Sunday, 17 November 2013

Murky Days

It's best, in the drizzly weather we're being subjected to at the moment, not to mope at home and wish that the sun would come out like it did last Sunday but to get out and get on with something interesting.  So, despite yesterday's depressing forecast, the archaeology group met again at Jon Caldwell's Portuairk croft to continue the excavation of the circular, stone-floored building had started the previous Saturday.  This picture shows the weather on the Portuairk road just before the Sonachan Hotel is reached.

It wasn't much better at Portuairk.  In fact, things haven't been good there as a lightning strike last week took out telephones, routers and various bits of electrical equipment, leaving the population even more cut off than usual.  Not that this made any difference to the warm welcome we received from Jackie and Jim, nor to the supply of bourbon biscuits.

The rain kindly stopped just as the dig recommenced.  The picture shows one of the finds, a length of metal - trowel to the left of it for scale - which is just above the stone floor and, therefore, one of the earlier artifacts.

Stuffed into a gap between the stones making up the wall we found some badly decomposed material but, wrapped in it, were these three buttons.  A bit of gentle cleaning with a soft toothbrush revealed a crown, anchor and some indistinct letters which....
....the wonders of modern photography revealed to be RNYC.  A quick search on the internet suggested that this is the Royal Northumberland Yacht Club but a little more delving produced this page on Birmingham button-maker Hammond Turner & Sons' website.  Scroll down to Image 7 where there's a picture of identical buttons - but they're not sure whether they are from the Royal Northern Yacht Club or the Royal Naval Yacht Club.  The presence of thistles on either side of the button suggests it's the Royal Northern.  A search for this reveals this entry on Wikipedia, "The Royal Northern & Clyde Yacht Club was founded in 1978, by the merger of the Royal Northern Yacht Club (founded in 1824) and the Royal Clyde Yacht Club (founded in 1856)."

We're not being subjected huge quantities of rain, as can be seen from the burn which runs down past one of our neighbour's properties.  Despite another dismal start to the day, this morning we set off to follow the burn upstream, a walk we do on wet days as it takes us quickly into the hills above our house.

It drizzled the whole time but, every now and then, the murk parted and we could see the other side of the Sound of Mull.  Ardmore Point light is on the right, Bloody Bay towards the left, and the hill in the foreground with sheep grazing across it is Beinn Buidhe.

The sheep were just about the only living thing we encountered.

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