Argyll and Bute

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Coordinates: 56°06′N5°30′W / 56.1°N 5.5°W / 56.1; -5.5


Argyll and Bute
Argyll an Buit
Earra-Ghaidheal agus Bòd
Argyll and Bute in Scotland.svg
Coat of Arms Argyll & Bute.svg
Argyll and Bute Council.svg
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Country Scotland
Lieutenancy areas Argyll and Bute, Dunbartonshire (part)
Admin HQ Lochgilphead
  Body Argyll and Bute Council
  Control Ind + Con + LD (council NOC)
  Total2,668 sq mi (6,909 km2)
  Rank Ranked 2nd
  Rank Ranked 27th
  Density32/sq mi (12/km2)
ONS code S12000035
ISO 3166 code GB-AGB

Argyll and Bute (Scots : Argyll an Buit; Scottish Gaelic : Earra-Ghàidheal agus Bòd, pronounced  [ɛrˠəˈɣɛːəlˠ̪ akəs̪ ˈpɔːtʲ] ) is one of 32 unitary 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 Robin Currie, a councillor for Kintyre and the Islands. [2]

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.


Buteshire and Argyll were two of the historic counties of Scotland, having originated as shires (the area controlled by a sheriff) in the Middle Ages. From 1890 until 1975 both counties had an elected county council. [3]

In 1975, under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, Scotland's counties, burghs and landward districts were abolished and replaced with upper-tier regions and lower-tier districts. The Strathclyde region was created covering a large part of western Scotland. Strathclyde was divided into nineteen districts, one of which the 1973 Act called "Argyll", covering most of the former county of Argyll, but also including the Isle of Bute from Buteshire. The shadow authority elected in 1974 requested a change of name to "Argyll and Bute", which was agreed by the government before the new district came into being on 16 May 1975. [4]

As created in 1975 the Argyll and Bute district covered the whole area of fourteen of Argyll's sixteen districts and part of a fifteenth, plus two of Buteshire's five districts, which were all abolished at the same time: [5] [6]

From Argyll:

From Buteshire:

The two Buteshire districts together corresponded to the whole Isle of Bute. The rest of Buteshire, being the Isle of Arran and The Cumbraes went to Cunninghame district. The Ardnamurchan district from Argyll went to the Lochaber district of Highland. [5] The new district was made a single Argyll and Bute lieutenancy area. [7]

Local government was reformed again in 1996 under the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994, which abolished the regions and districts which had been created in 1975, replacing them with unitary council areas. Argyll and Bute became one of the new council areas, but had its territory enlarged to include the town of Helensburgh and surrounding rural areas which had been in the Dumbarton district prior to 1996, and had formed part of the county of Dunbartonshire prior to 1975. The Helensburgh area had voted in a referendum in 1994 to join Argyll and Bute rather than stay with Dumbarton. [8] [9]




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. [10] [11]

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. [12]


The A82, looking north Argyll and Bute - - 308733.jpg
The A82, looking north

The main trunk roads in Argyll and Bute are: [10] [13] [14]

Topographic map of Argyll and Bute Argyll and Bute.png
Topographic map of Argyll and Bute

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 and 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.

MV Argyll Flyer at Dunoon pier MV Argyll Flyer at Dunoon pier.jpg
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. [43]

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. [44]

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.


The area is divided into 56 community council areas, all of which have community councils as at 2023. [45]

Towns and villages

Places of interest

Kilchurn Castle reflected on Loch Awe Kilchurn Castle reflection.jpg
Kilchurn Castle reflected on Loch Awe
Inveraray Castle, Argyll and Bute, Scotland Inveraray Castle, Argyll and Bute, Scotland-31May2010.jpg
Inveraray Castle, Argyll and Bute, Scotland


See also

Related Research Articles

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The Firth of Clyde is the mouth of the River Clyde. It is located on the west coast of Scotland and constitutes the deepest coastal waters in the British Isles. The firth is sheltered from the Atlantic Ocean by the Kintyre peninsula, which encloses the outer firth in Argyll and Ayrshire. The Kilbrannan Sound is a large arm of the Firth of Clyde, separating the Kintyre Peninsula from the Isle of Arran. Within the Firth of Clyde is another major island – the Isle of Bute. Given its strategic location at the entrance to the middle and upper Clyde, Bute played a vital naval military role during World War II.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Caledonian MacBrayne</span> Ferry operator in Scotland

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Argyll</span> Historic county in Scotland

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cowal</span> Human settlement in Scotland

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kennacraig</span> Human settlement in Scotland

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tarbert, Kintyre</span> Village in Argyll and Bute, Scotland

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Portavadie</span> Human settlement in Scotland

Portavadie is a village on the shores of Loch Fyne on the west coast of the Cowal peninsula in Argyll and Bute, Scottish Highlands.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Caledonian MacBrayne fleet</span>

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MV <i>Isle of Arran</i> Scottish ferry

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">West Loch Tarbert, Argyll</span>

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MV <i>Pioneer</i> (1974)

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MV <i>Pentalina-B</i>

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MV <i>Juno</i> (1974) Clyde-built passenger/vehicle ferry (1974 - 2007)

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MV <i>Arran</i>

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">David MacBrayne</span> Government-owned Scottish Ferry holding company

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MV <i>Argyll Flyer</i>

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Caledonian Maritime Assets</span>

Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited owns the ferries, ports, harbours and infrastructure for the ferry services serving the west coast of Scotland, the Firth of Clyde and the Northern Isles.


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