Late Devonian–Early Carboniferous rocks at the southern end of the Kintyre Peninsula closely resemble those of the Kinnesswood and Clyde Sandstone formations in more easterly portions of the Firth of Clyde. For example, a previously unrecognized thick marlstone with pedogenic calcretes is present in the Kinnesswood Formation at the south tip of the peninsula and, on the west coast, south of Machrihanish, a striking cliffed exposure includes massive phreatic calcretes developed from cross-bedded sandstones and red mudstones closely resembling those of the Clyde Sandstone on Great Cumbrae. A similar phreatic calcrete unit is present in the lower part of the Ballagan Formation in south Bute. The presence of vadose and phreatic calcrete provides valuable information concerning palaeoclimatic conditions in southwestern Scotland during the Devonian–Carboniferous transition. Overlying thick volcanic rocks are correlative with the Clyde Plateau Volcanic Formation. The sediments accumulated in the South Kintyre Basin on the west side of the Highland Boundary Fault (HBF). Formation of this basin, and the North East Arran and Cumbraes basins in the northeastern part of the Firth of Clyde, is interpreted as a response to development of a ‘locked zone’ in the HBF during an episode of sinistral faulting.