Sunday, March 13, 2011

These Scots communities try very hard. The story of Duror bridge.

In the old days, the first choice for travel was by water. The MacDonalds, the old Lords of the Isles, came to power through their control of the islands and the ships. They fought with everyone in their time, every clan in the west, the Kings of Scotland, and the Kings of England. Their persistent longstanding enemies were the McDougalls of Lorne, from the Oban area, and the Campbells of southern Argyll. They had an on/off relationship with the Stewarts of Appin, the longstanding residents of Duror.

Raiding parties, Campbells, McDougalls, herdsmen moving cattle, travellers of all kinds, farmers in the 14th century - the time of Robert the Bruce - all crossed a little bridge in Duror near our cottage. Before that it is rumoured that there would have been a wooden bridge here, the obvious crossing point over the river. It is not too fanciful to imagine ancient Mesolitihic people who certainly lived in this area using a crossing here.

The bridge was re-built 300 years or so ago. It was replaced in 1939 when the new road bridge was built.

It looks quaint in the photograph, but to-day you have to search hard for it. It is in the middle of an overgrown copse beside the road to the lovely Cuil Bay. Unusued, unheralded, forgotten.

Not quite.

The excellent Duror and Kentallen Community Council a few weeks ago told residents that they had a little money to spare and asked for ideas. The leading idea was to clear and renovate the old bridge. That is a lovely idea, and Gillian and I both hope that it comes to pass.


In case any holidaymaker in Scotland is in Glasgow around the end of June and early July and likes jazz I can recommend the Glasgow Jazz festival, where some of my friends are playing.
My own band has a big gig at the start of the Brighton Festival Fringe on May 9th. Here are a couple of links to it. If you've got a bit of a holiday in Brighton at that time, then pop in and we'll get you a concession ticket if you ask for John.
Jazz Smugglers at the Brighton Festival
Jazz Smugglers home page
Lochside cottage near Glencoe in the Highlands of Scotland
  • Short Breaks Glencoe
  • Stories about Appin villages blog