An Industrial Past… and a Tourist Economy


Cullipool, on the Isle of Luing, Firth of Lorn, Argyll, Scotland

Scenes can be deceptive.  Not a lake but an old Slate Quarry.  Today, Luing is a peaceful island, one of many along the Argyll coast in the Firth of Lorn.  For many years Luing was part of a very prosperous Slate Quarrying industry. Slate from Luing and other Islands off the Argyll coast was shipped all over the world.

The quarry above was cut from the slate bedrock, by hand in all weathers and all seasons. Hardwork by any account. When the slate industry slumped, the quarries filled with water, often from the surrounding sea. There was not enough labour or the skills on these islands, so labour was ‘imported’ from mainly mainland Scotland, but also further afield….. That labour had to be accommodated and villages of quarrymen’s cottages’ can be found along side the quarries and can be discovered across all the slate islands.

Today, with their whitewashed walls these cottage and the island setting make them look rather idyllic…


Today, some are the homes of local residents, but many are Holiday Lets or Second Summer Homes.  Indeed a seemingly idyllic location, but one very different I suspect from the noisy, hectic quarry life of these islands.

Today Luing is very much in the slow lane. A single track narrow road travels from the small ferry that links Luing to the mainland of Argyll. Farming and some fishing are the industries, and Tourism the balance.

But wherever you explore you will soon come across more traces of a long gone industry..


Here at Blackmill Bay near Cullipool, are the remains of an wooden dock.  It was from here that Cargo Boats carried the slate to all corners of the world.  With its fine views across the Firth of Lorn towards the Isle of Mull ,and on a clear day Skye beyond it is hard to visualize those hard industrial times.

Times change…. no more so than over the past few years and now even more uncertain times for all…. so 

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

3rd March

(C) David Oakes 2022

2 thoughts on “An Industrial Past… and a Tourist Economy

  1. First of all the view is amazing… and you captured amazing tones of a day into the impressive blue colours… no doubt there is a clarity, and clean air. Not any air pollution. Nature fascinating. About this lovely town, seems that industry has gone but nature is still there… In my country we have too these slate quarries, and still they work… But I haven’t seen a quarry or visited till now. From industry to tourism sounds nice, especially with this beautiful nature. Thank you dear David, if we will be able to travel again my first plan will be UK… Love, nia

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    1. Yes…todays beauty hides a multitude of real life stories of hard work, danger and hardship. The Island and its neighbours are indeed idyllic ( well on a nice day 🙂 ) ……. I wonder if we ever will get back to those days of real unrestricted travel. Take care

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