St Columba’s Well

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On the southern end of the Kintyre peninsula in Argyll you can explore a number of fascinating historic sites connected with St Columba, the Irish monk who brought Christianity to Scotland. In AD 563 Columba and 12 followers were exiled from Antrim in Ireland.

The exiles landed at Keil Point near Southend on the first leg of a journey that would see them head north to Iona and establish a monastic community.

If you climb the steps to the side of St Columba's Chapel they take you to the top of a rocky outcrop carrying the footprints. One of them was carved by a local stonemason in 1856, but the other, the nearest on to the sea, is ancient. Whether it is indeed Columba’s footprint is unproven. It’s thought more likely that the print may have been used in the coronation of kings in the ancient kingdom of Dalriada. It could even have been used for the installation of leaders as far back as the southern Picts. There’s another similar footprint at Dunadd in nearby Kilmartin Glen.

Slightly further beyond the footprints is St Columba's Well, a rocky bowl carved into the slope where water collects from a spring. Its waters are said to have healing properties. A crude Latin cross has been carved on the rock face that overhangs the basin.

The assumption is that this is also associated with St Columba's visit to Kintyre.