Carskiey, Campbeltown, Kintyre, Argyll PA28 6RU.
Most visitors to Carskiey arrive via Glasgow. The quickest way is the 30 minute Loganair operated by Flybe hopper plane flight from Glasgow airport to Campbeltown airport. Road is 3 hours by car, passing through some of the most beautiful scenery and coastline.
The MacNeills of Carskiey presided for over four hundred years until the beginning of the twentieth century, when James and Kate Boyd of Paisley built the house that stands today.
Kate Boyd was a member of the Coats family of textile fame. In this way no expense was spared with a roof where the slates were secured by copper nails, sash windows which were constructed from teak and hot and cold salt and fresh water were available in the bathrooms.
Carskiey stayed in the Coats family until 1948, passing through two owners until the Rennie family took over in May 1964. The Rennies were remarkable conservationists until they then, in turn, sold it complete with contents, down to all the bills for the original building work and garden plans, in 2011 to Tom Helme.
Tom has spent his whole life involved in restoring historic houses and in interior design. For many years working for the National Trust as advisor on decoration, until more recently running Farrow & Ball the paint company (1991–2007) and now Fermoie, an all British, fine fabrics company, both with his schoolboy friend Martin Ephson.
Tom’s approach to the redecoration of Carskiey has very much been that of guardian and the old house painters saying of “full marks for no marks” is never far away. This matched by John Cornforth’s realization that the best of decoration is a “Quest For Comfort” both materially and in the welcoming sense has also been a principal guiding force.
Sika and Roe deer. Good woodcock and hare shooting. Black game, grouse and wild goats on the hill, but not for shooting.
Good sea fishing. Sea trout and salmon fishing at the mouth of the Breackerie Water.
There are three top, links golf courses within a 20 minute drive of Carskiey:
Machrihanish Golf Club www.machgolf.com
Machrihanish Dunes www.machrihanishdunes.com
Dunaverty Golf Club www.dunavertygolfclub.com
There are nine registered archeological sites on Carskiey , including a spectacular, prehistoric, clifftop fort with three lines of fortification. Accessible on foot.
There is a remarkable diversity of birds on Carskiey, both land and sea. Almost every bird of prey is viewable and Carskiey has two registered Golden Eagle nests.
Campbeltown is one of Scotland’s four recognized whisky-producing regions. At the beginning of the twentieth century there were also no less than thirty-seven distilleries established during the nineteenth century, earning the town the nickname “The Whisky Capital of the World”. Today there are three distilleries in Campbeltown: Springbank, Mitchells and Glen Scotia and the town is still amongst the great whisky producing regions.
Further afield is the Isle of Islay which has 8 working malt distilleries including Ardberg and Laphroaig. Islay is a 2 hour ferry ride from Kennacraig ferry terminal (you will pass by the terminal en route to Carskiey if travelling by road, approximately an hour away).