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It developed on the north shore of the Firth of Clyde at a time when Clyde steamers brought it within easy reach of Glasgow at about 25 miles (40 km) west of the centre of Glasgow by boat. Many Glasgow shipowners and merchants made their summer retreats or even permanent residences there, and this is reflected in some very grand houses along the shore. Not all have remained occupied, some were demolished and others have been converted into flats.
Its location at the end of the Rosneath Peninsula, between the Gare Loch and Loch Long, makes the journey 38 miles (60 km) by road. The B833 minor road runs along the shore for the length of the village then cuts north inland just to the east of Kilcreggan pier rather than going east along the shore past Portkil bay to Rosneath Point. About 2 miles (3 km) north of Kilcreggan the road reaches the village of Rosneath then continues north along the shores of the Gare Loch.
Large attractive houses continue westwards from the pier towards Baron's Point which marks the southern entrance to Loch Long, almost to the adjoining village of Cove which looks across Cove Bay towards Blairmore only about 2 miles (3 km) distant, but separated by the deep waters of Loch Long. To the east of the pier, houses at Portkil extend down to Portkil bay, and the 413–foot (126 m) hill at Rosneath home farm is topped by a television mast.
A ferry subsidised by Strathclyde Partnership for Transport provides a regular service from Kilcreggan pier across the Clyde to Gourock. Until 2012, the ferry service also included crossings of the Gare Loch to Helensburgh, and was operated by Clyde Marine Services which ran the elderly MV Kenilworth until 2007 when they introduced the new MV Seabus for the route. After re-tendering, the contract for the Gourock to Kilcreggan route was awarded by SPT to Clydelink which bought the smaller MV Island Princess for the run and commenced services on 1 April 2012. The changeover ended manning of Kilcreggan pier, and on 24 March 2012 more than 400 people protested at the pier over fears for the future of the service.
Kilcreggan is in the historic county of Dunbartonshire. Before the local government reorganisation in 1975 it formed part of the joint police burgh of Cove and Kilcreggan. It then formed part of Dumbarton District and Strathclyde Region until the reorganisation of the 1990s. It has been part of Argyll and Bute unitary authority since then.
- "Argyll News: Inaugural Clydelink Kilcreggan to Gourock ferry service". For Argyll. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
- "BBC News - Ferry fears spark protest at historic Kilcreggan Pier". 24 March 2012. Retrieved 27 April 2012.