Saturday, April 10, 2010

The home of the Blairs

The village of Kilmartin, near Lochgilphead in Argyll, sits at the top of a valley that has a very rich archaeological history, and the museum at Kilmartin is brilliant. We went to see some of the standing stones, rock carvings and stone circles.

When my grandfather Smith's grandmother, Janet Blair, lived there in the 1840s the old stones were largely ignored, although I was amused to read a quote from one parish minister complaining that his parishioners touched the stones before they entered the church. Janet's family lived in a tiny village called Kilmichael Glassary that's up a small valley that branches off the main Kilmartin valley. When we were in the village a slate roof was being replaced. I don't think the safety regulations are the same as ours.

As a teenager Janet travelled to Victoria by herself on a ship called the Ticonderoga, famous for being the ship on which most passengers died on the voyage to Australia. Hundreds died of fever on the voyage and after the ship was quarantined at Sorrento. Janet worked in aguest house in Collingwood and met John Hillgrove there when he came to Melbourne for a break from the goldfields. John and Janet selected land in the Wimmera and later the Mallee. The wide open spaces of the Wimmera are very different to the small fields and rocky outcrops of Kilmartin valley.

The Blair family also lived at Kames, a narrow strip of land behind a beach north of Lochgilphead. There are a few houses there now but they aren't crofters like the Blairs were.


  1. Lorraine,
    Could you mark your map in red please? Would love to see where these various places are. Thanks.

  2. Black sheep of WarrandyteApril 11, 2010 at 8:31 AM

    8am SUNDAY.
    Trix called to say JACK PHELAN, approx 9lb was born 12.30am this morning. Mother Julia, father Wazza and son well.

  3. Congratulations BOOBOOK.
    I am sure my comment reflects the same agreement from your fellow on-line travellers. We look forward to your almost daily updates posted in an extremely informative (and well illustrated fashion).
    We forgive the occasional miss-spelt typo and follow your route on our AA UK road guide. As an aside today's temperature in Melbourne has PLUMMETED to 18 degrees and marks the end of the unbroken reign of 123 consecutive days above 20 degrees C. In more simple terms ONE THIRD of the year has passed without the top temp going below the 20 mark.
    Anyway in closing, keep up the good work,keep warm and we anxiously await your Emerald isle and Swiss series.
    Black Sheep of Warrandyte.