Davaar Island

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Davaar Island
Gaelic: Eilean Dà Bhàrr


Davaar Island and Lighthouse.jpg
Davaar Island and lighthouse
Location: 55°25’12"N, 5°32’24"W
Grid reference: NR760200
Area: 128 acres
Highest point: 377 feet
Population: 0

Davaar Island lies at the mouth of Campbeltown Loch off the east coast of Kintyre, in Argyllshire. It is a tidal island; at low tide it is linked to the mainland by a natural shingle causeway called the Dhorlin near Campbeltown. 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, from the name of St Barre, though Dr Gillies in his "Place Names of Argyll" appears to accept the popular derivation, Double-pointed (Da-Bharr) Island.

In 1854, a Lighthouse 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 caretakers, sheep, goats and mink.

The Lookout, a square building standing on a small knoll close to the lighthouse, was built during the Second World War to house naval crews, whose task it was to stretch anti-submarine nets across the water, protecting Campbeltown. It is now rented out as a holiday home.[1]

Entrance to the cave

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 at its first discovery many took it to have been painted in the cave by an angel of God; it is said that when the townsfolk discovered it was MacKinnon who painted it, 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.[2]

In 2001 the island had a population of 2 as recorded by the census.


Western end of Davaar Island

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.[3]

Outside links


  1. Peter Caton (2011) No Boat Required - Exploring Tidal Islands. Matador.
  2. "Che vandal attacks Christ image". BBC News. 2006-08-01. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/glasgow_and_west/5235666.stm. Retrieved 11 December 2007. 
  3. "Modern British Local Posts CD Catalogue, 2009 Edition". Phillips. http://www.seahorsepublishers.com/phillipscatalogues.htm. Retrieved 2008-12-08.