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Forestry Memories
No: 8   Contributor:   Year: 1958

The village of Achnamara at head of Loch Sween - No Knapdale - Argyll

(c)The Scotsman Publications Ltd. Licensor www.scran.ac.uk.
Picture added on 08 February 2007
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I and my family, the Fergusons, moved to Achnamara in 1952 from Glasgow. There were myself, my young brother Alex; my young sister Rena and my mother, also Rena and father Donald.The other families at that time were as follows;
The Divers, Peats, Doaks, Francis's, Muries, Angus's, Morrisons, Hunters, Brownlees, Sowdens, Guthries(my sister Nan and husband Robert and their children Ronnie and Joy), Lawrences and others.The District Officer was a Mr Robertson.
One of our first jobs was to clear trees which had been blown down in that year's January storms - I was 17 years old then and myself and the other younger boy's job was to climb up and clear the higher branches which were tangled so that they could actually be cut down. Other tasks we undertook were tree felling and planting;digging drains, brashing(pruning) and road building.
I left to undertake my National Service in January 1954 and my family moved to Rothesay, Isle if Bute in June of the same year. I would like to write more but I don't think there is enough space to do so, but I will make a further contribution in the near future. I hope more ex residents will find this site and make their comments.

Added by Donald Ferguson on 15 March 2009.
Further to my initial contribution I thought it may be interesting to note that in 1952 the monthly rent was £1.14.0 (£1.70) in modern terms.I notice that No4 Achnamara is for sale at a fixed price of £155, 000 - quite a difference in values. In 1952 the weekly wage was £3.00 though some of the adults were on piece work for felling. In thse days there was neither Gas or Electricity so all the heating and cooking was provided by the Raeburn Cooker plus a plentiful supply of logs whilst lighting came from Tilley lamps.There were no Transistor radios either so every Saturday I cycled into the Ironmonger shop in Lochgilphead to get two Accumulator Batteries charged up for the wireless. Us young folk used to cycle to places like Bellanoch, Kilmartin.Tayvallich, Lochgilphead or Ardrishaig to dance till 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning before cycling back in time to get the Forestry lorry to work about 7am - I don't know how we did it!

Added by Donald Ferguson on 17 March 2009.
I'm quite disappointed that no one else has posted comments so I'll add some more information.Sometime in 1953 the residents decided that we should try to have a Village Hall and to this end the Forestry Commission agreed to let us have some land just opposite the Post Office/Shop but the site would have to be cleared by ourselves. In order to have funds to pay for the structure itself all kinds of events were organised over a period of months. My father, Donald, had an old Jowet Javelin car and he would go into Lochgilphead each Saturday and get a container of Ice Cream and a supply of Wafers and ' Pokey Hats' and we would go round the village and neighbouring farms and houses and sell these.
Father, who was a Baker to trade also baked Teabread and Cakes and these would be sold in the Post office and in this way we gathered enough money to pay for a pre-fabricated structure. In the interim trees were felled and drains dug after the site was cleared - the hardest task was digging out the roots of the trees but thereafter things progressed quite smoothly and eventually we had our Village Hall. It was well used for fetes and occasional Dances and became a focal point for the village activities. There was no electricity in those days so Tilley Lamps were the order of the day - speaking of which reminds me that each Saturday I cycled to Lochgilphead with a Accumulator battery on each handlebar and these would be charged up and I would cycle back again, hoping I wouldn't hit any bumps and get acid all over my legs. As they used to say in the Looney Tunes Cartoons ' That's all folks'

Added by Donald Ferguson on 06 April 2009.
I used to live in achnamara in 1952 until 1957. my friends were fiona shaw, alma souden and her twin sisters, one of who now lives in our old house, no 5. I have been back and visited jean mcdonald whose parents had a farm there and fiona.

Added by Joy Guthrie on 19 May 2009.
I was at Achnamara Residential School for nearly the whole month of October in 1968. As a wee Glesga Keelie from Bridgeton I loved every minute of it. We used to walk to church on a Sunday singing hymns and 'battle hymns' of Ibrox much to the annoyance of our old teachers Miss Tood and Miss Bell.Every day was an adventure for us and I can still see the flies in the milk and remember those brilliant rambles through the forest.

Added by Charlie McDonald on 19 May 2009.
I was at Achnamara Residential School for a whole month 1960/61 can not remember
exact month but like the note I have just read by Charlie McDonald I also loved
every minute. I was born and brought up in Townhead Glasgow so this place to me
was something else. Always promised myself one day I would go back to see if the
place was still there so I did that just the other day - June 8th 2009. I took my daughter Alison with me who is now 36 yrs old for company and all the way there I was wondering if my journey would be in vain. All the way there I was trying to remember the teachers names. I remembered Miss Todd the other one Miss Bell I could not remember her name but I could see her face as plain as yesterday.
There was another teacher many years younger than Miss Todd or Miss Bell her name was Miss Morton, I would think about 30yrs old at most. When I got there I was surprised to find the place still standing although derlict but still in not too bad condition. I took some photos although the place was overgrown but it was just as I remembered. I also mind the church Charlie mentioned but could not remember which direction it was. If I ever get back I will find it because it can not be that far as we all walked singing the same songs as Charlie and his pals, happy days.

Added by Jack Horn on 10 June 2009.
Message for Jack Horn. Leaving Achnamara and going towards Ashfield Farm there is a fork on the road and if you take the road on your left you will come to a building on your right, which used to be a croft belonging to( if my memory is right) a Neil Campbell and the next on the left is the Church - I believe the sign at the fork of the road reads ' Inverlussa '.
It is encouraging to find more comments on this site, may there be many more.
Cheers Jack.

Added by Donald Ferguson on 13 June 2009.
The village hall commended on by Donald Ferguson, who is my uncle, was built, with help, by my father Robert, who was a carpenter. I still have a raffle ticket with the organisor's name on it - Robert Guthrie. I have used my maiden name in case any one remembers me. I have been reading a book, which my uncle Donald sent me, written by Marjory Scott, nee Holmes, who went to school the same time as me. I could not put the book down as it brought back so many memories. I was at school the same time as Marjory although she was older than me. I was the youngest there when I started and I loved it. The book is called "Reflections Recollections". Wouldn't it be nice if Marjory made her comment on ths site. Come on Marjory, I loved your book. Many thanks, Joy Jackson (nee Guthrie)

Added by Joy Guthrie on 16 June 2009.
Thrilled to find this site - I so hope to visit Achnamara this October - timetables proving problematic.
Donald's comment reminded me that, when I lived in Achnamara around August 75 - August 76, I stayed at Inverlussa House (or the Manse House) where Mary Moir, the local Councillor, did bed and breakfast and sold antiques. Her husband, Lennie, was one of the earliest oyster farmers on Loch Sween at the time and lived on the island opposite. I remember a remarkable and beautiful crisp December night - with full moon - when Lennie rowed me to shore after I had delivered some Christmas presents.
I had trained as a schoolteacher in Bath (originally I'm from London) and held my first ever teaching post at Lochgilphead High School. I drove in those days and learned the art of single-track roads. There was, of course, the fateful day of the 360 degree spin on black ice - Hughie and the boys at Bellanoch Garage reckoned I had a charmed life!
I loved Achnamara and got on with many in the village - some of my own school pupils took me swimming in the Loch and where I also learned a lot about midges.
I have a reproduced sketch of Inverlussa Hose drawn by Andrew L Hunter and would happily send a copy by mail (I can't scan).
Thank you for this site - Frances Plummer - returned to London, population 10 million!

Added by Frances Plummer on 09 August 2009.
Have greatly enjoyed all the comments on Achnamara, my family, the Livingstons are from Seafield, just 1/4 mile to the North. I now live in Alloa. Especially interested in those who were at the 'big school' Achnamara Residential School. We never got to know those who visited there, we were shy country folk and they were big city types. My grandmother came from Kent to work in the service of JP Coats, cotton barons and the former owners of what was then Achnamara House. Have a look at Neil Soudan's web site www.achnamara.co.uk. Thanks to those who suggested books, must try to run some to ground.

Added by Jeffrey Livingston on 14 August 2009.
I have just discovered this site- courtesy of my brother Jeffrey (see above) who put a link on his face book page-Achnamara village hall was an important venue for us as children and thanks to Donal Ferguson and his family for getting it up and running- I didn't know all of that. My mother's older sister lived in No 1 Achnamara- our Aunt Belle- Isobel Fraser- a fearsome woman not to be disobeyed-she put terror into the hearts of all children- you played flip the kipper whether you liked it or not!! she appeared to run the hall when we were small- and I now appreciate the amazing Halloween and Christmas parties we had. We even managed an Easter Bonnet parade for a few years. My father, Jimmy Livingston, played piano accordion in a small dance band with Archie MacVicar senior- and I can't remember who else-they played regularly in the hall. We had the Highlands and Islands cinema come to visit. I can't remember any of the films but I do remember the scratchy old blackand while news reel. Not quite so far back - we had my mother's (Helen Livingston)70th birthday and my 50th parties in the hall- I must dig out some old photos and add them.

Added by Chrystine Livingston on 16 August 2009.
I started school in 1956 in the old schoolhouse at Asfield. The school bus was a car driven by 'Malkie' I think, and I was the only passenger. I had to walk home, a long haul for a five year old. I would wait with Libby Ann McNair at Ashfield farm till my older cousins, Catherine and Lilah Soudan (the twins mentioned earlier by Joy) came up the road. We walked to Achnamara where Aunt Peggy would give me a 'piece'and I would walk on up to Seafield. I wasn't there for long, the new school in the village opened a few months later. A few years ago I was invited to a 50 year celebration of the 'new' school and had a look at the School Roll. On the first page were my father, Jimmy Livingston and his sister, Peggy. A few pages later were the Soudans and then all of us Livingstons. Not many pages later the Roll moved to a new book and near the end was Thomas Livingston, my brother James's son from Seafield. Now Thomas is out the other end of secondary education, and there are very few kids to keep the school going.

Added by Chrystine Livingston on 16 August 2009.
There was an old guy who used to do the garden when I was there I believe his name was Mr.Graham and if I remember correctly he lived in the stone cottage at the small bridge in the village.We were allowed to spend the sum of nine pennies on a Tueday and a Saturday in the village shop/Post Office...plus another four pennies on a packet of crisps if we bought them over and above our sweeties allocation.

Added by Charlie McDonald on 06 October 2009.
we also lived in achnamara, We were the Peats, has anyone any more pictures or know of us, My dad was James Peat mother Mabel, sisters Margaret, Mamie, Evelyn myself Audrey and twin brother James. Dad was in the forestry working with my two oldest sisters, He also played football, for who we dont realy know, We came to Australia in 1958, any information would be great. regards Audrey.

Added by Audrey Cooper on 31 October 2009.
If anyone here knew us please get in contact with me on my email address, We were the PEATS in number 19 My dad was James Peat. Mother Mabel, sisters Margaret, Mamie, Evelyn, Myself Audrey and twin brother James, any school photos or any other would be great, I do have some here with other children in Achnamara. I know one was my sister Evelyns friend, and my sister Mamie baby sat some of the children. I would like also to track down the football team my father played for, and photos as well, So if there is anyone there that has my father James Peat in a picture, please contect me. Thank you, Audrey.

Added by Audrey Cooper on 31 October 2009.
I lived in Achnamara at number 19 from 1950-58 (next boor to the Kavanas).
I then moved to Australia with my family where I still live now. I have very fond memories growing up as a child. If anyone has any photos of the area, I'd love to see them.

James Peat.

Added by James Peat on 31 October 2009.
Fiona Shaw, was related to my sister Margaret, her husband Archie Morrison was a cousin to their father, I think she still keeps in touch with Fiona. James Peat who has left comment on here is my twin brother.

Added by Audrey Cooper on 01 November 2009.
I have just received the comments from James Peat and Audrey Cooper and very pleased that they got in touch - I never thought that there would be so many responses since I sent my first contribution in March this year but, the more the better. I certainly knew James and Mabel, in fact my first attempt at dancing was with Mabel in the first dance held in the (then) new village hall.
Mention of the Kavanaghs reminds me that at that same dance 'Paddy'Kavanagh sang a song called ' The stone outside Dan Murphy's door'- how's that for a memory?
I worked a lot in the forestry with Margaret and Mary ( I presume that Mary and Mamie are one and the same)although my memories of Evelyn and James are pretty vague. My niece Joy, who has contributed to this site a couple of times, would probably remember them better. Regarding James and playing football the only team that I can think he may have played for was a local team called the Forestry Rangers who, I think, played their home games in Ardrishaig - but he may have played for other teams.
I have visited Achnamara fairly frequently over the years and have some photographs but I'm not very good at attaching things to emails so if yourself, Audrey, and James care to advise me of your postal addresses I would be happy to send copies.
Incidentally, thinking of Margaret, there was a time when she was the girlfriend of Danny Murphy - he lodged with my sister Nan and Robert Guthrie at No 5 and was a Accordionist who started a Band and played at dances in Ardrishaig, Kilmartin, Bellanoch, Campbeltown etc. I have a photo of Danny and would send you a copy if you want.
Donald Ferguson,
5 Ardbeg Road.
Isle of Bute.
PA20 0NJ

Added by Donald Ferguson on 01 November 2009.
If my memory serves me right did the minister at the church not have a speech impediment or was his face disfigured in some way. One of the women from the village who work in the kitchen used to wear a Rangers scarf when dishing out the dinners and kept us informed of what was happening on the fitba scene back in Glasgow...sadly Rangers were beaten one nil by Celtic in the Scottish League Cup Final when I was there. There used to be a fitba park up and the back up from the house which was a novelty to us wee Glesga Keelies as it was grass and we were used to playing on the streets or black ash parks back home in Glasgow.

Added by on 02 November 2009.
Thank you for your response, so pleased to be in cotact. My address is 130 Raye street, Wagga Waggga, 2650 New South Wales. Australia. I have more pictures and information to put up, but it would be good if we could swap pictures, I am not great at putting photos up, , my brother James is. but please keep in contact. kind regards Audrey.

Added by Audrey Cooper on 02 November 2009.
I am the daughter of Archie and Margaret Morrison(nee Peat). this is so nice reading the comments on this site Mum and dad often talk about things you have said here. Yes Mum was engaged to Danny Murphy we have a photo of him playing his accordian. I have 3 brothers Archie, James and Allan Morrison, Mum and Dad live on my brothers property in Gladstone, queensland, Australia. They will get a real thrill out of this site.

Added by Marion McKewen on 02 November 2009.
Our mother Mabel Peat worked at the big house, I remember going with her, even down to making butter in the kitchen and helping setting the dinning tables. I know my father won medels for football. Our brother inlaw Archie Morrison told us that he was asked to play in a team in England, but he declined the offer. I have a photo of him by himself with a team jumper on - it is striped but can't tell the colours as it is black and white, I have pics with Anne Anges with her sibblings, and some other children in our yard, The Kavanaghs lived next door. My sister Mamie is married now to Mrs Kavinagh's daughter,s husband, as her daughter died years ago, his name is Anthony Holt from Adrishaig. My sister Mamie has been back a few times to Scotland. My dad's sister Jenny Peat still lives in Lochgilphead.My sister Mamie tells me that she kissed Donald under a tree, and Margaret got her into trouble for it. Donald, my sister Mamie said 'do you remember when you got paid on Fridays, and the Cambells van was in the village and you would buy sweets and lemonade and take it back up into the forest when you were working up behind the big house'.She said old Jimmy Stewert used to get hornets nests on the end of his walking stick, and then chase use to chase use with it. Mamie has many memories, she lives 10min from me and is going to come in one day and I will bring this site up for her and she will fill in a lot that I don't know, but all you people will know. She said it has great memories there for her. So for now I will stop, and give some more information next time, but anyone that can get hold of that book mentioned please let me know, if you could get one for us. Thank you. Audrey nee Peat

Added by Audrey Cooper on 03 November 2009.
Did Anyone Know Anthony Holt (Tony) That worked in the forestry At the same time as James Peat and my sisters mamie and margaret, His fathers sir name was Grub, thanks again, Audrey nee Peat p.s. He is now married to my sister Mamie.

Added by Audrey Cooper nee Peat on 04 November 2009.
Marion Mckewen Is our niece. Kind regards audrey.

Added by Audrey Cooper nee Peat on 04 November 2009.
I do remember Campbell's van coming on Friday's and all us younger forestry workers would buy sweets and lemonade because it was our pay day.There was another van which came on Tuesdays and I think it was a Co-operative van from Ardrishaig. My father never liked that van because he could buy his Capstan or Players cigarettes as the Co-op only sold their own brand plain cigarettes called Cogent which he hated but, being in need, he had to smoke them till Campbell's van came three days later.He had a name for these Cogents which I won't repeat here but it was also 'cogent'
Mamie is also quite right about Margaret seeing us kissing under the tree although she doesn't mention the other times we kissed. I remember one night I was working in our garden and Mamie was passing going for a walk.Being the gentleman I am I offered to keep her company.Just outside the village was a old stone quay where 'Puffers' came in to unload supplies for the local farmers and at the top of the quay was wooden hut( Ithink it was a weighbridge) and Mamie and I had a few kisses in there. I hasten to add that it never went beyond kissing because in those days I was only 17/18 years old and didn't realise that kissing wasn't the only pastime you could enjoy.
Does Mamie remember the time that Davy Doak hid a frog in her 'piece bag'to give her a fright and then, when he opened his own bag a Weasel flew out over his shoulder. The expression on his face was absolutely priceless! I don't think anyone put it there but it must have smelled the food and just crawled in.

Added by Donald Ferguson on 04 November 2009.
Ooh Uncle Donald (Ferguson), I'm getting to know your past now. I remember Danny Murphy use to stay in our house Marion but I did not know he was engaged to your mum. Somebody put a FROG down the back of my dress outside the "dance hall" in Achnamara. I was screaming and everyone came running out of the hall. My dad gave me a piggy back home. I remember the vans coming round and mum use to buy a bar of highland toffee as well as other shopping. Joy Jackson (nee Guthrie)

Added by on 10 November 2009.
I took this picture several years ago when on a trip up to Achnamara...was the kirk known as Inverlussa Church.

Added by on 18 November 2009.
Message for Marion McKewen, could you say a big hello to your parents fro Mia and Topsy Campbell, my mother is Mia and they grew up next to your parents and is delighed to hear them mentioned on this site, my aunt Topsy still lives in Achnamara, say a big hello and hopefully they both remember some stories about them.
Margaret Mclaren

Added by on 29 November 2009.
Re the 18 November entry: If you go back to home page and type in Inverlussa and search, you will find the picture I submitted of Inverlussa House - drawn by someone from the village I believe. Otherwise known as the Manse House, it was therefore the house belonging to the Church. In those days I didn't pay attention to it but there must have been Inverlussa Kirk. I haven't found the picture, however, referred to in your comment.

Isn't it thrilling to get so much commentary on Achnamara - which I did manage to visit this year for just a few minutes while the bus turned round there. It is even smaller than I remember but full of its own unique and remote atomosphere and charm and I managed to speak with the father of a couple of the boys I taught over 30 years ago.

Added by Frances Plummer on 30 November 2009.
Hello Margaret McLaren,
I remember Mia and Topsy whom I worked with from time to time in the Forestry
in Achnamara. I remember my Mother Mrs Ferguson, who was SubPostmistress in the village, asked me if I would like to earn a little money to deliver a Telegram to the Campbell residence. I don't remember how far it was outside Achnamara but I cycled there and returned home to be given 6d or 2and a half pence in new money - apparently that was the going rate set by the then GPO.Please pass on my good wishes to your mother.

Added by Donald Ferguson on 30 November 2009.
Hello Donald, my mother and aunt return your good wishes and hope you had a wonderful xmas, we used to walk from my grans to Achnamara several times a week, next time I visit the village I will take lots of pics and put them on here. Keep up the good work.

Added by on 26 December 2009.
Nice to hear from you again Margaret. I think it was Chrystine Livingston in August mentioned the bus driver 'Malkie' which reminds me of the time, I think it was November 1953, the bus was hired by the villagers to take them to Glasgow to do some Christmas shopping and my younger brother Alex an I went with them. Malkie dropped us off in St Enoch Square and arranged a time to pick us all up later on. Alex and I went into a Ironmongers to buy a Bushman saw along with a few others including an elderly gentleman - I think he was a Crofter from around Achnamara. We allowed this man to go to the counter before us and heard the assistant say ' my, it is quite busy today' to which he replied, knowingly " Aye. there's a busload in from Achnamara!" On our return journey to Achnamara, when we got to the lock bridge at Cairnbaan Malkie couldn't move the bus without skidding on the ice so we all, men, women and children had to get off and push the bus and, after a struggle, we finally arrived home, cold and wet and very tired ! Many thanks for your Christmas good wishes Margaret and pass on my Wishes to you and yours for a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year in 2010.
Donald Ferguson

Added by Donald Ferguson on 29 December 2009.
I have fond memories of Achnamara Residential School in the summers of 1962 and 1963. Our school, Sandwood Primary, Penilee, Glasgow arranged a weeks holiday for us to Achnamara.
Memories of these times are still vivid although I was only eleven years old.
The minister did have a speach impediment, a tall bald man with grey sideburns, we got into trouble comong back from the church service for jumping in the farmers haystacks !
Long walks in the woods up to the loch, midnight walks to the ruined village where all the people had been killed by the redcoats ! One year I got to be the ghost !
Watching the mouth of the burn being netted to catch the sea trout. Walking round to seal bay, fishing off the jetty, exploring the island at low tide.

The shop was a wooden hut, we were told to send postcards home to our parents, however the post mistress stormed up to the big house to complain that no one had bothered to put on a stamp.
Scottish Country dancing in the hall behind the big house, pinching fruit from the walled garden. This heaven was a world away from a housing estate in Glasgow.
Twice I returned with my two sons, around 1995 and 1999, we camped next to the jetty, on the second visit a kind resident of the newer bungalow just below the big house let us borrow his rowing boat so my sons could go out fishing. The house was then an outward bound centre and appeared to be well attended. The shop was still there with the daughter now in charge.
This week I returned again with my best friend from my childhood, he had always wanted to return to see Achnamara, so on our way back from a day in Oban we detoured to Achnamara. It was quite a shock to see the house in it's present state, no longer being a place full of happy voices enjoying the great outdoors. Instead an overgrown garden doing it's best to hide a once beautiful building. It was more so for Graeme whom had never been back for nie on fifty years. At least we did return and we will always have the fondest of memories of such a wondeful place. Thank you for sharing your village with us.

Added by Alan Vint on 20 August 2010.
Hello everyone, I lived in Inverlussa in the late 70s/early 80s with my parents and sister Gillian. My parents then moved to Campbeltown and I moved to West Sussex. I have just spent a wonderful week in Castle Sween a bit up from Achnamara with my husband and three girls, the oldest now being the same age as me when I left. I had such a happy childhood there and would not have hoped for a more beautiful place to grow up in. I remember the dances in the hall with Donald McDonald playing the drums and all the adults sneaking out to partake in a little alcholic drink as the hall did not have a license. I loved attending the church in Inverlussa and the minister used to sit all the children at the front and then perch on the step to talk to us. I used to look forward to attending Sunday School with Miss Purvis who used to pick us up on a Sunday morning. My headmaster was Mr McLean who told us such wonderful stories and taught me so much. When I lived there the Brolly and the Fitzpatrick families lived there and my Uncle Terry still lives in the village. I love that so many people enjoyed growing up there and I also remember Mrs Moir and her son and my first job was typing invoices (badly) for Mr Moir's fish farm.

Added by Tracy Miller (nee Edwards) on 07 September 2010.
At long last I can now see photos of just about anywhere in Achnamara by going to Google Earth. My, how I remember this place even if it was 1958 and I was eight years old when we left and moved to Australia. One spot that I'd love to see a photo of is the small bridge that crossed the Burn behind the post office. I remember as a child being scared of crossing it and would only do so if it was on my hands and knees. If anyone has a photo or could take on for me, it would be appreciated.

Anyone can look at my photos or websites by typing in "watchdog05" to any web browser.


James Peat



Added by James Peat. on 10 September 2010.
Hi my name is John Horrocks we lived in Achnamara in the late fifties and early sixties at 13 achnamara. I remember the Livingstones, Gallachers, Morrisons, Shaws, Blairs, Greens, Ritchards, Cherry's, Campbells, and Davidsons. I remember with fond thoughts of the wildlife, fishing, the burn, stealing apples from the Residential school, The Frys, flounder spear fishing with Tony Green, swinging off the oak tree by the large wall that supports the road to the Residential school, Easter bonnet parade round the village, Guy Fawkes bonfire down at the mouth of the burn, the list would be endless. I hope someone else remembers some of these things I certainly take these wonderful memories and bring them back to life in my mind.

Added by John Barr Horrocks I dropped the Horrocks some years ago. on 11 September 2010.
I spent three weeks at achnamara in 1964 from a school in Glasgow, I always thought I would go back some day, I'm sixty next year, maybe try and visit someday, I remember the rambels through the woods and film night in the hall, the shop at the bottom of the hill to spend any money that had been sent by your parents, and building a tree house (of sorts) with a couple of pals from the other school that was there (Garthamlock Glasgow, happy days.

Added by Yvonne Brown on 11 September 2010.
I spent 3 or so years in Achnamara between 55 to 58 and have the fondest memories of those time. I call back from time to time (was there this summer) and at last the village is getting back to a good state now that most of the houses are lived in rather than being holiday homes. The state of the big house is so sad to see. Falling into ruin - what a great shame. Now I have taken my son to fish off the Clapper bridge - and the Minister's burn - brings back many happy memories of fishing there with the Greens, Horrocks, Morrisons and Angus'. Nice to meet again the Grahams and Soudans.. John Horrocks if you read this do drop me a mail.

Added by Terry Richford on 08 October 2010.
Among my earlier comments about the families in Achnamara I forgot to mention Guy Begg and family and the reason I am reminded of this was the fact that my sister and brother in law - the Guthries - left the village in 1954/55 and moved to Muthil, near Crieff where Robert Guthrie was going to work on the Drummond Estate.
Shortly after he started work there a Removal Van came to the house next door and who should be in it but Guy Begg and family ! How's that for coincidence!
Part of the reason for this entry is to advise a change to my email address which is now ettrickdale@btinternet.

Added by Donald Ferguson on 15 December 2010.
Amazed to read all the stories of Achnamara. I also went there with Sandwood Primary School. Mr Dunn was our teacher, we went twice for two weeks and both were very memorable. Amongst my school friends were, Mary Kennedy, Morag Craig, Helen Scott, Chic Dury, John (beetle) Bolton to name a few. Now living in South Africa.
I sometimes think back of these great days, how sad to think the house is no longer in use. Hope to get back one day to walk again in Balour Forest to see if there really is a ghost!

Added by Betty Armstrong on 02 September 2011.
I went to Achnamara residential house with Possilpark School in the early 60's, and like all here had a great and memorable time the 4 weeks I was there. I now live in Canada, and have tried to find it during my visits over the years, but until now have been unsuccesfull in doing this. Is there anyone that can give me directions from Glasgow as I'm coming over in 2012, any information will be helpfull, and if you would like to send me pics to my email address, andrewmacleod77@gmail.com I would appreciate this too.
added by Andrew MacLeod

Added by Andrew MacLeod on 15 September 2011.
From Sylvia Walters, nee Wynne. I came across this website by chance and found the comments very interesting. I lived at Achnamara from 1939-1946 with my grandparents John and Isabella Wilson, Aunt Jenny Copland and Cousin John. John Wilson was the local gamekeeper (originally employed by the Coates family prior to the Forestry Commission), and Isabella the sub-postmistress at the old Post Office where they lived. My mother was Mary Wilson. I returned to London but always enjoyed a month’s holiday at Achnamara every summer until about 1955 and have returned occasionally since then. I remember many of the names mentioned – Souden’s, Livingstone’s, Graham’s, Campbell’s (Mia and Topsy), including teachers misses Bell and Todd etc. Also, Campbell’s van, fishing from the jetty, swimming in Loch Sween, the Clapper bridge and dances in the village hall. I was a pupil at Ashfield School where there was one classroom with children ranging in age from 5-14. Mrs MacGruer was the teacher. Marjory Scott, nee Holmes, was also a pupil at the same time. In 2008 I returned to Achnamara with my family and enjoyed taking a trip down Memory Lane with my 3 grandchildren. I have so many fond memories of such a wonderful place and will always go back. I now live in Chesham, Buckinghamshire.

Added by Sylvia Walters (nee Wynne) on 22 January 2012.
I have no comments to add at this time but since my earlier contributions I have changed my email address and am using this to notify you.

Added by Donald Ferguson on 25 January 2012.
Thanks Sylvia for the post, so many of the names in it are familiar although I don't think we met, but I was born in 1953 so you would have left before I appeared on the scene. My father, Jimmy Livingston of Seafield, often talked about John Wilson and my uncle and aunt John and Margaret Murray moved into what was your house and were neighbours to Willie and Molly Graham. My grandmother Alice Park Livingston nee Watson worked in the service of JP Coats at Achnamara House as a young woman and would have known John Wilson. We used to get visits from a couple of which the husband was a factor, probably retired, for JP Coats. Shamefully can't now remember their names but they had a beautiful Alvis car, I was clearly more interested in cars than people back then!

Added by Jeffrey Livingston on 25 January 2012.
Sylvia, like my brother Jeffrey, I was very interested in your posting. I was born in 1951 and was one of the last primary ones in the 'old' Ashfield School and one of the first primary ones in the 'new' Ashfield School in the village. Not so new now, of course. I was at the 40th aniversary on the 'new' school and we had access to the school roll which contained three generations of our family and of our cousins, the Soudan family. Your family would be well represented there too. An amazing sense of being part of the place. If you are ever coming back to the area, post a message here- I would love to meet up with you. Chrystine Livingston

Added by Chrystine Livingston on 27 January 2012.
Jeffrey and Chrystine, thank you for your postings. I remember going to Seafield farm for afternoon tea with Aunt Jenny and cousin John (it might have been with your mother Helen), and especially the jelly with whipped in evaporated milk. Also, my first bike came from the Seafield barn – it was a bit of a wreck but was lovingly restored and I had great fun with it. I vaguely remember your grandfather (I think his name was Neil), he was quite elderly at that time. On one visit to Achnamara, we met up with John and Margaret Murray and they invited us to see the house. On our last visit in 2008, we met their grandson Ronnie and family who had taken over the house. I am sure to be back to the area and may take up your invitation Chrystine.

Added by Sylvia Walters (nee Wynne) on 27 January 2012.
Grandfather was indeed Neil Livingston-he died in 1954 and I just remember him and no more- my mother moved to Seafield in 1950-the whipped evaporated milk with pink jelly was known as 'stink puff' (instead of 'pink stuff') and was enjoyed greatly by us as children.

Added by Chrystine Livingston on 30 January 2012.
Sylvia I was interested in your comments as when I was growing up my mother (Mia) took us to see "Aunt Jenny) in Elderslie, we lost contact with her and would like to know how she is. Margaret

Added by on 31 January 2012.
Margaret – sadly, Jenny Copland passed away in December 2007, she was a great lady. When visiting Castle Sween in 2008 with my family, we met by chance Topsy’s son and granddaughter from Ireland, who were also exploring the area.

Added by Sylvia Walters (nee Wynne) on 03 February 2012.
I have to admit we were dreading that answer but were hoping against it, she was a wonderful lady and a good friend to my mother, that would have been Joe and Molly that you met a Castle Sween, thanks for the information x

Added by on 04 February 2012.
The couple who owned the Alvis car would probably be the Lorimers. They had a beautiful house outside Achnamara.

Added by William(Billy) MacColl on 13 April 2012.
My name is Stuart Rumble and I was born in Achnamara 28/04/53 I have a few distant memories of my young life there and would like to hear from anyone who might remember our family. We lived at no. 23 I think which is just off this photo.

Added by Stuart Rumble on 27 May 2012.
I lived in Achnamara until 1958. As memory serves me, the Rumble's lived about 3 0r 4 doors from me. I was friends with Jimmy Rumble I think his name was.

Added by James Peat on 28 May 2012.
My mother remembers your parents, she thinks his name was John Rumble, my mother is Mia Campbell and she lived between Achnamara and Castle Sween, her sister Topsy still lives in Achnamara

Added by on 28 May 2012.
James Peat can I ask if you are Margaret and Mamie's dad?

Added by on 28 May 2012.
My Mum and Dad, Archie and Margaret Morrison (Peat), ( James Peat's sister) are going to Scotland on the 27th June for a month to revisit all the places they lived. It will be the first time they have been back to Scotland in 53 years. They remember a lot of the people that have been comenting on this site, would be wonderful if they could catch up with some.

Added by Marion McKewen on 29 May 2012.
Yes James, my Dad was John Rumble, mum Mary. Sadly both gone, they would have loved this page and all the comments. Thank you. Stuart

Added by Stuart Rumble on 29 May 2012.
Margaret, Mamie Evelyn and Audrey are my sisters. Sadly mum (Mable) and dad (James Cnr) have both passed on.

Added by James Peat on 30 May 2012.
Hi Marion,
My sister Rena and I visited Achnamara a few weeks ago and then did a run to Tayvalich and discovered Lyla Sowden working in a Coffee Shop there. She told us that she still lives in Achnamara, as also does her brother Neil. She had left there some years ago to Ireland after marrying an Irishman but has now returned home.I don't know her house number but presume someone will know. Please tell your Mum that Rena and I were asking for her and hope she enjoys her visit,
Donald Ferguson

Added by Donald Ferguson on 30 May 2012.
I was in Achnamara on Tuesday afternoon and it was lovely as normal (time stood still almost)the only thing was the famous Scottish Midge, James thanks for the info, Marion - if your mum and dad are visiting Achnamara ask them to pop into Topsy (Campbell)Cockburn's her house in the first on the right as you enter the village and she'd be delighted to see them, my e-mail adddress is margaret.mclaren@tiscali.co.uk if you need phone numbers or anything or any help well they are here feel free to drop me a note and get them to bring anything to keep the midges at bay, I am Mia Campbells daughter
If I may I would like to say you'll have missed Margorie Stewart of Cairnbaan who passed away last week, she was 95 on the Wednesday and slipped away on the Thursday (1917-2012) Margorie must have seen some changes in her lifetime, RIP Aunt Margorie xxx Margaret Mclaren

Added by Margaret Mclaren on 07 June 2012.
I was good to read all the positive comments about Achnamara House and the good times Glasgow school children had there. For me, there as a child during the early sixties my experience was less than positive. Coming from an extremely poor family in a large Glasgow housing estate I had marked my uderwear and subsequent to putting it in the basket for washing was physically dragged down to the laundry where in front of the staff I was pulled about and humiliated by having my underwear held up in front of me. Not that this was enough but I was further humiliated by being presented to the entire school population of which was not futher punishement but an attempt to bully and threaten the other children. No attempt made to understand either the social background or needs of the child. Glad to hear it is now in a state of disrepair

Added by John Calder on 29 June 2012.
Hi my name is Esther Cairns. Née Cotter. We lived at number ten Achnamara. My dad was Tommy Cotter and my mother Margaret. I remember well the Sowdens, the Beggs, the Wilkies. My dad worked for the Forestry Commission for many years. Sadly mum and dad have been gone over twenty years now, but my family have been back a few times. Still love the village to this day. Love. Esther. X

Added by Esther Cairns on 18 July 2013.
Hi my name is Evelyn McIlwraith (ne Peat). My mum and dad were Jim and Mabel Peat. My best friends were Fiona Shaw and Anne Angus. I was the culprit who put the frog down Joy Guthries dress. Boy did I get into trouble from my dad. My husband Ray, myself, daughter Melissa and her husband Nathan are coming to Scotland next year in May June. We all live in Australia. We are coming to Achnamara, and I am so excited. I left there when I was 14 yrs old, but I still remember it well. Still remember all the names like Marjorie Holmes and the Sowdens. Hope to catch up with lots of people. Will keep in touch. Ev McIlwraith. 10 Aug 2013.

Added by Evelyn McIlwraith on 10 August 2013.
Would love to hear back from someone as to where some of these people now live.I believe Topsy Campbell lives in our old place no 19. My sister Margaret wants me to call and say hello to Topsy. The Shaws were our neighbours and we are hoping to catch up with Fiona in Oban. I still remember Mrs Shaws beautiful scones. The Divers lived next door to us on one side and Paddy on the other side. John Kavanagh was my friend. I remember well the Beggs, the Sowdans and the Livingstones. I have fond memories of dress ups in the hall. My mum Mabel went to great lengths to dress me up. Archie and Maggie Campbell (Archie Morrison's cousin ) came to stay with us quite a few years ago with their two boys in Australia. I know Archie has passed on now but hope to catch up with Maggie in Lochgilphead. Would anyone know where Anne Angus or Tommy Angus live as I would love to catch up with them. I would appreciate any info you have. Looking forward to next year. Looking at google earth, Achnamara looks just the same as when I left. I get a bit emotional. Evelyn McIlwraith. 14 Aug 2013.

Added by Evelyn McIlwraith on 14 August 2013.
Evelyn, Tommy Angus and Anne are my cousins. Tommy lives in Lochgilphead and Anne is living in Kilmarnock. If you can't find them in the phone book I can probably find their telephone number. Regards Terry Richford

Added by Terry Richford on 15 August 2013.
Thank you Terry so much. I would love to catch up with them. If you happen to be speaking to them in the meantime, would you let them know I am coming over. It would be hard to get their phone nos here in Australia. Many thanks. Evelyn McIlwraith. 17 Aug 2013.

Added by Evelyn McIlwraith on 17 August 2013.
I will let them know

Added by Terry Richford on 18 August 2013.
Was wondering if anyone knew if Marjorie Holmes and Joy Guthrie were still in the area, as I remember them well. Would love to hear from some of these people before we come over. Kind regards, Evelyn McIlwraith( ne- Peat ) 27th August 2013.

Added by Evelyn McIlwraith on 27 August 2013.
Marjory Holmes is now Scott and in 1997 she had a book published ' Janus Publishing Company.Edinburgh House.19 Nassau Street.London W1N 7RE' The book's ISBM number is 1 85756 395 6.It is called 'Reflections, Recollections'A Post War childhood in Argyllshire and follows Marjory from about 1946 to 1959 in and about Achnamara. You may be able to obtain a copy in Australia by quoting the Title, Author and ISBN number. I've no idea where she lives now but I can assure you the book is very well written and mentions a few people in Achnamara and round about. Hopefully someone else reads this post and contacts you.

Added by Donald Ferguson on 28 August 2013.
Thank you very much Donald, will try to get a copy if I can. Sounds very interesting. If anyone else has information I would much appreciate it. Regards Evelyn. Evelyn McIlwraith. 30th August 2013.

Added by Evelyn McIlwraith on 30 August 2013.
Hello Evelyn Great to hear you and your family are coming to Scotland this year and will be visiting Achnamara and hope that we could meet up during your visit. Anne lives in Ayr and perhaps you might be able to speak to her on the phone while you are here.

Added by Tommy Angus on 27 January 2014.
Hi Tommy, so good to hear from you. I am very excited about coming over. We will certainly meet up with you. We leave Australia on 28th April then from London do a 12 day tour of Ireland and Wales. From there we pick up a large camper van and tour Scotland for 2 wks. Then end our holiday in France for 3 days. I cant believe it's been 56 yrs since we left Achnamara. Would love to catch up with Anne but will wait and see. Malcolm Shaw has been in touch with me also. Want to catch up with he and Fiona if we can. Will be in touch before we come. Best wishes Evelyn McIlwraith. 28 January 2014.

Added by Evelyn McIlwraith on 28 January 2014.
I loved reading through these notes, it brought back many childhood memories, I am David Robertson, who lived in the foresters house with my sister Joy, from its initial build in 1951 to 1958 when we departed to Balquhidder. Mum and dad were Molly and David, he was the assistant head forester. I too started my schooling at Ashfield primary (currently for sale at over £500k) I used to walk home or occasionally get a ride on one of the Clydesdale horses. I also transitioned to the new school when it was built, think my teacher was Mrs Brown, her husband drove a very nice Sunbeam. Dad eventually bought an old black Hillman (YS 36)
I remember many of the names you all talk about, though not all of them, the Grahams were our neighbors, Alistair and Elizabeth used to play with us, and I too was scared of the stone slab bridge behind their house. Dad got an old black Cocker Spaniel "Jock" that we walked for miles with mum.
One more family name to add is the Christies, Jock ??, Joyce, Elspeth, Susan, Jean.
Who was it that had the first telly? I remember being allowed to crowd in for Boots and Saddles, Whirlybirds, and the Lone Ranger, amazing, we never got one till many years later. The village hall and the visit of the picture van, a Tale of Two Cities with the hero's getting beheaded at the end, that left a very vivid image in my mind.
Libby and Jannet McNair are names from Ashfield farm
Cycling like a maniac on a circuit on the sand when the tide was out, or round the village, ah! those were the days.
Retired now living in Prestwick, but do manage a run back to my roots from time to time
sorry for rambling on, may try and add more later.

Added by David I Robertson on 07 October 2014.
Anyone remember my dad, George Gerc. We lived at No 15 from 1952 until 1955 when we moved to South Lecknabaan.

Added by George Gerc on 26 December 2014.
I was evacuated to Achnamara House during the war. I stayed there until the duration. I am now 79 and have such wonderful memories of the place. I was surprised that there was no mention of the evacuees on the page. I remember the post office and Sandy's mail bus. Also the march to Church on Sundays. What a wonderful place to have spent some of my childhood away from the bombings in Glasgow. Unfortunately I cannot remember any of the names of the other evacuees, senility has taken over. If there is "Heaven on earth" it must be Achnamara. Now in my dotage I cannot remember many things but Achnamara is a vivid happy memory. My name was Joyce Ramsay then and would love to hear from any of the other evacuees.

Added by Joyce Swanwick nee Ramsay on 17 February 2015.
I spent a wonderful three week school vacation in Achnamara and have fond memories of this adventure. I remember something called 1 Tree island rowing over to it and back. After full day activities walking through forrestry or taken into Lochgilphead, collecting invthe eveningvin close to big house a community hall for bread and jam and hot chocolate supper before heading to bed. Also on last night before returning home a dance like a ceilidh to finish off our school vacation before heading home to Glasgow. Does anyone else have this memory?

Added by Grace Sichi on 18 July 2015.
What a great surprise, I was just writing about my time at Achmanamara Residential School as a volunteer in 1971-72 when the school was run by Audrey Stone and Edna Whyte. I have wonderful memories of the place, the people, the kids from Glasgow and the amazing wildlife. I've been writing about wildlife and travel for forty years now, and still regularly refer to the year I spent in Achnamara. Unfortunately Audrey died three years ago, but I still visit Edna on Luing at least once a year. Just a few of the names I remember include, Willie Graham (I think) who worked at the School, he gave me his tweed demob coat, Archie Campbell? Mrs Souden, Rosemary Purvis, and I think I fell for a beautiful local girl called Angela Green, and there are many more I'll remember I'm sure after I've posted this. Best wishes Sean Wood
PS For those with long memories, I was the one with long curly hair ha ha.

Added by Sean Wood on 17 January 2016.
I visited Achnamara in June 1970 & December 1970 as a U.S. college student. I stayed at small cottage with Mrs Sarah McKellar who ran the pony trekking service on the estate. The cottage was located at the end of the paved public road towards the sea. I have the fondest memories of riding every day in the hills and on the beach with English tourists. I visited the local artist's studio across the road from the school. I borrowed the schoolmaster's son bike and rode on the road exploring. I have photos of the sheep crowding the road for shearing. The children from a farm in view of the cottage would visit. Does anyone have information of Mrs McKellar? Did she continue to live there or leave? She was a widow at the time? And what of the estate? The owner took me on his boat along the sea coast to view the bird nests. Achnamara memories continue for me. Thank you! Lorraine

Added by Lorraine on 13 April 2016.
Achmanamara Residential School on the market for o/o £400, 000

Added by Fiona Green( on 04 September 2016.
To Evelyn & family in Australia, if you want a retirement project over here to keep you busy the old Achnamara Residential School is on the market.

Added by Fiona Green on 04 September 2016.
I went to Achnamara with my school from Glasgow City Public Senior Secondry 1961 I have remembered it all my life loved it the wide open spaces . One tree Island Lochgilphead with the beautiful log cabin houses thank you Achnamara I now live on 4 acres in Australia backing into 5000 hectares of National Park and an ode to my time in Achnamara.

Added by Catherine Halhead née Knight on 31 January 2017.
My mum's name was Rena McLaren Whiteford -born Springburn. Her mother Kathleen Margaret Whiteford from Lochgilphead. Did anyone know my gran or the McLarens from Springburn or Lochgilphead? Got Donald, Mary and Archibald as names 1920s.

Added by Rita on 13 April 2017.
I posted on this page in February 2015 about being evacuated to Achnamara from Glasgow during the war. It had such a lasting impression on me that I am now going to fulfill my "bucket list" wish and my wee brother ( in his 70's) is taking me back next week. I am so excited about revisiting such happy childhood memories, I can't wait. Surprised no one else has mentioned being evacuated there during the war.

Added by Joyce swanwick nee Ramsay on 03 May 2017.
Looking for information on Rita McLaren born 1941 died 1989 in Springburn Glasgow. Her mother was Kathleen Mclaren Whiteford born 1920 Lochgilphead died 1987 Glasgow. Rita McLaren lived Tradeston 1961 Abbotsford Place were she married John Murray Swan. His father Donald Morrison Swan and mother Alice B Revell born in Renfrew, Gourock also lived 1961 Abbotsford place.
1961 name on John Murray Swan and Rita McLaren her marrage certificate Rita ( formerly rena ) McLaren whiteford occupation cinema usherette
Her mother's name Kathleen Margaret Whiteford occupation domestic servant
I was brought up with my brother John and sister Alice Catherine Margaret Swan any information on my relations friends school pictures where they lived would be greatful. Thanks Rita McSkimming John and Rita's daughter - my email mcskimmingmechelle@yahoo.com

Added by Rita on 05 May 2017.
Hello from Tasmania Australia. I wonder if anyone can remember my Great Aunt and Uncle Ruth and Bill Withers? They lived in a cottage on land overlooking the Loch. They were friends with the Tuttels(?)

Added by Carole Benham on 15 June 2017.
I remember the Tuttles. They lived quite a way from Achnamara. My Father Jacky Richford used to work for them occasionally. Can't recall the Withers. Sorry Maybe one of the Soudens might remember them?

Added by Terry Richford on 15 June 2017.
Thanks Terry Do you remember where they lived?

Added by Carole on 20 June 2017.
My mother was Rena Mclaren whiteford born 1941 springburn her mother was Kathleen Margaret Whiteford born 1920 Lochgilphead. There was a Donald as well think there ancesters are from Lochgilphead they moved to Glasgow and died in Glasgow anyone know their family. I am Rita, Rena's daughter, born 1962 Govan, Glasgow.

Added by Rita on 12 September 2017.
Lovely to read about Achnamara. I went to the residential school there in the early 60s with a group from Riverside Secondary School in the east end of Glasgow. It was wonderful to be in the countryside and I remember Loch Sween and quaint wooden Scandinavian type houses near the Loch. There was a little post office/general store and I seem to remember a visit to Rob Roy’s statue at Balquidder. It was a memorable experience for us city children.

Added by Rachel Jamieson on 11 November 2017.
Fantastic reading all the comments of such a beautiful village as Achnamara, my name is Patricia Gallagher and I lived at Number 10 with my mum Mary and Dad Patrick and 3 sisters Marie , Margaret and Marion, not forgetting our granny Mary Smith who lived with us. From 1959 to 1965
Remembering many of the names mentioned. Mrs Brown headteacher retired and Miss McLean came to live at the School house. Also assistant teacher Miss MacMenzies who drove the wee bubble car. Thanks to all for such good memories x I now live in Auchterarder, Perthsire

Added by Patricia (Gallagher) Russell on 05 May 2018.
Coincidence Patricia, before I was evacuated to Achnamara House during the war, I was evacuated to the Star Inn Auchterarder. Still haven’t heard of anyone else who was evacuated to Achnamara House

Added by Joyce Swanwick nee Ramsay on 05 May 2018.
Hello Joyce, what a big difference being evacuated to Star Inn at Auchterarder to the beautiful Achnamara House. Star Hotel could do with a facelift, Achnamara House in desperate need of someone to bring it back to life. My mother Mary Gallagher worked up at the Big School (as we knew it) and could tell us stories about the lovely kids who came to stay for the month, we were always invited to their going home parties at the end of the month, which were great fun.

Added by Patricia (Gallagher) Russell on 06 May 2018.
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