Keills Chapel with cross
Knapdale shown within Scotland
|OS grid reference|
|– London||370 mi (600 km)|
|Council area||Argyll and Bute|
|Lieutenancy area||Argyll and Bute|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|UK Parliament||Argyll and Bute|
|Scottish Parliament||Argyll and Bute|
Knapdale (Scottish Gaelic: Cnapadal) forms a rural district of Argyll and Bute in the Scottish Highlands, adjoining Kintyre to the south, and divided from the rest of Argyll to the north by the Crinan Canal. It includes two parishes, North Knapdale and South Knapdale.
Knapdale Forest, planted in the 1930s, covers much of the region. During the 1930s, the Ministry of Labour supplied the men from among the unemployed, many coming from the crisis-hit mining and heavy industry communities of the Central Belt. They were housed in one of a number of Instructional Centres created by the Ministry, most of them on Forestry Commission property; by 1938, the Ministry had 38 Instructional Centres across Britain. The camp was used to hold enemy prisoners during the Second World War. The hutted camp in Knapdale was located at Cairnbaan, just south of the Crinan Canal, and a surviving building remains in use as a Forestry Commission workshop.
Local attractions include the Chapel of Keills, A grave-slab in the chapel has a carving of a clarsach similar to the Queen Mary Harp currently at the Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, one of only the three surviving medieval gaelic harps. West Highland grave slabs from the Argyll area, suggesting that Knapdale is where this harp originated. The village also has the thirteenth-century Kilmory Chapel and the late twelfth-century Castle Sween.
A 173-acre estate in the area belongs to former chief executive of Network Rail, Iain Coucher. Named "Iainland", the property was purchased by Coucher in 2010 following his controversial departure from the company, and includes two islands in the Sound of Jura.
Places in Knapdale include:
The United Kingdom Census 2001 reported a population of 2325, down from 2641 in the United Kingdom Census 1991, a change from 312 to 527 in North Knapdale, and from 2641 to 2325 in South Knapdale. Census figures for the 19th and 20th centuries show a continuing and steady decline of population in North Knapdale, from a peak of around 2700 in 1825 to under 500 in 1950. Possible boundary changes make historic comparisons for South Knapdale less certain, but this part of the region appears not to have suffered the same depopulation as the north, and even modest growth, a rise from around 1750 in 1801 to around 2700 in 1901.
In 2005, the Scottish Government turned down a licence application for unfenced reintroduction of the European Beaver in Knapdale. However, in late 2007 a successful application was made for a release project, and the first beavers were released on the 29 May 2009. This initial release into the wild of 11 animals received a setback during the first year with the disappearance of two animals and the unproven allegation of the illegal shooting of a third. However, the remaining population was increased in 2010 by further releases. Knapdale has a designation as a National Scenic Area.
View from Knapdale towards Jura
- Cohen, Nick (31 January 2010). "It's all aboard the gravy train for Network Rail bosses". Retrieved 8 March 2012.
- Silvester, Norman (11 July 2010). "Controversial rail chief splashes out on £1m laird's mansion". Daily Record. Retrieved 9 March 2012.
- WATSON, JEREMY (2007-09-30). "Beavers dip a toe in the water for Scots return". The Scotsman (Edinburgh). Retrieved 2007-12-11.
- "UK | Scotland | Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West | Beavers to return after 400 years". BBC News. 2008-05-25. Retrieved 2010-03-15.
- "UK | Scotland | Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West | Beavers return after 400-year gap". BBC News. 2009-05-29. Retrieved 2010-03-15.
- "New breeding beaver pair released in Scotland". BBC News. 10 May 2010. Retrieved 10 May 2010.
- Field, J. Learning Through Labour: Training, unemployment and the state, 1890–1939, University of Leeds, 1992, ISBN 0-900960-48-5
- Dwelly, E. Illustrated Gaelic-English Dictionary New Edition, Birlinn, 2001, ISBN 1-84158-109-7
- Census data after A vision of Britain (1801–1951) and SCROL (1991 and 2001)
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