South Kintyre has many natural advantages ranging from good agricultural land, coal, water and peat supplies to good education facilities and hard-working population, but the greatest attribute of the area and the background justification for all of its success indeed for the very existence of Campbeltown is the magnificent sheltered harbour.
Campbeltown Loch is the most westerly safe harbour on the British mainland and occupies a strategic position in the epicentre of Britain’s western seaboard. Before the development of road and rail transport, it was a central to some of the most important sea routes in the United Kingdom, with daily services to Glasgow and regular services also to Ireland and to Liverpool. Until the development of the Crinan Canal, it was also an essential shelter port for all vessels trading with the west of Scotland.
The existence of the harbour was essential to the development of the whisky, coal, herring timber and latter-day wind turbine industries. It was also a key element in the naval defences in both World Wars.
The Heritage Centre highlights this importance with exhibits on the Campbeltown and Glasgow Shipping line which provided daily services to Glasgow, the role of the harbour in wartime both as the base for the North Atlantic Rescue Tugs and also as the training centre, in both wars for naval shipping and anti-submarine activities. A large collection of excellent ship models with the interpretation of their roles is under development, and there is also an exhibit of the different types of fishing vessels which operated from the harbour and their methods.