Port Bannatyne

Port Bannatyne (Scottish Gaelic: Port MhicEamailinn) is a coastal village on the Isle of Bute, Firth of Clyde, Scotland. It is a popular harbour, with a small yacht marina and boatyard and an unusual 13-hole golf course.

Port Bannatyne
Port Bannatyne 11.06.2014.jpg
Port Bannatyne village
Port Bannatyne is located in Argyll and Bute
Port Bannatyne
Port Bannatyne
Location within Argyll and Bute
OS grid referenceNS072672
• London455 miles
Council area
Lieutenancy area
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtPA20
Dialling code01700
UK Parliament
Scottish Parliament
List of places
55°52′N 5°05′W / 55.86°N 5.08°W / 55.86; -5.08Coordinates: 55°52′N 5°05′W / 55.86°N 5.08°W / 55.86; -5.08


Port Bannatyne lies on the Firth of Clyde, approximately 2 miles (3 km) north of Rothesay on the Scottish Isle of Bute and 6 miles (10 km) from Rhubodach. Substantial slate and stone houses face the sea around Kames Bay. The village's focus was the stone pier mid-way along the south shore of Kames Bay. The bay provided mooring for yachts and fishing boats.

On the seafront are a shop/Post Office, The Port Inn (local pub with beer garden and pool room) and the Anchor Tavern (a bar for the retired sailors and oldsters). The Port Royal Hotel, just along the road is the old village inn. It was bought in 2000 by a Russian family who renovated the building and turned the old pub into a replica of a Russian Tavern of Imperial Times.[1] It has five guest rooms and serves fine seafood and Russian Cuisine (according to TIME OUT in the top five affordable serious restaurants in Scotland).

Above the village, with views across the sea to the Isle of Arran and the Argyll hills, is the Port Bannatyne golf-course.[2] Built in 1912, the course now has 13 holes and wild deer grazing the herbage.[3] The village has strong links overseas and has its own club for the French game of Pétanque, with a pitch, or piste, on the seafront.[4]

In 2005, work was started on the new yacht marina. The small boatyard has grown into a stone-built sea wall enclosure of part of the bay, providing 105 berths.[5]

The Isle of Bute is easily reached by train from either of the Glasgow Airports to Wemyss Bay, where a ferry leaves every 45 minutes (journey time 35 minutes).


The village started in 1801 with the building of a small harbour on Kames Bay. Lord Bannatyne of Kames Castle, at the head of the bay, planned the village in an attempt to rival Rothesay. Initially known as Kamesburgh, by the mid-19th century, steamers were calling there regularly.[6] In 1860 the Marquess of Bute purchased this part of the island and renamed the village Port Bannatyne in honour of the long historical association of the Bannatyne family with the area.[7] Boat building became an important local industry.

In 1879 a narrow gauge horse-drawn tram linked Port Bannatyne with Rothesay. This was electrified and extended across the island to Ettrick Bay in 1902.[7]

Port Bannatyne developed into the 20th century as a quieter alternative to Rothesay.

In the Second World War midget submarines exercised in the bay and nearby Loch Striven.[6] The luxury Kyles Hydro Hotel, overlooking the Port, was requisitioned by the Admiralty to serve as the HQ for midget submarine (x-craft) operations. In particular, it was from here (hotel renamed HMS Varbel) that the top secret and audacious attack on the Tirpitz was masterminded.[8]


  1. ^ "Russian Tavern". The Port Royal Hotel. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  2. ^ "Visitors". Port Bannatyne Golf Club. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  3. ^ "Port Bannatyne Golf Club". Bute Sons & Daughters. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  4. ^ "Port Bannatyne Petanque : Home". Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  5. ^ "Marina Services". Port Bannatyne Marina. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  6. ^ a b "Port Bannatyne Tourist Information". About Britain. Retrieved 7 April 2007.
  7. ^ a b "Port Bannatyne". Undiscovered Scotland. Retrieved 7 April 2007.
  8. ^ "The Tirpitz Raid ("Operation Source")". Bute at War. Retrieved 31 December 2014.

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