The ruins of Kilchattan Chapel, Isle of Luing, Argyll, Scotland
Little remains of this tiny chapel at the heart of Luing. What does remain contains a history of this once busy and prosperous (for some) Island on Scotland’s west coast. The story is told in the graveyard that surrounds what is left of the chapel. It tells of the Fisher folk, the Crofters and a large number of Slate Quarrymen. Of the later, many were incomers to the island, who lost their lives in this dangerous quarry environment…. they came but never left…..just an inscription on a simple slate stone remains.
Travelers to Luing should pause and read these well weathered stones. They reveal the true identity of this now tranquil island
The Island of Luing is one of many, in a chain of islands along the Atlantic coast of Argyll. All had one thing in common. They were all once important producers of Slate, a valuable building resource, that was exported from Luing and its neighbouring islands by ship across the world.
I once described Luing as ‘The Island with a Hole in It‘. The hole, is of course, one of the many quarries that dot the islands. As the slate lies beneath the island these quarries go down deep, well below sea level. These soon fill with water well disguising the island industrial past….now an attractive tourist view.
In todays world Luing still survives on a fragile Crofting way of farming. This is supplemented by Tourism, but this is also limited and fragile. But for visitors to Luing they can enjoy an island that in many ways is still in the past. Village names such as Tobernochy, Killchattan and Cullipool, names which are larger than villages themselves. Houses that once were Quarrymen’s homes, Agricultural workers homes and Fishing communities. Many of course today are Holiday Homes. Many with great vistas, though for the quarry workers that was possibly of little importance. Well worth exploring on peaceful roads…
In true island style, visitors arrive by way of the small Cuan Car Ferry…
Then explore this little piece of Scottish Island solitude, relax at Cullipool and reflect that this was one of several Atlantic coast ports from where Luing Slate departed to all points of the compass….
Please Remember ….
Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other
(C) David Oakes 2020