Island Davaar

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Island Davaar
Scottish Gaelic nameEilean Dà Bhàrr
Meaning of name"Barr's island"
Davaar Island and Lighthouse
Davaar Island and Lighthouse
Island Davaar is located in Argyll and Bute
Island Davaar
Island Davaar
Island Davaar shown within Argyll and Bute
OS grid referenceNR760200
Coordinates55°25′N 5°32′W / 55.42°N 5.54°W / 55.42; -5.54
Physical geography
Island groupFirth of Clyde
Area52 ha
Area rank198 [1]
Highest elevation115 m
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Council areaArgyll and Bute

Island Davaar[4] or Davaar Island (Scottish Gaelic: Eilean Dà Bhàrr) is located at the mouth of Campbeltown Loch off the east coast of Kintyre, in Argyll and Bute, Scotland. It is a tidal island, linked to the mainland by a natural shingle causeway called the Dhorlin near Campbeltown at low tide. The crossing can be made in around 40 minutes.

Davaar was known as the island of Sanct Barre between the years 1449 to 1508. The modern form Davaar is from older Do Bharre – thy St Barre. Dr Gillies in his "Place Names of Argyll" appears to accept the popular derivation, Double-pointed (Da-Bharr) Island.

In 1854, Davaar Lighthouse [fr] was built on the north of the island by the lighthouse engineers David and Thomas Stevenson. The lighthouse was automated in 1983, and today, Davaar is inhabited by the caretakers of the Island who run the holiday cottages and oversee the farming activities including Rare breed sheep, Highland Cattle and goats.

The Lookout, a square building standing on a small knoll close to the lighthouse, was built during World War II to house naval crews, whose task it was to stretch anti-submarine nets across the water, protecting Campbeltown. During this time it was known as the Signal Station. It has been restored and tastefully converted into a unique place to stay.[5][6]

Entrance to the cave containing Archibald MacKinnon's painting

The island is also known for its seven caves, one of which contains a life size cave painting depicting the crucifixion, painted in 1887 by local artist Archibald MacKinnon after he had a vision in a dream suggesting him to do so. The painting caused uproar in the area as it was seen as a sign from God; it is said that when the townsfolk discovered it was MacKinnon, and not God, he was exiled from the town indefinitely. Restored several times since, including twice by the original artist, the painting was vandalised in July 2006, having a red and black depiction of Che Guevara painted over the original masterpiece. It has since been restored again.[7]

Davaar Island is one of 43 tidal islands that can be walked to from the mainland of Great Britain and one of 17 that can be walked to from the Scottish mainland.[6]

Davaar Island is owned by Kildalloig Estate, and forms part of the farming enterprise.

Staying on Davaar Island[edit]

There are four holiday cottages and cabins available for visitors to stay on Davaar Island. The Lookout (WWII Signal Station) and The Principal Lighthouse Keeper's Cottage have been sympathetically converted into holiday cottages and in 2021 two glamping cabins were constructed on the east side of Davaar.[5]


Local stamps were issued for Davaar in the 1960s. The stamps served the many visitors to the island who wished to have their mail posted there, and carried by the boatman to the nearest GPO Post Box at Campbeltown on the mainland. The boatman service ended some time in the early 1970s. Postage Rates were double those of the UK.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Area and population ranks: there are c. 300 islands over 20 ha in extent and 93 permanently inhabited islands were listed in the 2011 census.
  2. ^ "Ordnance Survey | See A Better Place". Retrieved Jul 29, 2020.
  3. ^ Iain Mac an Tailleir. "Placenames" (PDF). Pàrlamaid na h-Alba. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-03-17. Retrieved 2007-07-23.
  4. ^ "Island Davaar". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  5. ^ a b . Apr 26, 2011 Archived from the original on 2011-04-26. Retrieved Jul 29, 2020. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ a b Peter Caton (2011) No Boat Required - Exploring Tidal Islands. Matador.
  7. ^ "Che vandal attacks Christ image". BBC News. 2006-08-01. Retrieved 11 December 2007.
  8. ^ "Modern British Local Posts CD Catalogue, 2009 Edition". Phillips. Archived from the original on 2008-09-05. Retrieved 2008-12-08.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°25′22″N 5°32′28″W / 55.42278°N 5.54111°W / 55.42278; -5.54111