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The local area guide to living in Colintraive

Colintraive is a remote, rural village in Argyll and Bute, known for its picturesque landscape. Easy access to the central belt encouraged wealthy industrialists to build in the area, resulting in the many coastal houses and villas built and developed in the early twentieth century, which remain in the village today.

Its name, which means “swimming strait”, derives from Gaelic and looks back to when cattle were swum over from the Isle of Bute to Colintraive on their way to the markets of lowland Scotland. Much like it has for most of its history, Colintraive remains a farming village – with many of the residents enjoying employment in this field.

Located on the west coast of the Cowal peninsula, facing the Kyles of Bute, the village is small, with few facilities, but offers easy access to the surrounding towns and villages by car or ferry. Colintraive itself has a small hotel with a bar and restaurant, a community garden, post office and general shop. More recently, The Colintraive Heritage Centre has also opened, telling the story of the village and its farming heritage.

While amenities are limited here there are plenty of outdoors activities to enjoy including walking, cycling, sailing and kayaking. Attractions further afield include Dunans Castle, Caol Ruadh Sculpture Park, and the tourist area of Rothesay.

Information about the local residents

Predominantly detached houses sit across this pretty village, the majority of them owned outright. With its relaxed, rural atmosphere, most of the population sits within the 30-60 age bracket, with many residents having retired.

Those in full time work are employed in a wide range of positions, including higher and intermediate managerial, administrative, and other professional positions, as well as clerical, junior positions, and skilled manual jobs.

Today, employment in Colintraive includes farming and tourism. The ferry company, Caledonian MacBrayne, is also a major employer of locals.

Nearby schools

While the village doesn't have its own primary school, pupils can get the local bus to the nearby Kilmodan Primary School, in Glendaruel. In its latest inspection, the school was rated as ‘good’ in the majority of areas by Education Scotland, with its curriculum highlighted as being ‘very good’.

Kilmodan Primary School isn’t the only option either; North Bute Primary School and Innellan Primary School are other options relatively close by to Colintraive.

When it comes to secondary schools they’re a little further away. Pupils typically attend Dunoon Grammar, a co-educational non-denominational comprehensive school with a roll of 1030, in the nearest sizeable town of Dunoon, or Rothesay Academy.

Getting around

Getting around Colintraive itself is easy, with the small village easily explored by foot. Lying on the A886 road, which crosses to the Isle of Bute, residents here can also hop on the ferry to reach the tourist town of Rothesay. The ferry only takes a few minutes and departs every half hour for convenience.

Other popular towns and villages nearby include Dunoon, Greenock, and Irvine, which are all accessible by car.

Local shops

Within Colintraive itself there’s very little in terms of amenities, but everyday essentials can be purchased in the nearby Rothesay, at its Co-op.

The nearest town of size is Dunoon, a 40 minute drive away. Dunoon offers a museum and leisure centre as well as a selection of craft shops, galleries, cafes and restaurants. It also has a large Morrisons supermarket. Regular high street shops, such as your New Look and Boots, can be found in Greenock and Dumarton, both accessible by car.

For a day of shopping it’s a good idea to head to Irvine, 30 miles away from Colintraive. The industrial town is a stark contrast to Colintraive and is home to supermarkets and shopping outlets, including Rivergate Shopping Centre, which offers a mix of both independent and major retail stores.


Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact

All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.


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