Davaar Island

Davaar Island and ‘The Painting’…

davaar island tshirt

The Famous Davaar Island Cave Painting that depicts Jesus Christ on the Cross. Painted in 1887 by local teacher Archibald MacKinnon.

The work was carried out completely in secret by the teacher after he had a dream telling him where to paint it. It couldn’t have been easy for Archie as he had to lash his paintbrush to his walking stick to reach.

Shortly after the painting was discovered he left the town, returning in 1902 and again in 1934 to carry out restoration work.

The painting was restored again in the 1950’s, 1960’s and in the 1970’s, fittingly by Art teachers from Campbeltown Grammar School. They added a lead strip above the work to prevent further damage by rain water. Unfortunately the figures on either side of Jesus had suffered too much damage.

The first restoration, in 1902, was carried out by Archibald MacKinnon himself. He again reworked it in 1934.

The Davaar Island Painting in 2001.
The Davaar Island Painting in 2001.

The next time it was the turn of John McInally in 1955. In the 1960’s the work was carried out by Mr Ronald Togneri who is responsible for the picture as we know it today.

Information for visitors:

Davaar Island lies in Kilbrannan Sound at the mouth of Campbeltown Loch.

The cave, situated on the South side of the island, is one of several and can be reached on foot by the shingle causeway, the Dhorlin (Doirlinn), uncovered at low tide times.

The original Davaar Island Painting.
The original Davaar Island Painting.

For those who don’t carry a compass with you, when you cross the Dhorlin, to Davaar Island, go in the opposite direction to the Lighthouse 🙂

******Visitors please make sure you check the tide times.******

Davaar Island Tide Times

Allow yourself a good 45 minutes for the walk to the island (for both ways) and also give yourself half an hour (30 minutes) to traverse the rocks* around the South side to reach the cave.

The Davaar Island Painting in 1900.
The Davaar Island Painting in 1900.

The painting can be found in the seventh cave, the entrance to which is marked by a small plaque on the cliff face and also by the many small cairns and wooden crosses made by visitors and pilgrims to the site. People travel from all over to visit several sites of religious significance on Kintyre.

Davaar Cave pilgrims

Please respect others by not disturbing any of the items left there.

The Davaar Island Painting in 1955.
The Davaar Island Painting in 1955.

******Stout Walking Boots essential for the trip across the rocks!!!******

1. Davaar Island is pictured on the cover of the original ‘ Mull of Kintyre‘ single.

2. Sometime in August 2006 some person or persons unknown defaced the painting by spraying a stencil of Che Guevara over it. Fortunately the Campbeltown Grammar Art Department came to the rescue to restore it.

3. Davaar is one of 17 Scottish mainland islands that can be walked to.

4. In 1854, Davaar Lighthouse was built on the north of the island by the lighthouse engineers David and Thomas Stevenson.

5. For a more detailed write-up on Archie click HERE