Silent Sunday…… So Off to Church

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The ruins of Killchattan 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

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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.

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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…

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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….

SCOTLAND ARGYLL

Please Remember ….

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

28th June

(C) David Oakes 2020

On the Canal…..

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Fradley Junction.

Fradley Junction and the Swan Inn on the Trent and Mersey Canal in Staffordshire.

Head north to the Potteries, then onto Manchester and Liverpool.  Head South to Nottingham and onto London.  Or turn left at this junction and head to the Industrial heartland of  Birmingham, The Black Country, Coventry.

Just one tiny part of the network of canals that criss-crossed our country before Trains,  Cars and major Roads.   It looks idyllic today but it was a hard life for those who worked these canals.

Please Remember ….

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

29th May

(C) David Oakes 2020

A Bridge….. over onetime Busy Waters

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Ironbridge Gorge, Shropshire

Once upon a time this part of the River Severn was know as the Severn Gorge.  It was a busy industrial area and relied upon the Severn as the key means of transport.  Coal, Iron Ore, Limestone and Clay could all be found in the immediate area.  The area became known as Coalbrookdale home of iron foundries and pottery… an important industrial region.

So to link both sides of this busy valley a bridge  was needed.  It had to be a bridge high enough not to interfere  with the passage of  the high mast boats  on the busy river.

The Bridge that was constructed and opened in 1779 was the first in the World to be made from Iron.  100ft span and made from Iron founded in the Gorge.  The design was by  Architect Thomas Pritchard.  Not at first taken that seriously, after much lobbying and fund raising  Master Ironmaker Abraham DarbyIII was contracted to construct the Iron Bridge.  Records suggest that the cost was between £3000 & £4000.

The Bridge was such a success that the Gorge changed its name to Ironbridge Gorge.

The Bridge, the Gorge and its Industrial Heritage is now part of a World Heritage Site.

When life becomes more normal it is well worth a visit….  Till then…

Please Remember ….

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

19th May

(C) David Oakes 2020

 

April…. a few years back

SCOTLAND ARGYLL

On the Isle of Luing, near Cullipool.  Overlooking the Firth of Lorn with great views towards the Island of Mull.  Luing is just one of the many hundreds of small islands along the West Coast of Scotland.

It is ever so peaceful, well it is now.  But like many of these small Scottish islands they were busy places of industry and agriculture.  All had mini ports, first for sailing ships then for the Steam powered cargo boats, including the famous Clyde Puffers.  When I say industry I should be more specific and say ‘Slate’ quarrying or mining. Luing and many of its sister islands were big slate producers.

Going back to my statement of peace….well I find it rather a privilege to sit and watch the day go by,  whilst looking about for clues of this past way of life, a tough and dangerous way of life. Then reflecting on just how important these seemingly quiet outpost were to what was becoming a new busy world elsewhere. It is a legacy that gives visitors like me a bonus to our travels….. another valuable memory.

 

Please Remember ….

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

21st April

(C) David Oakes 2020