by Emma Cooper
1. Take the ferry from Wemyss Bay
Our big ferry leaves from Wemyss Bay, a mere 45 minute drive from Glasgow. You don’t need to book and if you get there 15 minutes early, you should have time to buy your tickets (£6.10 return for adults; £21.90 return for a car) and board.
The ferries also connect with the trains, so if you’re using public transport you can relax and simply follow the signs from the train platform inside the station for a quick 2 minute walk to the ferry. When you arrive in Rothesay 35 minutes later, its a short walk to the festival site.
Make sure you keep a look out for dolphins in the water, enjoy a cup of hot chocolate (we recommend the ‘luxury’) and if you see your favourite band on the boat too, say hi. More info here: https://www.calmac.co.uk/wemyssbay-rothesay-bute-ferry-summer-timetable
2. …or from Colintraive
Our wee ferry leaves from Colintraive and passes the Burnt Isles. This stretch of water is where cattle used to swim across for markets on the mainland, and we’re pretty sure deer cross this bit of water each year to find new mates. It takes just 5 minutes it’s a gorgeous drive down to Colintraive through mountains and forest. More info here: https://www.calmac.co.uk/colintraive-rhubodach-bute-ferry-summer-timetable
Sailing around Bute is world-class, with stunning scenery and an abundance of wildlife to see. We have two marinas, in Port Bannatyne and in Rothesay; the latter is closest to the festival and less than a 10 minute walk away. We also have a very friendly sailing club, which organises the prestigious Round Bute Race and the (less prestigious!) annual Raft Race.
That’s right, Bute even has it’s very own airport. It may look like a field next to a beach when it’s empty, but it’s actually pretty special. The first all-powered heavier than air flight was first attempted by the ‘Baird of Bute’, Andrew Blain Baird, on Ettrick Bay. It’s celebrated every year in September at the Baird of Bute Festival.
Bute is one of the stops on the Argyll Sea Kayak Trail, with a wilderness campsite at the north end of the island in the community-owned forest.
If you don’t fancy kayaking to the island, you could still book in for a day or half-day kayak trip with the experienced and friendly team at Kayak Bute whilst your here and make the most of our gorgeous coastal scenery.
OK so we probably wouldn’t really recommend getting to Bute this way, but once you’re here wild swimming should definitely be on your to do list. We have gorgeous deserted beaches and curious seals – the more noise you make in the water the more likely they are to say hello. There’s even the occasional basking shark to snorkel with!