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[ To Kate (McIntyre), the author's sister ] To my wife Margaret and our family The Early Days (1) Ardrishaig (4) Fishermen and Kippers (6) Stornoway Stories (7) Men and Memories (7) Never A Dull Day (12) Boats (13) Nicknames (17) Fishing (20) Gardens (23) Lochgilphead Shops of The Past (24) The Distillery (25) Yellow Fever (26) Cattle and The Canal (27) Boat Races (27) David MacBrayne (28) Mid Argyll (29) Surgery Hours, Ardrishaig (30) Minard (30) Mull and Insurance (30) Sunday School (31) Old Friends (32) More Old Friends (34) Forestry and Fishing (36) Milk Carts (37) Ardris Haig (37) The Canal (38) Birthdays (38) The Travelling People (39) Death of A Notable Fisherman (40) The Spanish Tramp (41) Boats and Owners (42) Local People (43) Coronation 1937 at Kilmartin (43) The Ardrishaig Seal 1925 (44) Ron The Seal (44) The Great Swordfish (45) From The Islands (46) Ardrishaig To New York (46) Epilogue (48) Glassary Parish 1828 (49) Local People (49) Doctors Who Have Practised in Lochgilphead (49) Ardrishaig Shops of The Past (50) The Gem (51) John McEwan - "Jonas" (51) 2
PROLOGUE IT would be hard to say how many people over the years have said to me that I ought to write a book. It's one thing having a yarn with a customer at the smoking sheds where I've been turning out kippers for more years than I care to remember, or telling a story at a wedding or a ceilidh, but it's a gey bit different looking at a blank sheet of paper and wondering what you can say that hasn't been said before. My answer always used to be, ''Where am I going to get the time for writing with all you folks wanting kippers ?" This time, though, I can't make that my excuse. They tell me that Robert Louis Stevenson only became an author because he was plagued with ill-health, and A. J. Cronin would have stayed at the doctoring it he hadn't had a long illness. Well, it ever anyone but myself reads this they might as well know that I, Forsyth Hamilton, only started putting some of my stories down on paper because I fell off a roof and the gutting knife went into my leg. So that's how I now find myself with time on my hands to rake through my memories. So it you want to come along with me to share them you are very welcome. The Hamilton family I gratefully acknowledge the help of Allan Henderson, my daughter-in-law Mary Hamilton and Diane Robertson in producing this book —and, indeed, of the people of Ardrishaig. Tarbert, Lochgilphead and the West Coast whose story this is and whose patience has been the rock on which I have been able to build this reminiscence. The Early Days YESTERDAY, 10th January 1985, there was a picture in the newspaper of a lovely lady, 107 years young. She was born in the year that my grandfather was drowned in Ballantrae, Ayrshire, leaving my grandmother to bring up tour boys and a girl. Whatever hard times they had to endure, it finished up that the Hamiltons were one of five families invited to move to the village of Ardnshaig. The others being the Laws, Bruces, MacEwans, and MacBraynes. The Crinan Canal had just been opened, providing a welcome safe passage for seafarers who, prior to this had to sail round the notorious "Mull 0' Kintyre." Ardrishaig was the then small village on the Loch Fyne side, and as there were no houses at that time these families lived in tents on the Fisher Row Park. Now, nearly two hundred years on, their names are still known in the village. The canal was projected in 1793; however, the street plans for Ardrishaig had been made, two years earlier, in 1791 with the village retaining that early pattern until 1960. The landward side was then demolished and rebuilt, with the shore side buildings giving way to car parks and open spaces in the 1970s. The Parish Church was built in I860 on a prominent site beside the canal in direct line in from the lighthouse. 3
but spread it". the Duke of Hamilton himself!" The Royal doctor came over to me and confided that he too had earned the same reputation in his day. "There you have him. This includes tea. "What have you to say for yourself. and Boys Brigade—further to this I was a member of the Home Guard before call-up to the RAF. but on the way out we met Mr Blue. 4 . a Miss Smith from Tarbert (Peter Pochie's sister). and they didn't disturb us all that much anyway. Royal Benevolent Society. or catching lobsters. ran the boy's boxing club. as one lady member said to me. In 1931. Mr Blue pointed at me and said. Agent for the Shipwrecked Mariner's Society. "Boys. Sir Clair Thompson. This they did just before school closed. out from the pier at Ardrishaig. Mr A. some flying boats landed in the sea. When he returned home he was on the receiving end of a good belting Sir Clair Thompson left 3. cakes and of course. She once told me I had thirty-two mistakes in my French exercise and since I apparently didn't look terribly worried about it she said. namely that "I better just not bother going to France !" an answer that earned me six of the belt from her and a visit to Mr Blue for a follow-up of six of the cane. if not all. who was the worst boy in the school. One visitor to the school that I remember was the King's doctor. Sunday School Superintendent. whereupon his "boat" started to sink and he had to be rescued by fishermen. or trying to catch a hare at the Rocky Riggens seemed more important than lessons to us with our boundless energy. Chairman Village Hall Committee. and the school pupils. I have followed Mr Blue in many. which consists of fifty locals who gather on Wednesday afternoons for a community get together. Once when he had caught of us having a smoke in the toilets he laid into us with the cane The strokes were interspersed with the words : "If – The – Lord – meant – you – to – smoke – he – would – have – put – a – chimney – on – your – head" ! A bi-plane landed at Brackley Farm in 1928 and three quarters of the village population went up to see it and helped to take down a fence so that the pilot. crying. We were thus remanded in school until six o'clock to make up for the time we had lost. the odd bit of local gossip. wasn't all canings and beltings. Another teacher. and the village hall. What is going to happen to you in the years ahead it you will learn nothing in school?" Little did she know how well justified her tears were to be. and it is wee yarns about some of the worthies of bygone days that I will be trying to record here. navy and air-force. He then paddled out to the flashing buoy. Life. because I have no intention of trying to write a history of Ardrishaig.000 in his will to the village for the funds of the AVIA. Boys. Hamilton?" I said the only thing I could think of. Ferreting rabbits on the braes. On one occasion he had made a boat out of three herring boxes. After all. Mr Blue was a very stern disciplinarian. We all ran to the school to collect our schoolbags. School didn't have much attraction for most of us young lads. Wing Commander MacBain could take-off. not wanting to miss anything so exciting. the Ardrishaig Village Improvements Association. whose grandfather had been the first canal manager. who gave us each six of the best for being absent without leave. congers or saithe below the pier. and am now with the Ardrishaig Wednesday Club. sat all afternoon waiting for them to take-off. It has just struck me that "worst boy in the school" or not. of the positions he held in the community— Member of AVIA. It is the people that make a place interesting to live in. How could it ? Our minds were more likely to be occupied with thoughts about splashing for sea-trout and salmon. never to return. For even as laddies our hands were pretty well protected with callouses from rowing and hauling ropes. Forsyth. He asked the headmaster.That is just a wee bit of background information. however. "What can you do with gossip. Our old lady teacher in the qualifying class used to be reduced to tears. coated it with tar and feathers and launched it at the mouth of the burn. for thirty or forty of her former pupils were to go off to the army. was also a great believer in the belt. Blue.
who lived until he was only three months from his 100th birthday. who wondered if he could possibly still be alive. he was on a sailing ship. he received a visit from four American inspectors. James Jackson was the first to volunteer to man the rescue boat and 12 of the crew were saved. not long after flitting to Lochgilphead to stay with his daughter. on his first passage to America when they were. It was sad to come home from the war to find this great old man gone. I was informed that it did not tall under their list of published categories. he was rewarded with a life pension and at the ripe old age of 99. 5 . I have managed to get a photo of him with his friend Andy Grinlaw together with their guns. James Jackson. on both sides of the Atlantic for the longest time. But I will pursue the matter further. However. As a result of his heroism.Grinlaw's coach in Ardrishaig One grand old character was our next-door neighbour. Mr Grinlaw and Mr James Jackson In the year 1860. as being the person to have drawn a pension. I am sure this brave man deserves a place in the Guinness Book of Records. on writing to them.involved in rescuing the crew of an American fishing boat. He died in 1944. and said himself that it was leaving Ardrishaig that would be the end of him.
What troubles that man has had. not cancer." Poor Donald was killed in a road accident just outside Ardrishaig. The first time the pay was in pound notes. and to the horror of the boy who had wielded the stick. nearly ten years ago. Archie and Peter I was at the fishing with Donald MacDougall from Tarbert who was another memorable character. slapped the note on the counter and said." but which at that time were called "Leasey Parleys. he is supposed to have gone straight to Dougie Livingstone's Anchor Bar. as she was known. boy. The plan was to sneak in. Maggie Kinkey." The MacDougall brothers Donald. with whom she would share her bed to dispel their arrows. "I am the Beara. "Leasey Parleys" somehow sounds much more comfortable than "Long Johns. He once pointed out a man to me saying—"You see that fellow over there." and were the under garment favoured for wearing at the fishing in cold weather." "Is it cancer ?" "No. of the kind now known as "Long Johns. Pay me a pound. divorce and so forth." You wouldn't see a lot in the newspapers of these days about sex. Why. pull back the bedclothes and give her companion a skelp across the backside." which might have been something to do with his favourite drink' He worked in the local distillery where the wages were paid on Fridays. One story concern' a certain kind-hearted lady who was a great source of comfort to the underprivileged males of the village. the blow was dealt. Her husband had been called "The Beara.His daughter. He chased the boy out of the house and up the lane. Sure enough. clad only in a pair of pink drawers. boy. the irate man who leapt out of bed was his own father. Word other generosity had leaked out to some of the younger boys who decided for a prank to raid her boudoir when she was engaged in such activities. always a few "goings-on" that rarely found the light of day. there's only the two afflictions he's never had—childbirth and leprosy—but right enough he has the one serious illness. also lived near us. but there were nevertheless. one golden sovereign. the plan was carried out. Just the laziness. 6 .
No Woodbines And the water's off!" Not what you would call a very hearty welcome. which is a measure equal to 37½ gallons. so rest assured the water will be on in ten minutes!" And it was at that. you won't be out tonight. "No. boys. near Jura. so there was an awful lot of work for all the money that was in it. Once going into Lochboisdale we were greeted by the Harbourmaster.Archie MacDougall The inhabitants of this part of Kintyre—the men of Tarbert. and old Doods sitting up in the bow shouting—"It will be a hard job getting the price of a pair of nylons out of these 'crawlers!'" And a hard job it was. and that must have been the only pub in Britain with a queue fifty yards long. did you hear a forecast?" we would ask." "How do you know that. "Don't worry. or handle a boat. or Willie Gorry. they said. There are roughly 750 herring to the cran. Most days he would arrive down at the boats at about 2 o'clock saying. I remember fishing at the prawns. Fishermen setting up a ring-net at Silvercraigs. They were more likely to judge a man by his ability to shoot a net or steer a course. "No Capstan. Tommy Tit. Half an hour later three Campbeltown ring-netters—Merrian. standing at the end of the pier shouting. "A forecast! A forecast! And who would be needing a forecast and the cows coming down the hill and the sheep turning their arses to the wind for the last hour!" The thing is that he was always 100% right. Herring at that time were selling at £2 a cran for fish meal. and Campbeltown—were never greatly impressed with degrees or titles. rigged out in oilskin coats and Wellie boots waiting for opening time. That same Harbour-master was also the weather reporter. as we called him. alone with Willie MacAffer. I'll see you all in the pub. No. boys. When they heard what the Harbour-master had said. Carradale. We've a half-bottle of whisky. Ardrishaig 7 . and Big Dunkie Donald—arrived.
trying to haul up sole ropes or just holding the fending-off poles to keep the boats apart in a breeze or swell. CN's and TT's have watched the Brown Heads for a century now. and herring will go. / So the struggle goes on between herring and bound. their arms pulled the length of Ailsa Craig. and Ardrishaig born and bred. I surrendered it under the name—A. / Many a man is grey-haired and old. along with the Oban Times and The Stornoway Gazette were recognized as the "West Coast Men's Bibles. With mending and cutting. fasteners galore ! / The waterfall stands like a monument bold. Mick O'Hara and Jock Warham. There was no such thing as a golden handshake at the end of your career in these days. The herring are spanning. Between what you have caught. Pointer ! Away in the Highlands. for spring 's in the air. Faint hearted and hoping we shot her away. just—"Don't Come Monday!" Men were old and died at fifty with burst hearts and what they used to call Armstrong's Patent. / Be it richer or poorer. they had been taught how to work the ring net by the Campbeltown men—Old John Short. All you could expect to get would be the skipper giving you the DCM on a Friday. / Where the rocks are so hard and the tide is so bad. I wrote this poem to fishermen twenty years ago. Being a modest man. there's the Island of Pladda. not a medal. / BA's. But this is the end of the financial year. you'd be better aground. It was published in the Campbeltown Courier in 1966. / When men will work the shore no more. With a net full of spannies that would be better away. / Hoping she comes in the gayest array. of whom a book has already been written. At the making and the opening of the Crinan Canal in the year around 1805 there must have been a large number of Lowland tradesmen such as stone-masons. No.The experts in the Minches at that time were the Mansons from Mallaig. But herring will come. and what you have sought." Ardrishaig ARDRISHAIG was never wholly Highland from its earliest as a village. the Hoodies. "You won't do well here" so I am told. 8 . / 'The ringers and trawlers have torn all their gear. At that time The Courier.
carpenters etc. In the early morning they would return to port having sold their catches to carrier steamers which bought the catches out in the loch and carried them to the Glasgow market. Heath. Two of the old Irishmen were Danny Burnes and Mcuill.000 barrels in a season. settled in the village and district during the years of construction. Fishery Officers and "Tide Waiters" so called locally. The successor to H. The Ayrshire fishing folk first came for bait for their lines such as mussels and cockles which were abundant on the sandbanks around the seashore and took the bait south.M. The general mode of fishing was with the drift nets (and some ringnets).M. The basic industries were herring and small line fishing. and luggage boat at 9. Walker come to mind. the fishing protection vessel. Again there were Customs and Excise Officers attached to the Distillery who moved in and out as transferred. Ardrishaig's Main Street In the Second World War Ardrishaig was a Naval Base—H. In the early years of the fishing industry the local fishermen who owned their own boats.S. MacAlister among them.S. Lindsay. Law. smacks and skiffs. and others. as Lochfyne was teeming with herring and white fish in these early years. Also stationed here—Murray. Robertson. for the long periods off Ardrishaig which carried a crew of about 60 personnel. Jackal. Afterwards they took up permanent residence in the village. must have come in these years. Seahawk 1940-44. many of them Irish who came each season buying for the Glasgow firms and shipping the herring by steamer lona or luggage boat to market.M. Another period of' entry was the basing of H. Davies. own families.. Many of the crew married locally and took up residence.00am. some succeeding father and grandfather. Daisy which had a crew of six and was stationed here until she went ashore and was scrapped about 1913. smithy work. Names such as Dawson. or taking their catch into the Pier where local buyers. Another influx into the village was the Ayrshire fishing folk in the years about 1820 with a big proportion of names such as Bruce. Iona left at 5. This was the beginning of the fishing as a basic industry and it was pursued for more than 100 years. names such as Boyd. used to engage men at the local fairs for the fishing season generally from March to December and were paid board/wages. 9 . No finer sight could be seen on a summer evening in the sunset than the boats leaving for the fishing grounds. the peak periods being around 1870-1920. In the curing season local buyers. Aberdeen. The above goes to show the build up of the people during the past 100 years. supplemented by firms such as Pirrie and Davidson. Leanfield. Duff. The location of the Crinan Canal Workshops and the Glenfyne Distillery with the small trades attached such as boat building. cured upwards of 2. Hamilton. Melville to name some more.S. sailing in a fresh freeze of wind. with their brown sails set.45am each morning. Mainly the crews were made up from the boat owners.M. Chalmers etc. Jackal was H. joinery and the rest of the crafts. The harbours contained from 60-70 boats (skiffs and line-boats) and manned by 200 men and youths. Sloan and Mullin.S. Cadwallader. with names Wyllie. Generally there were three Officers permanently located in the village. Jeffrey. Lawson.
The fishing grounds were at Brenfield. the sails came into operation. A boat went down at the Girvan fishing with the loss of three lives and some were lost in Lochfyne. Jackal. in each case they were attached to the skiff. The ring net fishermen worked with pairs of boats. In the early days the boats were propelled by sweep oars about 16 feet in length. By the end of 1945 not a boat or a fisherman was left in the village. They feasted and suffered famine together but famine got them in the end and they had to quit. the shoals of herring becoming scarcer. the old type of smack being superseded by the Clinker and Caravel type. Drift nets were shot and left to drift with wind and tide for a certain length of time. The line fishing lasted from January to May. when there was wind. well setup men. or were set and held by anchors. also part-owners. Some crews spent almost the whole of their fishing life together. What about the characteristics of the fisherman : Physically they were on the whole tall. They lived in the hope that next week. Jas. Trawling for herring by the trawl net was prohibited and a crew was caught in the act of doing so. Young lads and a few older men took part. it was pleasant to hear the click-clack of the oars as they were rowed in the tholes. which lasted from May to December. . Whiting and Cod were caught and sold. or next year would be a better fishing period and made the best of the situation they found themselves in. Each year the crews who were not owners or part-owners. with a full moon. These crews fished mostly drift nets. on steamers. Some of the people who were boatbuilders were Walker. The mariners responsible for firing were tried but acquitted as doing their duty. At the close of the herring season when skiffs were drawn up. going to the ebb for bait. In connection with the herring fishing. Good catches of Haddock. putters and Clyde yards. digging for log worm. McLean. made changes of berths. good church members and a high percentage of total abstainers amongst them. In the month of May the Mackerel appeared. an incident happened at Otter Ferry in which a fisherman was shot and killed. average 2/6d per stone. The most remunerative years of the herring fishing were in the early 1880's called locally the "Shoals" fishing. Each line boat had a crew of three or four men and the boats were handled by oars although each had a small sail.to 2/. as when a spot of herring came to play on the surface or on the sign of gannets diving or seeing the fish in the water. each boat having its own net. There was hardly a silent hour all through the night that one did not hear the tramp of sea-boots moving to and fro. men seeking other occupations.M. those who followed the line fishing got their boats ready for the white fishing.per dozen. average 5' 8" to 5' 10". with a crew of four men. alternately with ring nets. Most of the family had their particular job to do. Family crews were constant. the fishery cruiser. Overall length 24-26 feet beam and 6-9 feet. With reference to H. intelligent to a high degree with moderation in all things. The cruiser opened fire to warn them when a fisherman Peter McDougall was killed by a bullet. the boats would haul up. On a still frosty night.At the close of the season. shelling the cockles and mussels. Large numbers of new boats were built replacing and adding to the fleet. and in these years the fisherman as a whole were prosperous. Line fishing was a very hard job. four oars to each boat and these were used in calm weather. Archibald Munro. the chief character being a local cripple called Johnnie McPhail. boat building was long established. boats having to be sold. except those who went south to the Girvan fishing on the Ayrshire Banks in January. Over the years there were many drowning accidents. the herring were caught by their gills and as they were taken aboard were shaken from the nets into the hold of the boat. Later the motor engine came into use and made a drastic change in the handling: of the boats when surrounding the fish with ring net and getting from one fishing ground to another. and were fished by a few small boats. Mackerel sold at 1/. When hauling the nets. returning to prepare for the start in June of the Lochfyne season.S. Others in the early spring got ready to go North to the Loch Boisdale fishing in April. About 1900 there came a steady decline in the industry. Creag a Ghual and Craglan. which engaged 60 to 70 men.
Archibald McCallum and Robert Fyfe, all first-class tradesmen. McLean's boats were of good design and good sea boats. His yard was taken over by Archibald Munro and Donald Munro who were good at design and craftmanship, these boats were ordered for owners as far as Campbeltown and 10
Loch Broom. History records that when some of the Ardrishaig fleet were operating out of Ullapool (all the open boats without decks) the East coast fishermen present who had decked boats watched with admiration the handling and skill as the Lochfyne boats tacked their wav into harbour in the teeth of a gale and heavy sea. A launch from Munro's Boatyard, about 1900 They were Munro built. The village has from early times trained boat builders. The old Canal foreman D. McArthur used to tell that he had been an apprentice building vessels at the old dock, now tilled in, in the years around 1840. Archibald McCallum built boats in a yard where the Public Hall now stands. Some or the boats he built were the Lilly Mary and Sarah and the Cardross Castle. He later became foreman carpenter with the David MacBrayne Steamer Company. Robert Fyfe's yard was beside James Smith's smiddy—he built very fine skiff boats. Peter Hamilton with son Neil and wife Jean 11
Fishermen and Kippers MY teachers in the kipper and salt herring trade and net-making and roping were my father. Uncle Sandy, their uncles—Peter Hamilton, Stuart Hamilton, Old Bosan Dan Hamilton and Stuart MacAllister Toody, there were so many MacAllisters they all had to be given a nickname. My other uncles were Stuart Hamilton and my Uncle John Hamilton. Peter Hamilton and John Ferguson This is the family of people who looked after us in our young life : some body of men—they made sure you did the job given to you correctly. They told me that the herring is the only fish with the net marked clearly on his side. When you take out its gills you have a complete gull with both wings and two legs; on the herring's head if you look at a fresh herring you will see a coffin and inside the coffin is a figure and the body in the coffin is our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. You may think about this, and wonder. As the master stood by the sea on the shore of Galilee and he gathered the fishermen round him, he asked them to follow him and he would make them fishers of men. Two thousand years have passed since that meeting on the shore, the herring are still with us and so are the men who go to fish them. Nearly all men who go to sea are Godfearing men and good men to be with. The sea has claimed thousands of these men, and if they returned they would still go back to it. A hundred years at kippers—in that time we must know something about them. What is a good kipper ? First you must have a good fresh herring caught from Lochfyne or Kilbrannan Sound, split, cleaned, washed and salted with rock salt and some dark brown sugar, being immersed in this lovely solution for one hour. They are taken from this pickle and hung on tenterhooks for two hours to dry in a well-ventilated kiln with a good vent on the roof to let the smoke out. Lay a fire with side logs of oak as they will be the mainstay of the fire— use clean wood to light the fire and some oak chips on oak sawdust to contain the heat from the small kindling wood. These fish are so full of fat the first heat will melt them on the hooks. These fish have all the goodness in the world, vitamins from A to Z, they will do your heart good, never mind your body, If we ate more of these great fish we would have the heart rate down by 75%. The kippers in the kiln are like rolls in the bakers oven—the ones nearest the fire are ready first, and after the first tour hours take on a colour of pure gold; this is the acid coming out of the oak logs going in to the skin of the herring. They are not only good to look at bur a delight to eat. After a pair of good kippers you are ready for anything; the goodness will stay with you all day. How often have we gone into a restaurant and come out saving: "I never telt it did me any good." A great deal of time must be given to making a good kipper, and the main problem is the firing of them. 12
One old Lewis man was walking past a house and he saw other Lewis men inside. and splashing about. At ten minutes past eight the girl bride. will you tell me." Well." Anyway. everybody reverts to the red dye. Celtic. " Then he showed him a big lake with 1. She had serfed her time in a shop in Glasgow. they are going half a mile a year as well. in which he had served with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. so I said. The EEC does not allow this dye to be used but I am afraid it is still largely used and to make kippers on any large scale commercially. He looked over and saw a large crowd of people. This gave Donald the notion . He said. "Sit down. no. no. they love dipping one another. They call these dyed kippers "Jack the Rippers. he ate a pair of kippers. was met by St Peter. we are reading a book. this girl had a brother who was the champion jockey out there. "Are these men dead?" and one man said. they are from Mull !" That seemed to be explanation enough. What about Skye and Mull?" "They are going the same way?" "What. He arrived up at the Pearly Gates. The old minister started the service with a warning to the congregation.000 people.000 drach for the supreme champion. Another of his yarns was that when he had been attached to the occupation forces in Turkey after the '14-'18 war. who invited him in. these are the Baptists. not lying overnight in ice or anything else as the fat in the herring goes to a dull colour and this greatly affects the flavour. who had danced till the end. Manchester United and soon." we would say. "Who are they?" "These are the 'Wee Frees. and there was one old crofter locally who must have been a prince at the trade. finally breaking up at 7am. well. and they had this big donkey derby coming along with the prize of 10. which consisted mainly of unmarried men and women. "Who are they?" St Peter said "They're football supporters." Then he showed him a wall." He said: "What is it about?" "Oh its about continents. Islay and Jura with the big whisky distilleries?" "Oh." I was trying a pair of kippers as he came to the door. later said that if we had waited another hour we could have been at the christening! Before the introduction of radio and television.000.' With that wall they think they are the only people up here and they're quite happy!" I often wonder what the Stornoway minister would have had to say if he had been officiating at a wedding which took place in Kilberry many years ago." "Well. Another Lewisach died. a Serf girl.000. "No. three slices of bread and a big mug of tea. "Who are they?" "Oh. My friend. we saw two men lying on the floor with two sheep and two lambs running over them. What does it say?" "Oh it says Lewis and Harris is a continent and we arc drifting away from the mainland by halt a mile a year. "Yes. Rangers. You tell me. Yea. He told me a Lewis story for good measure." To get any praise from a Lewis man about kippers or herring they have got to be good." I said "Yes. "They're good. showed him round the place. people used to appreciate the yarners and story-tellers. He said: "What are you doing in there?" "Oh. They are taken from the kilns soaking wet so they are getting sold we: for weight. They're quite happy." "Well. "Och. They're very happy playing here. A good kipper is dry and only its own fat is damp. At the bride's house outside Stornoway we arrived at 11 o'clock in the evening. He had spent some of his younger days in windjammers. An old Lewis man came to the door one day and he said: "Are the kippers good. being told not to tread the road to matrimony lightly and how right he was.000 men playing football. At last I said. He was going with this Serf girl.We are talking about making good smoked kippers—not brown FK-dyed herring. gave birth to a lovely baby boy. " He then said: "Are you sure?" I again said. then let him look over a large wall. He saw about 2. This tale was told to me by an old lady who lived in Inverneill and had been a guest at the wedding celebrations which went on all night." Herring being made into kippers should be fresh that morning. who acted as midwife. My advice to you is to burn the book today before Caledonian MacBrayne find out ! ! " Stornoway Stories I WAS up in Stornoway at a wedding a few years ago. On being shown in. When he had finished he said. and one of his stones was about a terrible gale that struck them and they were three weeks on the top of the one wave." "Yea. "Surely you mean Serb.
of course.to try his hand at the big prize because he had been quite good with donkeys before the war. was heavily backed by all the Argylls. The donkeys lined up for the start of the big race. and Donald. after 13 .
of course. and I'm sure they weren't. My backside is 78 years old and I'm past caring about it'" was her reply. struck up a lament. The pipe band. became the hero of the hour. As the first few drops fell. I made a bad start because my donkey didn't hear the starter's gun and I made a good finish because he neffer heard the pipes because the bliddy animal is stone deaf!" Another of Donald's interests was gardening and he used to tell about the night he was wakened up with someone shouting in his garden. "No. By the time he got the beast going the rest of the field were about two furlongs ahead and it was obvious he was well beaten. "But that isn't sago!" "I ken it isny. was standing at his shop door one morning with an . "This new bonnet cost me 7/lld and I'm not getting it wet. "It's semolina and we got eight bags of it last night. When he had a look at the meal he said. but I ken from the look on the wine's race. One night when there was hard frost. the son saw his mother haul up her skirt over her head. He had a cat with one brown eye and one blue one. sir.him telling them all how good he was." said the front man. a car ran off the road near the house. One old lady on the outing with her son had bought a new hat for the occasion and on the way back it started to rain. the grocer. Next day when the officer came to inspect the mess. "There's the farmer's wife at K-ilfinan feeding the hens. To everybody's surprise. to be dished out before the men went over the top the next morning." This was bait for someone in the audience to say. "Mother! Your're showing off you backside!" he whispered to her. no. a cup of tea." Donald would reply with an innocent expression. thinking how their money was gone. "Surely you aren't trying to tell us your telescope is so good that you can see what she's giving the hens five miles away. Donald. After we had got it back on the road and were giving the old gentleman who was driving and his wife. All except Donald's donkey which eventually plodded up to win the race. "Well. five miles away. . but I canny spell it !" Another time he saw two men carrying a stretcher with a green tarpaulin over it. So the officer called over a sergeant and asked him to uncover the infant. I can cook it. adding arms and legs to everything and exaggeration to the extent that all credibility was gone. and would turn to anyone who stopped near him and say. I canna see the hen's meat. but there's a few not very far down the coast that would find an unguarded cask of rum a great temptation. In my young days a big annual event was a trip to Glasgow on the steamer for five shillings. "It's an infant. or the afternoon boat the same day to Rothesay for two-and-six. and when he got up to investigate he found it was only some drunk man who had wandered through the hedge and got lost in the parsley. . Donald was left at the post. There is still a wee bit of it about vet. He always kept a telescope at the end of the house. all the donkeys turned about and ran back down the course alarmed by the wailing of the pipes. and he would be looking through it across at Kilfinan. too. who was accompanying him. and them waiting at the winning post to cheer on their man. He didn't say they were Ardrishaig men. the cooks had a big sign out." said the cook. and that they had included a number from Ardrishaig. She's not in great fettle today and they are only getting the household scraps. One time when the rations hadn't been getting through too well they had "rescued" a cargo of sacks of foodstuffs from a wagon going somewhere else. the former for seeing at night and the latter for seeing in daylight. which turned out to be a small barrel of rum "liberated" from the rations. He thought it was a bit peculiar the way they were going so he stopped them and asked what they had on the stretcher. the old fellow told us he had served in the first war with the 8th Argylls. "it was fair enough. but the judges of the racing committee had him up before them to explain how he had made such a bad start and still managed to win. Today's Menu—Sago. just a poor infant. He used to say that he planted his parsley in kapok and when he pulled up the roots at the end of the season he would get a pillow at the bottom of every plant . But when the starter's gun went off. only now most of the best yarners are in Parliament and getting paid for it." It was a recognised form of entertainment for people to tell stories. Old Dan." said Donald.
" said the lawyer." said Dan. "Aye. "You're looking gey sad the day. indeed. Dan.awful woebegone expression on his face. "and wouldn't yourself be looking sad if a dog came into your shop and went off with a 6lb ham?" 14 . Mr Macdougall came along. when the local lawyer.
and it is also for lamb!" 15 . Storm at the south-side of Ardrishaig Men and Memories OLD Archie Ferguson."Aye. The same Mr Macdougall was factor for a number of estates in the area. the butcher. the rent is having to go up. Years later the man said to me that the banker had probably saved his life. For example. and that he was saved by the Blood." said Dan "that's fine. you can sue him. because it was your dog that did it." Next morning. but you know fine that I can't get Loch Awe down there anymore than you can get this house down to Glasgow or Edinburgh. well. but there was an awful lot about "the Good Old Days" that wasn't all that good. man." One time when he was chasing up a farmer on Loch Aweside for arrears of rent he said to the farmer. and one of his sayings was. If your father or mother died you had to make an appointment with the canal manager or whoever your boss was. Nostalgic memories there may be. and when he heard it was to buy a motorbike he told him he couldn't withdraw that amount of money to spend on such an inessential thing. Old Archie said. the school teacher." "Well. but if you just look down there at the Loch. was passing along the front green one night and a crowd had gathered to hear a man giving his testimony. or even Dunoon." In these days of my youth the only people in the village who were regarded as clever were the lawyers. "It's in my book as well. I would be getting three times the rent you are paying. because if you do there's no problem. all you have to do is send him the bill and it he doesn't pay for the ham. the account was delivered to the lawyer's office by the grocer's delivery boy. to get permission to go to the funeral. minister and canal managers. The banker asked him what he was planning to do with it. and they were apt to exert their authority much more than they do now. and you lost a day's pay for going. it's not like the rain. He was busy proclaiming that his name was in the Lamb's book."Do you know whose dog it was. who had to wait for a minute or two before being handed an envelope addressed to his employer. Mr Macdougall. one man had about £12 in the bank and went to see the banker wanting to withdraw £8 of it. Dan. "Man. but can you imagine the bank manager of today laying down the law to any of the young ones about what they can or cannot do with their own money? The people in authority ruled the village and there was little hope for any rebels who tried to buck the system. of course. forever coming down." said the farmer. instead of 12/6 payment for the ham he found it contained a bill for 18/6 for legal advice. just you put in the account to me at my office in the morning. the doctors and the district nurse and." "That's alright. ye don't know when your're well off. When Dan opened the envelope." "Aye. Do you know that if I had that in Hell I could get a £1 a glass for it. Mr Macdougall. If I had a house like this in Glasgow or Edinburgh. "I don't for a minute misdoubt you. the bankers.
Bob and Red Jock. No compensation or commission was ever given to these people. The main contractors in Lochgilphead were the Carmichaels. Mr Leckie. a household name through Argyll and the Isles. along with the other herring curers in Ardrishaig. Mr Henderson. "Never mind the money just give me the authority.' the wireless was tuned in to Daventry and everytime it squealed he said. knew every pipe bend and twist up the brae or along the back street. the stonemason. The French team called Neil Dewar 'De War' and he was certainly our hero in these days of the small wireless set." One of the football greats was Neil Dewar who played for Scotland.000 on the supply of salt herring to the German commission. Up in the old attic where my uncle Sandy stayed. He said to Mr Carmichael.Most of the local tradesmen such as Mr MacGregor. slater and plasterer (who took over Peter White's father's yard). Bob McKirdy and 'Red Jock' his assistant. The British Ambassador. Over the years they must have employed thousands of people. Nell and his mate from Third Lanark said they would consider it for five bottles ! I don't think they got them. were all Lodge members. Tarbert and Campbeltown. I'm sure the help they gave to the Mid-Argyll community is to this day unknown. Jimmy Carmichael once said he had an Irishman as his ganger when wages were 10½d an hour. On one occasion before the war he played in front of Adolf Hitler. Bloodhound 16 . "That's the Germans at it again !" Fishing boats off Ardrishaig's break-water My Uncle Sandy and my father lost about £20. promised the team a bottle of whisky if they would give the Nazi salute to Hitler. along with Mr Sinclair. therefore I'm quite sure the German Government is due me two Mercedes cars at the present exchange rate. the Burgh Officer.
but even greater was when Lochgilphead met Tarbert. It looked as though you were seeing things. Neil's last great trip was sponsored by Crinan Hotel where he worked in the last days of his life. All his life he showed a great interest in young people and helped all the young clubs. Ardrishaig being the centre with the pier and canal. "she will need to practise When He Goeth for 7o'clock in the morning !" The Columba arriving at Ardrishaig The Columba. ran from the Clyde to Ardrishaig every day for 58 years. Many a person standing in the street has looked up and seen a large pole or mast of a big yacht sailing up or down the canal. The reporter asked him it he could verity which one of us was Forsyth Hamilton. come to Tarbert when the whins are in bloom !" And another old fisherman said. As one old Tarbert man said. They paid his tare to the World Cup. There was always a great rivalry between Ardrishaig and Lochgilphead whenever the teams met. All the new diseases have come with modern living. Many people must have travelled on the Columba and the lona in all these years of service. "I like to see all the gardens covered in snow. so the carter called on the lady and told her about the letter from Glasgow. The locals could go to the pier with a can or bowl and get it filled with the best roast beef fat for 3d. also lorry carts trundled up and down to Lochgilphead everyday. had two daily boats going to Glasgow and two cargo boats. and everybody in the village would be eating salt herring or salt meat. "Well. It you passed him you were likely to meet Mr Cameron and all the good forwards i. Lochgilphead had many good players and I'm sure even today they would be able to have taken on any club. She said. He immediately pointed to me and put the poor man out of his misery. Then Neil said he was Forsyth and would be willing to talk for a half-bottle. and they used it as a spread instead of butter. the Fletchers—they could field a team of their own. Jimmy Shankland played centre-half and was almost unbeatable. Tarbert is one of the most beautiful villages in Argyll. She had fallen down on the payments and they wanted it back. peuchtie or saithe. Just then a door opened and Mr Wilson who owned the yard appeared and told the reporter who he was. Most of these men had nicknames otherwise you would not know who they were. but would only talk if given a five-gill bottle of whisky.I was working with the afore-mentioned Neil Dewar on Crinan boats slip in 1962 when the Bloodhound came through the canal. This was a marvellous gesture on their behalf and it was the last great talking point with Neil how much he enjoyed it." he replied. "It is a dreadful pity as the lassie has just learned to play When He Cometh. Some first-class machinery to keep going all that time. the great Clyde paddle steamer. then they are all equal." Something in that.e. carting all the goods. So you can see the amount of traffic that was going through the village. In these far-off days nobody had faulty hearts. The papers got hold of the story and the pressmen arrived over to ask us about the kipper gift to the Royal Family. My neighbour said he was. 17 . Horses and carts. Three of us were standing together when the Daily Express reporter asked which one of us was Forsyth Hamilton. as he claimed the reporter was well paid by his editor to get a good story. One story concerns a lorry cart arriving from a firm in Glasgow to go and collect an organ a Lochgilphead lady had got for her daughter at two shillings a week. "If you want to see flowers.
She was built by the carpenters of the canal and is as sound in body as if she was built yesterday. English tourists coming to Argyll love to visit Inveraray Castle. Young men carried the passengers' luggage from the pier to the fourth lock. galley and salon. We give the use of it to Guides.Ardrishaig's south-side and the Columba at the quay Anyway. If you were lucky you got 2d or a wealthy man might have given 6d. you connected up with the Grenadier which took you to Oban. One old lady in the village said to me many years ago." One boat built in Ardrishaig about 100 years ago was built of good old pitch pine. Many people have come to the village and think they are going to change everybody. then on through the Caledonian Canal to Inverness. 18 . then from Oban to Fort William. not least for the great beauty of the setting of the castle and all the lovely rocky peaks surrounding it. the Sunday School and the Youth Fellowship. cutting Scotland in half. has two cabins. about a third of a mile. you see the village before you see this lovely castle building. if you are coming from Oban or Fort William side you come through a large archway and immediately you are in Inveraray. We bought it 14 years ago and it is moored at Crinan Bridge. In the summer. grandson and great-grandsons and great-granddaughters are still living in the village and all the canal managers who were God in their time have all passed away. mother and daughter. as they were afraid somebody might fall in the water. they all seem to enjoy a day on this fine old boat. "When you get to my age the years go by in fives. The daughter's son. the arrival of the Columba was a great event and it connected up with a little steam boat at the fourth lock that took you to Crinan at the other end of the canal. All sorts of crafts have used the canal including Alan Villiers of sail-ship fame and two-man submarines used during the war to help sink the Tirpitz in the Norwegian fjords. it is the same everywhere. sleeps six. The boys used to run along the bank following the Linnet as she steamed along the canal to catch the pennies that the passengers threw on their way to Millers Bridge at Lochgilphead. but I think in the end they go their way and we go ours. They also tried to discourage the sale of milk straight from the cow at Cairnbaan locks and even brought out a poster to the effect that it was wrong to sell milk to passengers. The canal people did not like this and they tried to discourage it. A photograph taken at the time of this poster has two ladies on it. If you are coming from Glasgow.
The castle gives a lot to Argyll and so do the Duke and Duchess. Margaret Forsyth with some kippers 19 . many with their bowler hats. Sir. Maybe only a small contribution." I just arrived in time to stop him for Jock thought he was just having him on. so I said. or a lot. My father-in-law. "I am Lord Lampton. a little becomes a muckle. The first time I met the present Duke was down at the kippering shed garden." He had been down at the shed and left two large salmon to be smoked. The Duke had a very bad fire in the castle and he asked everbody to help. What a beautiful day it was with all the ladies decked out in their finery and the men sporting new suits. The Queen sent Margaret and myself an invitation to the garden party at Holyrood House in Edinburgh." Jock looked at him and was going to say. I said. The following year we received another invitation and this time we were able to go to Holyrood House. your Grace. "I'm pleased to meet you. As my oldest boy was ill at the time we were unable to attend. so I sent him up 50 pairs of kippers to help with the sale they ran in the grounds. long may they live in the castle. asked him who he was and he said.Inveraray in 1890 My cousin. the present Duke's father. "Good afternoon. "I'm Argyll. so we sent a note to apologise. but it everybody helps and gives something. was Secretary to the Duke of Argyll. Jock MacArthur. "then he told me he was the young Duke. John Hamilton.
He was a fisherman." So I said. or to give her full title. Who was this but Archie Paterson and his lady wife from Carradale. Jim Callaghan and most of the Labour cabinet have been staying at Carradale House over the years. telling the buyers in Greenock how many herring boxes they were carrying. I don't know what she will say when she hears I am writing all this story about Argyll and the fishing villages. Glasgow. but it must have been difficult to catch one of these pigeons.000 people were there that very memorable day. After three weeks building this house. She called on me one day for kippers and it was Election Day. a great Labour MP. you have to be invited. Lady Mitchison. The Queen looked radiant and seemed to be in great form as she went round all the people who were in wheelchairs and had a word with them all. Looking at a large crowd like this is like looking at a sea of races. Duncan MacRae was the main actor in this finishing story about the West Coast which I saw in the Citizens' Theatre." She said. writer and playright and produced a play called Spindrift. Her husband was Lord Kettering. However. Suddenly out of the crowd came a man and his wife walking over to Margaret and myself. "I'm voting Liberal. so that transport could be arranged to take them from seaport to markets in Glasgow. Neil cycled back to Ardrishaig where my father got him a job on one of the Clyde Carriers or screws as they were called. He was in charge of the pigeons which were released at daylight. 20 . I know you cannot buy a ticket to get in. by the end of the week they were looking for a ferret or a weasel to chase them out of them. Naomi Mitchison. Argyll. and a great help to the people of the West Coast. "You are a damn site worse than all the Tories put together!" But we are still good friends and she sent me two lovely plants last October. The pigeons had small canisters on their legs carrying the little message. my uncle. Her bodyguards looked resplendent in the Archers uniform. his father and grandfather were also born in the village. was foreman. Fairlie and Ayr. "I hope you are not voting Tory today. If you have not been to this great gala you have really missed something in this life. it's good to see a kent face in a large crowd like this!" We carried on walking to the marquee to try the strawberry tarts and cream horns. Dennis's friend in the writing world was the lady who lives in Carradale House. and they all shared one bed. We lived with a man who was a century old. Neil slept in the middle and if you wanted to turn you had to get out of bed and go back in again. The aforementioned Archie Paterson is a nephew of Dennis Macintosh whom I have known all my life. with her daughter who had been up on holiday with her. Neil and three others were staying in lodgings with an old lady in Tayvallich. When Queen Victoria landed at the slip steps in Ardrishaig holding her infant son. Neil MacEwan at Ayr Harbour Neil MacEwan was born in the village about 92 years ago. they called to her to lift up the boy so that they could have a look at him. A century later we saw her great-granddaughter and great-grandson going through the canal to sail on the West Coast in the yacht Bloodhound.I think about 3. She said. "My. He greeted us with. where Stewart Hamilton. with Carmichael's of Lochgilphead. I wonder how many plots or plans have been started from these quiet parts of Argyll. His first job on leaving the school was building Scotnish House. but I feel if we do not get it down now it will all be lost. Nowadays a lot of people overhear telephone messages and repeat news. Forsyth. The lodgings were at that time 6/6d a week and as they ate rabbit every day.
Some of the grandchildren are doctors—he would be proud of them today. although advanced in years was always willing to help. The boats he was on sailed from London to Cork and up the west side of Ireland. and that day he had a winner. The west side is a stormy place. Then he said he had been at the races at Ayr and the horse expert went over to this big horse. The vet had been attending the cow. His good lady is still alive and his daughter and son come to the village for the holidays. My friend said to Neil that he was wasting his time putting money on horses and said that he would be better off drinking—you get full value for your money with drink. It you don't get a few laughs each day. Old Neil told him that his granny had made his first shirt. 'A clear case of foot and mouth ! Neil MacGregor was our local policeman at this time. collecting cattle as they went and taking them back to the English markets. We painted the Sunday School Hall with the help of John McAulay and we also painted the Public Hall and the Library. he carried a gallon tin of liquid with him. My little verse would be : Most of us have reason to be thankful When people in our lives take time to share and let us know By special acts of kindness That we are in their thoughts and that they care. He enjoyed this period as he could come and go as he wished and we relished the stories he told. He also liked a flutter on the horses. Eventually they got a hold of the crofter and asked him where the cow was. he was an elder in the Parish Church and was the holder of the MM from the First War. up and down the Clyde and over to the Isle of Man for a cargo of salt. On one occasion we went to the National Mod in Stirling and he enjoyed that day out. and every day he called. They went to the byre but the beast had disappeared. Ireland. almost like an uncle or aunt passing away. He told them he had dragged it up to the kitchen with the tractor and had put a good new wick in its backside. He then said he would return the next day with the Sanitary Inspector to bury the cow in case of any infection to the other animals. He had stood on Ardrishaig Pier and watched the men go away to the Boer War. Neil said they would have been better off if they had looked at its feet. 21 . After the war Neil came home and started again in the floating market. The vet said it was a gallon of liquid paraffin to make its bowels move. He came home from this and came to our small kippering shed for the last 13 years of his life. life must be rather dull. but Neil was glad when it was blowing because the Germans could not fire the torpedos with the terrible swell. and as soon as he had burned the twenty gallons of liquid parrafin they could have it for burial ! Crossing a cow with a tortoise would be a marvellous thing as the cows would sleep all winter long and into the spring and we would not need to clean the byres. This was a terrible loss. He told me about these men and in the school they collected cigarette cards of the South African Generals Crongie de Wett. Nobody has been successful yet with this experiment. So the next day they duly arrived to bury the cow. Neil MacEwan. being torpedoed and landed in Queenstown.The great war came and Neil went into the Merchant Navy where he saw some action. Neil's brother was Alex MacEwan. The day the cow passed away the crofter asked him what he had been treating the animal with up till it died. Well. When this finished he went as a fish buyer to Ayr where he worked for about 35 years. looked at its teeth then put his money on it. Never A Dull Day AN old crofter in Skye had an ill cow and after 20 days the cow died. it came in last. a fine man.
Isa. This was before the wire for feeling it had a 4lb weight on the bottom and you could feel the herring hitting the wire. One is a sea captain. They have done to those. Cancer. She spent her life working to help others in every way possible. I said Big John. big in every way. This was pre-echo days. I think the prime person in this would be big John Maclean. who also agreed it was well worth eating. I see him once a year. here is one lady who never had a dull day. Mrs MacKechnie. where you 'd find some of the best men who ever stood in leather boots. Union Street. Billy Jackson. The house has been bursting at the seams. She was in the Wednesday Club at Ardrishaig for years and was our dumpling maker. Mina Hamilton. you have done it to me. If it's mechanical. Argyll is rich in people who wish to help others and seek no glory for themselves. the ticket was there. and I don't know what country. For many years we went with his mother to the National Mod and each year she said. Red Cross. he will spend all day trying to get it right. one a local shop-keeper. you would be surprised. A fane tribute to her was paid when they named the house at Kilmartin for less gifted people after her—the Kate MacGlynn Holiday House. the Britainia. and the last I am sure will one day not far away be Prime Minister. You will need to travel the country. along with four others had taken it over to Lawson's old lemonade works and boiled a pail of tea and sat and ate it ! We had taken over the old works to make it into a curing shed and kippering shed. Eye Infirmary—you name it. Mrs MacLarty. but changed it to Tear so that they would confuse the folk who would be looking for them. has made more pancakes than anybody I know. dressed for a wedding Well. 22 . another a painter. Lochgilphead. and a gentleman to the last. Mrs MacGlynn. so you see where you may land if you eat good Clootie Dumpling. Alister Tear has been with me since 1932. Well that is their story and they are sticking to it. They used to be called Mac Tear. the clan MacNabs. Crawfords. to find a more loyal friend and helpful fellow than Alister. Neil Campbell is the harbour master at Montrose. One of the Grahams was so good at it that he was called the whale. From hospitals. the least my brethren. All these men are now gone but all relatives are still with us. MacEwans and Grahams were all men who could smell herring. Billy said that I only got third prize and should have got first as it was the best dumpling in the show. as he was involved in this wonderful project which must be a great boon to the people who come from all over the country. have you made the dumpling?" I used to say. the Campbells. my cousin's boy. "Forsyth. "Can you not see the list on the bus with the weight of it !" Having made a dumpling for the show in Ardrishaig to compete against the real experts. his wife. he never says die. Erskine. If I told you the other members of the tea party. At Silver Craigs. even if it will not work. Going to the hall at night to collect the dumpling. He even asked the Council for a house with an expanding end to let it out in the summertime.Mrs MacGlynn. Willie Cameron and his boat. yes. Campbells and Monroes. I had the luck to come third. Alister and his brother Davie were at the fishing out of Minard. she did something for it. but no dumpling.
thinking we had the best boat afloat. at least. which at this time was 1/. After fitting the engine and putting the boat in the canal basin. in Dobbies Loan. and it always had a new tea chest lid on the stern. We never looked back after this." So we left Tarbert and sailed back up the loch to Ardrishaig. we came third. pulled a hose off and away the old boat went with a bone in her teeth. brother of Barbara Law. Colin Mitchell and Forsyth Hamilton leaving Ellary in 1947 My first sailboat was an old double-ender that had been carrying scrap round the islands and was based in Tobermory. whom I bought her from. Colin Mitchell was our adviser and well he knew his boatbuilding and Angus and Tommy Campbell were engineers in Bergius Engines Co. be it sailing boats. Mull. We had fitted a ¾ inch hose instead of an 1 inch one and this was giving us back pressure on the engine. right in the middle of the bilge. Angus Campbell came and had a look at it. She was owned by a Mr MacAllister at that time. On the Monday. I went to Crinan with my father and he sat in the stern. my first love has been boats. we found it would only go in reverse. and gave me a hand to get her ready. When it arrived we beached the boat and put on the new one. we got it started up okay but in putting the engine in gear. As this boat had no engine we fitted an oak bed in it and had the hole bored for the shaft. who had a right hand prop.a gallon. My father enjoyed that day as he had a good dram with Willie Lang. She required three planks. He used to go into the jail in Tarbert just to keep the peace. we set off on the Saturday morning from Ellary. for if he got any drink he went "dolally. who was a household name in the village.Boats HAVING been a boy in Ardrishaig." It lasted out his lifetime. So thinking this was a good plan. 23 ." Old John replied. and I pulled the 24-foot boat all the nine miles to Ardrishaig. punts. fishing boats or anything else that floats. We caught the tide up the Sound of Jura and arrived sate in Crinan Basin. "They last a long tune after they are done. to us she was the best old hooker. One old man in the village had an old black tarred punt. but only at half speed. and that was all that was required. She went so good we went down to the Tarbert Regatta and out of 40 boats. well. Glasgow. We had some repairs to do on her before we set sail. who sold her to Mr H. Places and boats always crop up. He enjoyed this as he had not been down the canal for years. When the tide came we tried her out and she went ahead. another Tarbert worthy. Rodgers. He had been a carpenter in the old ships. The engine was a 7/9 Kelvin—7/9 means the HP—seven on your paraffin or TVO fuel and nine on petrol. Well we phoned him and he sold us the correct one for 30/-. so old John Law. of Ellary. My old friend Colin Mitchell heard I had bought this boat and said he would sail her up to Crinan with me. I saw a fishing boat advertised in the Glasgow Herald that had been on tire in the Clyde. Again problems. came over. One day we were all down the lighthouse and a gentleman said to him. "Your old boat's done. It was towed into Fairlie and put on MacMillan's slip where the insurance people cut three planks out to see the extent of the burn damage. Mull. We used to go out in it at night as he was an early bedder and we knew it would be sate to take his old boat. which was held together with cement and cement tar in the bow. so what was the matter now ? Colin said that he thought we had the wrong propeller on the shaft but he knew a man in Tobermory.
I telephoned the insurance people and asked them how much they wanted for the boat. but they were very cagey about this. Like all sellers they tell you to read the small print and you would need a Philadelphia lawyer to understand it. I offered £300 for the boat as it sat at Fairlie—the engine was in some garage up in Glasgow and was in a reasonable state of repair. Closing date for the offers was the Friday. So that afternoon I phoned them up and asked how my offer stood. They said I had got the boat so my next problem was to get it repaired and towed to Ardrishaig. My good neighbour Duncan Ferguson. or Doddie as he was called, and my youngest brother John went down to Fairlie and had a good look at the damage. First we went to see the MacMillans who owned the yard and they told us anything we wanted or required to repair the boat, they would give us. This they duly did and inside 24 hours they had the three planks cut from Scotch larch back in place. At the weekend two car loads of the local boys motored down to paint the boat's bottom and top sides from bow to stern. She just looked like new. Ronnie Johnston and Ewan Smith from Tarbert had a boat about the same size, 39-feet which is as near as you can get to a 40-footer, so they came down to Fairlie on the Monday and towed Quiet Waters up to Ardrishaig, where we put her in the canal basin and had the engine—66 h.p. Kelvin— installed. Big Jim McGeachy, or Rockall as he was called, was along with Ronnie and as he wanted to take over his own boat, Big Jim came with me as skipper of the boat, along with Jack McManus, a Belfast man, and Sweeney Johnston, who was also related to Big Jim. They had been everywhere and seen everything, and what they did not know about the fishing was not worth knowing. They had been travelling round Ireland and Big Jim had been mate aboard the new, or first Fairtray, which was the first experimental factory ship. We were working at the seine net, six coils a side, sometimes in the deep water seven coils, if we were trying for hake. These nets were at that time £26 from Stewart of Musselburgh, now they are £750-£800, so you need to be making money to pay for this gear. We were towing at this time with Duncan MacDougall who had the Charlotte Anne. He was very witty and had some great sayings, such as, "That 66 you have would not pull a herring off a plate!" Duncan did well at the fishing and had a new boat built at Dickie's yard in Tarbert. He called her the Nancy Glen. It is sad to write that Duncan died several years ago still a young man. My own son Forsyth is married to his niece, Mary MacDougall. Mary's father was Archie MacDougall and his boat was the Boy Lorne. Archie was in the Kyles of Bute and got a full bag of cod, about 120 boxes. This must have been the biggest tow for a small boat around the Clyde. Men are towing now and if they get a lift of five to seven boxes they are looking at one another thinking, this isn't bad. Archie was one of the happiest men, full of fun and great company. I remember him playing and singing at the first fishermen's dinner dance in the Tarbert Hall. It was a marvellous night, reported at the time to be £300 for the food and £600 for the liquid. Old Archie Kerr was the chairman, A. B. Stewart was sitting next to him as he was Secretary of the Clyde Fishermen's Association. His son Patrick is now the Chairman. I have been involved with Patrick on two or three legal occasions. My tug, the William White, was run down and damaged by the French, they did not want to know anything about me or the boat till I got fed up with six months waiting on the French Embassy in London. I then wrote directly to the President of France, M. Giscard D'Estang at his personal address and received a reply within a week. He was sorry the French seamen had torpedoed the Auld Alliance. The French Ambassador in London telephoned me to say I couldn't write to the President. So I told him I had already received a reply from him within one week, while he had been sitting in the Embassy in London for six months. The old boat, the Ark, was sunk in the canal by Caly MacBrayne's big steel boat, the Canna, while pushing the ice ahead of herself, and into the side of the Ark at Crinan Bridge. He damaged two locks that day going through and told one lock-keeper not to tell anybody. One problem was to lift the old Ark out of the canal by jacking her up out of the mud, which had not been disturbed in the 180 years it had
lain there. The salvage inspector came and looked at it and said, "How on earth did you get that boat out of there ?" Well, Willie McCallum, the forestry engineer, helped us with the big simplex jack and Don Crawford, my cousin, also gave us assistance. I told the inspector, "The old way." He said, "What is that, Armstrong's Patent?" We borrowed two Simplex jacks that were sent over from the USA during the war. They are ratchet-jacks that lift 15 tons. They were used during the war on bombed buildings to lift floors that had collapsed on people during the bombings. 24
Well, happy to say his report was good and we got settled up by Cal MacBrayne. I am sure if it had not been for the good work done by Patrick Stewart in this case, we would not have been so lucky. Patrick's father said to him: "Why does Forsyth not pick on somebody his own size for a change?" I bought a boat over in Ireland, Port Avogie to be exact, the Bluebell, owned at that time by Francis Beckett. I telephoned him and asked him about the boat. "Oh, it is the most beautiful boat in Ireland." Well, Francis, you remind me of Robert Burns, our great national poet, who said he was married to the most beautiful woman in Scotland. Three Englishmen came to Ayr to look at her and they said to Burns, "We don't think she is the most beautiful woman in Scotland." Burns said, "You do not see her with my eyes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder !" Anyway, to get back to the Bluebell, My brother Dan and I went away to get the boat at Stranraer. We arrived over in Larne about 9am. On asking the way outside the pier, we were told the first bus was at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, so I asked which direction is Port Avogie. This postman pointed the way so we started walking. A blue van appeared in the distance so I put up my arm and the driver stopped. He was an Irish farmer and when we told him where we were headed, he said that he could take us about six miles. The old van was in such a bad way, you could see the road through the wings, that I asked him how she was going. Well, he set off at the clappers doing about 50 to 55 and said, "She is going like a bird." The next corner we came round, the road was full of sheep and how he got it stopped I don't know. Dan got the fright of his life and said that he had been in Greece with the Elas and the Elam, but this had beaten the lot. I was then told not to bloody well ask the farmer again how she was going, because she had already proved what she could do. Well, after six hair-raising miles we had to say goodbye to our first Irish friend. After Dan got out the back of the van, all covered in sheep wool and dust, he said, "No more lifts for me, we will walk to Port Avogie." We thanked our friend and asked him how far it was to our destination. He told us 18 miles, so off we set. Along came a lovely blue car which also stopped. I asked the driver if he was going our way. "Yes," he said, "Are you the boys that are coming over to see Francis Beckett's boat ?" I said, "Yes, how did you know that?" "Oh," he replied, "I am Mr Donavan, the fish salesman in Port Avogie and have been handling all Francis' fish landings and the wee Bluebell is a very good boat." So here was the best lift getting all the news about the fishing and all the boats in the Port. He took us to the harbour where Francis was waiting for us and we had a good look at the boat and a good trip outside the harbour. We bought the boat in the afternoon, then we went up to Francis' sister's for our tea and met his people. I am sure you could not have met better people anywhere and after all the years that have passed we still write to his sister. The Port Avogie men we met were all fishing people and were just starting the herring, so wanted all the news of the Clyde and the Clyde fishermen. A good number of them had been over at the Ballantrae Banks fishing the spent herring the year before. Well we caught the tide from Port Avogie at 1 o 'clock on the Saturday and we sailed up the Coplands and way across for the Kintyre Coast, landing in Ardrishaig at 1.30am—12½ hours, not bad going for a wee six cylinder 86 h.p. Gardner. Any boat that arrives in a village is looked at and criticised, for good or bad. Too full in the shoulder, or too lean aft, but you have just got to listen and go your own wav. Nobody has written a book on how a boat tows through the tide or how she will tow with the tide. If you are towing through mud with the first three coils, a 66 h.p. engine is sticking its tongue out, and we found the 86 h.p. Gardner was not any better than the old Kelvin, but it ran a lot quieter and was a great boon on fuel consumption. These beautiful engines are known as the Rolls Royce of the sea. We now have Volvos and Cats and they seem to be very reliable engines. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step; the fishing is just the same, from a small beginning things start to grow. Nobody ever went to the fishing and became a millionaire, but it is a way of life and a way of life nobody else ever
but it puts a terrible strain on the mother. Women think at times you are glad to get away from them and children only seeing you once a week." The old saving is. success has a thousand parents for everybody wants to say they helped you on your way. The fishing is the most humiliating job one man can have. "Success is marvellous. I'm not sure. What effect this fishing life has on the youth and young people left at home. 25 .seems to understand. think you are a stranger who gives them money on a Saturday. failure is an orphan. It is very similar to passing an exam. who has to be mother and father to the family. people are proud and pleased with your achievements. one boat can be full of herring and the other boats beside have nothing.
An hour later he could have fought the entire German Army himself. These men were Kings of the Clyde for about five years with the borrowed gear. I heard she burned for three to four days and one lad said to his father. a very happy big man. Neil. everybody says. His brother is over in Canada where he went before the First World War and returned in 1917 with the Canadian Artillery.builder is Gordon MacNair. The Princess's mother has been to see this boat which weighs 10 tons. Hope springs eternal. They sailed her over to the big harbour and duly set her alight. a relative of my own and a firstclass craftsman. Red Bob. Nicknames MOST people had nicknames otherwise nobody would ever know who they were. The Sinclairs also had boats up to 1940. All these men wore leather knee boots and in the early hours of the morning you could hear these men walking to the fisher-row or going up the big lane on their wav home. was owned by Mr MacKellar. He was feeling ill one night up at the front. My own father was called Burke. How wise he was and at this late date people will find out that they are still the people who will share with you. It is now filled with flowers and makes a great splash of colour all summer. who in his day was a very successful fisherman. It would be sad to see all the old crafts disappear.Lochgilphead had a number of fishing boats moored downside the Clock Lodge. because they were talking about Burke and Hare. It was share all at that time. It went something like this : "For I've a boat. his wife was a Miss Duff from Ardrishaig and the family are still here in the village. One boat. Having spent 5½ years in the services and seeing how lads share all they have with you and then arriving back in Civvy Street.Chief. Another local family had an old smack which was leaking so badly they decided to put her on fire. "She's a chuckle junk. As nobody here had ever built one I just made it my way. They were so successful that they made a song or poem about them. the Edinburgh grave robbers. Good stuff the old Army Rum! Neil still comes over from Canada every second year and is now about 97. Mitchells. He spent his life working on the Canadian Railway. so it commemorates the Royal Wedding and is a stone monument to the old Ardrishaig boatbuilders." As a . everything they have is theirs. or Cork Catcher-in. picked a needle off the floor at school and said to the teacher. They usually carried a cran basket with tow or three dozen herring for all the people beside them. He has one apprentice who is a great-grandson of old Angus Law. People still come to get repairs at his small yard. Big Archie McFarlane. Followed by Angus Law. who in his day was the King of the Clyde. or ring nets. The MacGregors. Christ started his ministry with the fishermen. every spring we are always hoping we shall have a good season. Mr Bruce. He said he thought he had a heavy chill or the 'flu. and was ordered to drink stuff which he had never tried before. I suppose Jimmer and Coll would be the top dogs about Ardrishaig at that time. when you see the meanies it makes you think. and I've a trawl. the Peril. and I'm as good as Jimmer and Coll". "Please Miss. We still have a boat-building yard in the village which is situated on the self-same slip where Queen Victoria landed all these years ago. The Royal Wedding was a marvellous event so I decided to build a stone boat in the garden. The boat is 19 ft long by 7 ft wide. I asked around how to build a stone boat. Good stuff in the old soldiers." So they became known as the chuckle junks in the village. and the doctor called up the line and asked him what was wrong. they took up line fishing in the spring. behold next year. On one occasion they lost all their gear and my father's uncles gave them some of their drift nets and trawl. who stayed beside us. I have found a niddle. Black Bob and Jock-a-Tar who was Mr MacVicar. Once people get on a little in this life the sharing stops and greed creeps in. a craft that is almost forgotten. MacEwans and MacBraynes were all the other families that were connected with the fishing. The boat. MacAllisters. a great fisherman. Anyway. It was a model of the fishing boats that were built here in Ardrishaig by the firm of Donald and Archie Munro. but most of these boats were sold off about 1928 to 1930. They were called line boats because when the men finished with the herring. I suppose the gardeners and farmers say the same thing.
Her friend is Mrs Russell whose husband gave a most marvellous service to the village. Red Bob's son George is now one or the Police Superintendents in Melbourne. Red Bob was redhaired. Although well up in years she attends each Wednesday. I see her when she is down visiting her mother who comes to the Club every week. Black Bob was very dark. 26 . driving the mail van from Glasgow for about 43 years in all types of weather. He was over here this year and hi' brother Archie has a good job in Canada.result he was called Big Niddle all the days of his life. come hail. rain or shine. Black Bob's boy is down in Ayrshire and his sister Jean is up in Luing. Argyll.
or a beacon in the darkness to many. a big woman in the asylum pulled his breeks down and skelped his backside. I have never heard them speak about it. The Parish Church in Ardrishaig is 125 years old. Old Heb King was another marvellous story teller. She married John Bruce and she told us they went to Tayvillich for their honeymoon.45 you will be in plenty of time !" The Maids of Bute are rocks in the Kyles and when you sail through you will see the maids all white washed and spick and span. so if you are ever here come and see it as it is open . "What time does the boat sail today?" "Oh. taking most of the prizes at the local show each year. he was carrying lead on his shoulder when the police stopped him and asked him where he worked. They are painted each spring. He said. He played the organ in the Parish Church for over 40 years. His aunt was old Loll Bruce who had a wee shop at the end of the Fisher Row. One day in Edinburgh. at his forge for 50 years. it is difficult to forget it. at least. a fine figure of a man. Harry Donald owned the Lorne Hotel and Mrs Donald belonged to Tain. but one party was salt herring and potatoes followed by a dumpling. Suddenly a horse put its head through the top of the door and let out a large neigh. The police then contacted his boss who took a good drink. In 1900 the Elders and the Minister decided to put two new wings on it. On their return all the boxes would be emptied and ready for the cargo boat coming back at 9 o'clock in the evening. Mrs Gillies owned the Argyll Hotel for over 50 years.15 at night. A lady asked one. When he put his head under the sink. saying that they had a letter from one of them the other week. his daughter Trissy was the teacher in the Junior School. What better fare can you get then that ? On the pier at Ardrishaig. Old Walter MacEwan would put four or five pennies in one or an odd sixpence in others. He also said about death. "a quarter to two. Old Willie MacCracken was the shoemaker and a great man with ponies and horses and all kinds of birds. so they called the two new wings the "Paddle Boxes. She told me she had love letters tied in pink ribbon from my uncle Sandy who died a bachelor at 76. This was a small sweet shop. For instance. He never went back near the place again. the church is a lovely old building. who was the local plumber—his son Saunders has followed in his footsteps.15 each morning and would still be in the shop at 9. Saturday nights she even stayed open until 11. He told them who he was and where he worked. At that time the paddlesteamers were calling daily at Ardrishaig. nearly killing them with fright. who was the County Yard Blacksmith for many years. or snort. Mr Strang was the local draper and JP. he had been sent by his boss in Edinburgh to the local asylum to repair a choked drain. he came to work with Mr George Stewart. On one occasion he played twice a day for 12 years without a single day off. Archie MacVicar. but it was a stable door on this old place so they opened it to let in some air." When you get a name like this tagged on to you. Old Duggie Livingstone had the local Anchor Hotel and in his time was a favourite story teller. we had a number of local worthies. this was a service second to none. Some people had parties even in those days.Old Archie Campbell was the blacksmith. My father's shop was on the south side of the village and next door was a small shop owned by Mrs Jessie MacVicar. Everybody missed this shop as it was a landmark.30. but if you are here by 1. On his arrival at Ardrishaig. "We will all be there if we are spared !" At this time the cargo boats brought bricks in boxes that were slung ashore and had to be emptied by hand. Yes. The Royal Hotel was owned by Bob Findlay who was a great horseman and founder member of the bowling green and tennis club. Then they went away for lunch. is now retired. but the quality was the best in the country. All these people contributed in their way to the make up of the village. it's Queen Victoria who is on the throne! "His mates had to go to the police station and get him out. This new generation doesn't seem to know about it. They were tormenting one of the workers about the Maids. George was also a well-kent figure in the village. and how he came to be in possession of the lead." he said. "King. I've never heard of him. He trained a number of lads in the art of the blacksmith. She opened about 9. We shall not see her likes again. All was going well.
and Masonic Lodge secretary for 30 years. Lochfyne that saw service in the Battle of the Atlantic. AVIA. Rev Stanley White. 1945. The white ensign on the wall was presented to the then minister of the Parish. even if it is only to see the terrazzo floor. I went through as an Elder in the church the same day as Coll. He was the local coal merchant. as was his father before him. who served in the marines in the last war.daily and is well worth a visit. was Mr Coll Jackson. He was on the hall committee. who was married to my cousin. 27 . from the frigate. Another Ardrishaig man. well worth a mention.
at a Hall Committee meeting. "I know by the style of your hair and the cur of your coat you're Robert Burns from the old town of Ayr. both in fishing and farming. Argyll. I asked him why they needed a licence till 2. followed by our own Mrs Burns. I was at a Burns Supper the other night run by the ladies of the Church." These words must be the most marvellous words ever written. saying things that were not in the script. we'll just settle for a demonstration from Singers Machines of Clydebank. I paid the Registrar 2/6d but he felt sorry for me—he gave me 1/6 back !' He was with us in the Wednesday Club and we had "What does the Team Think. "If I was married to a thing like you. on the quayside stood Barney Magee. She had a big family other own and they used to arrive down the back bank of the canal on bikes to help this lady pack the herring." Burns . "If I was married to a man like you I would poison you. "It might be the Holy Land. It seems they had been farmer up at Taynuilt. Her family are still here in Lochgilphead and are all well-respected folk. Strachur. The big families of the Fletchers are also wellrespected in both villages and are footballers and nurses. the villages are saddened and the world is a much poorer place without them. whereas we left Ayr and came to Argyll. "I never saw a smile on anybody's face. I laughed all day. for many. which is an old Mid Argyll name.00am. she would say the bull ran away or the cockerel chased the hens down to the midden and there was never a hen born but it died in debt.Jeannie. "It is in the interest of education !" The farmer above the village was a Mr Duncan MacKechnie. On the deck of the boat stood Robert Burns. What a marvellous night! The main speakers were Mr Smith. What a marvellous man and gifted poet. instead of the usual dumpling demonstration." One question on the paper was: "Is it true that a baby born with a moustache. I would gladly take it !" Coll." Needless to say she won the day. Mr Smith said Burns' people left Argyll and went to Ayr and I see by the Oban Times today this was so. applied for a late night licence. "To err is only human. "No my brother was born with a full beard and my mother wasn't tickled at all. He ran the farm and the local ash cart. Barney said to Burns. What would the villages have done without these good folk ? I have not mentioned the MacLauchlans. Bell said. tickled the mother to death ?" He said. the great Barney Magee." To which he replied. One Burns story I liked was when he was invited over to Ireland to see the great Irish poet. Maggie ran the dairy and the local WRI. and kept open house. He saw a wedding on television and said. We miss this local character as he was also a leading light at all the political meetings. No boy would have tried this on Mrs Hatton. many years. the good old Women's Guild." She was at the herring gutting for many years and the local lads packed them for her. To forgive is divine. she made a good job of bringing them up. She belonged to good old Campbeltown. he was a very affable and kindly host and was educated at Fettes College. His love songs and poems have even got through to the Russians. Just the opposite to me the day I got married. I remember him in the local drama group and how he ad-libbed. Her likes will not be seen again. On arriving a little late. She was also a leading baker and collected cups and medals every year at the local shows. As this had been going on for some years. Their family seat is at Strathlachlan where resides MacLauchlan of MacLauchlan of Castle Lauchlan of Lauchlan. which in my youth was a cart. Maggie said. Another lady who did similar work was Mrs Hatton from Lochgilphead. but it is the Cursed People." He was a well-known Oban Times local correspondent and a member of Argyll County Council. He replied. Being a local man. Edinburgh. "I've never heard the likes of it. She was chairwoman. Just as well because I haven't had many laughs since. One lady asked if the Rural could have a demonstration on the "Purification of the Skin" by Yardleys. On the passing of these great people. This was a building next to Dawson's Land and a burn ran between them which they called the River Jordan. I read these days of bits of boys attacking old ladies. His wife. Old Bell Douglas lived in the Holy Land. He said a woman in the village said to Mr MacQuiston. Argyll. who had been talking in the village. Now if you can say that you are doing well.
and by the size of your gubb you're the bold Barney Magee. 28 . You're on the land and I'm on the sea.replied.
as he said it was Robbie Burns in his full Masonic Rig !" Dull November's surly blast Lays fields and Forest bare As I wander forth along the hanks of Ayr. " said the patient. The first fellow was called in and they asked him a lot of general questions." he said. "Oh. lorries and buses. They said. As he sat at the fire in the old folks' cottage nobody came to get him so he was offered a bed up in the loft. it seems so long ago. Explaining his plight and the weather worsening. The panel said. saying it must have cost them nearly a life savings to buy it." "Do you think we will get out ?" "Well it all depends on us getting across the roads without getting knocked down. He had a good look at it and could not believe it. 1. He had put the four nuts from the car inside the wheel cap and when he tipped it over all the nuts fell down the drain so he didn't know what to do." A minister was sitting outside a mental hospital with a wheel off his car. he had walked away from the Fort Augustus Monastery and got lost in the dark. saying he would never have thought of that. "I would have nothing to hold my bunnet up. especially if you are trying to cross the road. "I've never seen such a beautiful piece of work. Seeing a light in a house he knocked on the door which was opened by an old man. They replied: "We might be in here for being daft. "I would be partly blind. "If you were involved in an accident and you lost an ear. Two patients who spent 25 years in a mental institution were going up before the parole board. Then they asked me about losing an eye. what would happen to you ?" "Oh. "I would be totally blind. So the great day of the Board arrived." he said. He was so impressed he could not sleep." he said. it is like looking into a very dark pool or trying to fathom the great depths of Loch Fyne. said his prayers before going to bed and looked up and saw a beautiful painting of his Holiness the Pope hanging on the wall. he was welcomed in to rest. Cars. They were wondering what they would be asked and if they could answer the questions correctly. the asked about the nurses and the food and my relationship with the staff. People of all nations have been talking about Burns and will go on talking into the next century. looking back when it is all over seems more like a dream. The old man was so taken aback with what he told them that he asked him if he would repeat what he had said." The second patient was then called in and they asked him nearly all the same questions. We are like small specks on an ocean of time. The old man said: "Wait till I get the rotten little Jew-boy who sold me that painting. the old couple were not rich by any means and it must have cos' them many pounds to buy it. lorries and buses are on the roads and you have to be very careful you do not get knocked down. He duly went up to bed with his small candle." "If you lost the other ear." "How do you make that out?" asked the panel. You must have spent your whole savings on this beautiful painting of the Pope hanging up in the attic"." He came out and told the other patient what they asked him. I would be partly blind" "What if you lost the other eye ?" "Oh. when he came down to get his breakfast. "I would be totally blind. but we are certainly not . "Well. he mentioned to the old lady and her husband about the lovely painting of His Holiness the Pope hanging in the loft. Two patients were looking at him and he told them of his plight. How apt and expressive these words are. In the morning. He hoped the others at the Abbey would miss him and come and find him. then the other eye. What would happen to you if you lost an eye ?" "Oh.000 feet deep. where men have sailed and fished but have never seen the bottom. no' never will." "So what did you tell them ?" "I told them I would be totally blind. "Don't worry. Then they said : "Everybody outside is very different from when you came in. The minister did as they told him and he expressed his thanks to the two patients. and how difficult it was to get across the road. Take one nut off each wheel and you will be able to go to the nearest garage which is only a mile from the hospital.The story goes about an old priest who was out walking in the forest. then they told me about cars. what would happen to you ?" "Oh. Looking at all his marvellous work. They told him they had his interests at heart and wanted to make sure he was in a reasonable state of mind to face the traffic on the roads and to be able to look after himself.
" My neighbour has just come in it was so cold he thought he was in a couldn't see any bodies so he decided body back to normal. but he looked round and to make a cup of tea to bring his he is going.silly.00am. As mortuary. He thought where fire and a shovel. 29 and told me he awakened at 4. there would have been a .
The small line boats were taken over in horse lorries and the herrings were taken back in carts. Locals at Ardrishaig in 1936 30 . they went to fish there and when they did they camped on the shore beside the Lodge Cottage. the local archivist is asking. and they knew all the history of the fishing and where the men went to work. The people over there supplied them with scones. Peter Hamilton. so we lived with a man who could remember a century back from now. They also gathered whelks while they were over there.Old Dan Hamilton and Forsyth Hamilton Fishing FINDING a small article in the local paper today. If my father was living he would be 115 years. where Aggie Galbraith and her brother stayed for over 55 years. milk. "Did men go to fish herring at Loch Caolisport up Inverneill hill and down the other side to Achahoish?" Yes. eggs and vegetables. Stewart Hamilton and Stuart MacAllister were some of my people who were over at this fishing at Loch Caolisport. I heard this 60 years ago.
All the herring come ashore for the buyer who has bought them and if the herring are not up to the sample you can complain to the fish salesman. Dan. Archie and his crew (Jackie Sinclair was with him) worked at the lines. or whoever is appointed arbitrator. Archie Kerr." In 1853 the then Duke of Argyll arranged for a government commission which was held three years later in 1856. and the cod nets. about 650 to the basket. at the entrance to Loch Fyne. If the herring are continuously towed the blood is all through the body. nobody would dream of putting a chicken in the freezer without cleaning it. 31 . I remember we had 650 baskets in the old gutting shed. red nebs." as people here say when you are successful at the fishing. These nets were improved and so were the boats and the catching powers. Not many people would ever try to do this hard. which is kept on the sample board. They were a small class of herring. They came down the canal with the herring and unloaded them on the canal. would go round from Tarbert in a hired car to look at the Loch Caolisport for appearance. or. if this had been a miner they would have sunk the boat. All the curers were keen on the drift net herring as in this method the fish are caught by the gills. how many baskets will you take?" They would leave Tarbert at 4 o'clock for the canal opening. and having lost their blood the flesh is clean and white and they are easier cured. They were the "King-Pins. as they called them. as the ring net was thought to be the death of the herring. The flesh is then soft and very difficult to cure. The government of the day built a barracks at Tarbert for the military to prosecute the fishing community.In the 1930s the famous fishermen. In these two places men were trying to get a better method of fishing. and this time the fishermen won the day and the ring net was made legal. Archie MacVicar nearest the camera Before the herring are sold. and it was three days before they were gutted. The ring net started about 1840-1850 in Ardrishaig and Tarbert. After they had loaded 35 tons of gravel they went to the Clyde and put it ashore. They went down to near Skipness and loaded the punt with gravel then returned to the Jessie to discharge. An inquiry held at Tarbert in 1850 decided that the ring net was illegal after Mr McDougall from Ardrishaig was shot dead by the fishing patrol boat Jackall at Otter Ferry. not a lazy inch in them. At 6 o'clock they sailed straight through and by 5 o'clock they had the two boats full of herring. the cleaner you get them the better. They knew the seasons and the herring well as they belonged to Tarbert. However. and fish are just the same. back-breaking job. and he will decide if the sample is representative of the herring coming ashore. the drift nets were also continued. When this finished they had a large punt which they pulled behind the fishing boat. or a quicker method of catching herring legally in 1866. Five policemen were stationed at Tarbert to control the ring net trade. "The appearance is good. called the Jessie. the men produce a sample. Another man who did this fishing was a famous Tarbert man in his day. Archie and his sons worked hard. When no herring were about. Another famous fishing family were the Johnsons. As they struggle in the nets they get red noses. They would telephone on the Sunday night and say. meaning gulls or Solan Geese diving on the herring. Things got so bad at this time that they were looked on as the "Gestapo. As I have said before. Willie and Tommy Jackson. it was fished for 100 years and did not kill all the herring. Weighing fish at Ardrishaig. In this deep freeze age. Well.
"Ta. in order to get them for 5/-. Dan replied that he was very sorry.00 a box in the Glasgow market. as he was called. So we have a good relationship. but if you sent them away it was as the old saying goes. In the earlier days of the fishing it was not only the catching of the herring that was the problem. and if you have goods you must be able to sell them. However. Donald MacDougall used to say. when he was here on holiday. only to get a blue ticket back. "He has thrown them up. trains were starting to transport all goods. One Glasgow merchant told my father. These were pre-TV days and I'm sure the Daily Record did a power of good to help the fishermen's case. you can guess the amount of bother I got into with this title. who had himself been to the fishing port of Tarbert and had been talking to the men about the situation. but the Duke of Argyll at that time did not let the railway come along Loch Fyne side or Loch Awe side. women and children who were depending on a small money return often went without. "Help the Underdog.00 a box and still getting a blue ticket. Forsyth. ta. They would be sold only at the local market which had a very restricted outlet.' The old story goes about a big yacht coming up alongside Dan. Men had been known to send herring away from Ardrishaig and Tarbert. clean the brass etc. Men. Not even a hot bath. The men at the fishing worked hard. prices improved but they fell away again after the war was over. The saying is. 10/. said: "My God. you've no idea the trouble we have got into since you got this title. wet. Men did not know what they had made as there were no telephones in Tarbert or Ardrishaig. I saw pictures of him on the pier at Greenock and Rothesay asking people to support the sale of herring. Dan sailed past just as a torpedo shot past him. The paper has always been a supporting influence to the people in Scotland. As the 1850s arrived. We have to take out the dog for a walk." It is hard to tell how long this period lasted that men were conned by buyers. What kind of life is this to lead !" I never won the title but the folks at the fishing never let it die. and as it was very foggy they called him up and asked for a compass course for Rothesay. Down at Tarbert. things improved and they soon got telegrams informing them of the market price.Many arguments have taken place over the years about the samples. even though the herring had made £1. 1914. At the beginning of the first war.000 that day. Curers have known of men going to the market and having seen their own herring sold at a £1. as the great Industrial Revolution did not reach these parts. Bella. He made £3. the best day he ever had was sitting at the telephone in Glasgow selling herring to people in Manchester. We wear coloured glasses and I'm sure this helps to let us see each other. so she is not hearing all that is going on. smelly job and even when they came home little comfort awaited. in the Kyles. At least men selling locally knew what they were getting as they stood at the bell till their herring were sold. having been shot in the face." Well. Scattan. and . My wife is deaf in one ear. He said: "The shape of alarm is on these damn things !" In 1959 I was in the running with the Sunday Mail as the perfect husband ! Well. This ticket meant the herring were condemned unfit to eat. at a cold. but his compass was away at the blacksmiths for new shoes that week." Some buyers try to say they are not up to standard in the hope they go back to the sale (or the bell as they call it). to take it up. on the steamers that started in the 1860s and 70s. wash dishes. so I don't see all that is going on. Some hadn't even water in the houses. I'm blind in one eye. I suppose being married for 36 years and still together is a compliment these days. "There he is. it was the selling of the catch. On another occasion he was up fishing in Loch Long and everybody had been put off the Loch by a torpedo boat. and in fact I still hear some of them say. "That team wrote the book of tricks!" During the last war the herring were sold at a controlled price and everybody got a share of what was landed. the Perfect Husband. All the tricks have been tried to get the herring at a cheaper rate. The markets were again depleted up to the 1930s when the Daily Record took up the fishing story and they called the situation at that time "The Daily Record Herring!" They got Harry Lauder.a cran less. A little bit of advertising does no one any harm.
was owned by the King of the 32 . people say to you: how you have changed. later on they put it on to fill in the cracks! Good looks and youth fade as you get older.other things in a better light. where the elderly stay." Would we not get a shock? As you get older. as Burns said. as does the help the happy dedicated nurses give them. little thinking they have changed themselves. "To see ourselves as others see us. I visit people in hospital— some in their middle 80s some over 90—and their good natures still make them look great. Ardfenaig. When women are young they put on the powder to hide their blushes. Rose-coloured spectacles should be worn by all and never taken off. but a happy smile and cheery disposition never fade.
Donald Cameron was gardener in the canal gardens after having served his time in the beautiful grounds of Skipness Castle. He was a great footballer in his day and his wife was a great little woman. Nobody who has ever experienced anything like this is ever the same again. You will not be able to blast. gutted herring and was a great churchgoer—she was a real powerhouse. The house was then taken over by Colonel Lamont. Davie Hannah was the gardener at Poltalloch before moving to Stonefield Castle where he worked for 30 years. My friends Donald Cameron and Davie Hannah met him at Gargunnock and were greatly impressed with all he showed them. were on display there. He was up there a number of years when he was killed in his Landrover up at the Glencoe-Tyndrum road end. one had to go in his ground. when we were putting a road in to my house at Brenfield. herring roes and smelts. My father bought his piano at the sale. He was one of the nicest men you could meet. This man must have been best vegetable gardener this century. We have lost these good friends but their memory still lingers on. His housekeeper was Miss Moir. When the Hydro Board were putting up the electricity poles. An old man died in the village and left his house to a lady. I will select the place on one condition. and also to his daughter. He was a great fellow and was our neighbour for years.Coco Islands. so he said. He didn't want a pole or lines in his ground. This fine gentleman was left a farm and other property by an uncle in Perthshire and he left Ardrishaig with a great reluctance to go and take over this property. He was awarded the highest honours from the Royal Horticultural Society for his work in the field of rhododendrons. She telephoned me and said that if I paid his debts I could have the house. All things that belonged to the country. The men were 10 days cutting the rock to get the pole into the ground. It was said that when the Hood was sunk. Andy MacMillan and his brother-in-law from Tayinloan were the leek and onion champs at Tarbert show. The next man to be in the house was Commander Dundas—one of the survivors of the ill-fated. who was very kind to all the village boys. looked after the sick. he was up on one of the top turrets at the moment of impact when the big shell landed in the magazine. for they were also the bowling green champions for years. that showed the flag all over the world for this country. the gardeners. You can just imagine the blast when this happened and the great ship disappeared in two minutes. Churchill turned white. Starting with old Jimmy Scott.S. He and two other lads were the only three survivors from this mighty ship. I attended the opening of the Scottish Competitions in the Kelvin Hall with him. H. Hood. and I'm sure "Winnie" was not the only man that went that colour.M. and he had it for many years. and they were lucky to be picked up as the suction from a boat this size going down is enough to pull men and lifeboats to the bottom. You would need to be good to beat these dedicated men—not only as gardeners. here we have a great bunch of men. He was in need of a house and as luck would have it one came my way. dug gardens. The man who held the title of professional and amateur champion of Scotland for 23 years was James Shilady. He landed in the water along with the other men." He showed the men where the pole was to go. as was his father and grandfather before him. Big Duncan MacFarlane was gardener to Miss Una and Miss Olive Campbell at Achnacraig. All these men with their years of experience were a delight to know. sunk by the mighty Bismark. and it was right in the middle of a large shelf of rock. we called her Wee Polly—she papered houses. Everybody called him Kelly. who was Archie Kenneth's mother's gardener. so Donald was able to get the house for this money plus lawyer's expenses. Gardens WELL. Donald MacFarlane and Peter Campbell were the Sweet-pea champions. Commander Dundas kept minks on his small estate and we supplied him with all the fish offal. When the Hood was struck. such as honey. who was gardener to Colonel Stirling over at Gargunnock. This was a great day out and Donald loved it as he could see the best of vegetables and dahlias and chrysanthemums. these amounted to £150. year in. year out. Well. Neil Graham was gardener at Inverneill for 50 years. Mr MacKellar told me this story 35 years ago. " If you must put it on my ground. This garden is 3½ acres and as most of this was dug every .
Duncan and John MacGregor were in the same Oakfield garden. The last time I saw Duncan was in the breakfast queue at the RAF at Hoylake in March 1942. Duncan's wife was a Morrison and her father was gardener at Colonel Greenfield's big garden. He was heading for India and I was off to Burma. Neil had his work cut out for him. 33 .Spring. Mr Kenneth's gardens at Oakfield were worked by Duncan Harvey and his father. Dugald MacKellar also worked there and cycled up and down to the gardens every day. I still keep in touch with his nephew.
Tailor—Sandy Crawford: when he moved. So. I am sure as I look at the cascade of brilliant blooms I shall think of all my old pals here at Ardrishaig. the rabbits are running across the road. I asked his widow if I could help clear the house and the furniture for her. I bought two of his windows. Mr P. Mr and Mrs McLevin. Ferguson's grandson is now the butcher in Ardrishaig while Hugh's grandson is in Lochgilphead. Lochgilphead Shops of the Past Butchers—Jock Todd. "Buy one. Plumbers —Mr Bob McKirdy. Chemist—Govan. He married the local nurse and they lived happily by the loch-side. Big John was a lovely man and had been a friend of my father before me. You won't get much of a bunnet these days for 12½p McFarland ! Also Stirling who travelled about Argyll selling clothes of all kinds. Miss Crawford and Maggie Crawford in the front . we duly did this and gave all the goods away with the exception of two things: a letter from the King who welcomed them home from the 1914-18 war and their war medals. Draper—Eddie McCallum who sold gent's caps at 2/6d. I am sad to hear that world-famous Crarae Glen Gardens on the shores of our beautiful Loch Fyne are in financial trouble. Tearoom—The Lavender Tearoom with Miss Howett. He was a great gardener and producer some marvellous stuff up at Tigh Ruda. Ferguson along Lochnell Street. His brother worked at the gardens in the big house at Poltalloch and they both died within a short time of each other. Fary. where Spar was taken over by John Mitchell. Bakers—MacDonald's. who had them in beautiful condition. along with Hugh Ferguson. These gardens with their "Himalayan setting. His son Donald and I were in the same class and his other son Alex has followed in his father's footsteps and has won all sorts of prizes here at Ardrishaig. Jack the chemist near MacBrayne's the draper. magnificent rhododendrons and azaleas. Mr McGregor. Shoe shop—McCracken's now run by Mr Crawford and his good lady. He had been in the Coldstream Guards during the First World War. he said. Crarae Glen has been handed over to the National Trust. where the chemist shop now is in the square. Jock Todd. 36 years on. before he retired to the Free Church Manse in Tayvallich. a lovely old shop. MacBrayne's business is still being carried on in the same shop by some of his relations. Ironmongers—Coultart and MacBrayne were in the square. agent for good footwear. Willie Todd.Big Ted Hatton was gardener in Tigh Ruda. also Mr McCallum. and our lives have been brightened with the blossom of their flowers. They were created by Sir George Campbell over the last 60 years. for what they have planted is now our heritage. He and his brother Archie were sent by Sir lan Malcolm of Poltalloch to train in Buckingham Palace Gardens. Tearoom—Mr Kemp and his wife. The kids in Lochgilphead used to sing. Grocer—Smith's. The gardens at the Royal Hotel were worked by Calum Weir. This year I am going to the Chelsea Flower Show. Argyll is the poorer for the loss of these great men who worked the gardens and the soil. Dishes and Chinaware—The Newtons. his sons are still working as plumbers and know every tap and water stand pipe in Lochgilphead. Argyll Street beside the Stag Hotel Crawford. the Royal Gardens. the great English show in the south. where the top Spar is today. are a sight to behold. they will last forever!" Mr MacGregor sold tombstones. Ladies' Wear—Nan MacTavish of Castleton. Mrs Duffy and her son Duncan. Mrs Weir competed at the Hallowe'en parades for years and was a great lady. One of the head gardeners was my friend big John MacArthur who belonged to Kilmartin. Jeweller—Mr Wilkinson. and I'm sure he would be proud of this boy. He was a quiet gentleman who loved the gardens and all that was created by his boss. Fruit and Vegetables—Annie MacGregor and her aunt. I took them along to the Sunday School and let the boys and girls see these old papers and medals from the past. A. Bobby Summers was also in Oakfield Gardens." A. Cycles and Wireless—Willie Holden. He planted the garden with rhododendrons and they are still a wonderful sight today. "Jock Todd. another old worthy. his grandson. Alex's butcher shop is being carried on by Sandy Cameron. famous for their bread and fruit cake. shoes and dressing. I just grew up with him. Squeak Office—Mr Harvey. Tom Adair and Alex Fleming are two well-known names around these parts for the last 65 years. Tombstones—Gray's. around Lochgilphead. who emigrated to Australia.
street. in choirs all his life. who was also sanitary inspector and 'whipper-in' for the school. also latterly ran the employment exchange. Tobacconist—Crawford MacAlpine. His wife was a Miss Beaton. Saddler —Mr Donald McLean. 34 . teacher in Ardrishaig school before she married.
I said. What would the planners say to this in the middle of Lochgilphead today. did you hear about the old lady who went to watch a football match. These bandsmen were followed by Archie MacGilp. fish and game business in the Glasgow fish market. He said to Father Collins one day. He told me I must be taking leave of my senses. MacBrayne the draper was a brother of MacBrayne the ironmonger. he was taken over by Jimmy MacWhirter. When she saw them all running about chasing the ball she said. The roadmen were old Dan Keller (I am now staying in his old house). Donnie MacLullich was in the middle of Union Street and it is still there now. We also had five Dukes: the Duke of Argyll. Pictures—Mr McLulloch. They had a brother who ran MacKinney and Rafferty. "You go home to your Judy and I go home to my Punch. 'Would it not be better to give the boys a ball each !" The family of these good people are all gone but one sister. Everybody said at that time we have three Kings: the King on the throne. whom I see on Friday night up in the rest home at Duncan. by the records. so I told him Queen of the South. Jean is still with us and was playing last Wednesday at the Club. This cinema was a great success at the Glasgow Empire Exhibition. Many a night we played cards in the back of his old Ford van. Old Vorack Dawson also stayed there. a man called King Robert Bruce. It was the Poltalloch Produce Society.Painter—Lambert. and she belonged to Loch Boisdale. The teetotallers who hated drink as much as the others liked it. Robbie Duke. Annie Ginty stayed in the bottom flat of Dickson's land. C. big Dochy Carmichael and Jimmy MacSporran. I believe both belonged to Ardrishaig. Donnie MacMillan had a butcher's shop in the middle of the village. but it is now Harry Ross's yard. Another shoe and repair shop was Duncan Johnstone's. the Italian. he was a great Rangers supporter. On the day she died she had £180 stuffed in her stocking. "The Father replied. the plumber. were given . George Stuart. So Ardrishaig was a notable place at that nine. "It's a God's blessing these cars just have exhausts !" Old James Jackson and Dan MacLauchlan were the pier porters and. the plumber. King Robert Bruce and Heb King. There were. Willie Bell beside the Bank of Scotland. My mother helped the nurse to dress her before she went to Achnabreck Cemetery. These coats of paint would last for years. Donnie Munro. sometimes Alex Milne. I wonder ? Coalyard—Bella McLauchlan could be seen any day hurling a barraload. Where the TSB is in the back street was the chapel and that was run by Father Collins. more Bruce families in Ardrishaig than any other name. who had the biggest clothes mangle I have ever seen. When old Dan would be cleaning up after the horses had passed he used to say. "Duncan. He played the fiddle. He also played in the local band during and after the First World War. "It is dreadful. Sweets—Phemie Lang. When I was a boy. Each man who worked at the distillery was given a bottle at New Year. Next door was Aggie Burnett. At the time of the greatest activity there were more sore heads in this little village than anywhere else at the time. in the place I was born. Angus Duke and young Dan Duke. while Sandy MacNab played the drums. old Dan Duke. Gasworks—Mr Downie where you could get five gallons of tar for 2/6d. Jim MacGregor was one of the postmen. After the 1938 Empire Exhibition Mr John Brodie had the new cinema but it was operated by his daughter Mrs Watson until recently. Ian Mitchell and Hughie Mitchell who was in the Argylls and disappeared at Dunkirk. He wanted to know what team I supported. At the top of the street is the big Church of Scotland where Mr R. this oath of celibacy. You do not have a wife." Annie Tate looked after the RCR. known to us as the grinder. She is being well cared for by these good lassies who are employed as nurses. He could be seen everyday fishing with his small boat out at the Black Buoy. parked beside Peter MacGregor's garage. Robertson was the minister for 50 years. Allan Thompson and his father were in the square. played the piano and Freddie Boni. He had been an engineer in the old steam boats that were the floating market and he always wore a sweat rag round his neck. The Distillery MANY a good dram was brewed in the Glenfyne Distillery on the banks of the Canal. stayed in a small house up at Colonel Henderson's. Jean Mitchell was a real star on the piano and she played with these lads. played the accordion.
as that was what it cost to produce it at that time. Mr Peter McPherson was the manager in the distillery in 1948. The distillery started in Ardrishaig in 1815. We dismantled it in October 1948 and Peter stored it in the distillery till we were ready to build it in March 1949.fourpence. The house I lived in was the ATS cookhouse at Inveraray Camp. 35 . Many managers and officials from the customs were in this place from time to time.
"My. They built a tunnel under it and the burn comes out beside the power station. Our herring curing shed was beside the Lorne Hotel. It is a great wonder that this place was not created in Lochgilphead or Inveraray but I think the good water supply and the large loch up with the three lochs above Ardrishaig ensured that it came here. It must have been a great asset to the village with the number of people employed in the whisky industry. It had been stolen by some other drouth. As this goes to Carnbaan they would have a big job to get the mud and other debris shifted. I suppose the rush of water taking sticks. He was shouting for help. When you come to Ardrishaig they usually ask you when you are going away! When we came home from leave from the forces somebody would always say. "What's all this rubbish you are talking?" So the cat repeated about saving the rat's life from the night before and said.a ton. He was a very tall man. a Mrs Heath. rats came down the canal bank in droves. and along came the big black distillery cat who shouted at the rat. The next night the cat was shouting down the hole. "How can it be lost if you know where it is?" So we then told him what we had done! We chased it all day before we got it out. last night I was drunk and didn't know what I was saying." So the rat said. but not as stout ! I'm sure he knew all that was going on in and around the distillery. "You're home again ! When are you going away ?" Some plans have been afoot for years to make Lochgilphead ebb. They gathered at the foot of the stairs and tripped up one at a time with the same receipt. He did not get any better and one day he took all his clothes off and was seen for the last time as manager running up and down the canal bank in his birthday suit. It was 10/. and his clerk scored off each name as they came in. Only one lady had kept the receipt. He said to somebody that he had a brother who was taller than him. For the period I lived in Ardrishaig I remember only Mr Drummond who was the Customs officer. One day two local men filled a gallon can of whisky and took it outside and put it in the lifebelt box on the distillery wall. I want you for the supper !" After a while the rat appeared and looked at him and said. The bowling green and tennis courts are just across the canal on the shore side of Lochgilphead and are well attended and supported by the local people. maybe 6ft 6ins and was very thin. "I'm drowning in the whisky." So the cat pulled the rat out and off he shot down into a hole in the wall.One manager who was sampling a lot of the water of life was confused. you can't trust anybody these days. He told them he would score it from the books when he saw the receipt. One day my cousin and myself let a half-barrel of herring roll in. This year they have a big project planned to make a new club-house and big renovations. The nearest stills would be in Oban and Campbeltown. We asked our old uncle Sandy: "Is a thing lost if you know where it is?" He said. "Come up rat. the supply of water would have been a great asset during the summer months." The distillery burn or the main supply was not put in to the canal. Each year they have an annual sale and greenkeeper's day. The men waited till the Friday afternoon when the manager was well shot. Nevertheless. "You promised I could have you for supper tonight. It you pull me out you can have me for supper tomorrow night. hoping to collect it at night. This must have been a very frightening time in the village." The story is told that when the distillery closed and no more grain was brought in. At that time the distillery sold coal to the men who worked in the place. which is about one mile square. "Look. This no doubt would be a great boon to yachtsmen and would employ a number of people. "What's all the noise ?" The rat said. I heard a story about a rat that fell into a big vat of whisky. into a marina. All sorts of things have been flung in the canal. so if you are coming to Ardrishaig bring your bowls and try and beat the locals. One said to the other. leaves and stones during the heavy rain would have been a perpetual hazard to the canal people. He sent them a second account for coal that had already been paid. Night duly arrived and when they went to get it there was no gallon can. mate. Anything . and of course the convenience of the canal for transport. In this day and age they could still use this valuable supply in this fivemile reach.
that brings work would be a good thing. The oldest saying in the book is. it will bring dissenting voices and people who do not want it." 36 . "If Moses had had a committee he would be in the wilderness yet. Progress is opposed by folk who usually know least about it. here on the West Coast or the middle of London. However it doesn't matter what you do.
One of the people who had a big drove of cattle was Miss Turner. The men must have looked on him as a Florence Nightingale or an angel of mercy. to finish up in their soup pot. or to try to get them round the pier to land them on the slip at half tide. I can see Colin Dawson yet. but the beast looked a fearsome sight as he put his head down and charged. and several had young calves with them. along with other men in the village cared for these poor sick men. Kilmachie Farm. Sad to say all the efforts of these poor. it was better than being at Ibrox or Parkhead. as much as to say. the cattle were starting to be transported in big lorries so another exciting event was lost to the village. the fishermen turned out and built a hut with herring boxes on the pier. Well we watched and sure enough when the rest of the herd came up he was in the middle of them with a grin on his face. Anyway. Just fancy anybody going out to help them and showing Christian humanity. curlews and crows. oyster catchers. whose name was the most common in Ardrishaig. therefore this spectacle did not draw the same crowds. Bruce. Cattle and the Canal BEFORE 1931 the old bridge was in operation across the canal and the cattle from down Kintyre were herded along the roads to the market in Lochgilphead. Here in this small fishing village people still cared for the ill and dying even though they were strangers. Some went in the canal and others over the shore. It was confirmed that these two men had yellow fever and were not even allowed in to the old poor house in Lochgilphead. Yellow Fever George Bruce was born in the village and was a fisherman. the roads would be blocked and many dead cattle and crumpled cars would be the result. We just loved this. down the West Loch. Andrew Grinlaw was watching this incident and told us that the beast was Miss Turner's first-prize stock breeder and was only going back to see that none of his harem was being left behind. In 1932 a new bridge with high sides was in operation. Their biggest enemies are the gulls. and had maybe been in Spain in the coasters. "They're still . The village blacksmith at the time made an iron fireplace that was kept filled with wood to keep them warm. turned and ran back down the road. One bull got separated from the main bunch. With today's traffic increase. It was not unusual to see up to 200 cattle coming up the road for the spring and September sales. and the travelling people who hunt them at low tide. They lined it with blankets. sheets and an old sail as a tarpaulin to cover the roof and made them as comfortable as possible. George Bruce for all his work was given the Queen's Medal and £100 from the medical board. Soup and stew were provided by the local women but George Bruce was their main attendant. As the 1930s advanced. Our nextdoor neighbour was out on the road trying to turn the bull. The difficulty then was to get a big canvas sling round their bellies to lift them out. Most of these were Highland cattle. Our friend was the hero of the day as he just sidestepped and the bull ran past him. The toughest thing to eat here in Ardrishaig is spout fish. Woe on anybody that tried to separate them. as spectators. the coal boats. he was well cheered for this fine performance. To us boys. When they got to the old bridge they could see the water in the canal and if the first ones stopped it was a terrible job to get them across. where we care and share for all. but all the effort put in was not for monetary gain but an act of kindness to our fellow men.When the natives in New Guinea ate the missionary David Chalmers. two or three of them were said to complain that these men from Ardrishaig are very tough. Mr G. His daughter is still living in Ardrishaig with her family and was a founder member Wednesday Club. They develop very strong muscles going up and down the Loch. but kindly people was to no avail. Many people would be saddened that this effort should finish in death. love and affection. the ones with the big horns. as were most of the other Bruces. He was latterly working on the pier when two men arrived in the village. with a few even going over the pier into the harbour. he must have ben in Spain at the bull fights to have acquired this agility ! He had been in the putters. Looking out our window at Southside we had a grandstand view. These were exciting days and nights in the village. for both these poor men died. a well-earned honour bestowed by Queen Victoria.
with me !" Sheep also came up the road and were kept overnight in the small park at Robertson's park near Brackley. The next day. ready for the sale in the morning. Most of the villagers could hear the animals making a noise all night and must have been glad when the Ardyne and the Bute took all these beasts away. dogs barking and running after sheep and cattle made a fair old din in the village 37 . Sheep were transported in lorries before the cattle so this other event also disappeared.
One fine lad at that time was Captain Tate. The West Coast is wide open coast line and to have to pay for moorings is bureaucracy gone mad. It is surprising what strength. but to pay for a small boat's mooring on a sea bottom is terrible. However." who have very little to do. No wonder men take to drink. When they got back to the pier he said that Captain Tate only beat him because he had a better boat. and by Captain Tate's own daughter who staved next door to me for 24 years. Well. and the same could be said here ! Dan Hamilton at the nets in 1946 Boat Races MANY years ago. but as they all get older and not able to cope with wet backsides it has cooled down again. You know what follows the Lord Mayor's Show in The City of London ? Well it is the ash cart. Dan Hamilton. Tate. The main contenders in this were Sandy Rankin. The race started and great excitement prevailed as the boats were neck and neck to the Black Buoy. with the local gentry sailing boats and dinghies down at Inverneill Island but as the war approached they ceased and were never revived. about 1900. One great day an Oxford don was here in the village and thought he would teach all the locals a thing or two. on any bit of shore. Tate took the lead and left the don behind.and the biggest job was for old Dan Keller and Big Dochy Carmichael to sweep up after them. sure that he could beat this country lad. three oars. They gave a very good account of themselves and competed all over the country." So the Oxford don. People's rights are being impaired each day by a crowd of "paper tigers. as they do today. and even the fishing boats took part. Up with the lark and to bed with the bottle. as they rounded it. agreed. and the Oxford don only came second to Tate in the race round the Black Buoy. Dr MacKenzie. then the Ardrishaig Sailing Club started. talent and skill you will meet up with in a small sailing community. Six boats took part. It seems right to charge for a car in a car park. nobody should expect to go in a boat without getting feet. Other yacht races took place at Inverneill. Duncan McCallum and others. Bobby Holden. "Take my boat and I will take yours. The big thing now is having to pay for an anchor drop. When he arrived at the pier the Oxford rower shook Tate's hand and the two men became great friends. A local sailing club called the Ardrishaig Regatta was formed and ran for ten years. 38 . hands and bottom In small boats you need a life Jacket. This story was told to me by my father. who saw the race. Small boats are only good for two things—a wet erse and a good appetite. being a great rower and sportsman said. they had sailing and rowing races in Ardrishaig. and make sure you have a rope on them in case one floats away ! Never ever push your luck against the sea.
When voices are stilled and death takes the place of someone so vital. He was Duncan Ferguson JP. "Be of good cheer. 39 . teachers. I have no problems that He cannot solve. I say : over to You. here on this planet. We are so small and insignificant." Something mighty great and good has allowed us to live while millions die each year. Lord. We do not know the plan because it has not been revealed to us. bakers. We look into a glass ball. colours and creeds. I am sure 500 people stood outside the house singing the old psalms. Death is the last enemy and the last river to cross. children. All will be made plain to you and when it is revealed it will be clear what our purpose is. I am convinced they crossed the river and are safe on the other side united with all who went ahead them. The day of Doddie's funeral. Are you on His wavelength? Are you tuned in and receiving Him well ? God bless you. Our allotted span is three score years and ten. may your God go with you. This I believe as a little child believes and I have no fear. Ten thousand people lie in the Mid-Argyll cemeteries.Doddie Ferguson It has claimed two of my people and they knew it all their lives. We live by faith. They were fishermen. In His Loving Memory He will look after you. Whatever you believe. Doddie Ferguson's grand-father It is now coming up for Easter. They launched away without fear. Even my good neighbour Duncan Ferguson lost his life in one great tragedy that has affected us all. our little brains cannot comprehend it all. their trust in our Almighty Redeemer who can save anyone who believes in Him. and what right have we to question what has been mapped out as our course. but the dents come out and you will become straight I am a spiritual being. We flourish and wither away. bearing love and kindness to all my fellow men and women of all classes. I am with you till the end of time. life is short. A thousand years in His sight are as a day of our time. good housewives. ministers and a few saints must be among them. tramps. joiners. This is the great Christian time because our Lord has risen and confounded death. but do not worry or fret. a happy-go-lucky crofter who had no bad name for anybody. you sit and wonder what this life is all about. Sometimes it gets dented.
10/-. Only managers and counter-managers administering the £4 million subsidies that are given to them each year by the government. My father said to him. The gloss on it was great and the boys were so impressed with it they gave me £2. my husband is a Purser on MacBrayne's boats". "Why Mr MacKinnon ?" "Because you have that lovely old car. He stood at the end of the gangway so there was no way past him. If the large meteorite that landed above Dunoon road end had landed at Blackpool or even in the Lake District the rock hounds . It was a tin of liquid lino I used. Registration . At the advanced age of 80 he was gathering whelks on the shore." One of the last Chief Constables was Mr MacKinnon. He was a great punter on horses. You and I have a share in all the MacBrayne fleet as we are the tax-payers.David MacBrayne DAVID MacBRAYNE was at Ardrishaig one evening and he went down to the pier because a number of articles were being stolen or removed from the boats. Goverments don't have money. telling my father he had to come and see Jimmy as he had been reported as working at the whelks. He stayed in the end house with his three or four cats. "And who are you?" He told them he was the new Chief Constable. They ran it over in Islay for a number of years. Most people don't realise we are the most important and influentially powerful body in the land. The end result was David MacBrayne came back up the pier and recommended his agent to give the old man a 10/. I wrote to the Esso company and sent them a photograph saying this car had run on their oil and petrol for 40 years." I said." It was an Armstrong Sidley selfchange gears. On the way down he sat in the train beside another lady. "Yes. now British Shipbuilders.00 for painting it. but the old man would have nothing to do with this story. official came down from Oban to see him. If it was their own they would be more careful with it. As this was a very large house Mrs MacBrayne said. "It's a medal you would need to give to any man at his age. They sent me a very nice letter back "We hope it runs on our good products for another 40 years!" A firm the size of Esso might have made more of this as a good advert for their goods and the excellence of the Armstrong Sidley engineers. Forsyth. it's our money they are spending. Some smart body reported the old man and -. or Govan Shipyard.. He sold it to me for £25 and we ran it for two years and then sold it to the MacKinnon brothers in Islay. David MacBrayne's wife took a house each year down at Largs. She was built in 1933 and first registered in 1934 and was running for over 40 years. or were they quite happy here making a living from the sea and land. Your husband must have a very good job. He told MacBrayne he was not to let anybody on the boat as there were too many "skemps" about. He called on my father and asked him where Jimmy stayed. The old man. Old Jimmy Leitch was in his young days foreman blacksmith in Fairfields. "As old Jimmy was deaf the man from Oban could not get through to him ! Mid Argyll I HAVE often wondered if the people who came here from Ayrshire ever wished to go back to the old town of Ayr.BPH 282. that I bought from George Tedcastle Colquhoun who lived in Inverneill House. As the men had long hours on these boats it gave them a rest to lie down as they would be away again at 5.rise in his pay. gathering whelks. A Chief Constable in the past in Lochgilphead came to the Post Office corner and told the men to move along. "You have got yourself a good job and you are taking care of it. The day they came to collect it I painted it a lovely shade of blue. The local name for him was Garry Owen (he was the main horse-racing correspondent in the good old Daily Record). The job was given to an old fisherman and the wages were £1. The company had previously decided to appoint a night watchman. One old man said. "My. got in to conversation with her and told her she was going to get a house for two months in Largs. so the old man said. He said to me one "I am jealous of you. Everybody depends on the tax-payers." The lady said. not knowing who David MacBrayne was spoke to him and told him he could not go aboard the boat.30. His nickname was Tricky. The other lady told her she was going to do the same thing and told her the house she was going to rent for four months. MacBrayne's today don't have a Mr MacBrayne. David said he owned the boat. that is a beautiful house you are going to rent.
and visitors from all over the country would have helped to keep the Western buses running. The palm trees that are planted three miles past Inveraray on the Glasgow road. Just come and look at lovely 40 . These make interesting talking points for people who come to our beautiful Argyll. This must have been the most talked-of thing at the time as you look up and see the thousands of tons of stones that spewed down the mountain side after the impact. are called the Victoria Gardens. they were put there to commemorate Queen Victoria's visit to the town and how well these trees have grown since she was here.
going up through Inveraray to the top of the hill on the Dalmally road and looking across at Ben Cruachan. Yes. The big Island at Stonefield. What a beautiful place to stay ! Up at Minard we have the Crarae Gardens nurtured by Sir G. Going up to Kilmartin and seeing all the old stone-age remains of the people who landed here thousands of years ago. We in the Shipwrecked Mariners . containing exotic trees from all over the world. Surgery Hours. I went round the village and most of the people thought it a great idea. The Minister at Furnace wrote in his book all about the fishing and I have a copy of it here. after the muggings and murders of last year. This is indeed magnificent scenery. The pavements laid by our engineer John Smith are a lasting monument and will be there for ever and for all to use as you walk this path from Lochgilphead to Ardrishaig. she was entitled to her own opinion even if she was wrong. Hector Walker who was in the AVIA Committee said this would be a good back-up to get it going. Well. He was responsible himself for the payment of this and what a boon that has been to our village. The Spanish couriers are over here now trying to attract Scots back to Spam. It would be proof that the people wanted it. the first person in the surgery was Mrs White. Dr MacKenzie advised what would be the best thing to do. If they read this they will say put a contract out on that man Hamilton. Hector Walker met him at the village hall and he had a talk with him and Mr Shankland let him see our petition. you get the view as far as the eye can see to the Arran shore. Dr MacKenzie was the Session Clerk in the Ardrishaig Parish Church for 25 years and his wife Pat leader of the Junior Sunday School for 15 years. I went along to the surgery the first day it opened. the lady who refused to sign the petition to bring it in to being. I thought it would be a good idea if we could get some signatures to back up the request for such a medical service. and the loch going through the big tunnel to the Hydro Station and away out to Connel. You can drink the water in any burn. Mull Dhu and Inverneill. There is an arboretum too. Campbell and now his son Sir llay Campbell. The AVIA tried to get Hugh MacDonald's old shop for this project but it was turned down. except one woman who did not sign the petition. Mid-Argyll is a marvellous place for people to come and have a holiday and you can go in any direction and have aweinspiring views. It was a fishing village as well." Well. Ardrishaig AS no surgery hours were held in Ardrishaig. I let powers that be see we had a case. Mrs Pat MacKenzie is Secretary of the RNLI and her committee is one of the best in Argyll.000 feet high—Solachaig.Loch Awe. So this is how we have a surgery hour in Ardrishaig. and there you cannot drink the water. humorous man. We as local residents appreciate all that we have going for us. summer or winter. Come and spend autumn in lovely Argyll. Well. and Laggan. Its mountains 3. Jimmy Shankland said: "Some Lord will be coming to Ardrishaig to have a look at this. Mr Middleton keeps his boat in the burn and gets an odd fish in the season but does pilot work for any boats going to the Quarry. he did arrive at Ardrishaig. Well. I am sure the people themselves look after one another. he is destroying our advertising campaign. They have both played their part in the life of the village and happily they are still with us. then again in September and October you get the changing colours of the leaves. May and June they have the most dazzling display of flowers. I sat for some years at Presbytery with him and found him a chatty. the old net stances were there for 100 years. When you look down the loch. so Dr MacKenzie got Archie Cunningham's old butcher's shop up in Bay View. you can walk up the streets in Lochgilphead and the road from Ardrishaig to Lochgilphead in complete safety. lo and behold. April. He agreed it was a good case. A number of sheets were filled and 430 people agreed we needed this service. The wonder of seeing beautiful Oban Bay from Pulpit Hill and looking across to Mull with the high bens and lovely lochs is surely something not to be missed or quickly forgotten. some of their kinsmen were here already and lie at the bottom of the Sound of Mull that has concealed the secret of the Spanish Galleon since shortly after the Armada.
Society are the after-care people—like the midwives of the County. 41 . We follow up after the lifeboatmen have done their part.
Today we have everything done for us. I am sure the yachtsmen will agree you can get something to go with the water in Tobermory. 2. food. world from the beginning and this must have been their mainstay. Tobermory is a lovely little place with a very good harbour." After being at the fishing in the Minch. then through the canal on Saturday night and Sunday. over on the Clyde to Ardrishaig Lighthouse. You would think that would be enough to turn our stomachs. Can you wonder at it ? Apart from listening. and I'm sure most doctors are lip readers and wear ear plugs because there is no way they can listen to it ! They say that doctors are the highest risk group for alcoholism in the country. When we go out for a meal we start with soup. usually bull's arse. I have not heard any crop of bananas yet in Tobermory. Argyll. frost and snow. After this is ice cream straight from the freezer. then fish. It is hard to imagine how these early human beings managed to live and survive. only what they could improvise themselves. looking at the water coming out the pump: "There will be bananas growing here before I come back. 42 . Fish have been in . transport and shelter is all everybody needs. The first leg of the race is from Hunters Quay at Dunoon. it's the form-filling that's driving them round the bend ! Well. it being such a good place and the warm fire in the "Mishnish. an excellent watering place. Their ancient culture and way of life seems to us today to be something to be wondered at. They had set days and fast days. even just to stay alive must have been difficult.Minard fishermen in 1934 Minard A site at Brendon Point at Minard is reputed to be the oldest and the most ancient neolithic site in Great Britain. followed by the main course. followed by chocolate mints and coffee with cream. I am sure old Bob never made it back. These people had none of these. the people of Brendon Point. The boats sail with the first tide on Monday morning from Crinan to Tobermory on the Island of Mull. Mull and Insurance AT the moment it is the yachtsmen who bring the most trade to the canal. Food must have been very scarce and what we eat in a day must have been their rations for a week. We understand tides because we have tide tables and the wind because we have aneroid barometers. It is all very well to live in various parts of Africa but up here with the cold. just along from the Castle at Minard. had a way of life and could tell the time and seasons of the year.000 went through last year and they enjoy a very busy and happy time in the race which takes place each year on the first Saturday of Glasgow Fair. Maybe our modern food is killing us. The doctors are sick to death listening to complaints following this binge. year out. but we carry on this ritual year in. rain. We have had the wireless for the last 60 years and the TV with the large maps of the British Isles showing us the daily weather forecast." Well. and I'm sure more fast days than anything else. one old fisherman said.
" Well. not only the one in the bottle. Now it is damaged and it is not insured. Father. I think I would like to come back as a cockerel. we had a very good relationship and the years I served with him in the church were very happy ones. the farmer up above the village. I . At the National Mod in Inverness someone asked the Chief Constable if the Gaels were behaving themselves. "John." The three days at the Mod is just an endurance test. Forsyth. "I misjudged that boy. His wife and ten children were at his bed and the priest was giving him the last rites. it has a spirit all of its own. you will burn up like a moth in a candle flame. The Muchart minister said John would be proud that day to know his four elders came hundreds of miles today to carry him to his last resting place. Even if it is only once a year the moth-balls come out of the kilts and jackets the ladies' sashes and dresses are given an airing. said: "This new jean-wearing generation are neither eating the salt herring nor chewing the tobacco. so if you insure one thing you are better off insuring the other !" One man who insured his life was lying dying. The minister from Muchart Church and John's minister friend from down Galloway sat and talked about him in the church service just as if John had left them for a short visit somewhere. Mr John Ross. "You will never get up near it. "Well. I told Mr Ross I was not fit for this job. we are going up to the sun !" The Yank turned on him and said. He went down to stay in Isle of Whithorn. Old Mr Black. He said "There are no Gaels in the jails. against present trends of all the jean setters and tight trousers. what would you like to be in another life ?" "Oh now. He said: "Father. we will just carry on till the two good men who are going to fill our shoes arrive. We remember him as he chased us more than anybody else. it is the only meeting of Highland people that is left. I had bought that car in Inverness to make a large profit in it. my dear. "Are you going to Portree ?" "Yes" he said." The wife who was listening to him at the end of the bed said. "We are not worrying about that. Only one man was standing beside his car as the snow was coming on heavy '. said. My old friend up in Tongue. Some years later John died at his daughter and son-in-law's home near Doune. We are going up at night !" I went to the National Mod for 20 years with a very fine man who belonged to Mull. The old man could stick it no longer and said: "We are not bothering about going to the moon. Why bother to look for one single sheep that is lost ?" One boy put up his hand and said: "Mr Hamilton." Mr Ross took a heart attack and had to retire from the church. worked the farm for many years and it looked like a model place. Margaret and I went down to stay a week-end with him and his good lady. Big Johnnie Russell." He said : "I am not worried about my life. "You are a lucky man to have escaped out of that car with your life." Peter Gilchrist and Archie Gilchrist DCM were of another old family in the village and the family are still here." On the road up to Skye in 1950 I encountered 12 cars and lorries in the ditch. "I said to him. you cannot come back as the same thing twice !" Sunday School I WAS appointed the Sunday School Superintendent just as the new minister. Nothing else in the country is like the National Mod. I went along with three other elders to his funeral service at Muchart Church about three miles from Dollar. Taking the class one Sunday I said to the boys. do you believe in reincarnation ?" "Yes. The old fisherman said. you see my life is fully insured. Then we will both be on the buroo. "Why should the Shepherd go looking for lost sheep? He has 99 safely in the fold. Sutherland. He said: "I am not fit to be in the pulpit either and. if you did come back John. jump in. it was not a lost sheep he was looking for he was looking for a tup. I sent him some parcels from South Africa during the war and he used to say to his family. but you might not come back in the same form. he died a number of years ago and he is still sadly missed.The story goes about the old Mull fisherman in the bar. A Yank was laying off about the marvellous space programme the Yanks had accomplished and we British were so far behind. it is definitely a great gala of the tartan of past glories. what a beautiful place to retire to. arrived from Gigha. but the general air and friendly atmosphere generated by all who attend it.
next Archie Kenneth and Archie Gilchrist DCM. 43 . It was said they sent a copy to Hitler and when he saw the might of the Home Guard he decided to forget about invading Scotland.have a picture taken during the war of the march-past of the Ardrishaig Home Guard led by Captain Bob Gargan. followed by big Tom Johnstone and Donald MacBrayne.
They are all still with us and are a credit to this lovely old couple. inviting all to it." nowadays they call it credit. and Tarry Jocks. and David Craig who ran the West Coast buses. He said. at the bridge at Cairnbaan. Old Sandy Fleming. another old household name. Tommy Tyson.Archie MacVicar was Chief Engineer in MacBrayne's boats and knew everybody in MacBrayne's fleet. She had a large hand which she told me she got from knocking the doors to collect "tick. Alister was a writer and correspondent. Ponfrey was the local watchmaker and had been in business about 100 years. They lived along the front street beside Jamieson's paper shop. "Dictatorship is the best form of government !" Sara McBrayne looked after the village hall where all things happened." Archie Arnold was the head baker with Hugh MacDonald. "all the high head ones" were still undecided on the right way to inform all the people. As boys we used to cycle down to see him on a Sunday. They came from Luing. Open up the doors. you have been down there long enough. She looked on the hall as if it was her own. He looked after his mother in later years. Sheena his wife. so I went to the meeting to see what they were going to decide about this very important matter. the local paper. Mrs MacDonald was in the Argyll Hotel for over 40 years and was noted for her . the West Coast man's bible. were kindness itself. and a chip also ! General Sir Fredrick Campbell stayed in Tigh Rudha. preacher and teacher for many years in the Church of Scotland. In Lochgilphead the McGilps had a bakehouse beside the Stag Hotel. We called him "Sandy Also. As you know. If any woman deserves to walk in to heaven it is Mrs Currie—and she will be carrying a tea-pot to help somebody ! They had a large family—four boys and two girls. he often stayed with my old friend Alec Paton who was blind for the last 26 years of his life. shop along beside the police station. I think she was 98 when she died. Mr and Mrs Jimmy Currie. Ian Campbell. The grief and pain you have when you lose a friend is unbearable. arrived with his mother and father in Tayvallich when he was only three months old. but as everybody does not buy a local paper that was no use. and once you have got them in the hall lock the doors. Sandy McNab. As they say in these parts. He was on his way to the National Mod when he passed away. I have taken his advice. explain about the 50 houses then tell them it is a secret. the MacDonalds. He had been in India for many years. nobody is left to take after them." he was said to ask for a fish.000. Some years ago a large company suggested building 50 new houses in the next village. He was a great sportsman in his youth and told me one day he stood on top of three Munros in one day." Yes these are the people who set an example to us in our young lives. or the Oban Times. These meetings were only held once a year or every second year. He was gamekeeper in Inverneill to Colonel Campbell for about 20 years. let them out and in 10 minutes all the village will know ! Old Friends WELL. His wife Jessie spent all her years looking after him and we lost a great friend when he died. cycle and wireless shop. worked all week and ran the Shiloh Hall and gave a gospel message along their own lines every Sunday. Her shop is now the tourist agency. The Good Lord said to Mrs Holden: "Come on in. After a long discussion they still were not clear how they could be sure that everybody in the village would know about this project. William Smith was the local painter. Mrs Buchanan had the fruit and veg. His great friends were Lord Gainford and all the shooting fraternity up and down Argyll. whether to put it in the Squeak. Anybody passing here will be roasted. This was run by Findlay McGilp and his sister served in the shop. as well as an elder. they are all hills over 3. So up stood a local Councillor and he told them to call an extraordinary meeting. A notice in the close at Duggie McGilps said. and her young son who is with the Forestry Commission. How can anybody write about a village and miss out the Bakers. but I try to think Alister has only caught an earlier train than us. the gamekeeper. we must say a few words about our friends Alister Carmichael of Ford. When he was in Greenock. I miss him calling at our house by the shore where we had many happy days. Willie Holden. Mary Currie was a local shopkeeper along the front street. The village is the poorer when these people pass on.
One day I was in and she said. are you wanting a cup of tea?" So I sat down and she made a cup of tea and gave me two pancakes from a large basin filled with pancakes she had just made. "If you made them for me I would throw them at you !" "How is that ?" I said. "How are the pancakes?" and I said. A bus party was arriving for tea at 11 o'clock. "You have made them with salt instead of sugar !" "Oh. She said.hospitality and the marvellous Argyll trifles she made. "Forsyth. my God !" Somebody had filled the sugar crock with 44 .
followed by Mr Brown and it is now his daughter's shop. Mrs MacLeod and Mary Fletcher were in charge of the Cottage Hospital. Crinan. He was told again by another footman. Along the street was MacCallum's. Donald MacFarlane or Purley as he was well known. and the site is even now being developed." anybody asked for credit. who made many fine clothes for all round Mid-Argyll. If you had measles. If you happened to have scarlet fever they came and took you away at night with a candle on each side of the horse carriage. "No tick here. a local man from an old family. Just before the dinner was due to start he was met by a footman who said. John McLarty had a garage at the back of the post building until the local council had it taken over for offices. Miss Cathie MacCall was a grocer in Lochgilphead. The two garages were run by John Brodie. ran the Jersey Dairy along with his sisters. She is just through the canal today with a customs boat towing her down to the Clyde. He had an old clock with no hands up on the wall. The Institute was also the billiard room and the main hub of activity in the middle of the town. with her wee shop next door to MacBrayne the Ironmonger. The Handa and the Brenda were the smaller boats of MacBrayne's fleet. made to make the passage through the canal. followed by John Mitchell. "when I left Lochgilphead I had not received any official notice to stay away !" He was a great character and . mumps or crabs they just left you at home ! I think next in charge of the wee hospital was Matron Gillies. "You have not been invited. Mrs Manson was in the Victoria Hotel. Later I saw Findlay Maclver going round the back of the hotel to collect the batch of salt pancakes. I wonder how many champions we have missed ! Davis has some money invested up here. Ardunie and Easdale. Mr Crawford and I. she was a McGilp from Minard and ran a happy friendly hotel packed on market days. Willie Livingstone had the farm above Lochgilphead or the A and B Farm. The Mac Vicars were making kippers along the back street. also from an old. Some of the old stars in Mid-Argyll will be looking down at them growing. The gent's and ladies' clothes were run by Mr MacCallum. so Nan Brown keeps one of the old names still with us.salt. These men all did hard work filling coal into sacks and delivering round the town. Mr Adair and Mr Fleming were good friends and had a good share of the town's butcher business. M. calling at Cairnbaan Store." but the old Councillor walked in and sat down at the table. supermarkets with huge performance charts on the wall urging the staff to beat last year's records till they send the managers through the roof or round the bend. He said. The coal yards were run by Mr Bell. Now it is the centre stage of the television. You could always get a friendly smile and a wee chat from these folk. "Well. the tailor." he said. A big event was taking place up at Kilmory Castle and he had not been invited but that did not deter him and he arrived up at the Castle. In the old days one old Lochgilphead Councillor attended all the local functions and always enjoyed a good dram. and pointed at the clock. respected family and Thompson's coal yard. At one time a miller was over there making meal and coarse flour. In the old days. She had to start a new batch at once. They always said Findlay's pigs when they cut them up for ham were always salty. growing good wood for billiard cues. Mr McClullich. sister of Jim Gillies at Lochgair. something we rarely get in this world of high finance. Bellanoch. The last boat calling in here was the St Just with a load of cannabis on board. Maybe this is one of the reasons for the salt bacon ! Mr Kemp and his wife ran the tearoom in Argyll Street and next door was Mr Crawford. which is now the Spar grocers. It also was MacBrayne's store for Lochgilphead as the boats going through the canal with cargo. They had been brought up as children in Cairnbaan Hotel and knew all the local people and all the puffer-men and boat people going through the canal. The boats with the coal discharged up at Miller's Bridge. the grocers. Fleming. People who had been at sheep stealing or murder were reputedly hung on it. including old Duggie who was in the Billiard room for many years. The Drim Laundry was run by Mr Cuthbertson for many years and this is a facility we miss in Mid-Argyll today. billiards was looked down on. Ardfern. A tree along from the hotel was known as the hanging tree.
A wedding is much the same in that it would bring bad luck on everybody at the event. did you enjoy it?" If people were not fighting at weddings. you say.he said if you walk in backwards and anybody accosts you. there would be something wrong with them. Most folk at a wedding are half-drunk anyway and it is only the next day or week they say. you just say you are on the way out ! It is just like going to a wake when anybody asks who you are. 45 . "I saw you at the wedding. "I am a friend of the corpse" and nobody would dream of turning you away.
called him Mr Cope.and Duncan Campbell from Castleton.At every wedding the ladies are kitted from the skin out. His pony always in good condition and I remember my mother always kept bread for the pony." The old pub in Lochgilphead was called the Comm and was run for many years by Mr MacGregor or "Wee MacGregor. doing or taking this job. If people are not going to be apprenticed to these old trades—joiners. The teetotallers who did not drink it washed their corns and chilblains with it. The bride's father still pays for the wedding but this old custom seems to be dying out all over the country. worked for many years up at the bakehouse. even if we have 3. that is the Ardrishaig men. More Old Friends Another general merchant and fruit seller was Willie Brodie and his good lady who looked after his shop up Argyll Street. tried it. Most men go in the same suit. "Rome was not built in a day. He was an expert at his job.000 unemployed. Mungo. is also out there. Hugh. I am Mr Neil MacCallum. Their business was taken over by Carl Menzel. Two men who traded in Ardrishaig were Jimmy and Briney Hughes who collected sheepskins and sold dishes and crockery. Being a local boy. MacCallum. His grandson is now the manager of the canal. Their store was below Dickson's Land just beside our stair. a distance of about 18miles." "No. cycled each day from Silvercraigs to work either in Ardrishaig or Lochgilphead. We have lost these good men. "that maybe. and sometimes penny packets of sticks. year in. He served his time in the blacksmith's shop by the canal and learned all the other jobs that blacksmiths do in their trade. He came to Ardrishaig twice a week selling fruit and veg. Ayrshire and all over Argyll and the West Highlands. year out. A Glasgow visitor had heard these names and not knowing he was Mr N. At that time they kept Airedales. I cannot see anybody today. The West Coast of Scotland suffered in the big gale of 1968 when slaters could not be found to repair the houses damaged in Glasgow. Mr MacArthur had a shop and bakehouse not very far from the quarry. very large dogs and very good watchdogs. boat-builders—nobody will be left to repair anything. but I was not the foreman then ! "This good old business is carried on by his son and grandsons still up at Furnace and they are still a household name in Mid-Argyll. who were slaters and plasterers. Somebody once said to him. Some of the whisky that came ashore on the SS Politician on Barra's rocky shore (which incident inspired Compton Mackenzie to write Whisky Galore) came down the canal and a good number of the Pointers. He was known all over the Clyde by yachtsmen and puffermen. Export quality as smooth as silk. The majority of people who have had the job before have been Indian civil servants. and if you have a kilt it lasts all your lifetime. Betty's father was the Mr Ferguson. Mary's brother Johnnie. he is in the right place. was the verdict. the baker. He said: "I am not Mr Cope." he said. and could not stand to be idle a moment in his life. Mister Joper." Many a tale was told in the Comm on market days and any other ." "I am sorry. Both of these men had been badly wounded in the 1914 war. far removed from the workings of this local canal. My father's cousin's husband. and delivered rabbit hampers even as far up country as Craignish. He cycled to Furnace on the Sunday evening and stayed up at MacArthur's till the Friday then cycled back. also rabbit skins. they are both now in Australia with their family. who was affectionately known as Johnnie Day. Neilie McCallum was the lock-keeper at the entrance to the canal at Ardrishaig. Big Neil was liked by all and he lived to the ripe old age of 90 years." said Neil. with the men getting a new shirt and new tie occasionally. They had their lunch with us most days they were in the village. "I recognise your face by seeing your name in the Squeak. who was married to my cousin Betty. Another nature cure ! Neilie MacCallum also. "I am not that either. like my father. and high quality tradesmen they were. Furnace employed a large number of people in the quarry." "Well. He employed many people and he himself was the foremen. do your heart good to get a dram of it. plumbers. One great man in mid-Argyll in the building trade was Mungo Sinclair.500. who cycled up to work at Furnace and I hear from them at Christmas. This is general all over Scotland. Mr Ferguson. had two nick-names. One old lady at Craignish said to Jimmy one day.
occasion that drouthy neighbours chanced to meet. a Tarbert gentleman. and her family are still here with her. His place was taken over by a Mr and Mrs MacKenzie. Colin and John MacEwan. MacBrayne's agent in Ardrishaig was Mr Ellard and he was followed by Mr Colin Wilson. as Burns put it 200 years ago. ran the cargo steamer from the office on 46 . Mr MacKenzie passed away many years ago but Mrs MacKenzie has just retired last year after giving years and years of service to the public. while many a women was left at home to nurse her wrath. with Malcolm Galbraith and Duncan MacBrayne.
crates and everything delivered by sea. The Hotel is now run by Mrs Jean Blanford. he went to Inveraray with his father and mother and the rest of the family. Neil Vernal. the farm now occupied by Gilbert Black. Kilmartin is one of the old villages in Argyll. This old hotel has kept its 19th century atmosphere. brought up in Kilmichael Glen. was landlord for about 40 years and was a great source of knowledge on horses. The Kilmartin Hotel has always been a popular place.the pier. I think he is still using that net I made for him out of red Courylene so it has given them some service." We made the net and he telephoned to say that one day he had pulled out of the river 900 salmon. One old man on the river said he steeped his worms in good whisky the day before he set out to fish. born in what was known maker's lane. He spent many hours looking at the River Add and its pools where some of the best salmon you have ever seen have come up from the sea at Crinan. They are still coming but in lesser numbers. which was one of the best estates in Mid-Argyll. who was also secretary of the AVIA and a staunch member of the Free Church. as the dates have faded over the years as rain. she is a dog breeder and has competed at the great dog shows at Crufts. or very good whisky ! The estate is now run by Robin Malcolm who is also one of the local councillors and lives in Duntrune Castle. He was 60 inches round the chest and 85 inches at the waist. Her uncle went to South Africa and was employed by De Beers. The pier master at this time was Mr MacNair. His son was Lt-Col George Malcolm. David joined the missionary service and gave a lifetime of service in the mission field. His nickname was Big Willie the Lion. Ardrishaig's missionary son was David Chalmers. She runs the hotel in a very friendly way and has a great trade in both bar and food. If you are at Crinan you look across to this very old castle on me shores of Loch Crinan. a Paisley man. He bred them and was horse judge all over country. How he ever managed to bend down and shoe the horses I do not know. He was one of the first men to be running the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. as the bar is still . his father was also a big man and he was called the Lamb ! Harry Campbell. In the last 20 years they stayed next door to one another in Ardrishaig. Every bag of sugar and bag of salt passed through their hands. Mrs R. It is called the Lachlan Miller Memorial Hall. John Hamilton. I am sure she would be the last person they would have expected to meet in that place. Funny thing is. When he put them on the hooks and dropped them in the pool by the river and a big fish came up to them they had so much courage with the whisky they caught the salmon by throat ! Some worms. Johnnie McKellar. followed by Mr William Bruce. He left a sum of money so that Kilmichael village could build a hall. Gargan was a Miller. He was killed by the natives out in New Guinea which was a sad end to a man who gave so much in Christian service to others. the great diamond people. People want to come back to their roots and give something to their homes or villages. a good team of men who gave a great service to the whole community. His father was a stone-mason and was employed by the Duke of Argyll. Captain Robert Gargan was along with a party of troops when they arrived in Archangel in Russia where Miss Thompson was the matron of the British Military Hospital and gave them a great welcome. Mr Thompson was the old Auchendarroch estate manager. When we were running the Boys' Boxing Club in Ardrishaig he gave us great support for the young lads and both he and his lady wife supplied prizes for the boys who were competing. One stone in the churchyard has a date 1027 and other stones maybe older. cycles and perambulators. frost and snow have eroded the stone. The village of Kilmichael had a blacksmith they called Jumpy. The owner of this fine river in those days was Sir Ian Malcolm of Poltalloch Estate. Not many people can say they caught a lorry load of salmon in one day. Bunny Bruce and Coney or Walter MacEwan were employed on the pier. After being in Ardrishaig till he was eight. He had a big family and four of the girls were Queen Alexandra Nurses during the first world war. He telephoned me one day to ask could I make him a net "that will be strong enough to pull out clods of earth or pull stobs out of the river along with the salmon. He was another character of the village.
These things are deadly weapons and they are thrown freely when most people who throw them must be near the limit ! The Cairn Restaurant in Kilmartin is famous for good food. One thing that always puzzles me is why bars and public houses have dart teams. Mr Thompson attends to all that come to the Cairn. Lochfyne. His father was Mr Leitch of Tarbert who was the famous sailmaker in Tarbert and his grandson is carrying on the sailmaking in Tarbert. with his good lady.the same as it was all these years ago. ran Cairnbaan Hotel for many years. He is now retired. A Tarbert man said to the old sailmaker: "Although you are 60 years in Tarbert you are still not a Tarbert man !" He said: "How grateful I am !" 47 . Mrs Thompson is the cook and she is a real expert at the cooking. His father-in-law is Mr Willie Leitch who.
rhododendron grower and collector—I believe he has 3." One brother was the undertaker and the other had a motor hearse. "They are not burying a living soul in it these days !" Nobody wants to be first in the new graveyard. or I will toss you double or nothing. as the old song goes. who worked with me here at the kippering shed. minus the gold-diggers. "You better hold him down. it makes us wonder why we have to pay the same taxes as the folk in the South. as that is all it was—maybe helped Fisons or other large firms employed in fish meal and fertilisers. An old saying in Mid-Argyll was "MacBrayne's for the Highlands and MacLarty for the cemetery. and it is hoped to be ready by summer '87. We are sitting on a gold mine. The big catches—or the herring massacre. pinks and all the beauty to be seen here. with all its trials and frustrations and disappointments. One old man ran up to the grave and said. He told me he had installed an air pump to blow up tyres: "6d a time. yellows. makes life worth living. Mr Kenneth has some of the gold that was produced here. but it looks to me in 1985 it was more like a mackerel in the net ! It still needs to be sorted and when we see the waste of government money on other projects. The heavy landing in Mallaig. This job would be hard work with the pick and shovel with no JCB or mechanical diggers in these far-off days. our departure will be arranged in the same way. I am sure the £2 a cran was a disgrace and the fish meal fishing was another reason for the large fall-off in the herring fishing in the Clyde and North Sea. It is quite clear to me. told me his father was employed at these diggings.The Garage at Kilmartin was run by Mr Craigie who was there for 40 years. Everybody believes we are going to a better place but nobody wants to die so this wicked old world cannot be so bad after all. We do not know the secret of the Master Plan and in given time all will be revealed." he would say—but would always win the toss. My near neighbour here is Mr Archie Kenneth who has a gold mine on his estate. Stronachullin and Kilfinan were being worked about the same time and a considerable amount of gold was produced during the time they were being worked. I believe the reef runs from the bay below his house to Kilfinan. Forestry and Fishing IN 1959 I was asked to go to Lochgair hotel to represent the forestry and fishing at a meeting with MP Michael Noble. Thank goodness work has started on a new road. the bottom fell out. Everybody who has met him must be charmed by this unassuming man with the strong handshake and great knowledge of nature. This road is in Dunbartonshire but need I remind anybody it is the Argyll people who use it in these days. He is also a botanist of international renown and . At that time forestry men were getting £5 a week and fishermen were getting £2 a cran for herring or roughly 10/(50p) a box of seven stone. We talked with him for two hours and were successful with the forestry men but not the fishermen. as I have already written about birthdays. Gairloch. and a good number of men from Ardrishaig were employed on this project. Ullapool and Stornoway depleted the south and north Minch. Known as the gold reef. I remember asking Michael Noble about the state of the Loch Lomond road. Gold is one precious metal that has been responsible for more man's greed than anything else. As the weather was bad when he died they just buried him at the old graveyard at Carsaig Bay. Loch Lomond is beautiful but we would see the scenery better if we weren't trying to get round the bends on it that are real circular tour. The old graveyard over there is now closed and as one old fellow said. The future is not ours to see. Both these mines. or he will make off for Kilberry!" Kilberry is nearly 30 miles away. the rich reds. "Is it not time you got a government grant to get it sorted ?" He told me it was in the pipeline. it runs across the loch for about 4½ miles. Tayvallich.000 varieties growing on his hillside garden and they are a delight to see in the early spring. After the minister had said the last prayer and they lifted the coffin. Once the hearse was polished they said people were dying to get in to it ! On one occasion an old man died over at Tayvallich but he wanted buried at Kilberry. Neil MacEwan. He is a piping expert and judge. Petrol is £2 a gallon and if the road was sorted it would save time and petrol. Sera. Que Sera. and we seem to be pre-destined to arrive.
Shaw is the other shepherd. "How are you getting on in there. a job he took over from his father and will have been on the estate since he left the school." I said. My car was in for repair last week and Archie picked me up and took me back to the wee croft house I am now living in. being 43 years in his service. 48 . Forsyth ?" "Oh. "We have two fires going so it is easy heated.an expert on the flora of Argyll." "You are lucky. I am living in a freezer !" He has a large house and like all big houses it is hard to heat. He said. Mr A. Donald Robertson is one of Archie Kenneth's shepherds. Angus Graham is the farm manager.
One boy said. I went to deliver milk to an old man and his wife. as she as teaching in Ardrishaig School. Donald McSwan said. or Maggie Toss as they called her." After Neil finished. the postman Ian Hamilton (another cousin of mine) arrived saying. Ardris Haig The minister. He married a lady from Rothesay." Well. Swan kept the women-folk of this country thrilled each week with her very human stories. When he called at the kipper shed we were as surprised as he was to hear his story. The other boy who was with me was Farquar MacKinnon. Four months passed and I had forgotten all about the floats. We used this story for the Sunday School. The boy was wondering what sort of place Ardrishaig was and had a life-long ambition to come and have a look and see what sort of people lived in it. sold milk around Ardrishaig. as Wee Mary was called in Gaelic. Neil's lorry had not very good brakes and one morning it was in the big lane three-quarters way up and as I got in it started to move.Milk Carts As a young boy I was milk boy with Mr Neil MacNeil. telling the children about keeping promises and the promise made to us in the good book . who . As the man's name was Haig. I knocked the door about 8 o'clock and this old man opened the door. and they emigrated to America where they had one son. I was milk-boy with Taylor of Nether Largie Farm. Maggie Sinclair. Every time I think of him I am remembering the great old writers in the People's Friend. "Here's a parcel with glass in it. then went away to Glasgow to serve his time as an engineer. but everybody regarded her as a witch and if they stopped the milk she might put a spell on you. Mr Ross. is it drinkable ?) The parcel had five small dark green floats in it sent as he had said. Ardris Haig and his wife stayed with us. Dunamuck Farm. I pulled the wheel round to save it going all the way down the brae and going over the shore.came the foreman mechanic at the forestry engineer shop at Cairnbaan and who tragically died at the age of 59. He had kept his promise. as was Donald MacSwan." (Most folk would ask. and this was the son. Also at that time my cousin Willie Hamilton was another boy employed. His father had been born and brought in Ardrishaig. My hand went through the windscreen and gave me a bad cut on the thumb. They took me along to the local chemist who put three stitches in it. when this man arrived he had an unusual story to tell us. I asked him if he was by his nickname. "My goodness. Neill said: "I will need to get these braes sorted. and Peter Ciarella who owns Burgh Electrics in the Square. Two of his milk-boys in Lochgilphead were Willie MacCallum. he called the boy Ardris—Ardris Haig after the village Ardrishaig. this being the man's nickname. She is buried over at Kilmory beside her mother at the small graveyard beside the Red Lodge gate. Mary Bheag's shop. It landed in a shop window in the lane. Many people took the milk but did not drink it as Maggie was not too clean. He told us that he was an engineer up in Alaska and they flew along the beaches and sometimes landed and collected smaller glass floats of the Japanese fishing fleet and he would send us a few when he went back. He enjoyed meeting all the people that called that day and seeing our way of life in the village. Annie S. ask him if he is Mr so-and-so. She was always on foot and maybe sold about a couple of gallons a day as I am sure that would be all she would be able to carry on her rounds. needless to say he jumped out the door at and I made off as fast as I could. Peter's daughter lives in Ardrishaig and one day. he must be as old as Methuselah !" Peter MacArthur was another milkman in Lochgilphead and was well known as he was one of the old MacArthur family that had been around Lochgilphead for many years. standing in his pink drawers. and to this day there is nobody with this name that we know of. Well. Mr Taylor was very good to us as boys. but lo and behold. telephoned me one day to say he was sending a man down to see me as "you are the local encyclopaedia. He was judge at most of the sheep-dog trials all over the country and was also a very good competitor and was very fair in his judgements. she told the class that 60 years ago her father was in this same class-room. Before he went away we gave him a green float that the men used on the cod nets. Neil MacEwan would be about 77 at this time and he had been born in the village himself and could not remember anybody of this name. Isle of Bute.
who was the harbour master up in Lerwick. Ardris has now passed on. but his good lady is still alive and her card and Christmas gift have arrived here again this year. We kept up with the Ardris Haig's for these last 15 years. Margaret asked then it they had any family and she said 49 .or the Code for the Good of Life. was in one day and saw the glass floats so we gave him one as he had been in Alaska and in the whaling fleets with Salvesen's. Captain Willie Inkister. Shetland.
John Groves. Canal squad at the Ardrishaig sea lock in 1931 The canal men themselves were a great help to everybody. Mr Neil Gillies was foreman before big Jimmy Campbell who was foreman for about 35 years. The sea lock at Ardrishaig The Canal The canal managers who held all the power of hiring and firing. Mr Tatten. He was also secretary of the Rechabites and Foresters Insurance 50 . Mr Ely.one boy and he had passed over. were Mr Thompson. and all the people before us. Mr Davidson and Mr Walker. When you keep an open house as we have done. In their day and generation they occupied the big houses above the canal basin from which they could see anybody going out and in the canal yard and if you left the yard a minute before 5. So father and son have passed over and have caught up with the man from Ardrishaig who gave them this village name. He was also Session Clerk of the Church of Scotland and knew everybody in the village and every boat and crew member. My Uncle John was 20 years as the canal diver before Mr Bly put him on the canal staff and many other men were similarly treated. you may be entertaining angels. Some men worked on the canal for 20 years and never were put on the staff.30pm you would be on the carpet the next morning.
when cleaned up they looked just like new. The salmon subject is very similar to the lobsters. They were so beautifully made. The thin stuff is the worst and will cut you in half along the waterline if you are going at any speed. Canal diver Peter Campbell The old steam dredger on the canal did a power of work on the canal. They depend on any of the steel boats or Caley MacBrayne boats coming down to break it.Organisations. "That man talked for a quarter of an hour and he still has told us nothing. "Are you getting any?" they say they are not on yet and if you ask a little later they say they are past. Today we don't have an ice breaker. As they walked away my wife was behind the hedge and heard them say. Nobody here ever catches a salmon— it catches itself." 51 . I remember telling two men about salmon smoking. Jimmy lived in a more modern age. milk and messages to all the lock-keepers en route to Crinan. He and Peter Campbell went over to Crinan each day delivering papers. changing lock gates and keeping the canal dredged from one end to the other. He was followed in the foreman's job by a Tarbert man. Her design let her run up on top of the ice and her weight went through. The other old boat of a special design was the steam boat. Canal men at Crinan During the years 1930 to 1932 the new sea-locks were put on the canal. Jimmy Bain who I am glad to say is still with us. Ice is very bad on a wooden boat. When you ask. the Conway. She was designed with a bow like a landing craft and her job with the busy puffer trade was to keep the canal clear of ice. I remember seeing 9-inch brass screws taken out of the lock gates at Crinan that had been in the sea locks for nearly a hundred years. Nobody ever catches a lobster. Again a similarity is the smoking of salmon.
you would almost think it impossible for the birthday to be the same as a near relative. I even prayed for Jock. It seems to me to be a million-to-one chance not just one in 365. Stornoway Gazette and even the Daily Record. "We need a wee bit butter. the pipe-tuners from the Black Isle. In one year there are 365 days. He had tuned the pipes that had made the Germans tremble in the trenches. He was going to get his supplies of herring from Mallaig. Is there higher hand or a great predestined plan that we can not get together and understand ? Maybe on the day this is explained to us we shall see a simple solution but in the meantime the mystery remains. the two great resorts being Perth and Inverness of which they would tell you. but Jock knew nobody could tune the pipes better than his guid friend Pipe-Major Ronnie MacCallum. Oban Times. but we were short of fags and he was rolling cigarettes with horse's dung and mint— you could smell it all the way in to Inverness! We left Inverness with the piping medal and made our way back to Furnace and on arriving home Jock said: 'Get on the salt herring and potatoes. for he was the Piper to the Duke of Argyll. five miles outside of Kyleakin. "On the day. One story about them was during the last war." "Dan. One summer they went up to Inverness. The Travelling People SOME of these people have been in the village about 200 years. "You know that butter is on ration?" Well. and I am sure it providence is on your side that will influence the judges or bring a bad judgement down on them. Jock put his full effort in and it paid off. The tent had a wee leak and the water came in "before the bloody dream finished. Well. Everybody knew these people and in the same way everybody helped them." This tale reminds me of the TV advertisement: "It's got to be butter !" My father gave them a dog many years ago and they were walking him up and down the promenade at Ardrishaig. When Jock came on to play the judges were thunderstruck with the great clarity of the music. grandfather or uncle are all on the same day and the same goes for cousins. he left me after an hour and went up to Skye to start the kippering. you see my dear Jock has rid the pony all the way from ban and he has skinned his erse and its all red raw. I hadna time to steep .' "Well." The next time my father saw them they told him he was the best dog they ever got and they caught 14 couple of rabbits with him up at Furnace that first night. Out of the woman's cycle she should have a baby on any of the 365 that are available. the kippering shed is still there but after a year he packed it in. in Inveraray gave them 1/6 a couple so they did well. father. "Jock's great win was in all the papers. but she kent Jock would win the competition. He looks full of wind but we will soon knock that out of him. working on farms. their births tall on the same day. what do you call the dog ?" "Oh we call him Tuteach" [which means fart in Gaelic]. Mr Charlie Blair. Wick and as far away as Skye. She saw it all in a dream. He told me he enjoyed the experience and was very grateful for all the data I gave him. I told him I could tell him in five minutes all I knew about kippering. the woman traveller said. the butcher. I told him not to try it but that did not deter him. the Squeak. He jumped off the bus at lunch-time and asked me if I could tell him in one hour how to smoke and make kippers. This is something that nobody has been able to explain or even has any reasonable theory to its explanation. You could call it the summer migration." she said. They called at one local doctor's and as he was not in the wife had to attend them." she went on "there were fourteen judges at the big table— nine on either side! Men came from all over for this event. One party arrived down from Oban. "He is well named. Birthdays It seems a very strange thing to me that birthdays seem to coincide in families. He told them to "get going or these boys of mine will be out the school in ten minutes and they will know you have the dog. "It's the Hielan' capital!" They were always trying the piping competitions and in one competition the auld wife said she knew Jock would win. They were asking a wee bit of butter so she said. Just as well he did not play a long tune as his big drone was choked! I told him to stop the smoking a month before.One young man was conducting the buses up here. None better than him. gardens and doing general work for anybody. Well.
If Rabbie Burns was eating this doon in Ayr no wonder he was full of poetry. 52 . I put in a terrible night as the herring were so salty everyone wanted to drink and I was up and doon all night from the tent to the burn. tent to the bum till I was really exhausted! That was the last day I boiled the herring without steeping them.the herring to reduce the salt so we just boiled [hem as they were and in halt an hour they were ready and we had a braw teed.
My Goad. Yes." "Ony chance o' a fry of kippers fur ma tea ?" "Sorry. you canna buy that stuff. for that's the guts o' a black cat and he'll never want all his days as lang's he has the black cat gut marks on his heid. "Did they sew him up with bootlace ?" "Na. but it is not so humble nowadays and indeed it is getting very difficult to pursue the curing trade. I said." Well. One of the worthies called at the kippering shed and said. "He's that nosey." "Well." she said. na. "Brussels yae tell me. I looked at him. that boy." Sounds like a new medical breakthrough. and when it was done she looked at it and said." It must have worked all right because she is still around the place from time to time and she never had any more of a family ! When you are curing herring. He never liked them. He produced a bottle from his bag and I said. He's been at the neep thinning and they turnips send him sex mad. "Forsyth. "Have you not been to see the doctor about that ?" "Oh aye." Another day." I said. "What's the matter with the boy ?" I asked. you will be lying down for a month. I could go on at some length about the disruption to the curing industry that is caused by the stop/go fishing policies imposed by the . Ah don't know whit the world is comin' tae. Full-bodied and worthy laying down: if you take two glasses." "It's the sloes knocking hell out of the blackcurrants that does the trick. "Hoo are ye. you've aye been good tae us. Hamilton ?" I said. It's electric blue. "If I cover it with vaseline he'll never know. the sloes are very plump full and acid. He'll always be lucky. and we drink the other half to see that it's alright. ½ bottle vodka—its all ½ bottles you use. it would be fit them better to eat the damned Brussel sprouts than interfere wi' oor herring. it you take it going to bed you will never have worms. sultanas."We are looking forward to the spring so that we can get a good feed of the 'spout fish'—that's the fellows like wee dogs wetting on your leg !" The last saga in the travelling people took place this year in May 1985. when salting was about the only way of preserving perishable food. "How is that ?" "Well it's the EEC. He leaned oot ower the pram and tell oot and split his heid. due to the bad wet weather—they call it acid rain. Hamilton. I saw the doctor and he wanted to gie me a thing ca'ed a coil but I didna fancy that in case ma man got strangled in it like a rabbit in a snare. he wants tae see a' that's going on." I replied. a well-known regular travelling woman came in with a wee boy in a pram." I looked at the line of black stitches on his head and asked her. I had a puncture outfit and she did stick a patch on it. more like an electric shock. they sewed him up with catgut. piles. colostomy or flu. with quotas and fishing restrictions that mean that the fish are not being caught at the right times for the treatment needed to change them to kippers or for salting. ½ bottle rum. kippering and also preparing smoked salmon your products are truly universal." My travelling friend looked puzzled." Needless to say he has called a number of times since May and has had his usual fry of herring and told me he was making wine for our New Year. wifie. "and I've got a problem—a big problem and I wonder can you help me." "It's ma man. "EEC ? Who ur they and whit dae they dae ?" I explained it was the European Council who were stationed at Brussels. no herring can be fished till the 13th May. It must be good stuff with all those ingredients in it. yeast. "Not too bad. "What is it made from ?" "Oh just potatoes. The doctor up at the hospital sewed him up. and he had his forehead all stitched up." Here is big John's recipe for home brew. it spoils the trees. if it's something I can help you with I'll do what I can. sloes and they have been very late this year. meaning the sloes. He'saye the same efter the neeps. I called it the humble herring. I've got eight bairns already and he's coming home at the weekend and I'm no wanting any more bairns. You are catering for the palates of the prosperous with the salmon and the humble salt herring was the main diet of many Highland families in the not so distant past." "I don't really see that I can help you with that problem. "We add a ½ bottle of whisky. they make the rules for the Clyde. "It's some colour. If you have a bicycle puncture outfit maybe I could stick a patch on it. so he gave me a thing ca'ed a Dutch cap but it's got a hole in it.
I have never been asked by any of the latter to write letters on their behalf to their spouses in Barlinnie. After all. it is only fair to say that I probably know the travelling people a wee bit more intimately than the lairds. So it is that I may be talking about dukes and lairds at one moment and travelling people the next.authorities. but I will spare you that. Mind you. and indeed Scotland. because they are all people I know and have met. What I really wanted to indicate is that because of my trade I have customers covering the whole social structure of Argyll. and to read them the replies ! 53 .
He frequently waded across the River Clyde below the Glasgow bridge. Some years ago [wrote a correspondent to a newspaper some time before the turn of the century] we called attention to 'Willie' through your columns as a sturdy old warrior who still earned his living. "Willie was a great favourite in the village. He was. the contour of the hills in the background is traced. along with his brother-in-law. a distance of some 60 miles. "In the mid-1820s he. while looking through the family album of photographs.Death of A Notable Fisherman "ON Wednesday 5th inst. "very droll" and the children were afraid of him as he always carried a long hazel stick with a cloth wrapped round the top. had been a tramp who wandered the countryside. and oak intermingle and wave their luxuriant branches the passing breeze while the moaning of the waves is heard in dying echoes in the distance. passed them. as she described him. Mrs MacDougall the hotel-keeper. He remembered perfectly and could describe with accuracy and vividness the proceedings that took place in Ayr on the occasion of the jubilee of George the Third in 1809. It brought out his powers of endurance which characterised his long life of 92 years. Willie and his companions started on their journey without scrip or money. Lucania. pine. Such is a fitting place to rest when 'life's fretful fever is over'. that manly countenance on which were strongly marked honesty and stern integrity of purpose ? Many of the historical events which took place in the early part of the century he discussed with his valued friend. he requested that they . "The writer recollects Willie telling how he and some others started on a Sunday morning to walk barefoot from Glasgow to Ayr. He also attended school in Ayr along with the family of Sgt. he was a prominent figure on the pier transferring the Columba's baggage to the conveyances that carried it North. There was no idea then that any person would ever see sailing on its waters such vessels as the Campania. The luxurious mode of living the present generation adopted was not known in the day of Willie. William Hamilton and his relative James Law arrived at Ardrishaig with their families on board the skiff Sportsman to prosecute the herring fishing. She further informed me that he had been the man who was stabbed by the Spaniard." The Spanish Tramp ONCE. His funeral was large. "Alas ! He is gone and his remains were interred on Saturday the 8th in the churchyard of Inverneill beside his wife who was a near relative of Alan Ramsay the poet. she told me his name was Hugh McLellan and he had been a friend of my grandfather. paid regular visits and talked of the good old times. form now part of the small community in the village. Who will ever forget who saw him dressed in his blue bonnet with his snowy hair waving below. who are numerous. "William Bruce was born in the town of Newton-in-Ayr in the year 1801. representing all classes of the community. and their descendants. Lucerio Gonzalez by name. Provost Reid. (said to be in her 96th year) was a great favourite of his and. Spruce. This Spaniard. frugality and economy were the virtues to which they were trained and made the Scottish peasants the admiration of the world. William Bruce died at his son-in-law's house. who took the warmest interest in him. The course of a complaint made to the police in Lochgilphead by Sir Thomas Glen Coats of Achnamara House about Gonzalaz frightening people. The burying ground is on an undulating slope skirting the road to Ormsary and Lochead. The vale below is beautiful. raising their heads to the sky. and when she was a girl at school in Kilmartin the children sometimes met him when going to or coming from school. and the Ramilles. His brother George arrived sometime afterwards and they. obviously done in a studio. On enquiring of my mother who he was. and all the food or refreshment they had on the journey was a little meal mixed with water they got in a wayside house. Till the frailty of declining years overtook him. Ewart who captured the French Eagle on the field of Waterloo. The day was fine. he always muttered and grunted at them. I came across a picture of a policeman. and did that 60 miles. until his eyesight tailed him. she told me. Willie followed the calling of a seaman and fisherman and numerous were the stories he was in the habit of relating when going in the skiff with his father to sell herrings. When this man.
He appeared to agree but then uncovered the top of the hazel stick to which was attached half a sheep shear and attacked the constable. stabbing him several times. At Barnluasgan near the junction he found Gonzalez and quietly asked him to leave the area. 54 . A fierce struggle took place and the policeman was seriously wounded and rendered semi-conscious. Constable McLellan was sent to find the man and tell him to leave the area.make an effort to rid the district of this repulsive character.
After regionalisation and the amalgamation of the police forces there was a big clear-out of old records and disposal of old guns and weapons surrendered to or confiscated by the police. He made a short five minute "filler programme" which was shown on STV one afternoon. was in the museum and saw the spear and the story behind it. Quite a number of local people here saw it but I'm afraid I didn't as nobody told me anything about it. McColl ran back to the farm for a gun and fired a shot over their heads. There is a sequel to this story. This also was sent to complete the record. there wouldn't have been any story to make a programme about. who happened to be there at the time. Community Involvement Branch. He was taken to Lochgilphead and then to Dunoon.Hearing the shouting. Some time after this. of STV's Crime Desk programme. he was eventually overpowered and arrested. (This story was told to me by a good friend. It's ironic that. I came across a typed copy of the report of the assault and trial as reported in the Argyllshire Advertiser. came to see me and asked me if I would write down the story to have it along with the exhibit. About four years ago Bill Knox. son of the farmer at Barnluasgan. Gonzalez was tried in Dunoon and sentenced to be detained during His Majesty's pleasure as he was certified insane. Gonzalez was located in the morning and after a fierce struggle in which he attacked both constables with the spear. Word was sent to Lochgilphead and more police and a doctor came to the scene. when doing more research through old papers which were to be incinerated. would remain overnight at the farm and begin the search at daybreak. Neil McColl. and the postman Neil Blue. a fisherman all his life 55 . ran to the scene and. This I photocopied and sent to Dumbarton together with the photo from our album which my mother gave to me. McRae and McKenzie. seeing what was happening. The wounded constable was taken to the farm and then to hospital. Gonzalez thought that he was being fired at and ran off into the woods. The Chief Superintendent. 4th October 1905. As darkness had come down by then it was decided that the other two constables.) Old Bob MacGregor. They were going to destroy it when the sergeant decided to send it to the Police Museum at Dumbarton. Alan Begg. the hazel stick with the halt sheep shear was found with the original production label still attached. in a corner of the strong-room. Constable McLellan had received about 20 stab wounds and although several of them were very serious he eventually recovered and was able to resume duty as a member of Argyllshire Constabulary until his retirement. I was assisting the sergeant with this when. but for me. These items are there now for the public to see. After much research through old records I found Constable McLellan's old personal record with the information about his injuries and absence from duty.
42 Reg.20 tons .Duncan Blue.Smack. 34 Reg. Peter Thomson. Norman Sinclair. Mary Scott .Alex Harper. The quarries at Crarae and Furnace did a lot of trade in stone setts.John Morrison. Archie Nicol. Donald Dewar. John Duncan. John Leitch. 56 . Catherine and Isabella . John Sinclair.James MacGilp. Hope .Archie Campbell.Neil Campbell. Smack . Grace .Hugh MacEwan. Colin Leitch.Smack. Tons . as they paved the streets of Glasgow with them. the Peril and the Renown Boats and Owners THE boats I have listed here include some which were at the fishing with drift nets. MacNab.Lochgilphead boats. Janet .John Mitchell. Lachlan MacGregor. (2) Smack 30 Reg. Angus Fletcher. Silvercraigs.38 Reg. Tons . John Mitchell. Archie McEwan. 25 Reg. John Fletcher. Tons . James MacDougall.John Dewar.27 tons . Tons . Mary Sinclair .John Mitchell. Bought by Duncan Blue. Malcolm Campbell. Tons . Donald MacTavish. Jean .Duncan MacDougall. lames Millar. Mal MacColl. 42 Reg. Tons .22 tons .Malcolm Sinclair. Tons . John MacFarlane. Donald MacGilp.Schooner. Archie Sinclair. Flora . Tons . Duncan Kerr. Charles MacMillan. Tons John Dewar.Schooner. Tons Donald Sinclair. Jean .Duncan Leitch. Colin MacLaughlan. Jennie S. Dougal Maclntyre. Ardrishaig. Duncan Muir. Hugh McLellan.Schooner/Ketch 50 Reg. Dasher . Tons . Donald MacCallum. taking cargoes of coal up the West Coast. Margaret . and on the way back were taking slates and any general cargo back to the Clyde. Dewar.Sloop John MacEwan.22 tons . 50 Reg. D. Donald Crawford. (3) 50 tons cargo . Tons . Neil MacEwan. Peter Sinclair. tons— Dugald Maclntyre.Neil MacCallum. Mary . Mal Maclntyre. Duncan MacColl. Duncan Gillies.(1) Malcolm Sinclair. Mary and Catherine . Owner—A. Alex Crawford.38 Reg. Margaret Dewar . 34 Reg. about 50 tons they carried. Donald McLean. Janet MacNab owner.30 tons Hulett McCallum. Malcolm Angus. Jessie 23T .Sloop. Kitty .Smack.Sloop. John Crawford. Donald Muir. 37 Reg. MacVicar. Gem . Lochgilphead. Peter Mitchell. Archie McLellan. Some were buying and curing herring themselves and selling and trading around the coast from 1840 to 1900. John Sinclair. Tons . Archie MacTavish. Archie Dewar. 45 Reg. Jessie . John Fletcher. Donald Crawford. Hugh McCallum. Archie Dewar.Owner A. Duncan MacCallum.Alex MacKellar. Neil Campbell. Donald MacVicar. The canal must have been a Godsent ditch for them to come back to the safe trading on Loch Fyne and Clyde Coast. Glasgow . Flora .James Carmichael. Pultewey .31 Reg. 50 Reg. James MacGilp. Donald MacDougall. Alma .Schooner.27 Reg. Marianna . Malcolm Fletcher. Hugh McCallum. Mary . Tons John Leitch. Tons . John Cummings.John Kerr. Ann S. Duncan Campbell.John Campbell.38 Reg. Elizabeth .Donald Dewar. Hugh MacKinnon.Duncan Sinclair. Duncan MacEwan.
Duncan Mitchell and Sandy Mitchell (brothers) (Cailien). George Wyllie. Peter and Lachlan Campbell and Archie Torne. Tom Elliot (son) John Dawson. Ruary McLellan. Stewart McAllister (Toodie). Ann MacCormick . Terror .Owned by Lachlan Campbell. Archie McLachlan. G. Rob McTavish. Tons . Morning Star . Will MacCallum. John MacCallum. Archie Galbraith and Allan (brothers). John Ferguson. John MacGregor. John Leitch.The Sisters . sons Robert Gilchrist.Angus Law (Petty). (The Hole. Charlie Campbell. Dan (wee Dan). Janet . Inverneill). Peter Campbell (Para Mosh).Alex Mitchell and sons (above). Fishing Boats and Their Owners Sarah and Mary . Cardross Castle . Angus Ferguson. Robert Bruce (nephew). Tons .34 Reg.Jock Elliot. Lochgilphead. Duncan Campbell. Welcome Home . Neil Campbell.George McGregor. Duncan Galbraith.Owner George Bruce. Ardrishaig. Lillie . Archie McVicar.Coll Dawson. Crew Sons Dugald Campbell. Neilly McVicar. Kitty . Sandy McLachlan (Rigger). Jasper . Dugald Law. John Fletcher. Archie MacEwan. Annabella . Dan Hamilton (nephew). John Dewar.Schooner.Duncan Campbell. 42 Reg. Dan McGregor (Duke). Annie .George Jackson. Elizabeth . Rob Morrison.James MacGilp. Brothers . Tons . Mackellar's Peril. James Jackson (son). Archie McVicar. May William Campbell. Later Gilchrist.Lighter. Bought by Hugh Gillies. sonin-law.Alan Campbell (Swankie). Neil MacPherson. Neil Dewar.Angus MacTavish of Ardrishaig. Hugh Duff (brothers). Donald MacCorkindale. Duncan Ferguson.Owned by Dan Hamilton.Robert Morrison. Willie Bruce. McVicar-Livingstone. John Bruce. Archie McAllister (Fluck).Owned by Duncan MacCallum. Gleniffer . 50 Reg. Archie McAllister (Buck).Colin Mitchell. Bruce (Ackkan) Mary Jane . Dugald Bruce (Poof). Peter Clark.Owner Jock McTavish. Neil McEwan (Moiler). John MacKellar. Ann MacTavish . Sandy Galbraith.Colin Ferguson. sons. Olive . Brittania . Jock Campbell. Duncan (Dochan) and John McVicar. Jessie . Duncan Mitchell and Peter Mitchell. Bought by Alex Leitch. John Morrison. Rob McGregor (brothers). Robert McGregor (Marquis). in the canal 57 . Robert Bruce. Neil McKinnon.Colin Mitchell. 76 Reg. Mary and Flora .Owned by Peter Dewar.Owner William Heath. Friendship and Eliza Family-owned.Schooner. sons. D. Stewart Dewar. Alex and James McGregor (sons).Peter MacCallum. Owner Angus MacTavish. Annie . Peter Hamilton and Stuart Hamilton (Hotty). Peter McTavish. John Duff. John Campbell (Yankee John).Archie McMillan. Sarah and Jane . John and Neil McVicar (brothers). James Campbell. (all brothers). Condor . John Wilkie.Owned by Alex Duff.Owned by Neil Galbraith. Tons .
As they came down the loch they were followed by the police patrol who stopped them and suggested they call in at the police station. Clan McGreron Brittania . The police accused them of being drunk and as this was before the breathalyser. about 1900 Local People A FRIEND of mine had been up to the loch-side and had a few drams with an old pal. Peter Hamilton (Chew). The lawyer said. Archie MacFarlane. Scotia .Archie MacTavish (Shaver). Neil Bruce.Alan Campbell (Swanky). Clan MacTavish .The MacLarty brothers. John Hamilton. The police said they saw them coming out the Lochside Hotel with their arms around one another's necks.Robert Bruce. Ian Campbell (the Baisht). Meta AG 200 .Walter McEwan. which they duly did.Angus Law. Marshlia . Dugald Bruce.Peril . "Next you will be telling us they were kissing one another ! What other tests did you give them ?" Police: "We tried to make them walk a 58 .Dan McLauchlan. Wee Dan Booty. John Bruce the Doss. Renown . Dragon . Walter Law. Stewart MacAllister (Toody).Robert Law. Crew of the Marie.Stewart Hamilton (Hotty).Sandy McKellar. it was somewhat difficult to prove without a blood test. Red Bob. at Ardrishaig Fishermen at Ardrishaig. (Rigger). Duncan MacKellar. The Nellie . The day they stood in the court their lawyer asked the police how they knew they were drunk. Archie McLauchlan. Bonnie Jean . Rab MacTavish. Robert Law.
What these huge cakes weighed is anyone's guess." Both got off. Hendry MacGuinness playing Sir Ian Malcolm and his wife to the field at Kilmartin Coronation 1937 at Kilmartin ALTHOUGH it was a holiday. scats and a platform for Highland dancing were all set up and part of the field set aside for a full programme of sports. We were all given a Union Jack and we then all marched to the field at the rear of the hall. Trestle tables. races and so forth for both adults and children. the schoolchildren all gathered at Kilmartin School where we were briefed on the day's proceedings." "These men have bunions and calluses and could not walk a straight line anyway. I see the two names very clearly your Honour. One was done with red roses. each child received a souvenir Coronation mug which we still have. The big cakes on display at Kilmartin 59 ." "Well.I suggest he was drunk." "What is the last name ?" "Oh that is the doctor's signature your Honour." Lawyer: "Did you examine their feet ?" Police: "No." I recall seeing one being cut and all present on the field got a piece of it with their tea. At the conclusion of the celebrations. They were the most magnificent cakes I ever saw and I have never ever seen anything like them since. but I have never ever again seen their like. They were baked and iced and decorated by McVitie's of Edinburgh and delivered to the hall in four large wooden boxes. May 1937." "Your Honour. the police version is phantasmagorical.straight line. Flags and bunting were everywhere. one with white and one with blue and the centre of each cake was inscribed "Coronation. What other test ?" "We made them write their names. As far as I can recall the Coronation service was relayed to the crowd by loudspeakers erected in the field. The principal attraction of the day were the tour huge Coronation cakes." "Have a look at the doctor's signature . The day ended with a dance in the hall for the adults and a great firework display when darkness came.
and to the happy hunting ground round Eilean Mor. the Hill of the Briar. tar larger then any seal. RON THE SEAL "It is so long since we have had a holiday. I think I'll go home. for he longed to swim in the ocean and visit the hunting ground of the seals far away. he looked across from Eilean Mor in the quiet of the night and watched the green light and the white light—blink. they let him. So I've always found them. 1938." "Ron. Robinangh. the seagull. There is no kindlier spirit on all the waters than Robinangh. P. the home of the humans. "but I think they stand for 'tender and true. He was really quite a kind old soul. "Every day" said Faolin "I go a-fishing with one of the humans." said Ron the seal. T. Glen. "I fear the humans. Faolin the seagull. and they call them Ardrishaig. The following year. but not being humans they loved it—ideal seal weather. The humans kill the seals." screamed a voice that made them nearly jump out of the water. in much tear. So splash through the water went Ron the seal. wheeling round and round them." answered Ron the seal. So splash through the ocean they swam until they came to Inverneill." said Father Seal to Mother Seal. grandfather of Robin Malcolm. I should like to show them all to Ron. for they feared the humans.'' "Oh. Do you ?" "I've often wondered. It was Faolin. to the Hill of the Briar. and the quiet resting place on the sands of Kilfinan. "Away out on the ocean." pleaded Ron the seal." "May I go over to the Hill of the Briar ?" asked Ron. Down came the rain in torrents. Rev. The Ardrishaig Seal 1925 A LITTLE seal for the past month had been haunting the pier of Ardrishaig and making friends with the people. where the shingle sparkles. J." said Ron. The following story based on the incident was written and read to the children of the Parish Church by the minister." said Mother Seal. as they were swimming together one day in the sea. I sit on his boat and I light on his shoulder and he gives me of the fish he catches. "What say you to a change this summer ?" "Yes. gifts. "with Faolin the seagull. cakes. no. They were not humans. "But what mean the letters I know not. "Why have you stopped ?" asked Faolin the seagull. and so do all the humans I know. Ron all at once stopped. wistfully." were written. moving through the water. "No. and Ron was happy as the day was long. "What are these strange things clustered on the shore ?" "These are the homes of the humans." called Father Seal to his son. who was swimming in the Fairy Pool among the rocks loved of all young seals. And in the daytime his eyes opened wide at a great vessel. They watched it far away but when it came near they dived to the depth. blink in the darkness—and wondered what they were. you may not ! You would never come back." And at last. "Come here. So splash off the rocks they dived. and wheeling round and round him.' Tender and true are the men who sail them. lighting down on the water beside him. to the resting place on the sands of Kilfinan. But often. 60 . dear to your mother and me. But when they drew near to the hill of the Briar. We are going a long. He loves the seals and the seagulls. and a gift to everyone. both in great glee. blink. as they lay basking in the sun on a rocky islet in the Western Ocean. so they had no suitcase to pack. I've seen these boats and these letters on them.In conclusion I might add that the whole day's events." said Faolin the seagull. tea dance and fireworks also the great cakes were all given by the late Sir Ian Malcolm. our son. Just at this moment a boat floated past them and on it the letters "T. "Father. and the wash of the waves gently flowed over him. no provisions to order." "That is not true. long way to a loch you have never seen. no ticket to take for their journey." And Ron was in great glee. "and what say you to a visit to our old haunts in Loch Fyne ? I should like to see them once again—the Bay of lnverneill where the shingle sparkles in the sun. and the haunts of the fish round Eilean Mor where we spent so many happy hunting days so long ago. let me go. was his 70th birthday and he again gave a fine treat to everybody.
After three days it started to take the salt. The Lord God made them all". "all is so quiet. "The men are tender and true. or in this case the swordfish was 140 miles away from the fishery office." said Ron. All creatures great and small. little Ron the seal who trusted and loved them. Just then something thrown from the boat flashed in the air—a fish. And very day came the children to greet him and called him by name—their own little Ron. South Knapdale. The young girl for whom we cured it got first prize for the summer school project. And as they sang their hearts became more kindly and tender and true. He may be on holiday. and with every new morn came Ron to the Hill of the Briar. "Faolin was right." said Faolin the seagull. Well the day arrived for the young people to depart for Bradford. so in this way we were able to arrest the decay. I'm glad to report it arrived safe after the motorway journey and was taken to Bradford Museum where it has a good position for people to see it. It was found by some young people on holiday from Bradford. the home of the humans. The position is. "Faolin. Creator of all things. don't be afraid. They tied the large head and sword on the front of the Volkswagen van and it seemed secure for the journey. The swordfish was in a decomposed state and it these young people did not take the action they did this great fish would have been lost. And from him they learned to be tender and true." said Ron. Argyll." said Faolin the seagull. and still another. we were glad that we had been able to save it. Nobody from that department made any enquiries about this great fish. any fish of a strange nature like the swordfish is supposed to be reported to the Fishery Officer at Campbeltown. as this was only the third of these mighty fish to be recorded in this country this century. 61 . and another. And nearer and nearer came Ron to the boat and took from the kindly hand of the fisherman. was a mighty swordfish."Let us draw near. The Great Swordfish IN August 1972 a great fish washed ashore on the beach at Loch Killiesport. their little friend who trusted and loved them and of Faolin the seagull too. for they were thinking of Ron the seal. They did not know what a valuable find they had come across. Argyll. But one morning neither children nor fishermen came. And so the days passed. and Ron wondered. And that morning the sound of bells came floating far over the waters. What meant these pleasant sounds ? Why come not my little friends and the fishermen to greet me ?" "They will come on the morrow. One was got on the beach in Ayrshire and another came ashore below Dunderrave Castle above Inveraray in Argyll in 1904. there was a joy in the haunts of the seals round Eilean Mor. Well that's fine if he is available. "This is the day when the humans worship the Father." And sweet music fell on their ear. They brought the head complete with the sword attached and we cured it with a strong salt mixture. In the church the children were singing "All things bright and beautiful. All things wise and wonderful. "And when he went back to his home in the gloaming. The day is one of rest and peace.
10 towards the repairs to the roof of the chapel. boat or fish. it has put the sword through 10 inches of wood. At a meeting one day he was sitting next to an elderly gentleman who turned out to be an old German submariner. well. "he then asked him if he knew a place called Island Reigh." when who appeared but Donald John himself. The German told him that he and another German officer had landed on the island and killed three sheep but they had a difficult job getting the sheep back up over to the submarine and down the conning tower. have made it their habit to bring their salmon to me for smoking. are you here to confess ?" "Oh no Father. Father said: "And what are you here to confess. It was too much bother as we kept running out of them. surely not another !" He shouted. Ardrishaig to New York QUITE a number of the lairds and landed gentry of the neighbourhood. she also had been sleeping with Donald John so the father told her to pay £20 to the chapel roof. "Come in. seals and any other moving thing. that will cost you £20 for the repairs to the Chapel roof. four weeks ago a young woman arrived at the kipper shed and told me she was the girl we cured the big fish for. I slept last Friday night with Donald John. He was sure Archie MacArthur would look after him in his old age when he was not fit for his work ! * * * One member of an old Mid-Argyll family was in Iran in the oil business. another lady called to confess. Jenny. Jenny ?" "Oh Father. you used to sell them. The strangers you meet today will be your friends of tomorrow. I am here to collect the commission. "We stopped it a while ago." "Oh yes. He asked my friend where he came from and when he received the reply "Argyll. and much further afield. heifer and heifer and heifer. The swordfish is called the "bully of the seas. The second young bull said he would like to go to South America and enjoy himself among the large herds on the open. I am proud to say. you will have to pay £. Another tap at the door well." "Well. "Well. they told their mates the story and were known as "the farmers" after that. However." It will attack anything." A little while later another lady called. "Well. He had been in the U-boats during the First World War and had been around the Scottish Coast. Mary. "We don't sell them. They had tied the tripe bags around the conning tower to give them a good wash." said the old shopkeeper. "That's funny. My recipe involves the use of liberal quantities of 62 ." She replied: "It's still going strong and we'll always remember that journey home !" From the Islands IN one small Island shop a man called in to get some cigarettes. when standing watch at night they could still smell the stench of a farm yard. cut into whales. The third young bull said he would like to stay here in Argyll.The swordfish on leaving his warm waters chasing shoals of mackerel never thought he would land on a museum wall. My friend told him that the island they had taken the sheep from was farmed by his uncle from 1914 to 1925." "Well. Father said: "And what are you in to confess. So he then added." The man said. in and he would like to live here for Sir William Lithgow's herd at Ormsary. Some 12 years have passed since we were involved in this curing project. when the Priest was taking confession one morning Mary came in. Donald. Mary ?" "Oh Father." * * * On one West Coast Island." Not long after. The old lady said. She was a local worthy called June in Bloom. I said. I slept with Donald John last Thursday night. On returning to the shipyard in Hamburg." * * * Three young bulls were heard talking one day. a large island in Loch Craignish. One said he would like to go to Spain and deal with the Spaniards with his horns. "You owe me £30 for these sheep !" The old German was surprised to hear this and said that it had been the best mutton he had ever tasted. "You tied it on the front of an old Volkswagen van.
I was away about 10 minutes and came back in time to see two cats finishing the last of the salmon." "I don't think I want your sideboard. but a little drop of liquid coming down the side of the door. "blooming Fox Terrier !" These same men were in the Cosmo Club at the swing bridge south side Ardrishaig when we put in two home-made stink bombs made from old herring guts." We are still friends. filled with meal and onions. She said alright. so that was one day when I was frustrated on sea and on land. "Ah.00 rewards were received. and I would say it means it canna read the labels and doesn't know the difference between Lithgow and Hamilton. Celtic and Rangers would be played all week till the following Saturday. Maybe they got the taste of oil to the east of Shetland when they were on their way back from Greenland and decided to come down the west coast where the water is still fresh and clean.rum. one from Cork and the third from Stavanger in Norway. Forsyth. it's in beautiful condition. I asked him if he knew how many sides there are on a salmon and when he said two I told him about the previous two men. and it's in three halves. It turned out that the owner of the salmon had told the first man to collect the side of salmon while they were on the pier at Carradale. "What is it like?" I asked. what is that one ?" Donald said. but I had great difficulty in convincing the Tay salmon board that the fish had been caught here on the West coast. old Donald put his finger to it on the pavement. Some spread from twelve fish released on the same day ! In July 1983 we caught two fish that had been released in the River Esk and one from the River Tummel. "Is that White Horse ?" "No. Coming down from the bowling green one night after nine o'clock to find the local pub shut. just shaking his head. I wrote to the Foyle River salmon fishing station and they told me that three fish had been returned. and the second man must have overheard the arrangments and had just followed up to the kippering shed." he said. so I gave him the second side and he too went away. sure. It was only then that I discovered that my black cat had taken a liking to rum and in satisfying its desire for the drink it had made inroads into one side of one of the fish. The tags were sent to the Pitlochry Salmon Station where their numbers were verified and the £2. A while later a car drew up at the gate and a man came in and told me he was to take half of the salmon. but I only wish you had been here a day or two ago to cut up a salmon for me !" One salmon that I received in a batch of twelve for smoking from Mr Hopperton had a tag on it saying it had been released in the River Foyle in Northern Ireland. On another occasion I had cured and smoked a large salmon for the laird at Carradale and let him know it was ready for collection. but maybe that is only because the black cat is away to the happy hunting grounds. "Good God. Anyway the owner took its loss well. who told me his cousin had left half a salmon with me for him to collect. Another time. At Glasgow Fair he asked her if he could bring a friend up for his tea. "You can't win them all. so I duly gave him a side. and off he went. Taking what was left up to the shed I had no sooner arrived than I was called to the telephone. Them were the days. "What is the meaning of this. On one occasion when I had been left three salmon for smoking. Donald stayed with an old lady who looked after him very well. Naturally enough he was astounded at the story. everything had gone exceptionally well until the gentleman came to collect his fish. Half an hour later another fellow cam in and said he was to collect the other halt. "That's a cod . The wee Glasgow lad said. In two minutes they were all outside putting the blame on one another." The fourth man to call the same day was an Irishman who asked it I would like to buy a sideboard. On arrival at the digs the landlady produced two large plates with a cod head on each. Two hours later another fellow came in. By the time I got out to it there was only about two pounds of fish left on the tail and the rest had been ripped off. He and the friend had been in the pub till late. We both looked at the damaged side and he ran his finger over it. a man came into the kippering shed to tell me there was a seal eating a salmon in my net. one from Loch Fyne. both of which are on the East Coast of Scotland. Archie said to him. Forsyth?" "It's that black cat.
head. I only had time to see the toilets at the coastguard station and they looked like Carlisle Station with all the troops going through during the war ! 63 . but a real dreadful place to be broke in. To be over in New York for l½ days." The wee Glasgow fellow said. "It looks more like its erse !" New York is so commercialised it will be a marvellous place to have money in.
Having travelled back on the QE2 in the best Atlantic crossing for 16 years. It is something to see Mackays which looks like Lewis's or Frasers in Buchanan Street. stayed at the Station Hotel—slept on the floor under a table. but it would be such poor quality material that your good departed husband would have his knees through it in a week !" One old man in the village called for a pint of best beer each day. it comes from the Caspian Mountains but it is not as good as the Scotch from Islay in your country. Everybody is in a hurry but where they are going I do not know. then he said: "If you count the money. The trains are all covered in graffiti and they shake you like you had a fit of Saint Vitus' Dance. I am sure if I was in Belfast I would be able to buy one for 12/6. I used to hear the lads say they stayed at the Station Hotel if they missed the last bus. it really was a most memorable occasion. said the usual and the barman gave him his pint. it's you who's short !" The QE2 is the most marvellous ship and the crew from the captain to the cabin boys and girls are absolutely marvellous. I would recommend it to anybody for the best holiday of a lifetime. he had consumed half the beer. the chief security officer. Having met people who had been on the trip 40 times and people who had only been on it once. I can tell you. well. Mr Wilson. Loch Fyne. He handed over the sixpence in coppers. had been in our part of the country for years and we met up with him. Waldorf Astoria in Lexington Avenue is the main hotel in New York for the QE2 passengers." The old man finished the beer. barman.Forsyth Hamilton during the war years I was stationed at Carlisle in 1941 up at Crosby on Eden. So I missed the last bus myself. Why don't you try it sometime ? Don't leave all your money to relations who will rattle through it in a month or spend it on a good stone with beautiful gold letters that nobody is going to read. the only time they are still is when they are sitting eating pancakes and maple syrup. I met eight men on the QE2 and they were all undertakers enjoying themselves ! An old Irish lady's husband died and she went to the local draper to buy a shroud. They said. cup of char cost me ninepence. He made our trip most memorable. "Jock. "I have travelled on the NY underground and I am a survivor. By this time. cost sixpence. from the folk who run the tearoom in Tarbert. I am sure you would." 64 . one slice of toast and beans. Cunard have not paid me any cash for saying this but it is the truth. When you get off at your destination they sell small lapel badges to say. "Well. Last time I'll stay at the Station Hotel. glad to get back to camp on the 7 o'clock bus. "You are a penny short." They had both been over there during the war and had also sampled the free canteen in Tarbert. She asked him the price and he said 19/6. One day he called. On arrival in New York I asked two New York police if the water was good to drink." "Yes. I saw one man's wallet being snatched on the underground. Argyll. The barman counted the money and said.
As you can imagine I was followed by eager USA residents with their Minolta and Canon cameras. each and every one. as she was from Arrochar. Dougald Campbell. I was very impressed with The Statue of Liberty which was such a marvellous sight as we sailed under that huge budge on our way into the city. I don't know. He gave a free house and schoolhouse to the teacher. One Yank told me that they had a singer in the USA who had the most wonderful voice. The lady sitting next to me said. Lochgilphead has now advanced to a beautiful new High School and the pupils now do not need to go to Dunoon or Oban. cattle and all manner of goods at small expense of time and labour and money. and Neil Malcolm of Poltalloch along with Sir John Orde." Here one must point out that Ardrishaig was not in the Parish of Glassary. I hope you have enjoyed meeting them. she couldn't believe it. "Where are you from ?" When I told her Ardrishaig. born in Ardnshaig. Eighteen months have passed since I started off my early memories of a makeshift boat held together with tar and twine on the waters of Loch Fyne and here I am finishing off on an Atlantic cruise on what has to be one of the finest ships of all time. we sailed with Mrs White and her husband. the Minister in Parish of Glassary. Dr Archie Campbell. It was something to behold.000. It you have stayed with me you have met some of The Kings of The Road.800 passengers waiting to go aboard this great ship and another 1. It sounded like running water and the result was not a dry .seat in the hall ! EPILOGUE THE voyage has been longer than I thought it would be. Glasgow. a Mr Sutherland. This just goes to show that there is no place to hide. as I have enjoyed knowing them. Belle Campbell was a good singer and was in great demand at all functions. Wages at this time was two and sixpence to three shillings a week.000 gallons per quarter from the Distillery. Mrs Crawford was the conductor of the Lochgilphead Gaelic Choir and won many awards.I had lunch on the 55th floor of the Trade Fair Building with my wife. Local People MRS Crawford and Belle Campbell were two local people who in their time held the public eye. Bt. you will he found no matter where you go—and what people don't know about you. Well. Campbeltown and three days a week to Kilmartin The number of people in the Parish of Glassary is over 5. "The trade in Lochgilphead depends on the surrounding district and it has great facilities alike for its imports and exports by steamboats which arrive daily and depart from Ardrishaig. cousin and her husband. The Queens of The Seas and a whole host of ordinary people going about their business in their individual ways. in his studies of the Parish after he had been inducted on 9th September 1828 states : "In 1828 a Government Church was erected in a corner of Parish where the village of Lochgilphead had arisen. featured in the BBC Brains Trust. Mr Brothwick was the man in charge of the Excise and Customs and his figures show 19. they will invent. of Kilmory. There were 1. They convey sheep. Alexander Campbell Esq of Achendarroch did everything in his power to bring education to Lochgilphead. When she sang there wasn't a dry eye in the hall. During that memorable trip on the QE2. 65 . I also visited Wall Street and saw all The World's business being conducted at a rate of knots. James Chalmers' was born in Ardnshaig in 1841 and killed by natives in New Guinea in 1901.000 wanting to see us off.. He used to be an FBI agent before he got this job. We arrived after 5½ days of luxury travel and it was hard to believe we had been sitting in the Cunard main office at Southampton days earlier. I frequently wore my kilt. who has a million social security people under him. Glassary Parish 1828 THE Rev. I told him we had a singer in Scotland. These figures were given to him by the Fishery Officer at Ardrishaig. There are daily posts to Inveraray. and when he sang it was the most marvellous voice you ever heard. How do you keep tabs on all that gang. Lochgilphead at that time had 90 houses— 32 of them were pubs. the QE2. In 1841 a church was built by the Committee of General Assembly for Church Extension aided by the Duke of Argyll and Sir Archibald Campbell Bart at Cumlodden.
seated at left. She also ran the football clubs and got the black and gold strips for the Ardrishaig team. every success. Miss Barbara Law. sales and organised teas. and all the young boys in the Mid-Argyll Band.Pipe Major Neil Crawford with his band Pipe Major Neil Crawford and Pipe Major MacCallum taught the boys to play the pipes. Ardrishaig was known as HMS Seahawk. of Badden Farm. This would have been a poor place without these people. winning many major awards all over the country. they decided to come to Ardrishaig. We wish them. who kept the Seaside boarding house up beside the tennis courts. We must also mention Pipe Major Hendry MacGuinness who over the last number of years kept the boys together and was a marvellous piper himself. 66 . raffles etc to get the Jock's boxes sent to the troops in the 1914-1918 war. Meg Dewar was a well-known face in the district as she sold fish from her two-handed barrow between Ardrishaig and Lochgilphead. Craig and Ian. in 1930 Miss Barbara Law was the lady who ran dances. A special mention must be made here of Mr Greenshield and his family for teaching singing and dancing and also for creating the Junior Mod in Lochgilphead. If anybody showed a peep of a light. the navy had all the Asdic training establishments down on the Channel Coast and as they were being badly hit up by the Jerries. Bill Manson was team manager. Another Meg whom we will never forget is Meg Frew. one officer was going to have Harry Campbell and Duncan Hamilton in irons. That is the reason we have a Pipe Band in Mid-Argyll today. Takes a while for men like these to cool down or to go the West Coast or Ardrishaig way. She was a household name in these parts. and success will come because of their dedication. During the war the navy had 36 sailors billeted with her. They have all gone now and the village has returned to normal. Among today's young band members are the Campbell twins. They have been given a wealth of knowledge by their predecessors and are putting it to good use.
Dr MacArthur .Dr G.Dr J. Mary MacVicar's is the fish shop. Mrs Mitchell's sweet shop is now the cafe. Matheson Dr John Hunter Dr Carmichael . never was she seeking any glory or benefit for herself.Dr MacIntyre . Then there was the Lorne Hotel.Dr Dugald Campbell . D. McCullum .Dr James Hunter . C.For a small village.Dr J. This lady was one of the village's benefactors.Dr John MacKellar . 67 . MacCallum . Nessie MacCracken's shoe shop and the old Broom Hotel.Dr John Wnght .Dr J. I. Barbara Law collected money for a number of years to get a war memorial built.Dr J. John's wife May is an expert baker and jam and marmalade maker.Dr A. Doctors who have practised in Lochgilphead .Dr McCall-Smith . A.Dr S. Jeffrey . Lean .Dr William Dougan . Ardrishaig lost a lot of men.Dr J. D.Dr Hugh Jackson . The old shoemaker's shop belonged to Mr MacCracken senior.Dr John MacNaughton . A. Strang's drapers was taken over by Alex MacEwan and ran for many years. which she and her brother John ran for 30years. This will stand in her memory as well as the lads who died. Andrews Ardrishaig's main street in 1912 Forsyth Hamilton's grand-mother's shop Ardrishaig Shops of The Past OLD Mr Fletcher was the ironmonger and next to his shop was Agnes MacGregor's ladies' dress shop. MacKenzie . C. MacDiarmid . His good lady is still with us. S.
then the post office Phillip Hugh's house. the butcher. Angus MacGregor's cycle shop. bakers shop and grocer supplies. followed by the Kinghorns. Ian Mitchell's father. Bob MacInnes. Dan's shop used to be Dan MacLachlan the butcher's before the first world war and at one time the house or landing was called the "Carriers' Inn". Next was Jimmy Mitchell. then Donnie MacMillan. Next to that. then by Mr Bulloch. Mrs Menzies was the lady who ran the Ardrishaig Drama Club and took most of the cups in the Argyll competitions. What can anybody say other than she was a lovely lady. Oakfield. the register tonnage was 511 net and carrying 100 tons cargo (slate. After him. Paterson. Mrs Gillies was host for 50 years. was the shop where Andy Campbell started his grocer business before he went up the street. Robert Hamilton.Belle MacVicar had a grocery shop and wool store. hairdresser. The Gem THE Gem was a top sail schooner sailing from Ardrishaig in the west coast trade for 40 years and during this time was altered to a ketch rig. below the telephone exchange (Neil Hamilton's house for 30 years). the painter. He had one of the most beautiful displays of fruit and sweets you could ever hope to see. Jake Arman. People don't do these things today. the tailor followed by Miss Livingston's hair and beauty salon. Going back down the street we had Bayview Black. Johnnie Barr. The last shop was Barbara Law's fruits and sweets. was Duncan Livingstone's garage. The Anchor Hotel was run by Duncan Livingstone whose wife and son stay next door to me here at Attichuan Croft. followed by Mr Lament. the Co-op butcher. Bannatyne the draper. Carmichael's stores. Bennie Duff. after which she was laid tip for the winter at Miller's Bridge. Next was the garage and church hall. Next we had Dan Hamilton's shop and the sweet shop next door was run by Jessie MacVicar and her son Archie. we had Miss MacGeachy and Miss MacFarlane. the plumber. then Willie MacCracken. The wee chip shop in front of Hermione Terrace was where Mrs Boni served for many years. They are both still with us. Mary Campbell's. wood etc). the butcher. The shop at the end was the British Legion Whist Club. Cathie Mitchell had a shop opposite. Mrs MacFarlane's. The garage next to their shop was where Josie McCracken sold his Sunday papers. followed by the Co-operative. was taken over by Mr Tommy Menzies and his good wife. the bakers. Morrison's shop was followed by Davy and Mary Sinclair. Built of iron. She sold fizzy lemonade drinks for a penny. where she sold kippers. Maggie Thompson's shop was followed by Donnie Sinclair. The horses came with the mail from Clachan to Ardrishaig and changed and then went on to Inveraray. or "Wee Mary's" as she was known. the butcher. Jessie Munro's shop was MacKay's store before. The chemist shop run by Mr Stevenson. nephew of old Willie at the shoe shop. Bob Gillies the tailor. then up to Tom Hamilton's wife's wee shop. Morrison had a shop and store at the back for 60 years. Donald Makey was one driver and big Kenny MacPherson was the other. followed by Andy Campbell's grocer's shop. 68 . the chemist. Sandy Crawford. A lady who had some money to pay him had her cow and calf removed and he had them down at the back of the shop till she paid the bill. the druggist. On the south side we had Loll Jackson in the Fisher Row. he had two vans on the road and his nephews helped him in the shop. served his time with Aulds the painters. Archie Cunningham. Donnie Robertson. next. Jim and Katie Johnson sold lamps and electric fittings. the ironmonger. coal. At the Argyll Hotel. then Jim MacLachlan. Angus MacVicar. He papered my living room and large bedroom as a wedding gift. Ferguson. The old shop was owned by the MacTavishes. then J. She sailed from April to the end of December. The Union Bank. Lawson's lemonade works and the bakehouse next door was Hugh MacDonald's. run by Mr Roy. Then A. which was taken over by Mary MacArthur ("Mary-All-Things") who sold everything from book-lending to knicker elastic. Phebie Carmichael had the wool shop. That is the reason the stable up the big lane went with the house. There's no flies on the MacKay's ! MacGilp. the fruit shop.
joiner. When navigating through the Crinan Canal. before she was sold and went to Ireland in 1931. The aforementioned Duncan Sinclair started as a boy crewing on his father's (Malcolm Sinclair's) smack. These details were given to me by Duncan Sinclair. Archie MacTavish. Not very many people on Mid-Argyll will be aware of the service "Jonas" rendered to one and all in this community. Neil MacEwan. Her registered tonnage was 29 tons net and carrying 50 tons of cargo."Jonas" JOHN McEWAN. with all the boys up in the rigging wires. Despite facing these outbreaks. This was a task he often carried out alone as even near relatives of the deceased were too terrified to attend the burial. He fearlessly attended the victims of this disease as they lay dying. The crews were all Lochgilphead men and they sailed as far as Skye in the coastal trade all year round. Being a joiner he was skilled in coffin-making but he also performed the rest of the funeral rites.Hugh MacEwan. The master of the Gem was Duncan Sinclair and although most of the crew came from The Western Isles. Sailing in all kinds of weather this fine boat came through many a stormy passage running through The Minch for Crinan and Ardrishaig. John McEwan . They were the best baked biscuits in the trade and the main item in the dry stores of the local sailing boats. he lived to over 60. the Gem was towed by horses hauling on the front bank and Hugh MacTavish was probably the last of the local contractors in this trade. Peter MacFarlane. mainly coal. Duncan MacLellan. tied up in the canal at Ardrishaig. even to digging and filling the graves. will some good citizens second it ? Unveiling of Ardrishaig War Memorial in 1925 69 . son of the owner of the Gem who lives in the old home in Lochgilphead. Lachlan MacTavish. Even after this. including the following . Archie MacEwan. John Shaw. What a fine boat she looked in 1920. the bakers in Lochgilphead.MacDonald. Andrew Grinlaw and Donald Leitch. "Jonas" was requested to help. supplied the Gem with a large order of hard-baked sea biscuits. Mary Sinclair. I propose this. Malcolm MacArthur. when faced with smallpox and fevers. acquired fame in 1832 when the first cholera epidemic broke out in this area. often with no one else to help him. We are not too late to have a plaque erected in the Church of Scotland in Lochgilphead in this man's memory. in the Loch Fyne herring and coastal trade. referred to as "crumpers. Archie Murray. there were quite a few local mariners who sailed on her.