FAMILY HISTORY, ISLE OF ARRAN & AN AWESOME ROAD
Today was a massive day, so much so that this morning feels like it was yesterday. We kicked off the second day of our trip by visiting the Scottish town of Mossend. My dad lived and attended school there briefly as a child but it was also the location where my grandfather was born, grew up, attended school and worked before relocating to Corby, England with many other Scottish steel workers. We managed to find the old house and visited the primary school, but the Stewarts and Lloyds Steel & Tube Works is long gone, now just and empty fields with the scattered remains of some building foundations.
We left Glasgow without visiting the new Clydeside distillery as originally planned (next time, I promise) but we had a ferry to catch and an important stop on the way. About two thirds of the way to Ardrossan, we stopped at the Burns Monument in Kilmanock. The Burns Monument commemorates the poet Robert Burns who wrote his first book of poetry in Kimarnock, but it is also great place to research Scottish ancestry.
My grandfather Henry “Harry” Kinloch, was adopted at an early age and didn’t even know he was adopted until he was 21 years old.
His adopted name was Henry Pettigrew, which he changed back to Kinloch upon learning he was adopted. It has always proved difficult to research his side of the family but we managed to find a few things today. For example, his biological mother, my great grandmother, died of pneumonia when my grandfather was only one month old; he was adopted by the Pettigrews only three months later. More on this later.
Next stop was the port town of Ardrossan to catch the ferry to the Isle of Arran. Our time on Arran was unfortunately limited since we had to catch the last ferry out of Lochranza in the north of the island to Clonaig. We had roughly two and a half hours to explore before we had to be at the Isle of Arran distillery for a tour.
After visiting Brodick Castle and gardens, we crossed through the centre of the island to see the Machrie Moor Standing Stones, of which there are many. You need to walk from a carpark to see the stones and while the walk was easy going, we underestimated how long it would take. By the time we got back to the car, we had forty minutes to get to the distillery and the route north would take forty minutes according to the GPS. It was going to be tight.
Luckily, I remembered that on the Isle of Arran, there are no speed limits outside of villages and towns so we made it to the distillery in just twenty minutes.
I may have confused the road laws of the Isle of Arran with the Isle of Man, but nevertheless, speed limits in the UK are clearly only suggestions; driving on the motorways yesterday proved that. The western road on Arran was actually really fun to drive, at times resembling a mini roller-coaster; forgetting the miles-per-hour to kilometres-per-hour conversion at times helped too.
The Isle of Arran distillery was great but I will leave the write up for another time. After leaving the distillery, we headed up the road to quickly check out the Lochranza Castle ruins (which I liked better than Brodick Castle) and then boarded the ferry to Clanoaig which for some reason you cannon book in advance.
Surprisingly, my highlight of the day wasn’t whisky related at all.
The road from the Clanoaig ferry terminal to Carradale, our base for the next four nights, was quite simply the most fun road I have ever driven in my life; however, I have a feeling there may be some even better roads to come. I felt like I was competing in a classic targa rally on a single lane twisting and turning coastal road, complete with hairpins, hill climbs, stone bridges and tunnels of lush trees with fingers of golden sunlight shining through. It was awesome!
Dad, may not have enjoyed it quite as much a me.
Tomorrow, we visit Campbeltown for our first day of the Campbeltown Malts Festival.