Sunday, 19 July 2015

Memory Lane

Islay, Scotland, 2004

No jewelry here today. It's too hot in the shop to go firing up a torch so I spent some time on the computer sorting through some old photo files. I thought I'd just share a wee bit of a fabulous trip we made in 2004.

I am thoroughly Canadian and very proud of my paternal ancestors. They have been here since long before Canada was a country (United Empire Loyalists who fled to Upper Canada, a British Colony, in the 1700s). On my mother's side, however, I am half English and half Scottish. Tracing those roots some years ago led me to discover the island of Islay, one of the Inner Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland.

In 2004, a group of Islay descendants were planning a "Gathering of the Children" on the island. We had been to Islay twice before, so I debated about going yet again. It's a verra lang way from Vancouver, ye ken? But the promise of spending time with fellow researchers, gaining access to local records, plus one more chance to try to locate an elusive family grave, made it seem well worth the time and expense. In truth, we simply yielded to Islay's magic.

The "Children" June 2004

Above, the group gathered for a "class photo" on the last day of sessions. That evening, we all attended a formal dinner at the Machrie Golf Club & Hotel. It was the only formal party I ever attended where the men were way more glamorous than the women!

The Kintyre Peninsula 

Our route to the ferry at Kennacraig took us along the Kintyre peninsula and, having some time to spare, we took the road that roughly follows the Crinan Canal.

Despite a very heavy Scottish rain storm, we enjoyed the tiny town of Crinan where I took some photos of the boats moored in the harbour.

I have developed a deep love for this part of Scotland. We had the good luck to tour much of Scotland some years earlier — from Edinburgh to Inverness to Wick, then back south to follow the Great Glen (nope, no Nessy) to Fort William and Glasgow. Enjoyed all of it but the west is my favorite.

On the Ferry and On Our Way

I took this as the ferry pulled out of Kennacraig. That is a fairly typical Scottish sky for June, although we were blessed with great weather for most of our time on Islay.

On two previous visits, we had searched pretty well all the cemeteries on the island. I kept hoping to find the grave of at least one of my McCaig ancestors.

By 2004, I knew for sure that my GG Grandfather, Colin McCaig was born on Islay and baptized at Bowmore. Of course I knew, being tenant farmers, they would have been very poor but I still hoped that there might be a headstone for someone in that family.

Seek and Ye Shall Find

I guess I was meant to come back a third time. This is the headstone of my GGGG Grandparents. It is in the old Kilarrow cemetery not far from Islay House.

If you have enjoyed this short trip, Google Map Islay and see more of that lovely isle.