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Bute, also known as the Isle of Bute ( ) is an island in the Firth of Clyde in Scotlandmarker. Formerly part of the county of Buteshiremarker, it now constitutes part of the council area of Argyll and Bute. Its resident population was 7,228 in April 2001.


Bute lies in the Firth of Clydemarker. The only town on the island, Rothesaymarker, ( ) is linked by ferry to the mainland. Villages on the island include:

Bute is divided in two by the Highland Boundary Fault. North of the fault the island is hilly and largely uncultivated with extensive areas of forestry. The highest hill is Kames Hill at 267 metres. To the south of the fault the terrain is smoother and highly cultivated although in the far south is to be found the island's most rugged terrain around Glen Callum. Loch Fad is Bute's largest body of freshwater and runs along the fault line.

The western side of Bute is known for its beaches, many of which enjoy fine views over the Sound of Butemarker towards Arranmarker and Bute's smaller satellite island Inchmarnockmarker. Villages on the western side of the island include Straad, around St. Ninian's Bay, and Kildavanan on Ettrick Bay.

In the north, Bute is separated from the Cowalmarker peninsula by the Kyles of Butemarker. The northern part of the island is sparsely populated, and the ferry terminal at Rhubodachmarker connects the island to the mainland at Colintraivemarker by the smaller of the island's two ferries. The crossing is one of the shortest, less than , and takes only a few minutes but is busy because many tourists prefer the scenic route to the island.


It is likely that before the Gaels arrived and absorbed Bute into the Cenél Comgall of Dál Riata the island was home to a people who spoke a Brythonic language (akin to modern day Welsh). Later during the Viking period the island was known as Rothesay and the main town on the island was Bute. Widespread and long term misuse of the names was eventually officially recognised and the names were swapped to reflect popular usage.

After the Viking period the island was not granted to the Lord of the Isles, as were most of the islands off Scotland's west coast. Instead Bute became the personal property of the Scottish monarchy.

In the 1940s and 1950s Bute served as a large naval headquarters. During World War II it housed a large camp for officers and NCOs of the Polish Armed Forces in the West. Officially a military camp, it was unofficially thought of as a prison for Władysław Sikorski's political enemies.


Bute is connected with the Scottish mainland by two Caledonian MacBrayne ferries:

During summer, the paddle steamer Waverley calls at Rothesay on regular cruises.

There is a regular bus service along the eastern coast road, and a daily service connecting the island with Argyll and the western Highlands and Islands. Many independent holidaymakers use the island as a stepping stone from Glasgow and Ayrshire to western Scotland using this route. In summer an open-top bus tours the island leaving from Guildford Square by the ferry at 11am and 1pm.

The main ferry to the island leaves from Wemyss Bay, a village on the A78, the coast road between Glasgow and Ayr. Wemyss Bay is connected by rail to Paisleymarker (for Glasgow International Airport) and Glasgow Central stationmarker. Prestwick Airportmarker (home of RyanAir) is connected directly to Wemyss Bay by FASTBUS 585, which runs twice an hour.


The island has one secondary school, Rothesay Academy, which moved to a new modern joint campus with Rothesay Primary in 2007. This turned out to be an effective venture as the old buildings were below standard, and pupils seem to have fared far better since moving to the new school. The largest of the island's three primary schools is Rothesay Primary, the smallest school (with roughly 50 pupils) is North Bute Primary in Port Bannatynemarker. The third primary school, St Andrews Primary, is a Catholic School aligned with St Andrew's Church, the only Catholic Church on the predominantly Protestant island.


Bute has many sports clubs and activities available. There are three golf courses: Rothesay Golf Club, Kingarth Golf Club and Port Bannatyne Golf Club. The most successful sporting club on the island is Bute Shinty Club who play at the highest level of shinty (the Marine Harvest Premier League). In 2006 Bute won promotion to the Premier League by winning the South Division One. Bute also won the Ballimore Cup and were runners up in the Glasgow Celtic Society Cup in 2006. The local amateur football team are known as the Brandanes, and the junior team are the Brandane Rovers. Bute also has facilities for fishing, rugby, tennis, bowls, and cricket. Petanque is played at Port Bannatyne; boules may be hired from the Post Office there.

The centre for sailing on Bute is at Port Bannatyne with two boatyards and the new marina, and a club which organises private moorings in these particularly protected waters of Kames Bay. There is Bute Sailing School with its own yacht.


Farming and tourism are the main industries on the island, along with fishing and forestry. Privately owned businesses include:


Scalpsie Bay and raised beach looking south to the three hills Suidhe Chatain, Tor Mòr and Suidhe Bhlain.
Architectural attractions on the island include the ruined twelfth century St Blane's Chapel on a site associated with Saint Catan and Saint Blane, who was born on Bute. Another ruined chapel, dating from the sixth century, lies at St Ninian's Point.

The eccentric Mount Stuart Housemarker is often cited as one the world's most impressive neo-Gothic mansions, bringing many architectural students from Glasgow on day-trips. The third Marquess had a passion for art, astrology, mysticism and religion and the house reflects this in the architecture, furnishings and art collection. There is a marble chapel, much stained glass and walls of paintings. The house is open at Easter and from May to October. There are gardens with plants imported from many parts of the world, and a Visitor Centre. The gardens host a number of events throughout the year starting with an Easter Parade. In 2003 the fashion designer Stella McCartney married in the chapel, generating intense media interest. Activities and workshops are often held there in the summer by a local organization that provides after school clubs and activities in the school holidays; there is also a farmers' market and a Christmas market held in the house and in the visitors centre.

The Pavilion is a 1930s edifice housing a concert hall, workshops and cafe, and noted for its architecture. The Pavilion is little changed from when it was built.

Rothesay Castlemarker was built 800 years ago by the hereditary High Steward of Scotland.

Ascog Hall Fernery and Gardens are a renovated Victorian residence and glass-house containing shrubs and plants from all over the Empire, including a fern believed to be over 1,000 years old.

Loch Fad is a deep freshwater loch stocked with pike and brown trout available to visiting tourist fishermen. Boats are available to hire.

The Old Post Office, now used only for sorting mail, is an historic working post office (open mornings only) which houses artifacts of the early post, some from before the advent of the postage stamp.

Scalpsie Bay has a colony of over 200 seals on its beach, which can only be reached on foot across the fields. The island also has many herds of deer, rich bird life and some large hares. Wild goat with large curled horns may be seen in the north of the island.

Port Bannatynemarker, a village towards the north of the island, is the centre for sailing and sea-fishing on the island. It has two boat yards and a marina for 200 vessels. Langoustines are fished by creels anchored in the bay. X-Class midget submarines were stationed in Kames Bay during World War II and there is a memorial to WWII dead. Port Bannatyne also boasts the CAMRAmarker Scottish Pub of the Year known as THE RUSSIAN TAVERN: [56098] They have four inexpensive guestrooms. Port Bannatyne Golf Club is known for scenic views from the course. As from April 2009, Port Bannatyne will have its own marina.[56099]

The road from Port Bannatynemarker goes seven miles along the shore of the Kyles of Bute until it reaches the minor ferry over to Colintraive on the Argyll mainland.

The 1920s Winter-Gardens (now the "Discovery Centre") close to the Rothesay Pier houses a small cinema and tourist information office. Nearby are the Victorian toilets.

There are a variety of music, folk and poetry festivals, and walking trails and new cycling routes. There are a variety of remote Bronze Age stone circles, an iron-age fortified village, and early Christian remains (including St. Blane's Chapel). The Bute Museum of the island's history is situated behind Rothesay Castle.

Famous people

Famous Bute people include


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