Mull of Kintyre
The Mull of Kintyre is the southwestern-most tip of the Kintyre peninsula in Argyll, immortalised in the eponymous hit by Paul McCartney and Wings. The song topped the UK charts for nine weeks in 1977, selling over 2 million copies. Since then, the wild and remote area that inspired it has developed a vibrant music scene of its own, making it a magnet for music lovers. If you’re mad about music, here’s why you should take note of the Mull of Kintyre.
‘Mull of Kintyre, oh mist rolling in from the sea. My desire is always to be here, oh Mull of Kintyre.’
Visit the Mull of Kintyre Lighthouse, a beautiful, remote and often very windy spot at the very tip of the Mull of Kintyre, and you’ll appreciate where these lyrics came from. Even if the mist isn’t rolling in, you’ll be treated to immense views across the Atlantic to the Antrim coast of Northern Ireland. Head to Saddell Bay on Kintyre’s east coast to see the location where the famous Mull of Kintyre video was shot.
The road to the Mull of Kintyre is windy and slow-going, and is said to have inspired another of Paul McCartney’s songs, the Beatles hit ‘The Long and Winding Road’. McCartney originally wrote the song at his farm in Kintyre and said later: ‘I have always found inspiration in the calm beauty of Scotland and again it proved the place where I found inspiration.’
Local musicians find this beautiful part of Argyll inspiring too, and there’s a thriving gig scene in Campbeltown, Kintyre’s main town, which is about ten miles north from the Mull of Kintyre. The town hosts two major annual music festivals.
Kintyre Songwriters Festival
The Kintyre Songwriters Festival, held (on the last weekend in) May, is a real treat for music lovers, with some of the big names in Scottish music performing intimate gigs alongside emerging local talent. Although mainly acoustic with a focus on the song, other genres, from electronica to reggae to hiphop, have featured. The festival was the brainchild of Kintyre-based singer-songwriters Kenneth Campbell Gilchrist and Ross Macinnes, who wanted to showcase the array of underground songwriting and musical talent in Kintyre. Kenneth died in a road accident before the inaugural festival, but the musical community ensured that his vision lived on and the festival has taken place in Campbeltown ever since.
Mull of Kintyre Music Festival
Enjoy the best in traditional and contemporary Celtic music at the Mull of Kintyre Music Festival held every August. It’s a musical adventure, showcasing the finest musical talent with a fantastic programme of concerts, jam sessions, workshops and free outdoor events. Watch ceilidh bands, Gaelic choirs, pipe bands and brass bands, as well as acclaimed international acts which in recent years have included The Fratellis, The View, The Saw Doctors, Deacon Blue, Capercaillie, Idlewild, Ally Bain & Phil Cunningham, Red Hot Chilli Pipers and the Stranglers.
There are a couple of other great festivals within striking distance of the Mull of Kintyre. The fabulous Isle of Gigha Music Festival in June offers a perfectly-formed line-up of ceilidhs, concerts, sessions, workshops and a musical beach picnic. For a fantastic weekend of live music, you alos can’t beat the Tarbert Music Festival in September.
Of course it’s not all about the music in Kintyre. There are lots of other fantastic things to see and do, from whisky tours to surfing beaches. Find out more about other things to see and do in Kintyre.