Isle of Bute

From Academic Kids

Bute shown within Argyll and Bute
Bute shown within Argyll and Bute

Bute is one of the islands of the lower Firth of Clyde in Scotland. Part of the traditional county of Buteshire, it also lies in the Scottish Unitary area of Argyll and Bute. It is separated from Cowal by the Kyles of Bute. In the 2001 census it had a usually resident population of 7,228.

The only burgh (i.e.: large town) on the island is Rothesay, linked by ferry to Wemyss Bay on the mainland. Another ferry links Bute with Colintrave in Cowal.

The western side of Bute is known for its beaches, while the northern part is hilly, lying north of the Highland Boundary Fault.

In the 1940s and 1950s Bute served as a large naval headquarters.


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 House, one the world's most impressive neo-Gothic mansions, brings many architectural students from Glasgow on day-trips. There is also Rothesay Castle, built 800 years ago by the hereditary High Steward of Scotland. The 1920's Winter Garden now houses the 'Isle of Bute Discovery Centre', where details of current attractions and events can be found.

Other attractions include 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 and early-Christian remains, which are best appreciated by first visiting the Bute Museum of the island's history.

Famous people

Famous Bute people include writer and scholar John William Mackail; & critic, journalist and poet John Sterling. John Sterling's son was Major-General John Barton Sterling. Film director Lord Attenborough has made his home on the island, as did actor Edmund Kean before him. Singer Lena Zavaroni was born and grew up in the town of Rothesay on the island.

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