machrihanish. Although lying further south than Berwick, remote Campbeltown and Machrihanish have long been thought of as part of the Highlands and have themselves the feel of Highland communities. For much of their history they relied on fishing as the mainstay of the local economy, supplemented by tourism that used to arrive on the Clyde pleasure steamers. These no longer visit and the fishing has been much reduced, but this new history, accompanied by over fifty period photographs, recalls the heyday of the area's prosperity from the late nineteenth century until the 1950s. In those days the old market cross still graced the Main Street and the locomotives of the Campbeltown & Machrihanish Light Railway puffed, unfenced, through the streets. Longrow was still prone to floods, and the Wide Close, the net-drying poles at Dalintober, the barrels of herring waiting at the Old Quay for transportation to Glasgow and beyond, are just some of the fascinating sights also included. Old Campbeltown and Machrihanish.

If you would like to visit Campbeltown as part of a highly personalized small group tour of my native Scotland please e-mail me:

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