Gintyre’s roaring success boosted Kintyre tourism

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A Campbeltown hotelier served 50 diners gin themed food at the inaugural Gintyre.

And she could have served more than double that number but chose to retain an intimate setting.

Last Friday evening, Ardshiel co-proprietor, Flora Grant, a regular advertiser with Wyvex Media Ltd which owns the Courier, Oban Times, Argyllshire Advertiser, Arran Banner and Scottish Field, praised the paper’s pre-Gintyre coverage.

‘It was a great atmosphere,’ said Ms Grant, ‘The restaurant was full and we had to turn away 70 disappointed people as calls continued to come.’

Former STV producer, Agnes Wilkie, who has a house at Kilberry, saw a picture of Ardshiel’s dinner on the Courier’s Facebook page and commented: ‘Ohmigosh! So many familiar faces!’

There was a heady fizz the next day at Gintyre’s Saturday headliner.

Campbeltown town hall was packed for four hours, from 1pm to 5pm, as a sell-out crowd of 200 sampled spirits from gin producers: Colonsay’s Wild Thyme, Arran, Harris, Kintyre, The Isle of Jura’s Lussa, Old Raj, Pixel from Ballahulish, Tenacious and Skye’s Uisage Lusach.

A spokesperson from South Kintyre Development Trust which owns Campbeltown town hall said: ‘The town hall team working behind the scenes have been amazing and they’ve all worked so hard, staff and volunteers.

‘Our part wasn’t just the hall hire, we did all marketing, banners, brochures, tickets, hiring, accommodation, hall decoration and staffing.’

The crowd, attracted by two pipers in Main Street, came from Kintyre, across Scotland and further afield to sample select spirit, a far cry from the 18th-century cheap gin referred to as ‘mother’s ruin.’

Niall Macalister Hall of Beinn an Tuirc, distillers of Kintyre gin said: ‘It was a sell out on the main tasting day.

‘We spoke to many people who had travelled down from Lochgilphead and Mid-Argyll.’

Later jazz quartet Rose Room rounded off the night to an appreciative audience

On Saturday evening the Courier spoke to a group of eight, from East Kilbride, whose trip to Gintyre was their first ever to the peninsula. They praised many features including Campbeltown Picture House.

The Sunday afternoon matinée showing of black-and-white classic, Casablanca, attracted 95 people to the cinema.

One of the most famous lines from the film features ultra cool bar owner Ricky Blaine played by Humphrey Bogart speaking about his old flame Ilsa played by co-star Ingrid Bergman.

Blaine says: ‘Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.’

Pipers Ian McKerral and Julie Blue played outside Campbeltown town hall to attract people to Gintyre’s headline event. 25_c17gintyre69

The main course: Slow braised pork belly with juniper, red cabbage, glazed carrots, green beans and baby roast potatoes was accompanied by Kintyre gin with Fever Tree’s Mediterranean tonic. 25_c17gintyre01

Diners at the Gintyre tasting event. 25_c17gintyre04

Ardshiel waitress Janet Johnstone ready to serve Harris gin with pink grapefruit and Fever Tree tonic. 25_c17gintyre03

Tasting gin samples from left are: Derek McIlroy, Fiona Irvine, Tricia Lafferty, Michael Lafferty, Jane McIlroy, Graeme Harvey, John Souter and Senga Dunn. 25_c17gintyre64

Ann Parkes, right, travelled from Cardiff for Gintyre and stayed in her friend’s Peninver caravan. She is with from left: Carolin Walker and Sheila Anne McCallum. 25_c17gintyre66

The ‘Nurses on Tour’ are from left: Gayle Sougall, Marjorie Leighton, Sarah Kelly, Kareen McEachran, Nicole Napier, Caerla Cox, Morven Girvan, Michelle Morrison and Louise Kerr. 25_c17gintyre61

Shona Anderson, Iona Parker, Wilma Martin, David Martin, Heather Mcadam, Pat Healey and Isabel Mcadam. 25_c17gintyre58

Rose Room made a return to the Wee Toon and played at Gintyre’s Saturday night after party. 25_c17gintyre67_rose_room

BBC Radio Scotland Sunday night jazz presenter, Rose Room’s vocalist Seonaid Aitken also played the fiddle. 25_c17gintyre68_Seonaid_Aitken