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Argyll and Bute

Argyll and Bute

Argyll and Bute (Scots: Argyll an Buit; Scottish Gaelic: Earra-Ghàidheal agus Bòd, pronounced [ɛrˠəˈɣɛːəlˠ̪ akəs̪ ˈpɔːtʲ]) is one of 32 unitary authority council areas in Scotland and a lieutenancy area. The current Lord-Lieutenant for Argyll and Bute is Jane Margaret MacLeod (14 July 2020).[1] The administrative centre for the council area is in Lochgilphead at Kilmory Castle, a 19th-century Gothic Revival building and estate. The current Council leader is Councillor Robin Currie, a councillor for Kintyre and the Islands.[2]

Argyll and Bute
Argyll an Buit
Earra-Ghaidheal agus Bòd
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Country Scotland
Lieutenancy areasArgyll and Bute, Dunbartonshire (Part)
Admin HQLochgilphead
  BodyArgyll & Bute Council
  ControlInd + Con + LD (council NOC)
  Total2,668 sq mi (6,909 km2)
  RankRanked 2nd
 (mid-2019 est.)
  RankRanked 27th
  Density32/sq mi (12/km2)
ONS codeS12000035
ISO 3166 codeGB-AGB
Topographic map of Argyll and Bute


Argyll and Bute covers the second-largest administrative area of any Scottish council. The council area adjoins those of Highland, Perth and Kinross, Stirling and West Dunbartonshire. Its border runs through Loch Lomond.

The present council area was created in 1996, when it was carved out of the Strathclyde region, which was a two-tier local government region of 19 districts, created in 1975.[3] Argyll and Bute merged the existing Argyll and Bute district and one ward of the Dumbarton district. The Dumbarton ward, called 'Helensburgh and Lomond', included the burgh of Helensburgh and consisted of an area to the west of Loch Lomond, north of the Firth of Clyde and mostly east of Loch Long.

The council area can also be described by reference to divisions of the counties of Scotland. The council area includes most of Argyll (Argyll less the Morvern area, north of Mull, which is part of the Highland council area), part of Buteshire (the Isle of Bute) and part of Dunbartonshire (the Helensburgh and Lomond ward).

Argyll and Bute Council

Council composition after the 2017 election

Thirty-six representative members make up the council, elected, since 2007, by single transferable vote and, before that, by the first-past-the-post system. The 2017 election saw the SNP become the largest group. This was the first time since the creation of the modern authority that the representatives of a political party had outnumbered Independents in holding the largest number of seats on the council; nevertheless, it was a coalition of Independents, Conservatives, and Liberal Democrats who would go on to form an administration following the election.

In February 2012, the council was criticised for allegedly setting up "spy" accounts on social media. As a result of the investigation, a council employee was suspended for setting up "fake social media accounts to monitor what was being said about the council".[4] The council's own investigation later confirmed it had "found no evidence of any form of spying or covert surveillance having been carried out by any employee within the council's communication team."[5]


Map of the area's wards (2007 to 2017 configuration)

Eleven multi-member wards were created for the 2007 election, replacing 36 single-member wards which had been in place since 1999 (adjusted up from 33 in the 1990s):



In June 2012, the council was heavily criticised[6] for banning a local primary student, Martha Payne (aged 9), from taking photographs of her school dinners for her online blog. The blog, NeverSeconds, had been praised by the celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver,[7] had attracted over two million visits, and at the time of the ban had raised nearly £2,000[8] for a food charity.[9] On the day the story broke, the blog had raised over £40,000.[10] After an initial statement from the council defending the decision,[11] the ban was subsequently overturned by council leader, Roddy McCuish.[12] In November 2012 a book written by David Payne, Martha's father, revealed the background to the council's attempt to censor and bully a 9-year-old girl. The book says: "My anger and frustration at Argyll and Bute Council was not being soothed by time. Thinly veiled attacks on our parenting on national radio and an abusive phonecall stood out as examples of a public body sick to the very top. Complaints via the proper procedures and through elected councillors had brought no visible changes. Far from being contrite they seemed to take a pride in being untouchable."[13]



The main railway line in Argyll and Bute is the West Highland Line, which links Oban to Glasgow, passing through much of the eastern and northern parts of the area. From the south the line enters Argyll and Bute just to the west of Dumbarton, continuing north via Helensburgh Upper to the eastern shores of the Gare Loch and Loch Long. The line comes inland at Arrochar and Tarbet to meet the western shore of Loch Lomond. At the northern end of the loch the lines leaves Argyll and Bute to enter Stirling council area. The Oban branch of the West Highland Line re-enters the area just west of Tyndrum, and heads west to Oban: stations on this section of the line include Dalmally and Taynuilt railway station. The majority of services on the line are operated by ScotRail: as of 2019 the summer service has six trains a day to Oban, with four on Sundays. In addition to the ScotRail service is the nightly Caledonian Sleeper, although this does not run on the Oban branch.[14][15]

Helensburgh also has a much more frequent service into Glasgow and beyond via the North Clyde Line, which has its western terminus at the town's central railway station.[16]


The A82, looking north

The main trunk roads in Argyll and Bute are:[14][17][18]

Ferry services

Due to its heavily indented coastline and many islands, ferries form an important part of the council area's transport system. The main ferry operator in Argyll & Bute is Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac), which operates services from the mainland to most of the inhabited islands. Several other routes are operated by commercial operators, usually on contract to the council, although the Western Ferries service across the Firth of Clyde is run on a commercial basis.

  • Bute is served by a route across the Kyles of Bute between Rhubodach and Colintraive in Cowal, as well as a route between Rothesay to Wemyss Bay in Inverclyde. Both routes are operated by CalMac.[21][22]
  • Coll and Tiree are each served from Oban, via a CalMac service that also provides links between the two islands, and a once-weekly link to Barra.[23]
  • Gigha is served by a CalMac route from Tayinloan in Kintyre.[24]
  • Islay is served by a CalMac route from Kennacraig in Kintyre. The service is timetabled to utilise either one of two ports on the island, with both Port Askaig and Port Ellen having a service to the mainland.[25]
  • Feolin on Jura is linked to Port Askaig on Islay via a vehicle ferry run by ASP Ship Management on behalf of Argyll and Bute Council.[26][27] There is also a passenger-only service between the island's main centre, Craighouse, and Tayvallich on the mainland that is operated by Islay Sea Safaris.[28]
  • Kerrera is linked to Gallanach (about 3 km (1.9 mi) southwest of Oban) by a passenger-only service operated by CalMac.[29]
  • Lismore is served by two ferries, a vehicle and passenger service operated by CalMac that runs from Oban,[30] and a passenger-only service from Port Appin that is operated by ASP Ship Management on behalf of Argyll and Bute Council.[26][31]
  • Mull is served by a route between Oban and Craignure on the island's east coast,[32] as well as routes across the Sound of Mull (between Lochaline and Fishnish, and Tobermory and Kilchoan). All three routes are operated by CalMac.[33][34]
  • The island of Seil, which itself is linked to the mainland via the Clachan Bridge, has links to two further islands: Easdale and Luing. Both services are operated by ASP Ship Management on behalf of Argyll and Bute Council.[26][36][37]
MV Argyll Flyer at Dunoon pier

There are also routes connecting some mainland locations in Argyll and Bute to other parts of the mainland:

Argyll and Bute also has ferry services linking it to islands in neighbouring council areas:

There is also a passenger-only ferry service linking Campbeltown and Port Ellen on Islay with Ballycastle in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, running seasonally from April to September, operated by West Coast Tours as the Kintyre Express.[47]

Cultural references

The later scenes of the 1963 James Bond film From Russia with Love were filmed around the lochs and hills of Argyll and Bute.[48]

The area has also been indirectly immortalised in popular culture by the 1977 hit song "Mull of Kintyre" by Kintyre resident Paul McCartney's band of the time, Wings.

Towns and villages

Places of interest

Inveraray Castle, Argyll and Bute, Scotland


See also


  1. "Lord-Lieutenant for Argyll and Bute: 14 July 2020". GOV.UK.
  2. Council, Argyll and Bute (24 September 2020). "Robin Currie". Argyll and Bute Council.
  3. Argyll, Undiscovered Scotland
  4. "Argyll and Bute Council suspend employee over 'spy' accounts". BBC News. 10 February 2012. Retrieved 25 November 2012.
  5. Argyll and Bute Council (23 August 2012). "Argyll and Bute Council – Meetings, Agendas, Minutes". Retrieved 25 November 2012.
  6. Hough, Andrew (15 June 2012). "School Dinner Blog Banned By Council". Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 25 November 2012.
  7. "NeverSeconds blogger Martha Payne school dinner photo ban lifted". 15 June 2012. Retrieved 25 November 2012.
  8. VEG (14 June 2012). "Goodbye". Retrieved 25 November 2012.
  9. "Mary's Meals and NeverSeconds' Martha Payne". Archived from the original on 27 January 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2012.
  10. Mary's Meals. "Veg from NeverSeconds". Retrieved 25 November 2012.
  11. "Statement on school meals from Argyll and Bute Council". 15 June 2012. Retrieved 25 November 2012.
  12. Peterkin, Tom (16 June 2012). "Food blogger Martha Payne enjoys taste of victory". Retrieved 25 November 2012.
  13. Neverseconds, The Incredible Story of Martha Payne. Payne, Martha; Payne, David., Cargo Publishing, 2012. ISBN 978-1908885166
  14. "OS Maps: online mapping and walking, running and cycling routes".
  15. "Timetable: Glasgow to Oban, Fort William and Mallaig" (PDF). Abellio ScotRail. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  16. "Dunbartonshire - Glasgow, Cumbernauld & Falkirk Grahamston Timetable" (PDF). Abellio ScotRail. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  17. "Scottish trunk road network map". Transport Scotland. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  18. "Roads (Scotland) Act 1984, List and description of roads which are the responsibility of the Scottish Ministers" (PDF). Transport Scotland.
  19. "A815 - Roader's Digest: The SABRE Wiki".
  20. "A886 - Roader's Digest: The SABRE Wiki".
  21. "Bute: Colintraive - Rhubodach". Caledonian MacBrayne. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  22. "Bute: Wemyss Bay - Rothesay". Caledonian MacBrayne. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  23. "Coll & Tiree: Oban - Coll - Tiree". Caledonian MacBrayne. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  24. "Gigha: Tayinloan - Gigha". Caledonian MacBrayne. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  25. "Islay: Kennacraig - Port Ellen/Port Askaig". Caledonian MacBrayne. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  26. "Home".
  27. "Port Askaig - Feolin". Caledonian MacBrayne. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  28. "Jura Passenger Ferry". Jura Passenger Ferry. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  29. "Kerrera: Gallanach - Kerrera". Caledonian MacBrayne. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  30. "Lismore: Oban - Lismore". Caledonian MacBrayne. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  31. "Port Appin - Lismore". Caledonian MacBrayne. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  32. "Mull: Oban - Craignure". Caledonian MacBrayne. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  33. "Ardnamurchan and Mull: Tobermory - Kilchoan". Caledonian MacBrayne. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  34. "Mull: Lochaline - Fishnish". Caledonian MacBrayne. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  35. "Iona: Fionnphort-Iona". Caledonian MacBrayne. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  36. "Cuan - Luing". Caledonian MacBrayne. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  37. "Ellenabeich - Easdale". Caledonian MacBrayne. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  38. "Cowal & Kintyre: Tarbert Loch Fyne - Portavadie". Caledonian MacBrayne. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  39. "Dunoon: Gourock - Dunoon". Caledonian MacBrayne. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  40. "Gourock - Kilcreggan". Caledonian MacBrayne. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  41. "CalMac to take over Dunoon to Gourock ferry next month". The Lochside Press. 12 December 2018. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  42. "Kintyre: Ardrossan - Campbeltown". Caledonian MacBrayne. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  43. "Kilcreggan Ferry". Strathclyde Partnership for Transport. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  44. "Barra: Oban - Castlebay". Caledonian MacBrayne. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  45. "Arran: Claonaig - Lochranza". Caledonian MacBrayne. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  46. "Arran: Claonaig/Tarbert - Lochranza". Caledonian MacBrayne. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  47. "Kintyre Express | Ferry Service to Ireland". West Coast Tours. Retrieved 17 December 2021.
  48. "From Russia with Love (1963) - IMDb" via
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