Editor: Angus Martin




ISSN 0140 0762

Duncan Reid, 1848-1912
Jean C. MacLeod

It is exactly a hundred years since Duncan Reid died at his home in Glasgow. Although forgotten today, Reid was a distinguished Gaelic scholar and enthusiast who worked tirelessly for the cause of the Gaelic language. He taught, lectured, wrote, translated, edited, served on committees, organised fund-raising events and presided at concerts and functions. His was a hard act to follow!

Duncan Reid was born in 1848 at Clachan, Kintyre. Given that he was later to become a Gaelic activist and promoter of An Comunn Gaidhealach, his family background is a little unusual. His parents, Duncan Reid and Mary Hyndman, were married at Skipness in 1832 and were resident at Culintrach Farm when the 1841 Census was taken. It is noticeable that in 1841 Hyndmans far outnumbered Reids in Skipness, and also that birthplace information was unreliable. Mary Hyndman was born at Skipness, but neither the Hyndmans nor the Reids were of Highland origin. Their families had come to Skipness from places geographically close to that part of Argyll, such as Ayrshire, Renfrewshire, Arran or Bute. The comings and goings of people in the Skipness area was not unusual. According to the Statistical Account of 1791-98, 'strangers' came in early to Skipness and 'the parish is much harassed with strolling beggars from Ireland, the Highland Isles, the Lowland Country, and from the northern parts of Scotland'. The 1834-45 Statistical Account refers to 'frequent intercourse of the inhabitants with the maritime towns upon the opposite coast', considered by the writer to be the reason for the spread of dangerous fevers and infections among the Skipness people.

Duncan Reid Senior was a shoemaker to trade, born at Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire. Several Reids at Skipness, including Duncan's father George, were weavers. In rural districts, skilled tradesmen carried out a variety of jobs: many would have worked the land and been at the fishing. Mary Hyndman's people were fishermen and boat-builders who appear in the late 18th century Skipness rental records. We do not know when the Reids or Hyndmans first settled at Skipness. The Hearth Tax of 1694 shows a 'John and Patrick Rid' at Glenrusdale (Skipness) and 'Andrew Heman' at Skipnish, but it is impossible to link them to Duncan Reid's family. Similarly, on the strength or a shared surname, it is not possible to link Reids who appear in various parts of Kintyre. The surname Reid tends to suggest Lowland origin, but not all Reids in Kintyre were necessarily Lowland incomers: surnames such as MacRury and MacInroy were anglicised to Reid. Red-haired people, referred to in Gaelic as ruadh, later became Rid/Reid. Duncan Reid himself used the Gaelic form Donnachadh Ma 'ille Ruaidh for his name.

We cannot make assumptions or jump to conclusions regarding the surnames of Kintyre, for their origin is not always certain and may be multi-faceted. Surnames remained fluid over a long period of time and were much distorted by anglicisation, mis-spelling and name change anomalies noticeable in Duncan Reid's own family. Surnames like Thomson and Taylor, which appear at first glance to be of Lowland origin, were, in fact, anglicised versions of the Gaelic names MacThoòmais and Mac an Tàilleir; Hyndman appears variously in records as Heman, Heyman, Heyndman, Hynman and Hayman, before finally stabilising. Catherine, Duncan Reid Junior's sister, married an Alexander McKinvin from Skipness whose name later changed to MacKinnon. In the old days, people were, for the most part, illiterate or semi-literate, and written forms of their names did not concern them. In general, they didn't change their names; it happened without their knowledge and was done for them by estate clerks, registrars and teachers who imposed an official English version on the original name. The end product is a Scotch broth or porridge - of the thickest variety, where misunderstanding, ambiguity and error abound. Locating the correct person or family becomes extremely difficult and some families may be 'lost' forever, buried under layers of confusion - truly, a family historian's worst nightmare.

Incoming families like the Reids and Hyndmans pose many unanswered questions: how were they perceived, for example, by the native Argyll people, and how well did they integrate? The Gaelic language was perhaps the greatest obstacle to overcome. A language is learned with speed if you are forced to speak it, however badly, when you are in a place where it is used exclusively. This is known today as 'total immersion', and widely recognised as one of the most effective ways of acquiring fluency in any language. While painful at the start, the results are stunning. That incomers learned Gaelic in this way is testimony to the strength and quality of Gaelic in the communities at the time. However, incomers who settled in Campbeltown, which had a large English (or Scots )-speaking population, would have had a different experience from those who settled in rural districts. They were less likely to learn Gaelic, for the community was large enough to avoid contact with the Gaels. Marrying a local woman and raising a family was also crucial to integration. One of my own ancestors, an Ayrshire fisherman, met his wife at Kilmory, Knapdale. She had no English when they met and I've often wondered how such a courtship was conducted - the language of love? Perhaps incomers were regarded as a 'catch', more exotic than the local talent!

'Although the eldest Reid children were born at Skipness, Duncan and Mary Reid were at Clachan when Duncan Junior was born in 1848. From a very early age, Duncan showed ability and promise. He was educated at Clachan Parish School and went on to serve a five-year apprenticeship as pupil-teacher in the 1860s (his annual salary was £20). But Duncan's early life was tinged with sorrow and difficulty for he experienced the death of two brothers and of his maternal grandmother, Christina Hyndman. Duncan's sister, Catherine, was brought up by this grandmother, an informal fostering system common in large Highland families. Christina Hyndman died at the age of 87 in 1859, and was buried at the old Kilbrannan Chapel in Skipness alongside her husband, James. The gravestone inscription gives additional family information, including the names of Christina's parents, Archibald Thomson and Catherine Taylor.

Young Duncan's father, Duncan, was a heavy drinker. Several references to Reid's drinking habits appear in the records: he took a 'terrible spree'; he was 'the worse for drink'. Reid was noted locally as 'always hard up', the inevitable consequence of his addiction. While Reid's drinking and lack of money may have been difficult for the family to bear, what followed was much, much worse. In the summer of 1868, Reid stole a £10 note from the post office at Clachan where he regularly helped out. Evidently Reid received many letters and was always present at the arrival of the mail, with open access to the office. Reid ' s help was particularly useful when the postmaster was away from home, as his wife could not read the addresses of the mail.

The theft of the money came about when Duncan Stalker, a general merchant at Tarbert, sent a £10 note in a letter to Rev James R. Campbell, the minister of Kilcalmonell Parish at Clachan. The letter was never seen again. Informal complaints regarding letters missing at Clachan had previously been made on a number of occasions and may have been the reason why Duncan Stalker marked his £10 note before it was posted. It soon became known that Duncan Reid Senior had changed a £ 1 0 note at the local inn and had instructed the innkeeper, George Matheson, to say nothing to Mary Reid or the family about the note. Predictably, Reid went on a drinking spree. It seems that neighbours often wondered how Reid was able to finance his drinking habit. Locals generally concluded that he had been left money 'from a brother who died at Lochwinnoch'.

The marked £10 note was, of course, instantly recognisable, and this incriminating evidence led to Reid's arrest, trial and conviction for theft from the Post Office. Reid consistently denied opening or taking letters other than his own and never confessed to the theft, claiming instead that the note had been sent to him by his son John in New Zealand. At the time, Duncan Junior was clerk at Ronachan, with no fixed salary, a position vacated by his brother John when he emigrated. Duncan was questioned at his father's trial, but was unable to mitigate his father's plight. Offences against the Post Office were considered very serious and carried severe penalties, so it came as no surprise that Duncan Senior received a custodial sentence of 18 months. The whole debacle culminated in public disgrace and utter humiliation for the Reids. Mary Reid and her family left Argyll to resettle at Rothesay, where her daughter, Mrs Catherine MacKinnon, had set up home. Duncan Junior also quit Argyll, leaving Ronachan to take up a post as clerk at Greenock. Duncan Senior was with his wife at Rothesay in the 1871 Census, and it was there that he died in 1885.

In July 1870 Duncan Junior married Margaret McKellar of Barmore, Tarbert, but fate was to intervene with a cruel blow. Three months after their marriage, Margaret tragically died of hydrocephalus at the early age of twenty-three. Duncan was left alone, a widower of twenty-two. In 1871 he is recorded as lodging with the family of his sister, Mrs Marion MacCallum, in Greenock. It would take many years for Duncan to recover and to find the courage and confidence to start afresh on what was to become the happiest and most productive phase of his life.

Nine years after his first wife's death, Duncan married again, to Ellen McFie at Kingarth, Bute. Around 1885, Duncan and Ellen and their young family moved to Glasgow. Duncan began to lead a busy and demanding commercial life as managing clerk and accountant to Messrs George Halliday of Glasgow and Rothesay, and as accountant and auditor in other business concerns. But his every spare minute was devoted to the cause of the Gaelic language. Several contemporary city Gaels were, at that time, devoting their energies to Highland political struggles, but Duncan being of a literary, poetic nature, enjoyed nothing better than to talk on Gaelic affairs and to reminisce about the old days in Kintyre and the Highlanders of long ago. When lecturing and writing, Duncan never tired of reading, quoting, and referring to the famous Argyll bard Duncan Bam MacIntyre, his literary hero.

Duncan was the first teacher of Gaelic appointed by the School Board of Glasgow. From 1887 to 1903, he conducted the Gaelic classes of the Evening Continuation School at Glasgow High School. He was the founder and President of the Glasgow High School Gaelic Class Ceilidh, instituted in 1894. He wrote several Gaelic songs and translated some from Gaelic to English and vice versa. Undoubtedly, his most famous composition was Suas leis a ' Ghàidhlig, the magnificent rousing song of An Comunn Gaidhealach, sung at Mods and gatherings to this day. Another Argyll Gael of note, Henry 'Fionn' Whyte, set the music to Duncan's words. The song was described in An Deo-Greine as the 'Marseillaise of the Highlands'.

Perhaps Duncan's most notable achievement was his book, Course of Gaelic Grammar, published in 1895. This seminal work was used for the teaching of Gaelic throughout Highland and Island schools and, due to great demand, was reprinted in 1902 and 1908. Duncan described the book as 'chiefly intended as a text book for Highland schools and pupil teachers and is designed to meet the requirements of the Scotch Education Code'. When it was first published, An Deo-Greine reported that Reid 'had such an instinct for seeing and comprehending the difficulties which beset a learner of Gaelic that it was hard to believe he was himself a native speaker'. After Duncan's death, Norman MacLeod re-arranged, enlarged and renamed the book an Elementary Course of Gaelic, which was published in 1913 and reprinted in 1921, 1931, 1935, 1958 and 1971. Duncan was one of the original members of An Comunn Gaidhealach and, as such, served on its first Executive Council and on various standing committees. When An Comunn was founded in 1891, there were many objections to the newly formed society. Amidst some harsh criticism and opposition, the founders and their supporters fought to establish the fledgling society, to recruit membership and to gain financial support. Duncan Reid played an important role, labouring strenuously at that crucial time. Later, for several years, he edited An Deo-Grein, An Comunn's bilingual monthly publication, a unique, 'propagandist' magazine whose pages were open to literary contributions from all Gaels.

Duncan rubbed shoulders with a multifarious group of people who came together at An Comunn Gaidhealach's Mods, Highland Gatherings and functions, as patrons, subscribers, participants and attenders. This socially and politically diverse group included members of the aristocracy, landowners, professional men, the clergy, writers, poets, academics and even land league agitators. Among the illustrious, and sometimes unexpected names, were Princess Louise and the Marquis of Lorne, the Duke and Duchess of Sutherland, Lord Archibald Campbell, Col J. Wingfield Malcolm of Poltalloch, Sheriff John Macmaster Campbell ('Crofter John'), Mr W.A. Cameron, of the Oban Times, Dr Fraser-MacKintosh MP, Rev Donald MacCallum, Mary MacPherson ('Màiri Mhòr nan Oran';), Neil Munro, the Inveraray writer, and Marjory Kennedy-Fraser. Organising functions and gatherings for the cream of Gaelic society required vision and leadership as well as zeal and enthusiasm, and Duncan Reid was up for it! 'Feill a' Chomuinn Ghaidhealaich', or the Highland Association Bazaar, held at St Andrew's Halls in Glasgow in 1907, was perhaps the most grandiose function ever organised to promote the Gaelic language. The three-day event was planned with astonishing attention to detail, as is described in the Feill Souvenir and Handbook which is available on the internet. Replete with advertisements, photographs and diagrams, the handbook sets out the elaborate arrangements and the names of the people who were taking part, a veritable Who's Who of Scottish aristocracy and landowners. This magnificent affair was planned and staged without the aid of modem technology - a remarkable feat.

By 1910, Duncan's health began to fail. After an illness of two years he died at his home in Buccleuch Street, Glasgow, in February 1912. His death, at the age of 63, was deeply lamented, not only by his family and friends, but by the wider Gaelic world. Newspapers and periodicals including the Campbeltown Courier, the Argyllshire Herald, the Oban Times and An Deo-Greine paid glowing tributes to Duncan Reid and gave insights into his character. He was said to have been 'a man of attractive personality with a wonderful power of winning and retaining the affection and esteem of those who came in contact with him ... of a courteous, tactful, sympathetic manner, together with intellectual gifts ... [who] charmed and delighted his friends, and not infrequently disarmed and conquered those who opposed him ... [He was] gentle, manly, warm and generous ... malice and vulgarity had no place in his nature'.

Duncan was, indeed, the finest of men. His photograph shows a handsome, dignified gentleman of superiority, refinement and culture. No better or more fitting tribute was paid to Duncan Reid than that of the Oban Times of 1912: 'On all matters pertaining to the language and literature of the Gael and on kindred subjects, his opinion and advice were continually being sought and freely and unostentatiously given, for he was the most kindly and amiable of men'.

Where Lies My Wee Granny
Jean Tuckey

Nineteen eighty-seven - at last we were granted leave from Zimbabwe to take up a new life in New Zealand, where my husband's parents had been born. We planned a farewell trip to England, Germany and Scotland to see friends and relatives before we tackled the unknown. As a treat, a friend offered to drive us to Campbeltown just for a day, all the time we had to spare, to find my beginnings - so there I was at the White Hart Hotel, an absolute delight of a bedroom and a casement window whence I could see down the street. Next morning I woke in the very early light and couldn't wait a minute longer. Telling my sleepy husband to stay put, I dressed, crept out of the hotel, and was there - there where my Mother had walked, there where my 'wee Granny' had lived, there ... oh, the imagination just took off!

I walked down the street, pulling my warm jacket tighter as there was a real nip in the air, especially for a 'Colonial', but I was happy imagining what it was like in 1900; then, suddenly, out of the dawn light, the large figure of a police constable loomed, asking me if I was all right. We stood and chatted and he smiled when I told him what I was trying to discover, so we walked to the end of the street together and he waved his hand and said, 'If you like walking, the cemetery is that way and I will watch over you while you go'. How comforting - I was terrified of the police in Zimbabwe; there were few that would have been so kind.

So there I was, strolling along the waterfront breathing in the salty air, my mind rioting back to the days of my Granny and trying to remember the few things that my Mother had told me. Had she walked along here with the restless sea on her left? Had the wind blown her hair as it did mine? And the clipped grass on the right, had that been there for her? By now, some folk were stirring and objects becoming clearer as the sky lightened. I finally reached the gates of a cemetery and just stood there totally dismayed - so many headstones stretching away forever, it seemed to me, and as my time was limited I knew I would never find her headstone even if I was in the right place. I sent a little prayer heavenward to the Granny I had never met, said I was sorry in my heart I had not found her, and turned back towards the town. I loved every inch of that walk, gazing at folks' homes and out to sea where the boats were beginning to stir ... just everything was so beautiful and so right in my eyes. I took photographs of the Highland Parish Church; there was no one about as I passed it. I wrote later from New Zealand, but they were unable to help me - no leads there!

My mother, Alexandrina MacFarlane, ran away from home at the age of 16 and went to Glasgow. She never mentioned her family other than to say she adored her wee Mother but couldn't abide her father, who was a 'divil when in the drink'. Other than that reference, very little else would she say - so it is only in the last few years, since I have become a 'geneaholic', that I have started tracking them down.

Alexander MacFarlane (born c. 1872) was a tailor's cutter living at 88 Cowcadden Street in Glasgow. He was the son of Alexander MacFarlane and Margaret Reid. Thanks to the internet and a friendly Scottish researcher, I have looked at the area where they lived. His father was a gardener's labourer, it seems, from looking at the marriage certificate. Alexander was 23 years old when he met then married wee Elizabeth McNair (born c. 1873). She too lived in Glasgow, at 22 Raglan Street, and was the daughter of Walter McNair, a journeyman tailor, and Lizzie Sayers. Elizabeth worked as a block printer and was 22 when she married Alexander. Since he was a tailor's cutter and her father a journeyman tailor, perhaps that's how they met.

Her photograph shows a sweet-faced lass, and she is wearing a ring, prominently displayed, her hand draped so casually on the back of the chair, making sure it can be seen; so, an engagement photo for her family, perhaps, as I cannot imagine his not posing with her on their wedding day. Her dress is a delight, with leg 0' mutton sleeves, and it's a pity the photograph is not in colour. Would she have chosen blue, a colour I love? But it's dark, so perhaps navy blue; then it would have been a sensible dress to get a lot of use out of; or perhaps brown. I will never know and I still wonder who made it. So many unanswered questions ... They married in the Congregational Church, 41 Windsor Terrace, Glasgow, on 21 March 1895.

At some stage thereafter, Alexander gathered up his belongings and his Elizabeth and set sail for Ceylon. He must have had an offer to take such an adventurous step; perhaps he saw an advertisement for tailors and saw a way to improve their lifestyle. They still had no family, it appears; perhaps a few miscarriages or stillborns; there is no record. Five years, however, was a long time before a first child appeared, back in the 1800s. Off they sailed on this new adventure. I have yet to identify the vessel they chose, but hope to in time.

I have been reading a great deal about Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and find that there were soldiers based there, so perhaps he became a tailor for the military. There were also tea planters there - perhaps he made their suits and was master tailor for a reputable firm? Maybe he set up business for himself, although I doubt that, in all practicality, as I cannot see him inheriting much from his parents, or hers for that matter, so money would have been scarce and he would more than likely have gone out there on contract. There are no records of MacFarlanes in Sri Lanka; census records, too, are few and far between.

Whatever had persuaded them to sail away from their families, they finally landed by 1899 or early 1900 in Colombo, Ceylon, and set up home in Colpetty Road, a long dusty road with villas set well back from it, as the tongas (horse-driven conveyances) and bullock carts would have caused a great deal of dust. At last Elizabeth was pregnant; in fact, she could well have been in early pregnancy on that long voyage. She gave birth to my Mother, Alexandrina MacFarlane, on 21 June 1900 in Colombo. Elizabeth was 27 years old and I have a photograph of them with the baby - a studio portrait with an ayah (Indian nursemaid) holding my Mother, and on the back it says, 'Merry Christmas from Baby'. In that photograph Elizabeth has lost her abundant hair - it is close-cropped and she looks pale and serious, making one wonder if she had been ill or the baby's birth had been traumatic.

Coming from 'nippy' Scotland to the heat and dust of Ceylon must have been a great change for them both, and when my Mother did talk about it she said she thinks they left around her first birthday or shortly thereafter, as she recalls nothing of Ceylon, and headed back to Scotland, and Campbeltown, where the McNairs, Elizabeth's parents, had settled. I wonder what persuaded them to give it up, as it would appear they hadn't been in Colombo long. The weather, the food, the loneliness without their 'ain folk'; did he hate the tailoring he had chosen; was Elizabeth's health a concern? So many questions I would have asked if I had been able to. I have my Mother's birth certificate, a work of art! It is in two languages, English and Tamil, many questions meticulously filled in, even 'were the parents married?' ... and everything faithfully recorded as to where they lived and what he did. I tried to read 'between the lines' to see how they felt about the baby and their lives, but it wouldn't reveal a thing!

About 1901, they settled in Campbeltown and I presume Alexander went back to being a master tailor and Elizabeth made a home. In 1902 Walter was born, followed by William in 1904. There were no more children to Elizabeth. The Great War came and went. The boys would have been too young to have participated, to her relief, I am sure. My Mother told me that they did the usual youthful adventurous things, one time taking a row boat out in the harbour and watching the Prince of Wales descending from his ship to be taken ashore for a visit ... a highlight for my Mother, who was totally in awe of Royalty. She never mentioned her schooling, or if she had to help her Mother on a regular basis, as I helped her in my day, but she must have had to, because my little Granny died aged just 44 of heart failure on 6 February 1916 at 6 Kirk Street, Campbeltown. By this time my Mother had run away, but I do not know if it was at her Mother's death or prior to it ... she never spoke of that time, reticence stemming from guilt, perhaps; but she did tell me she was not happy at home, her father being a severe person and capable of administering the odd wallop or two, especially when he had been drinking whisky, his favourite tipple. Mum went to live with her cousins George and Christine Allison in Glasgow and worked in a shop which sold home-made sweets. The confectioner told her to help herself freely for the first few days and after that she wouldn't want another chocolate, and he was right - she was heartily sick, having gobbled those that appealed to her, and never again! She worked until she was 24 at the same place, moving up to a more senior sales lady in her time and then she met my Father, Frederic Livingstone-Blevins. He was a restorer of churches, specialising in leadburning and stained glass windows, a plumber by trade, but restorer by preference. At that time, he was making a living repairing motor bikes between church work, as that was not a lucrative job. He himself had a motor bike with side-car, in which my Mother travelled when necessary. My father had been wounded in the Great War, for all his life having shrapnel in his body - a piece at the base of his skull caused many a black-out if he wasn't careful- and a limp from a bullet wound. He was in the Royal Flying Corps. I do not know how they met, but I do know that they married on 24 October 1924 in Glasgow and that my Mother had taken instruction in the Church of England beforehand. She told me that was pretty hard going and totally different for her, being so used to Scottish ways. She abided always by her Scottish upbringing, 'Don't laugh so much Jean, you will cry tomorrow', being one of many sayings that I remember well. Cleaning the house from top to toe (assisted by servants in India later) in readiness for Hogmanay, which she considered much more important than Christmas; the lump of coal in readiness for first-footing.

Their wedding photograph is lovely. My mother wears a velvet dress and a most beautiful rope of amber beads, and a bracelet too, both of them her Mother's and purchased in Ceylon. She was very proud of them and told me that her dress was midnight blue, which matched her eyes. Sadly, the necklace and the bracelet were stolen from their room during their short honeymoon and were never recovered. Mum was distraught, as she had little left of her Mother to remember her by. She told me too that her Father had gone on to wed twice more before he died. I do not know if there were children from those wives, nor do I know where my uncles went, and if they had children - so many unanswered questions. I do not know anything about my Grandfather either.

Mum and Dad found a flat on the second floor of a tenement in the Gorbals, Glasgow. She whitewashed the steps regularly between their apartment and the next ones, cleaned it to within an inch of its life to show that she was a cut above the rest. She was deeply ashamed of living there in 'the slums of Glasgow', although my brother always boasted that he had been born in the Gorbals. In her latter years she started to smile at him - he could get away with anything in her eyes - and was forgiven! After Gordon's birth in 1927, they left Scotland to go back to Faversham in Kent, to rejoin my English grandfather in his plumbing business and rebuild the church-restoring business there, my father's great passion, but that's another story ...

Back to Campbeltown. That day is imprinted on my heart, the feeling of belonging, the fresh salty air, just everything about it made me feel 'at home', which is strange in reality. Not unlike my Mother before me, my parents and I ended up in India, going out there as a small child. My brother and I were educated there; then we had to leave, since India didn't want us at Independence, and move to Africa, once again for my Mother's health, as she couldn't live in a cold climate ... but this story is about my wee Granny, as my Mother always called her. Where does she lie - can anyone tell me; and, for that matter, where is my Grandfather?
Genealogical Enquiry
John McLean, b. c. 1752, married More (or Marion) Clark, b. c. 1754 in Campbeltown, in 1770. I believe that they were living in Aros at the time but moved into Campbeltown soon after and by the time of the Duke of Argyll's 1792 census the family were at Roading & High Miln. I can't find any record of John or More's deaths but their son's death certificate records his father John's occupation as 'Gardener'. John and More had seven children between 1775 and 1789, all born in Campbeltown, Mary, More, Allan, Katherine, Finuell, Janet and Lachlan. My 3x great grandfather was Lachlan who married Esther McMillan in 1817, as a tailor, and the family then moved to Paisley, I suspect in the 1820s. I'm particularly interested in where John McLean came from - had the family been in Kintyre for some time, had they been displaced from one of the islands or had they come across from Ireland? My grandfather used to say that we were descended from 'Irish sheepstealers', but as a grandfather myself I know not to believe everything they say! I am also looking at McLean families in general, particularly pie-19th century. If you can help in any way please contact me, Duncan McLean, 54 Elmfields Gate, Winslow, Bucks, MK18 3JG, or email
Miscellaneous, from 1865

OPAH: On the afternoon of Saturday last, a large fish was seen darting about the loch, appearing now at Glenramskill, next at the Trench. By-and-by it made its way up to the end of the loch, and was foolish enough to shallow itself and get stranded in the mud. In this plight it was seen by two men, John Martin and William McKillop, who having rowed out to it, managed, after much labour, to fasten a rope round its tail. With the help of others they got it landed, and we are glad to say that on Monday, by exhibiting it at twopence a head, they were well rewarded for their trouble. It turned out to be a beautiful specimen of the Opah or King-fish (Lamprisluna) which is very rarely found in the British seas. Its colour was bright green on the upper part of the back and sides with reflections of purple and gold in certain lights. The fins and eyes were scarlet, and a number of round spots of pale gold were scattered upon the sides. It weighed between five and six stones. J. G. Wood, in his natural history, says: -'The flesh of this fish is red, very good, and resembles that of salmon. '

Argyllshire Herald, 5/8/1865

BEACON ON PATERSON'S ROCK. A beacon is at present being erected on Paterson's Rock for the purpose of marking out its position to mariners, and in the event of their being cast upon it, of saving life. The beacon is a very large one, being about 50 feet in height. On the top there is placed a cage for the reception of men in the event of shipwreck, which is reached by means of a ladder. The iron out of which the beacon is manufactured is of great weight and strength, and is very firmly bolted to the rock. The beacon has been placed on the rock by the Commissioners of the Northern Lights, and will prove we have no doubt the means of saving many a life which otherwise would have been lost.
Argyllshire Herald, 7/10/1865

PATERSON'S ROCK. We noticed not long ago that a large and strong beacon with a large cage on the top, had been placed upon Paterson's Rock, near the island of Sanda, as a safeguard to any seamen who might be so unfortunate as to be wrecked on that dangerous reef. This cage, which is about 45 feet above the surface of the rock, was carried away on the 21st current, by the violence of the storm which raged all along the coast. Persons who live in the neighbourhood of Sanda and Southend, say that during the day on which the cage was wrenched off, and those immediately preceding and subsequent, they had never on any occasion [before] seen the sea run so tremendously high.
Argyllshire Herald, 30/12/1865

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