Tuesday, 13 June 2017

A 1970 Kilchoan Holiday

From Mike & Jane Harper:

In 1970 after a visit to Skye we decided to go back and stay in Kilchoan, hopefully with Mrs Scott as we had done in 1968 - see earlier blog here - but she was full until the later in the week. She was surprised to see us again so soon, but arrange for us to stay firstly with Mr & Mrs Cameron (down the road) from 24th to 29th August. The Camerons were very nice and made us most welcome. On the 25th it was a lovely hot sunny day and we went for a long walk and ended by having dinner at Sonachan House which cost £1 each and was a very good meal. The next day started warm and sunny, but a mist came and it got very cold. The fog horn started to sound at the lighthouse with a huge boom!

The 27th the mist was still around so we went to the village shop and Jane looked at some tweed skirts but didn’t buy one so early in the holiday. After lunch we met George who was staying down the lane in a caravan. He came from Glasgow but seemed to know everybody. He took us on a walk up to the Glen Lochs to see a pair of Red Throated divers who had nested there. This photo was taken on a hand held 300 mm lens. Later on George and a couple staying at the Camerons helped to push a local fisherman's Mini back to the road and we were treated to whisky for our labours.

The next day the mist was still around which did not stop us going for a walk towards the lighthouse, but the mist came down and we turned back. For our evening meal Mrs Cameron cooked freshly caught fish given to her a local fisherman Ross Kennedy – a lovely meal. Afterwards we went with George to Sonachan House where there was a ceilidh with lots of folks singing – mostly in Gaelic which we didn’t understand. We stayed until after midnight and returned to Mrs Cameron’s where we stayed up until after 1am chatting.

On the 29th we left Mrs Cameron and went up the lane to Mrs Scott’s - picture shows Mike with Granny MacPhail.

We caught the ferry and went over to Tobermory. I remember the deck was covered in sheep droppings left by their previous passengers – you just had to be careful were put your feet.

At Tobermory, there was a coal boat at the quay and we talked to the crew – we were even invited to stay with his family next year by one men. Then after a walk to the lighthouse and a drink in The Mishnish back to Mrs Scott’s for a splendid meal.

Next day was wet and unsuitable for walking so we drove to Ockle and searched in the rock pools. We found a sea urchin complete with spines which we had for many years until it was accidently broken and destroyed. After the meal we sat by the fire listening to funny stories by Granny and Mrs Scott. 
The 31st was very windy and wet. We drove to the lighthouse and were given a conducted tour by the keeper. The sea was very rough. After dinner (high tea) we took Mrs Scott’s dog Spotty Dog for a walk. We popped in to see Mr & Mrs Cameron and had a chat. The next day the wind was still very strong so we drove to Sanna and donned our boots and walked to Glendrian Caves but did not venture inside. After our evening meal we took Spotty Dog for a walk up to the stone circle above the village. The 2nd September was another wet day and never stopped all day. We were car bound and drove to Salen and on to Kentra. We decided that the Ardnamurchan coast was far prettier around Kilchoan and we drove back for a lovely meal and more stories from Granny by the fireside.

The 3rd was still very windy and it was much colder undeterred we drove to Sanna and made a sand-castle! There was nobody there to see this silly couple slipping back to their childhood. After our evening meal we went fishing with the DL (Daniel Livingstone) a local fisherman and caught nine fish between us. We got soaked but it was good fun! 

Our last day and Mrs Scott cooked some of the fish we had caught last night for breakfast – lovely! Of cause it rained again but we did manage a quick paddle at Sanna during a brief break in the weather before the weather clamped in again.

On the 5th we said our goodbyes to everyone at Mrs Scott’s and to Mr and Mrs Cameron. Jane bought her tweed skirt at the local shop then it was off to the South and back home to Gloucestershire.

Another memorable holiday but sadly our last visit until 2011 when we stayed on Mull at the Western Isles Hotel, a place we had seen from afar in the past which looked in 1970 very expensive and way beyond our means at the time. The room we were given in 2011 was the Bridal Suite, the entire end wing of the hotel. After a few days I enquired at reception if they had the user and operator manual? What for I was the asked to which I replied “The Bridal Suite”. That produced gales of laughter all round we were very well looked after for the rest of our twelve day stay.

The whole holiday, as are many other holidays, are recorded in Jane's diaries. She has kept a page a day A5 diary from 1960.

This year we are on an expedition cruise around the Outer Islands on the MS Serenissima, starting from Fairlie and calling at many places including St Kilda. Maybe as we return to Oban where we disembark on 7th September we might pass by Kilchoan and we will remember those happy holidays long ago when we were young!

Many thanks to Jane & Mike for pictures & story.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful memories. I too have kept diaries and scrapbooks of Ardnamurchan mine dating back to early 80's. Happy days and lovely to read again. Thank you. Anne