Davaar Island: A Scottish Tidal Island On Kintyre

Davaar Island

Davaar Island is a small, inhabited tidal island off the east coast of Kintyre. You can access it on foot, twice a day, according to tide times. Here’s everything you need to know about walking to the island.

Davaar Island
Davaar Island at low tide

Things To Know BEFORE You Go

  • Davaar is an inhabited tidal island which becomes accessible roughly two hours before low tide, twice a day
  • Davaar Island is 1 of 17 tidal islands that can be walked to from the Scottish mainland
  • It takes about 20-30 minutes to walk over there on the spit way.
  • The tidal flats between the mainland and the island are full of mussels. You can actually stay on this island in some of the cottages. See below for the map of accommodation.
  • The Dhorlin (the local name for the causeway) is exposed twice a day at low tide. Tides change with the moon & are different every day. It’s imperative you don’t get stuck on the island so do check the times and set alarms on your phones etc.

Check the tide times with:

  1. tideschart.com
  2. tidetimes.org
  3. willyweather.co.uk
Davaar Island
Davaar Island from the car park

Where To Park For Davaar Island

There’s parking for about 6 cars just level with the Dhorlin causeway.

Where To Go On The Island

Campbeltown Loch to the left of the causeway (as you face the island) is deep and tidal whereas the shallow bay to the right of the causeway (facing the island) is full of cockles & mussels and perfect for exploring on foot, jumping in puddles and SUP boarding & kayaking.

There are two routes when you reach the island; turn right for the cliffs & caves or carry straight on for the lighthouse, hill and cottages.

There are about seven caves in total and the one with the painting has a small slate sign marking it and is immediately beyond another cave that joins it below the painting.

Davaar Island lighthouse
Davaar Island Lighthouse with the Isle of Arran behind it

History Of The Island

The island has been since the 1300s and was early on known as the Sanct Barre Island. Its name has changed over the years and has been written as Do Bharre, Da-Bharr and Davaar.

The lighthouse was built in 1854 and was automated in 1983. Next to the lighthouse is a square building called ‘The Lookout’ which was built during WWII. From here the naval crews stretched anti-submarine nets across the water to protect Kintyre & Arran. You can now stay in this building for your holiday or the log cabins, close by.

The current caretakers of the island run the holiday cottages there as well as a 5-acre farm. You’ll see the sheep, goats and cattle meandering around freely. We watched the goats jumping around on the cliffs near the caves and climbed up behind the lighthouse, alongside the sheep. The cows were disinterested in us and carried on chewing the cud.

Davaar Island Lighthouse
Davaar Island Lighthouse

The Christ Cave Painting

I can’t think of anything scarier than seeing this so I didn’t visit this cave but I saw a few others.

Back in 1887, local artist Archibald MacKinnon painted a life-size crucifixion on the cave wall. Apparently, the painting caused an uproar as it was seen as a miracle from above but when the townpeople discovered it was MacKinnon he was exiled from the town. It’s been restored several times since then.

After visiting the cave you might need to retrace your steps back along the shore to the point where you reached the island and turn right to follow the track towards the lighthouse. I’m not sure if you can get all the way around the island.

Campbletown Loch
Campbletown Loch & the causeway

Walking Down The Cliffs Near The Lighthouse

From the lighthouse, there’s a track that descends down the cliffs onto the rocky shore. I’m unsure if you can get all the way around the island as I went from the lighthouse to the caves by turning left (not right).

You Can SUP & Kayak Davaar Bay

We visited in February and we had a beautiful day of blue skies and sunshine. There’s never a time you won’t need your hat though so do remember it. The bay to the right of the island is full of mussel beds and I would have loved to got out the SUP board. The waters to that side of the island are shallow and calm! If you have the ability and time, I’d definitely recommend it.

Davaar Island mussels
Davaar Island cockles & mussels

Stay Locally In Kintyre or On Davaar Island

You can use this map to find local accommodation. Scroll in for the best results

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Davaar Island, Kintyre