Campbeltown Then and Now

Looks lovely, doesn’t it? Positively Cornish Riviera. Unfortunately it’s an illusion. What you don’t see over to the right is Campbeltown Harbour, which looks quite picturesque now, but it was a busy working harbour in the late 1930s. Water quality at the Lido can’t have been outstanding, and it wouldn’t have helped that a proper waste water treatment plant was only completed last year.

But let’s not be too picky. At least it’s a nice, sandy beach, completely unlike the other beaches around Campbeltown Loch, which are a mixture of pebbles, rocks, brick fragments and other assorted industrial materials from the town’s history as a centre for distilling whiskey. I feel an Andy Stewart coming on:

That’s better. Now, where was I? Yes, the beach. It’s fake. The sand was transported from the western, Atlantic coast of the Kintyre Peninsula. So what, you might say, and I agree. But the entrepeneur who worked so hard to bring a proper beach to the hard-working people of Campbeltown – he wasn’t a lucky man. You remember the date I mentioned earlier, late 1930s? Right. So in 1939, Campbeltown became a vital port for shipping war supplies. That brave little beach got washed away in the process.

Here it is now, looking very much the worse for wear.

I suppose the idea could be revived, now that the harbour is so much less busy, and probably much less toxic. Somehow, I don’t think it would pass environmental muster.

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