Local businesses hail new Kintyre 66 route 'fantastic' opportunity to share previously 'well-guarded secrets' with newcomers

The prospect of travelling abroad on holiday this summer may still be up in the air, but local businesses have hailed Scotland’s new answer to Route 66 as a “fantastic” opportunity to discover the “well-guarded secrets” kept by Kintyre.

The Kintyre 66, or K66 as it will be known, is a circular loop taking in both the west and east coast of the unspoiled peninsula in Argyll, from Kennacraig to Campbeltown.

The route itself launched on Friday, 30 April, and spans 66 miles across six gorgeous regions – featuring breathtaking coastlines and idyllic white sandy beaches.

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It has been devised as a way for visitors to leisurely explore the whole area, rather than just one side of the peninsula as has typically been the way in recent years.

Niall Macalister Hall, chairman of the Kintyre and Gigha Marketing Group, said: "Up until now, the majority of visitors would tend to go to Tarbert and not much further south, and there are so many untapped and unspoiled places to discover once here.

"We see this as quite the opposite of the NC500 in that we don’t see this as a route to be ‘bagged’, and in fact we encourage travellers to take in the many trails, coastlines, walks, places to visit - and of course stay.”

Inspired by Route 66 in the US, the K66 has been created to showcase a region in the west coast of Scotland – made famous by Sir Paul McCartney’s 1977 Christmas Number, One Mull of Kintyre – boasting views across to Northern Ireland on a clear day.

It can be enjoyed by foot, bike or car, with planners hoping it will encourage tourists to slow down and really appreciate Scotland's glorious coastline.

A photo of the new K66 picture: Raymond Hosie

A new map will be available with everything visitors need to know about the six regions the route covers – West Kintyre, Gigha, Machrihanish and Southend, Campbeltown, East Kintyre and, Tarbert and Skipness – as well as pinpointing trails, natural heritage sites, wildlife watching spots and much more.

It will also highlight local hospitality venues that aren’t to be missed while passing by.

Mr Hall added: “The benefits it will bring to local businesses following a difficult year will be invaluable, and we’re looking forward to welcoming travellers to the area to enjoy Kintyre and all its beauty.”

Three hours from Glasgow and four from Edinburgh, highlights of the K66 include Ballochroy Standing Stones, Saddell Castles, Keil Caves and Beinn An Tuirc Distillery.

As well as a number of beautiful harbours, there are no fewer than six golf courses and incredible beaches including Westport – which is famed for its Atlantic waves attracting world-class surfers from all over the world.

Liz Scott from The Steading at Barmore, said: “I am really looking forward to sharing the news about the K66 route with my guests – and prospective guests – and helping them plan their way round.

"There are so many things in Kintyre which have been kept almost like well-guarded secrets so it is fantastic to have this welcome initiative.

"Pointing out the ‘must stop, must see’ on the stunning route will help visitors focus on reasons to spend more than just a few hours zooming round the peninsula which can only be a good thing.”

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