Taken from
Issue Number 37 July 1995


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Kintyre Smugglers
Ian MacDonald

Smuggling was a way of life for many if not most of the inhabitants of Kintyre throughout the 18th and well into the 19th century, and many tales are still told of the constant battle between the smugglers and their sworn enemies the Revenue men.

Campbeltown was the base from which Revenue cutters attempted to control the North Channel through which shipping to and from America, the Baltic and Scandinavia had to pass. Cargoes from America and the West Indies included spirits, sugar, tea and tobacco. Mai 1 to and from Jacobite and American Revolutionary supporters were carried by hand, hopefully to escape the attention of the authorities.

From Norway and the Baltic came timber . and spirits while nearer home there was illegal traffic· in wool, meal and Machrihanish coal to Ireland which sent back large quantities of salt, much used for preservation of fish and meat. Wine from the Continent was also much in demand.

The local riding officers had instruct ions from the Collector in Campbeltown in 1778 to ride ""armed with pistol Is" and their weapons were frequently necessary.

All classes of the community resented paying Government duties which many believed went straight to England. Duncan Forbes of Culloden attributed much Jacobite sympathy to this belief. Dr Norman Macleod loved to tell the story of an old woman brought before Sheri ff Duncan Campbell who presided for about thirty years prior to 1822. The Sheriff seemed a bit uneasy but eventually addressed the accused: "No doubt my good woman it is not often you have been guilty of this fault." "Na, Na, Shirra"", she replied, I hae'na made a drop since yon wee keg I sent yoursel'!"

On another occasion an 18th century Provost was much embarassed by a barrel of claret found on his doorstep early one morning by a prowling custom officer.

However, the Duke of Argyll had clauses in his Southend leases against smuggling. There is evidence that oats were shipped to Ireland with docquets in 140 lb barrels from as far away as West Loch Tarbert. Barrels were the main containers of the time. One of the last illegal distillers had false compartments put into his barrels so that when inspected they would appear to contain butter or some such innocuous stuff.

Among surviving documents are the accounts of Sheriff Officers for searching for and apprehending offenders. One such is that of Angus MacDonald, Sheriff Officer in Campbeltown, rendered for the period 14th August 1823 to 10 May 1824 to Dugald McTavish of Dunardry, Sheriff Substitute at Campbeltown. as follows:

August 14. To my trouble going to Claongart, Parish of Killean searching for Edward McEachen, alias Ronald McDugald. Distance 12 miles and could not Find him. 1 Day @ 7/6. -----------------------------£0--7-6.Paid 4 assistants 4/- each. ----------------------------- 1-16-0.
Sept. 8. To my trouble going to Claongart searching for and apprehending Edward McEachen bringing him down and lodging him in Jail. 2 days at 7/6 per day. ----------------------------- 0-15-0.Paid for a horse and cart for taking the prisoner down. ----------------------------- 0--5-0To maintaining the prisoner on the road. ----------------------------- 0--2-0.To paid 4 assistants @ 4/- each day. ----------------------------- 1-12-0.
Sept. 25. To my trouble e going to Corputechan and searching for and apprehending Robert Gardner bringing down and lodging hi. in Jail. 2 days @ 7/6 per day. ----------------------------- 0-15-0.To paid n horse and cart for taking down the prisoner. ----------------------------- 0--5-0.To maintaining the prisoner on the road. ----------------------------- 0--2-0.
Aug. 18. To my trouble going to Killocraw. parish of Killean and searching for Duncan McLean. ----------------------------- 0--7-6.To paid 4 assistants 1 day ~ 4/- each. ----------------------------- 0-16-0.
Sep. 15 & 22. To my trouble as above. 2 days. ----------------------------- 0-15-0.Paid 4 assistants 2 days ~ 4/- each day. ----------------------------- -12-0.
Oct. 15. To do. and ·apprehending him and lodging In Jail. ----------------------------- 0--7-6.To 4 assistants ~ 4/- each. ----------------------------- 0-16-0.----------------------------- £12--9-6.
Payments received of the above account from Mr. McTavish. First payment on the Potatoe land. ----------------------------- from his son Dugald. ----------------------------- £ 1.--1-0.Second payment from Mr. McTavish. £2. Third. £3-3-0 5--3-0. .The last. £1-10-0. -----------------------------1--1£8-13-0.
Balance. ----------------------------- £3-16-0.

The above account shows the difficulty and expense of apprehending persons engaged in the illicit distilling trade. The above places are all farms in the Bellochantuy area.

A second account for 1824 shows that it was necessary to go to the extreme north of Kintyre to try to arrest the main culprits in North Kintyre. In the case of Archibald McTavish or Thomson who was engaged in the making of illicit whisky near Scotmill, parish of Kilcalmonell, when the company were surprised by the gaugers, McTavish fled from the site with the complete worm, a vital part in the process, chased by the assistants but he being fleet of foot outdistanced his pursuers and reached Skipness from whence he got on board a boat and escaped to the island of Arran. He then crossed from Arran to the mainland and crossed over to the Borders where he remained for seven years until the hue and cry died down.

Without the worm the gaugers were unable to prove that illicit whisky was being made. This old site can still be seen and the writer obtained the story from the late Angus McPhail who resided at Scotmill and died in 1989 at the age of 94 years.

Account of Angus MacDonald for 1824.
Mar. 10. To my trouble searching for John McWilliams in Drum., parish of Killlean. Distance 6 miles. £0--7-6. To 4 assistants @ 4/- each. ---------------------------0-16-0
Mar. 12. To searching for Thomas McLean. Rannachan and Archibald Thomson alias McTavish in Dalaruan both in the parish of Campbeltown. Dist; 6 miles. 0--7-6 To 4 assts. ~ 4/- each. -------------------------------0--16-0.
March 15. 16. 17 18. To my trouble searching for John Hyndman, Garchroit parish of Skipness 22 miles From Campbeltown and John Brodie in Uragaig distance 28 miles and John Campbell in Garvoline distance 30 miles. Four days and three nights constant labour and could not find them. 4 days @ 7/6 a day. ----------£1-10-0. 4 assistants for the same time @ 4/- each day.---------3--4-0.
April 16. To my trouble searching for John McWi1liaa. Thomas McLean and Archd. McTavish. 1 day and 1 night and could not be found. ---------------------------£0--7-6. To 4 assistants @ 4/- each day. -----------------------0--16-0.
April 26. 27. 28. 29. To my trouble searching for John Hyndman, John Campbell and John Brodie and could not find .them. 4 days @ 7/6 per day. ------------1-10--0. assistants @ 4/- each for 4 days. -------------------3--4-0.
May 5. To my trouble searching for John Hyndman. John Campbell and John Brodie and apprehending John Hyndman' with the assistance of John McNaughton, Petty Officer on one of the Revenue Cutters and his boat crew 6 in number. 2 days and 3 nights. 1--2-6. To paid for their maintenance at 2 diets per day at 1/- each per diet. ---------------------------------1-16-0. To paid on the Steam for towing us down from Grabhohr to Campbeltown as the day blew so hard and against us McNaughton's boat could make no headway· --------------------------------------------- 0-14-0.
May 7. To paid for the prisoner's breakfast and dinner. ------------------------------------------------ £0--2-0. Mr. McNaughton says that his men has a right to 4/- per day each and himself to 7/6 a day which makes a total of.-------------------------------------£4--2-6.
May. 8. To searching for Thomas McLean and John McWilliam on being informed they were at home. 1 day and 1 night. ------------------------------------0--7-6. To 4 assistants at 4/- each. --------------------------0-16-0.
May 10. To searching for John Campbell and John Brodie being also informed they were at home. 3 days and 2 nights. ----------------------------------0-16-0. To 4 assistants at 4/- each for same time. 2--8-0. £25--9-6.
(At the bottom of this account it reads: 'Received payment of this acct. from Collector Beith.' )

There was no mention of any successful outcome to the search for the persons mentioned above.

The Statistical Accounts of 1792 for the parishes of Killean and Kilcalmonel1 and Kilberry record that there were five licensed distilleries in the former and three in the latter parish. Whisky was the main medicine of the period and no house was without it since there were few doctors available. When the writer as a small boy took measles, often a killer of young children, the medicine given to force out the spots was a mixture of whisky and sulphur taken thrice daily until the spots were fully out.

Old documents preserved in Campbeltown Antiquarian Society Library record the following:

Persons prosecuted for illegal distillation of Whisky.
Year to 5 July 1797. ----- 84.
Year to 5 July 1798. ----- 176.
Year to 5 July 1799. ----- 99.
Stills seized and condemned in these years. ----- 292.
Of which 147 in 1798 alone.

One of the largest stills, with a cubic content of 18 gallons, was at a place named Crockanrioch in Brantian Glen. This was in the parish of Kilcalmonell south of the village of Clachan and was being operated by a consortium of four which included two MacAlesters. Its cost was between £3 and £5 and was most likely produced by the firm of Armours coppersmiths in Campbeltown who sold the licensed stills through the front door and the illicit ones through the back door!

There are two old sites of illicit stills by the small stream coming from Loch Garasdale which were pointed out to the writer by the late Donald MacDonald, shepherd at Meinan. The farms of Brantian and Meinan were joined into one by the Macdonalds of Largie about the year 1790. The original Meinan house stood on the north bank of Loch Garasdale about half a mile east of the present Meinan farmhouse and the old ivy clad building was the original house of North Brantian. These remains are adjacent to the corrugated clad house.

The wages of the gauger were £33 per annum in 1784.

Another old document listed stills in the Clachan area at Achavraude, Carnbeg, Ronachan, Dunskeig and Loch Kiaran together with Achapharic, Clachaig, North Crubasdale, Blary, Amod, Barlia, Narrachan, Kilmaluag, Auchin, with two others at Ducheran and Courshelloch. The writer visited the site of the still at Achapharic with his father and Mr. Duncan Colville many years ago. It was operated by John McCoig and his son who were the farmers in nearby North Beachmore about 1800. The still was built above the small waterfall on the burn and camouflaged into the bank so as to be almost impossible to find and there was a small diversion in the burn close by to further disguise it from the prying eyes of Revenue men.

The still in Clachaig glen was operated by Gilbert Reid, tenant in Clachaig and can be seen on the right hand side of Clachaig Water just to the north of the rocks of 'The Creaghan'. The large square rock known as the 'Mares Rock' which commands the whole of Clachaig Glen allowed the distillers ample time to hide everything if there was a raid by customs men in the offing. Anyone entering the glen could be seen over a mile away. Gilbert Reid died a pauper and is interred in the old part of Killean Burial Ground. The remains of his still are easiest reached by crossing over from Braids (pronounced 'Bradge') and crossing Beochmenach hill to just below a small waterfall where the still is in two parts.

One of the last illegal distillers was Johnnie Blue who lived at Ballochroy near Clachan. His forbears were the millers at Toyinloan and Killean and they also operated a still on the Island of Gigha. Johnnie Blue's still was on the south side of Ballochroy glen to the east of the farm of Loch Clonaig which was tenanted by the Bell family. This family who were staunch Jacobites had earlier fled from the Lochaber area and were given sanctuary by the MacDonalds of Largie.

His site lay on the small burn running into Loch A'Vogart from the south according to the late William McGougan, head shepherd on Largie Estate and who also took the writer to see the small buildings by the side of the burn which has lovely pure water running there. He made two kinds of whisky which were known as 'Moonlight' and 'Daylight', the former being twice the strength of the latter. He and his brother-in-law John McKinlay the cooper at Ballochroy devised a cask which had a small compartment in the centre in which they put the illicit whisky with butter at the ends. If stopped and searched by Customs they were only carrying farm produce. On one occasion they were surprised by Customs men so they threw a brand new still into Loch Garasdale where it remains according to Godfrey MacAlister, a descendant of John McKinlay's daughter Ann McKinlay who married Alexander MacAlister, shepherd at Meinan.

Godfrey MacAlister has the small anvil handed down and which was carried from place to place by his great grandfather for making the small hoops. The earlier barrels had hoops of wood, mainly hazel. President Ronald Reagan of the United States is a descendant of these Blues.

An earlier member of the Blue family active in illegal distilling was Dugald Blue who also resided at Ballochroy. He was prosecuted and with several others fled the country "with the profits" settling in Ontario, Canada. The family remained in Elderslie Township with the Gillies family who were listed as "Spirit Dealers" and became prominent members in local government in that area. A cairn was erected to the memory of John Gillies, one of the family, at a place called 'Gillies Hill' in memory of his achievements.

An old ledger of Robert Armour, coppersmith in Campbeltown, records the illicit stills supplied for smuggling and the following list pertains to North Kintyre:
  • 1812.
  • Nov. 19. Alexr. McCaog, farmer, Loch Kearan. Clachan.
  • Dec. 24. Archd. McCallum. Narrachan. Lergiesland
  • 1813.
  • Aug. 18. Angus Gilchrist. Arinafeach. Clachan.
  • Aug. 18. Malcom McEachern. Arinafeach. Clachan.
  • 1815.
  • Nov. 17. Donald McKeog, Loch Kearan, Clachan.
  • Nov. 17. Malcom McEachern, Arinafeach, Clachan. (Repeat).
  • Nov. 1. John Mclntaggart, Achafaric, above Cleit. ·
  • Nov. 1. John McKinvin, Achafaric, above Cleit.
  • Nov. 1. Neil HcIlreavy, Achafaric, above Cleit.
  • Nov. 1. Neil Downey, Achafaric, above Cleit.
  • Nov. 1. Duncan Mclean, Achafaric, above Cleit.
Note: Achafaric was a large ferm toun with some 9 families living there. It is now part of the farm of Beachmenach.
  • 1815.
  • Nov. 10. John McStocker, Riantaggart, Clachan. (Achavrad).
  • Nov. 10. John McCeog & Son, Beachmore, Cleit.
  • 1816.
  • Jan 2. Alexr. McAlester, Dunskegg, Clachan.
  • Jan 2 Archd. McEachern, Dunskegg, Clachan
  • Jan11. John McStocker, Auchnavrad, Clachan.
  • 1817.
  • Feb. 11, Archd. McEachern, Cleongart, Bellochantuy.
  • Jun 12. Gilbert Cochran, Loch Kiaran, Clachan.

Gilbert McEachern was known as Gilbert Cochran on the other side of the Firth of Clyde when engaged in delivering contraband cargo. In the same way the McQuilkans anglicised their name to Wilkieson or Wilkie or Wilkeson so that it was virtually impossible for the Revenue men to trace them. The Wilkie family have a grandfather clock dated 1810 bought across the Clyde from the proceeds of their distilling. Information from the ledger of Duncan McNiven, merchant at Crubasdale between the years 1806-1810 shows that he was accepting whisky as part payment for goods and cloth as well as farm tools and tobacco. He paid £2 per gallon to all suppliers.

The following is a description of the stills used by local operators in the Clachan area from 1816 onwards:
  • Alexr. McAlester, Dunskeg.
  • Archd. McEachran, weaver, Clachan.
  • Donald Thomson, Clachan.
  • John McCallum, Clachan.
  • 1816. Jany. 2. To a body, head and worm as per line granted. £4-9-4M.
  • 1817. By cash From A. McEachran by hand of A. Milloy. £1-0-0.
  • 1818. Jul. 4. By cash From A. McE. by decreet on above. £1-0-0.
  • 1819. Jul. 29. By cash by M. McC. For A. McA. £2-0-0.
It would appear this lot were slow in paying their purchase.
  • John McCacheney, Corcravie, above Ballochroy.
  • 1824. Dec. 3. To 10 1/2 lbs copper work @ 2/3d. ----------- £1-3-7.
  • 1825. Sep. 10. Cash in Full. --------------------------- £1-3-7.

This surname was originally McEachen then McKecheney and later spelt McKechnie. There are old gravestones showing the changes in Kintyre. The McEachen family were large landholders in Kintyre near Tangy. They sold the place in 1683 and moved to Ireland. Later some of the Kintyre family settled in South America near Montevideo where they were prominent in the wool trade.

  • John McEachan and Brother, Achaglass, by Clachan.
  • 1822.
  • Apr. 2. To a worm 10¾lbs. @ 2/6. ----------------- £1-6-10 ½.
  • May. 3. By cash £1-1-0. By discount 2/10½ d. ------ £1-3-10 ½.
  • Balance to pay. --------------------------------- £0-3-0.
  • Donald McEachran, Achanadriane, Lergiesland.
  • 1822. Jul. 18. To a body worm 29 Ibs. @ 2/6d. ---------.£3-12-6.
  • To allowance on old still. -------------- 5-0.
  • ---------------------------------£3--7-6.
  • 1823.
  • By cash in part at Achanadriane. ----------------- £2--0-0.
  • Balance. ------------------ £1--7-6.
  • 1825.
  • By cash in Full. £1--7-6.

This man and his family later emigrated to Ontario, Canada. This farm is an excellent farm and no doubt a good supplier of grain for the local industry. This was found to be the largest sized model found in Largieside.

  • Gilbert McCocheran Loch Kierran, beyond Clachan.
  • 1821. Jul. 6. To a still 20 lbs. @ 2/6. --------------£2-10-0.
  • 1821. Jul. 6. By cash in part. --------------------------£1--0-0. .
  • 1822. Mar. 22. Cash in part. --------------------------£1--0-0.
  • 1823. Jan. 7. To balance of an acct. at settlement. 10-0.
  • 1823. Jan. 7. To an acct. 7/5d. To a head. 7/6d. ----£0-14-11.
  • 1823. Jan. 7. By cash 7/6d and cash in full 7/5d. ----- £0-14-11.

This man operated under two names, Cochran and McEachran, and the family were some of the earliest settlers from the Clachan area in New South Wales. Other instances include old copper parts being returned to make larger stills and on these an allowance of 9d. per pound was allowed by Armours and deducted from the account. The firm also called in Clachan to collect money due and take new orders.

The following is a list of those supplied from Robert Armour over the years found in an old supply/order book. In many cases the purchasers operated their stills for very short periods before placing orders for larger ones showing just how lucrative the trade was to them:

  • Sandy (Alexr.) and John McFarlan, Achanadriane, Tayinloan.
  • Samuel & Coll McAlester & Co., Brantian, Ballochroy.
  • Donald McEachern, Achanadriane, Tayinloan.
  • John Campbell, Carnbeg, Clachan. Later in Garvoline, Skipness.
  • Finlay & Hector Currie, Courshellach, Ballochroy.
  • Malcom Curry, Ballochroy.
  • Archd. McMurchy, Stewartfield, Clachan.
  • Gilbert McEachran, Clachaig, Measdale.
  • Angus Bell, Clachaig, Measdale.
  • John McFiggann, Barr, Barr Glen.
  • Neil McCorkindale, Barruachrach. Barr Glen.
  • Edward MeCallum, Barruachrach, Barr Glen.
  • David Turner, Innkeeper. Glenbarr.
  • Malcolm McCorkindale, Achadaduie, Barr Glen.
  • Donald McCorkindale, Upper Barr.
  • Neil Downie. Drumore-na-bodach, Bellochantee.
  • Malcom Curry, . Drumore-na-bodach, Bellochantee
  • Archd. McEachen. Claongart,
  • Donald McMillan, Achavrade, Bellochantee.
  • Neil McEachran, Achavrade, Bellochantee.
  • Effy McCarmaig, Dalintober, Campbeltown. (Wife of Donald McMillan).
  • John McKechney, Achaglass, Clachan.
  • Alexr. Graham, Carnbeg, Clachan.
  • John McLean, Loch Kiarran, Clachan.
  • Archd. Molloy, Loch Kiarran, Clachan

No doubt every farmer was engaged in some way in the illicit trade of other commodities as well. Farm rents consisted of part money and part farm produce in those times. It was compulsory on Loup Estate in the rental of 1803 to give six days service of a man and a horse annually to carry in peats to the lairds house for winter fuel as by then the woods had become exhausted as a source of fuel. Some farms supplied butter, some cheese and others sheep. The price set against the rent for a three year old wedder was six shillings sterling money. Hens were sixpence each and eggs one penny per dozen. Barley and oats had to be taken to the laird's mill for milling and the miller did not receive any money but got a proportion of the meal ground as payment.

In addition all householders had to do six days free work on the local roads as set out by the local Commissioners of Supply. This announcement was read from the pulpit by the minister on the preceding Sunday. Anyone not complying had to pay sixpence extra rent to his laird.

The local emigration began in 1737-1739 to North and South Carolina and continued steadily for the next hundred years at an increasing rate. Between 1821-1831 one fifth of our local people emigrated to America and Canada.

The parish ministers of both Killean and Kilcalmonell parishes condemned the trading in illicit whisky and the Rev. John McArthur minister at Clachan had occasion in 1825 to write to the Presbytery of Kintyre regarding "Thinkings" which were drinking parties held by "lower classes of Persons" lasting from after church services through the night and into the morning of Monday and which often resulted in immoral behaviour.

On 23 February 1800 John Connel tailor at Arevore, parish of Kilcalmonell, petitioned the Kirk Session for a hearing to absolve him from the accusations of almost all the farmers on Stonefield Estate thirled to the Mill at Lagavullin (Whitehouse). One day he came down the hill leading into the village accompanied by the Excise Officer who was pushing a large barrel of whisky which he had found hidden in the woods nearby. His explanation that he had met the officer by accident was not accepted and many insults were heaped on him and his family. "Your meal kist will be well filled this year because of the information you gave the gauger" was levelled at him.

The following were cited to attend by order of the Kirk Session:

  • John Taylor, tenant farmer, Bartarabhain.
  • Alexr. McKinven, tenant farmer, Kilnacraig.
  • Duncan Carmichael, tenant farmer, Achahois.
  • Duncan Campbell, tenant farmer, Bartarabhain.
  • Donald McCorquodale. tenant, Lalfavull1n.
  • Peter McFarlane, tenant, Arivore.
  • William. Campbell, tenant, Grassfield.
  • Archibald Campbell. tenant, Leamnamuick.
  • Andrew McKinven, shoemaker, Lagavullin.
  • John McFarlan, tenant, Eascart.
  • John McFarlane, tenant, Achahois.
  • John Blue, tenant, Drimnaleck.

The Excise Officer named McLean was also cited to attend. Unfortunately the result does not appear to be recorded or a decision announced later and the minute book of the Session is incomplete at that period. The minister of Kilcalmonell and Kilberry at that time was the Rev. Alexander Campbell, M.A.

There are similar instances in the minute book for Kilberry parish including one concerning a lady caught in the act of distilling.

The old record for Killean records one James McMillan. cottar at Taychroman, and engaged in smuggling goods that he must cease these practices forthwith under penalty of the Minister "to refuse baptism of his children".

In Kintyre there was also a levy on every landowner annually for the apprehension of criminals and wrongdoers. This levy was paid to Dugald McTavish Sheriff Substitute and paid out by him to informers. The names of wanted criminals were published twice annually in the "North British Advertiser" and it recorded two McMurchy brothers who were farmers at Lenaig near to the village of Rhunahaorine and were associates in the still there.

The Rhunahaorine still was situated in a bog near to the village which in the census of 1841 had a population of almost 150 people and in 1851 it even had three schools for education, adventure and sewing. Small wonder therefore that it had many shareholders running it. It produced far more than local needs so the company purchased a boat and were sending supplies over to Sperasaig and Grogport in East Kintyre from where they were shipped to Saltcoats, Ayrshire.

In its heyday about the years 1830-35 the main operators were John McInnes and Duncan Downie aided and abetted by Dugald McLachlan, a North Highlander who settled there in early life. He was probably a descendant of a displaced Jacobite family. An old list named other local people involved as Duncan McFatter, John Smith, Angus McAlester, Donald Montgomery, Dugald Carmichael, Hector McLachlan, Hector and John McKay, Alexander McKay, John Smillie, Duncan McMillan. Donald McPherson, Alexander and James McKinnon, Donald Smith (the oldest inhabitant in the village). Peter Stewart, John McPherson and several members of the McMillan family who were large farmers in the district and could supply ample barley.

The local public house was kept by Alexander McMurchy and the Port Office and Inn in nearby Tayinloan, which served Saddell and Carradale together with the island of Gigha, was in the capable hands of Jenny McKinnon.

The steady supplies of whisky available to the local hostelry did not go unnoticed by the authorities and the source was traced back to Rhunahaorine. The two officers of Excise, Captain Watson and Gauger Brown from Campbeltown, hounded the villagers daily in an effort to trace the still but to no avail. Even the local children kept a sharp eye on every stranger who came to the village and the women folks were often more alert than their husbands and sons when it came to outwitting the searchers. The secret of the still was that it was underground in a tunnel in the peat bog, remnants of which remain on the farm of Lenaig, and although the Excisemen used spears to probe the bog it never was located.

On one occasion the good lady of a house was surprised by the entry of Captain Watson and caught "red-handed with two kegs in the house". She invited him and his companion in and plied both with a good dram of old whisky by the fire and followed it with another soon afterwards. Soon the two were fast asleep by the fire and the two illicit kegs safely removed.

Another with two jugs full met Captain Watson at the door and calmly put them in a large tub, added water with another jug, and carried on doing the washing whilst every corner of the house was searched by the Captain's men, who found nothing.

However, the tide of emigration to America proved to be a stronger attraction and most of the families mentioned earlier took to conquering other worlds and went to Ontario in Canada. Their old letters tell of lands which belonged to themselves and where they could brew what they wished, "free from the attentions of Gaugers and tidewaiters". John McKay, one of the stalwarts, lived to the age of 116 years in Canada .


Mull of Kintyre to Moosburg. by Lachlan B. Young. Perth and Kinross District Libraries. £9.95.

This is a book which once I started to read I couldn't lay down. I don't think I've seen Lachie Young since he was a big boy three years ahead of me in the Grammar School. Whether it is due to natural talent or the lore imparted by his much admired English teacher, the late "Sandy" Banks, it is certain he writes in a most lucid and attractive manner.

Lachie's upbringing in Low Cattadale farm provides an insight into a way of rural life which must be a revelation to the mechanised farm workers of today. His schooldays in a virtually motorcarless Southend and later in Campbeltown Grammar School, with its recollection of old time teachers, bring back many a memory.

He overcame by hard work a somewhat misdirected academic career at Glasgow University and ended up in five years with the degrees of M. A. Ed. B. and Ll. B. and obtained a post as a teacher in a Glasgow primary school.

His call up was deferred for a month to enable him to sit the final exams for the Bachelor of Education degree and he was able to report home "First Class Honours" on the day he joined up at Catterick.

The second part of the book tells of his army training in England, his service as a tank commander in North Africa and his internment as a P.O.W. in Germany.

On release, his qualifications soon gained him appointment as Depute Director of Education in Fife and after a two year apprenticeship he became Director of Education for Perth and Kinross from which he retired in 1975.

In an amusing and tongue-in-cheek introduction his old pal Angus McVicar assures the reader that the book is not devoid of sex and violence.


Copyright belongs to the authors unless otherwise stated.

The Kintyre Antiquarian & Natural History Society was founded in 1921 and exists to promote the history, archaeology and natural history of the peninsula.
It organises monthly lectures in Campbeltown - from October to April, annually - and has published its journal, 'The Kintyre Magazine', twice a year since 1977, in addition to a range of books on diverse subjects relating to Kintyre.

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