Monday, September 24, 2007

Arichonan Photos

Some lovely photos of Arichonan are up on the web right now! The first is wonderful, taken from above the settlement remains, featuring the view of Loch Sween (which was makes me think that the original settlers were thinking hard about defense, when they founded Arichonan ... for Vikings, etc were sea-going slave traders back in the day).

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Loch Sween, again

while I am working on a new entry at Knapdale People website, on "Leaving Knapdale", as well as adding to the section on Major General Sir Archibald Campbell of Inverneill, good ol' Google sent me a story from people who sailed on Loch Sween, and put into "The Fairy Isle." Evocative, eh? And there is a photo, too. This is their story:

"We spent a week in one anchorage, just reading, going for walks and doing small DIY tasks around the boat. We met a single-hander who invited us over for a drink, and saw some freinds from Ardfern, but most nights we were the only boat there. The Fairy Isles is a wonderful location, tucked away near the head of Loch Sween, it offers a sheltered anchorage from all but north-easterlies, and has a gooey, muddy seabed. We dropped our Rocna anchor there one Friday, and after having been blown almost round the compass in the course of the week, hauled it up from the same spot the next Friday morning.
That was the start of a brisk sail back home, as the wind had gone round to the north west, and we beat all the way up the Sound of Jura assisted by a strong tide, which gave us five 'free' miles on the journey. We used the engine to get into the Sound, as the swell was coming straight into the mouth of Loch Sween.
Glad we came home on Friday though, as the weather otherwise over the weekend was stormy, rainy and thoroughly dreich!"

Sunday, September 9, 2007

sailing Loch Sween

Sharing his sailing trip up Loch Sween... a nice description for those of you who are sailors:

....After a leisurely breakfast we launch from the slipway by the jetty in Tayvallich and leave the car in the space opposite the shop. The weather is dull but dry as we leave the perfectly sheltered harbour and cut across the mouth of Scotnish on route to the Fairy Isles.This is a really incredible place, an a rea of shallow banks and lagoons. The perfect place for a canoe to explore....

Saturday, September 8, 2007

travelling to Knapdale

Google lets me know when Knapdale and Arichonan and etc come up on the 'net. Yesterday, they noted an interesting site for you who may want to travel to the Knapdale area. The website is called, "Page Most", and you can find it, with a handy-dandy map, here. It's worth a good look, as it pinpoints surrounding attractions, all placed on a map with roads and everything!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

addendum to The Hearth Tax entry (below)

I did some more thinking (always a Good Thing), and compared the Hearth Tax list with known population figures, and... added the following to Knapdale People, "Hearth Tax of 1694" section:
"However, if you look at the "Statistical Accounts of Scotland",(3) completed a century later, there are actual population figures given by each Parish Minister. Accordingly, we find that in 1796, South Knapdale's population was 1524 souls; and in 1799, North Knapdale's population was 1009, for a total of 2533 souls in Knapdale as a whole. Now, the Hearth Tax list includes a number of villages in Kilberry Parish; but it misses places like Arichonan, up near Bellanoch. There are a total of 383 dwellings on that 1694 list. If there were some 2,800 people - at most - in Knapdale, that indicates some 7 people per dwelling... which is not out of line, I think, given my impression of the 'huddled masses' of my ancestors, having porridge around a centre hearth.
So, just maybe, this Hearth Tax List is a reasonably faithful picture of Knapdale in 1694!"

Monday, September 3, 2007

Argyll and Bute Archives

Mr. Ian MacDonald, a historian of Kintyre and Knapdale, and a great help to all family historians, has this to say in a letter:
"We have not done much since the Archives were shut down by the A-B Council. A very retrograde step taken by people not interested in Argyll's past history. Many have complained from abroad about its loss. It opens but consultation charges presently operating scare would-be ancestral researchers...."
It is a great pity that Argyll cannot see that a well supported Archive would attract people from around the world, and keep them in the area for longer than the 15 minutes it takes to buy petrol in Lochgilphead, while travelling to Oban. Not many areas possesses the history that is appealing to so many people from North America and Australia and New Zealand, etc. Genealogy is the most popular (legal) topic on the internet, and people are willing to travel around the world, to spend time in the lands in which their ancestors lived.
I worked in tourism for almost 2 decades, and cannot understand Argyll/Bute's lack of interest in the 'mother lode' that is sitting right there in their Archives. Oh well...

Taxing Knapdale in 1694

And why is this interesting? Well, things were different then.... spelling, names, poverty, etc. I have 2 data bases on this: one by modern surname; and one by modern place.
ALSO, a pdf of the relevant pages, with typed transcriptions of each; and a map showing the layout of the various landowners (Campbell of Auchinbreck was the biggest landowner in 1694; it seems he backed Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745 and was down and out and very poor when he died...his story is a tragedy, I think, and I will add what little I can find out about him, in the near future.)

Given that almost everyone on the list has only 1 hearth (there is a McAlister with 5, of course), I would say that there were lots of poor people in Knapdale in 1694.
I want to add two more pdf's to this section: an inventory done for the Poltalloch Estate in 1800; and the report of the S Knapdale Parochial Board (dealing with the poor, the lunatic, etc.) from 1845 to 1855. So the new section will be about.. people.
So, go to Knapdale People and check out the handwriting of the taxgatherers in 1694!