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Ettrick Bay
A curved bay with a sandy foreshore
Ettrick Bay from the south, looking north as the bay curves to Kildavanan Point
Ettrick Bay is located in Argyll and Bute
Ettrick Bay
Ettrick Bay
Location in Argyll and Bute
Location Isle of Bute, Argyll and Bute Scotland
Coordinates 55°50′39.592″N 5°8′33″W / 55.84433111°N 5.14250°W / 55.84433111; -5.14250
River sources Glenmore Burn
Ettrick Burn
Drumachloy Burn
St Colmac Burn
Ocean/sea sources Atlantic Ocean
Catchment area 22.5 kilometres (14.0 mi)2
Basin countries Scotland
Max. length 1.7 km (1.1 mi)
Max. width 0.960 km (0.597 mi)
Average depth 20 metres (66 ft)

Ettrick Bay is a wide, tidal, sandy coastal embayment with a chord of 1 mile (2 km), on a 218° bearing, located on the west coast of the Isle of Bute in the Firth of Clyde, within council area of Argyll and Bute in Scotland. The bay was used for practice training for the D-Day landings.


The bay faces the Kyles of Bute, a narrow sea channel that separates the northern end of the Isle of Bute from the Cowal peninsula, and offers views of Isle of Arran. The bay is bounded by a coarse sandy beach which is popular with tourists and local people. During low tide, the water's edge can be up to 500 metres (1,600 ft) from the high tide mark. A number of rivers flow into the bay, including the Glenmore Burn, Ettrick Burn, Drumachloy Burn and St Colmac Burn.

At the north end of the bay, which mainly consists of rocky outcrops, lies the Kildavanan Point, with the feature known as Macallister's Gun, located close to the point. At the south end of the bay is the rocky outcrop called Island McNeil, which forms the outer boundary of the bay.

The surrounding area is mostly rural with agriculture being the main land use. Average rainfall for the region is 392mm, compared to 331mm in Scotland as a whole. Windy Hill is the highest peak on the Isle of Bute. Located directly to the north of the bay, it is 278 metres (912 ft). Other small hills surrounding the bay include:

  • Eanan Hill to the north east – 166 metres (545 ft)
  • Glenabea Hill, behind Eanan Hill – 201 metres (659 ft)
  • Kilbride Hill, which bounds Windy Hill at the east side – 256 metres (840 ft)
  • Muirton Hill, which is to the south of Windy Hill – also 256 metres (840 ft)

To the east and south of the bay, all the hills are shallow.

3.25 miles (5 km) miles directly south of Ettrick Bay lies the sheltered bay of St Ninian's Bay, which is named after the 8th-century Christian saint Saint Ninian. The island of Inchmarnock can be seen from Ettrick Bay and lies on a south by south west bearing of around 200° at a distance of 3.25 miles (5 km) from the bay, and is located at the northern end of the Sound of Bute in the Firth of Clyde on the same longitude as St Ninian's Bay.


The nearest town to the bay is Rothesay, which is 2.5 miles (4 km) to the south west. The small coastal village of Port Bannatyne is located 2 miles (3 km) to the north east, on Ardbeg point of Kames Bay. Kames Castle and, 500 metres (1,600 ft) to the north, Wester Kames Castle stands near to Kames Bay.


A Bronze Age stone circle is situated at St Colmac Farm, which is located south of the B875 road to Ettrick Bay from Port Bannatyne, about 0.6 miles (1 km) northeast of the shore of Ettrick Bay. A Celtic cross that is often associated with the stone circle is located at the ruined 19th-century church of St Colmac, about 100 metres (330 ft) from the stone circle in a north west direction. A well-known tourist attraction, and often associated together, they were built several thousand years apart. At the bridge over Glenmore Burn lie concrete frames built for the British Army for exercises on Inchmarnock. These frames represented practice landing craft for D-Day landings.


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