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

April…. a few years back

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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

An Island with a Hole in It…….

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The Isle of Luing, Argyll.

Like several islands along the Argyll coast the now peaceful Isle of Luing was once a very busy quarry site.  Slate was the valuable resource they were quarrying, some of it above ground but most of it from below ground and being an island below the sea level.  The quarries where deep holes in the ground and soon filled with water. These pools now add what appears to be an attractive natural  feature to todays island landscape.

To reach the Isle of Luing it is necessary to first ‘Cross the Atlantic’ by way of  the Clachan Bridge which crosses, all be it a small, Atlantic channel between mainland Argyll and Seil Island….

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Luing is an island that still relies on Crofting for its fragile livelihood. True whilst tourism helps a little, visitor number are relatively small.  Those that do venture to the island can explore villages with names such as Tobernochy, Killchattan and Cullipool and enjoy spectacular sea views across the adjoining mainland and small islands. Many of the cottages in the villages are of course ex-quarrymen’s homes, some are now holiday lets but thankfully a good number occupied by lucky residents.

On the narrow roads, with crofts and hamlets well spread, it is a quiet tour to take slowly and to enjoy….

In the centre of  Luing is Killchattan Chapel.  Now ruined but still surround by its burial ground.  Reading the marker stones is interesting and moving and tells its own story of Luing. Stories of fisher folk, crofters and a large number of quarrymen, many who died in the dangerous work that brought them to the island…

Before we took the return ferry back across this little piece of the Atlantic the wind started to increase….a reminder that life here is not always idyllic…

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10th  October

(C) David Oakes 2017