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Ceann na Creige
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Argyll and Bute

Kennacraig is a nowhere sort of place, the name of a small rocky island which also gave its name to a wayside farm. It is, however, an important place for a great many Ileachs, as it is the ferry terminal for their home - the Isle of Islay. Ferries sail from this rocky islet out down West Loch Tarbert to the island several times a day, and once or twice a week they continue through the narrow Sound of Islay to the smaller isle of Colonsay and eventually to Oban. Just to the south of the terminal is a junction with the road to the east coast of Kintyre.

The main road through Kennacraig, if indeed it is possible to pass through such a place, is the A83. This has travelled south through Knapdale to Tarbert, and continues down Kintyre to Campbeltown, providing the only road link back to the rest of the country. Despite this, it is not a particularly busy road, the whole population of Kintrye being that of a medium sized town at most. However, just having one road has caused problems in the past when the road has been closed - for several days by snow a few years ago - cutting off the south end of Kintyre.

The road across to the east coast is the B8001, and it is the only link across the peninsula other than the A83 itself at the south end. The B8001 runs to Claonaig and Skipness, both popular places with tourists, the latter because of the ruinous castle on the shore, and the former for its small ferry port. In the summer months, a ferry criss-crosses the Kilbrannan Sound to the Isle of Arran, from where the mainland at Ardrossan in Ayrshire can be reached, allowing visitors to make a loop, often using other ferries to visit other islands along the way. Also at Claonaig, the east coast road, the B842 starts and heads south to Campbeltown.


The Islay Ferry lying at Kennacraig

Kennacraig is best known as the ferry terminal for Islay, however it was only in the late 1960s that the terminal moved here, having historically been further east towards Tarbert. This was the start of a decade long 'Ferry War' between the independent Western Ferries and the state controlled company now known as Calmac. Calmac won, taking over the more suitable Western Ferries port in June 1978, and have developed the service ever since, with 2 ferries the norm on the route, supposedly alternating between the Islay ports of Port Ellen and Port Askaig. Many Ileachs prefer Port Ellen as the islands main terminal, but the more sheltered Port Askaig receives more ferries, particularly in the winter when storms prevent berthing at Port Ellen.

Port Askaig is also the home of the small Jura Ferry, which plies across the narrow channel, and at least once or twice a week the Islay Ferry continues from Port Askaig to the Island of Colonsay and then to Oban. Whilst Colonsay is normally served direct from Oban, this alternative route allows daytrippers to visit Colonsay from Kennacraig (or Islay), and also gives islanders a chance for a day trip to Oban, where the ferry stays for several hours (or supports the route to the Isle of Mull), before returning.


The Junction at Kennacraig is a fairly simple T junction, without turning lanes, and with the B8001 quickly dwindling to single track. There is a small forest of signs at the junction, advertising the many places tourists may like to visit, and it is also signed as an 'Alternative Tourist Route' to Campbeltown.


Route To Notes


Glasgow (A82), Lochgilphead


Campbeltown, Gigha Ferry


Skipness, Arran Ferry, Carradale (B842)


Port Askaig, Islay for Jura Ferry


Port Ellen, Islay


Colonsay, Oban Sails once or twice a week

Junctions on the A83
Tarbet  • Arrochar  • Rest and be Thankful  • Dunoon Road End  • Inveraray  • Lochgilphead  • Tarbert  • Kennacraig  • Campbeltown
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