It is said that a Viking lord staked his claim to the Kintyre peninsula by dragging (or having his warriors drag) a longship between East and West Loch Tarbert, thus "proving" that everything to the south was an island. Not that much proof was needed. Until the 1930s the road network was so poor that the southern end of the peninsula was almost entirely reliant on transport by sea, and ferry links from Campbeltown to Ayrshire have continued sporadically ever since, right up to today.
The introduction in the 1800s of steam powered ships proved important to the growth of settlements around the Clyde estuary, and from the middle of the century Clyde steamers increasingly allowed the residents of Glasgow and the rest of Clydeside to travel "doon the watter". The result was a series of waves of development, with tiny settlements growing first into significant residential towns for the wealthy and then into seaside resorts for the masses, once paid holidays became the norm. Boom was followed by bust when wider car ownership allowed alternative destinations as far afield as Cornwall to come within reach; and especially once cheap package holidays to the Mediterranean began to take off in the 1960s.
"By Steamer to the Argyllshire Coast" by Alistair Deayton is a lovely book that uses old photos, posters, handbills and tickets to take the reader back to a world when most people's horizons only extended as far as the western side of the Clyde estuary. The (mainly) old photographs are in back and white, sepia, and colour, and really bring the period to life. The book is divided geographically, with short sections looking at particular areas, such as "Helensburgh and the Gareloch", "The Holy Loch" and "The Kintyre Peninsula". The last of these illustrates more than just the settlements themselves and the steamers that served them. We also find a number of photographs of the Campbeltown and Macrihanish Light Railway, which operated for just 26 years from 1906 until 1932. This is a companion volume to "By Steamer to the Ayrshire Coast" by the same author.