Ormidale

on Dec 20, 2017

In 1854, the laird of the estate of Ormidale, at the head of Loch Riddon in the Kyles of Bute, took steps to emulate his neighbours and begin feuing property for the construction of villas and summer homes for the wealthy residents of Glasgow and the industrial belt. His initial acts were the construction of a pier and hotel at the relatively remote location, and the following year, efforts to attract summer residents began in earnest. The pier was officially opened in July, 1856. Glasgow Herald, May 8, 1854 Glasgow Herald, June 12, 1854 Ormidale Pier (Spencer) Ormidale Pier Loch Riddon is a typical west coast estuarine loch fed by the river Ruel. About two-thirds of the way up the loch, it becomes very shallow and so the pier was constructed close to the point where it could be navigated by the steamships of the day. It was at the end of 1855, that the Glasgow and Lochfyne Steam...

Tigh-na-bruaich

on Dec 16, 2017

The village of Tighnabruich lies west of the mouth of Loch Ridden in a sheltered location with spectacular views to the south, down the western arm of the Kyles of Bute. The remote site is passed over in the early guides and accounts of sailing through the Kyles. Lumsden’s Steamboat Companion gives no mention, even in its later editions:— “From Rothesay the channel, for some miles, takes a north-westerly course, leaving the Clyde, and taking the name of the Kyles of Bute, which encircles half the island. Opposite to Rothesay bay is Auchenwilliam, Kirkman Finlay, Esq.; and 2 miles on the left is Port Bannatyne Bay and Village which, as well as Rothesay, is the occasional retreat of sea-bathing visitors; at the head of the bay stands Kames Castle, Hamilton, a romantic situation; and near it, an old tower, in ruins. In sailing through this channel, several agreeable prospects are met...

Kames

on Dec 9, 2017

This little article was aimed at cataloging the origins of the steamer pier at Kames, on the Kerry shore of the Kyles of Bute, just a mile or so from Auchenlochan and a few miles from Tighnabruaich. However, the impact of the Kames Gunpowder Works in the development of the surrounding area has held a fascination for me over the years. What follows is a brief account of the Gunpowder Works and this is followed by an account of the subsequent feuing and the construction of the steamer pier to anchor the community of Kames. Gunpowder is a mixture of charcoal and sulfur with saltpetre (nitrate) as oxidant and in 1839, a company was set up at Millhouse, near Kames on the Kyles of Bute, to refine saltpetre and produce the explosive mixture. A good account of the works appeared in the Glasgow Herald in 1853. “Kames Gunpowder Company’s Works.—(from the Greenock Advertiser.) Among the many...

Auchenlochan

on Dec 2, 2017

Feuing on the Poltalloch estate two miles south of Tighnabruaich on the Kyles of Bute began in 1859. Despite the natural beauty of the area and the safe anchorage it provided for yachting, the absence of a pier was a major drawback, and it was not until almost twenty years later that Mr. Malcolm of Poltalloch applied for permission to develop a pier. “New Pier in the Kyles of Bute.—The Board of Trade report that they intend to proceed with the Provisional Order applied for by Mr. John Malcolm of Portalloch to enable him to construct a pier at Auchenlochan, Kyles of Bute. The pier will extend 75 yards into the sea, and is estimated to coast £2,200.”—Northern Whig, March 8, 1878 “Auchenlochan Pier.—A fine new iron pier situated Auchenlochan, on the Argyllshire coast, a mile and three-quarters south of Tighnabruaich, has recently been opened, The new structure, the cost of which has been...

The Storm of November 26, 1912

on Nov 24, 2017

On the afternoon of November 26, 1912, a storm of hurricane proportions hit the West of Scotland, bringing more than half an inch of rain, and winds gusting in excess of 75 miles an hour. The storm was not the most violent on record but its peak coincided with the high tide causing more widespread damage. High tide at Glasgow reached over 25 feet, the highest value since 1882 so that the channel was 50 feet deep. Contractors cranes were blown over at the new Meadowside Granary. The steamships Architect and Clydeholm were damaged in the harbour and the Cervales was ashore. Further down the river, Bowling Harbour was submerged and the Renfrew and Yoker ferries were suspended. Helensburgh was isolated with roads and railway flooded, Ashton esplanade was damaged and the esplanade at Fairlie was washed away. Some of the worst damage was recorded on the Cowal shore. Dunoon Town Council...

Ardrossan Harbour

on Oct 22, 2017

The origin of the harbour of Ardrossan lies in the vision of Hugh, the twelfth Earl of Eglinton, who was a man of great energy. Not only did he rebuild the family home of Eglinton Castle but on July 31, 1806, he was responsible for the laying by William Blair, Master Mason, of the foundation stone of the harbour and wet dock to be connected by canal to Paisley and Glasgow. The town of Ardrossan grew up around the project. Earl Hugh died on December 15, 1819 but the Eglinton family continued the project. The estimated cost for the harbour was £40,000 with and anticipated 10% annual return on capital, but costs mushroomed to £100,000 and expected revenues were never realized. The canal made its way from Glasgow as far as Johnstone before the competing project of deepening the Clyde in the new age of the steamboat sucked up all the interest and capital. Nevertheless, Ardrossan was in an...

Cove Pier

on Oct 11, 2017

Feuing at the Roseneath village of Cove began around 1850 and shortly thereafter a Mr M‘Ilroy, one of the early feuars approached the Duke of Argyll for permission to erect a pier. Permission was duly granted with the provision that the pier could be purchased by the Duke at any time at a fair market value. The pier was duly constructed and opened in 1852, attracting steamers from the Lochgoil and Holy Loch service and serving as a focal point to encourage additional feuing in the vicinity. An early engraving from around 1870 Despite its close proximity to Kilcreggan, Cove pier continued to attract sufficient business through the collection of pier dues to sustain its annual lease. The main steamers calling on a regular service were the Holy Loch boats though there was also excursion traffic. “Kilcreggan—An Alarming Occurrence at Cove Pier. —Two men narrowly escaped with their lives at...

Glen Sannox of 1925

on Sep 16, 2017

The Rock magazine of March 1925 records: “The name of an old and popular Clyde steamer has been revived in the Glen Sannox, which was launched on 24th February. The new ship which was built for the London, Midland & Scottish Railway Company, for their Clyde services, is 250 feet long by 30 feet broad by 10 feet 6 inches to the main deck, and she will be fitted with three Parsons’ independent steam turbines, each driving a separate shaft with one propeller, capable of developing a speed of about 20¾ knots. The Glen Sannox is, in many respects, similar to the Duchess of Argyll, which has proved such a successful unit of the L.M.S. fleet, and which many people maintain is the most graceful craft on the Clyde. At the request of the owners, there was no formal ceremony at the launch, but as the vessel left the ways she was gracefully named by Miss Rosamund Denny, the youthful daughter...