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Coordinates: 55°38′42″N 5°22′59″W / 55.645°N 5.383°W / 55.645; -5.383
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Village store/post office and restaurant in the centre of Pirnmill
Pirnmill is located in North Ayrshire
Location within North Ayrshire
OS grid referenceNR871442
Civil parish
  • Kilmory
Council area
Lieutenancy area
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtKA27
Dialling code01770
UK Parliament
Scottish Parliament
List of places
55°38′42″N 5°22′59″W / 55.645°N 5.383°W / 55.645; -5.383

Pirnmill (Scottish Gaelic: Muileann nam Piùirneachan) is a small village on the north-west coast of the island of Arran, Scotland. The village is situated on the Kilbrannan Sound, facing Grogport on the Kintyre peninsula.

Located within the parish of Kilmory,[1] Pirnmill is flanked by several clachans, including Whitefarland to the south, Thunderguy to the north, and the original settlement of Penrioch (Scottish Gaelic: Peighinn Riabhach) above the village.


Unlike many of the other villages on the island, Pirnmill's etymology is not rooted in the Gaelic or Norse heritage of Arran; rather Pirnmill gets its name from a mill, known as Salen Pirn Mill that was built in early 1780 to make pirns, a type of wooden bobbin that was used in the cotton industry.[2] The mill was built by J&P Clarks of Paisley and powered by a 40ft water wheel that was turned a flow from a dam that was filled by the fast-flowing Allt Gobhlatch river.[2] The mill continued to operate until 1840, until supplies of wood became scarce on the island and it wasn't economical to transport timber to the island. In 1850 the mill was destroyed by fire.[2]


Early inhabitants of Pirnmill made a living through seasonal herring fishing or crofting, but later the village became a tourist destination, with many Clyde steamers plying between Glasgow and Campbeltown. The village was served by small ferry boats that would be rowed out to the steamers, and visitors would have to decant into the small ferry to be rowed ashore. The last of these local ferry men was Archibald Currie (Sunnyside), who eventually fitted a small engine to one of his boats. The steamers were stopped during the Second World War and never really reinstated. The overwhelming majority of visitors now come to the village by road, with a few arriving by private yacht.

The jetty below the shop was built in the 1930s to make it easier for visitors (and cargo) to disembark from the small ferries. Prior to this there were only duckboards.

Pirnmill formerly had two church buildings. The Church of Scotland met in a building to the south of the village, until it closed in the 1990s. A memorial to Rev John Kennedy of Lenimore remains. It is made of white granite in Gothic style, and carries the date 1910. It is a category B listed structure.[3] A little further to the north is a building dating from the 1920s, erected by members of the Free Church of Scotland, who previously had worshipped at Lenimore. It was initially a church hall, but was used for worship after the Lenimore building was demolished. The Church of Scotland leased the building from the 1990s, when their original building closed, to 29 January 2023 when the church closed. It is a rectangular structure made of corrugated iron, with a concrete base and asbestos roof tiles. Internally it is lined with yellow pine boards. It was a temporary building, of a type that could be readily ordered from a catalogue in the late 19th or early 20th centuries. Few such buildings remain, because of their temporary nature, and this one has been little altered from its original condition. The building is grade C listed.[4]

On the southern edge of the village is the turbine house for the Dougarie Hydro-Electric Scheme. The Dougarie Estate carried out flow measurement in 2008 and 2009 on four streams, and in 2012 secured planning permission for a scheme utilising the waters of the Allt Gobhlach. During the planning stages, the estate tried to keep residents informed, posting a document in the Post Office, and sending a copy to everyone who lived nearby. The plans were generally well-received by the villagers, and the power station, which generates 500 kW and feeds it into the National Grid, was commissioned in June 2013.[5]


Ancient burial ground on the coast, just north of Pirnmill. Kintyre is in the background.

Pirnmill has a village shop, restaurant and a B&B, as well as a monthly 'Pop Up Pub'.[6] Two miles (three kilometres) north of the village, halfway between Pirnmill and Catacol, there is an ancient burial ground close to the shore at Rhubha Airigh Bheirg.

Notable people[edit]

  • Flora Drummond - suffragette. Flora was born in Manchester in 1878, but the family moved to Arran within a year of her birth, and lived at Pirnmill. She was educated on Arran, but moved away to Glasgow when she was 14.[7]


  1. ^ "Details of Pirnmill". Scottish Places. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  2. ^ a b c "MHG29849 - Bobbin mill - The Pirn Mill". Highland Historic Environment Record. The Highland Council. Archived from the original on 17 March 2024. Retrieved 17 March 2024.
  3. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "Pirnmill, former Church of Scotland, memorial to Rev John Kennedy (Category B Listed Building) (LB13479)".
  4. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "Pirnmill, Church of Scotland (former Free Church) (Category C Listed Building) (LB49535)".
  5. ^ Davidson 2014.
  6. ^ McEachern, Megan (8 June 2019). ""It's the best thing that's ever happened here" – How a pop up pub is transforming a remote village on the Isle of Arran". The Sunday Post. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  7. ^ Bellamy, Alan (28 December 2017). "Flora Mckinnon Gibson (Drummond)". Voice for Arran.


External links[edit]