Days out from Sheiling BnB, History, Tourism

A day out

For obvious reasons we haven’t had many days out this year. But last week we managed one. I revisited my old friend WalkHighlands looking for a route we hadn’t explored before. We’ve walked most of the Oban and North Lorn ones, well the ones that match our capabilities (the one, two and three boot ones) so I had a look at the Fort William selection where I found this one

So on a sunny morning we packed ourselves a picnic and headed off. Ballachulish is an hour or so’s drive from Sheiling. Head for Oban and then take the A828 north from Connel (over the bridge) If the tide is right you might get a great view of the Falls of Lora as you cross. The rest of the drive is scenic too, so it could take longer if you wanted to stop and admire the views.

There’s a public car park in the centre of the village next to the Co-op, public toilets, and also the Quarry Centre which sells food and snacks. (We bought ourselves some cake to go with our picnic)

The walk starts in the old slate quarry and takes you high above the village with superb views down Loch Leven

looking down to Loch Leven

The path then climbs up through trees

Bramble enjoyed all the new sniffs, and hunting for stones in the burn.

She didn’t find this one in the burn

We passed an old settlement

I searched in vain for a four leafed specimen in this clover patch.

And then headed downhill towards Brecklet.

It was probably all to the good that we didn’t spot any of these chaps*

*Actually the path turns in the opposite direction but I was feeling a bit nosey.

And then it was down into the village to enjoy our picnic lunch, and explore the old quarry areas.

It was such a lovely day that we took the long route home, passing through Glencoe, and then beautiful Glen Orchy where we had our final stop beside the river.

A perfect spot for coffee and cake

Days out from Sheiling BnB, History, Tourism

Taking time out for fun

We’ve had a pretty busy start to the 2019 season but it hasn’t been all work and no play. A couple of weeks ago we were lucky to join a trip out to Eileach an Naoimh one of the Garvellachs an archipelago in the firth of Lorne to the south west of Seil.




The weather has been kind to us this month and we had a glorious day for our trip, just as well as we had to make what is known as a “hard landing” from our Seafari RIB ! Everyone made it onto the island even though there was a bit of scrambling over the rocks before we could walk to the first of the ancient sites on the island.


I develop walking pole envy in this type of situation


Eileach an Naoimh is the site of the oldest monastery buildings in Scotland, built in about  542. There are also very well preserved beehive cells, thought to have been occupied by the monks.


inside a beehive cell

The island is linked to St Brendon, St Columba and a grave high above the monastery is said to be that of Eithne, mother of Columba.


Eithne’s grave



looking down at the monastery site from Eithne’s  grave

We climbed to the trig point and up to the light beacon,  I had a paddle in the inlet which the monks used as a harbour, and we enjoyed a picnic looking out over the sea. We tried to walk around the coast to view the natural arches but even the most intrepid of our group (not me) failed to quite reach them.


Luckily for us all our skipper took us past them on our return journey


IMG_2080 2

A beautiful day out, if you get the chance to visit you should.

Sorry, can’t guarantee the sunshine. X

Days out from Sheiling BnB, Food, History, Tourism

Enjoying a day out

Even though we escaped the worst of the recent storms and wintry weather we haven’t really travelled very far from home recently. So it was nice to have a little day out yesterday.

We headed south down Loch Fyne to the beautiful Kintyre peninsula. We had a quick stop in Tarbert to stretch our (and Bramble’s) legs and then on along the coast towards Campbeltown.

We stopped short of Campbeltown at Glenbarr where Glenbarr Stores has a  cafe serving delicious locally sourced food, garden centre and farmshop (as well as the Post Office)


We even got a look at their lovely B&B rooms, it’s nice to see what other B&Bs are like. It would be a great spot to explore what Kintyre has to offer.

We continued south to Campbeltown where you can find the newly restored Picture House ,  one of the oldest surviving cinemas in the country, next to Campbeltown museum which we’d visited on another trip.  We decide not to indulge our inner Paul Mccartney  by continuing down to the Mull of Kintyre but headed over to the east side taking the sometimes switchback B road to Saddell with its ancient stones and beautiful beach*

We all enjoyed a walk there, but Bramble most of all.

Licky b

Kintyre is a fairly long day out from Sheiling BnB but well worth it;  or maybe spend more of your time exploring beautiful Argyll and take a few days there too.  A road trip to rival the North Coast 500?


*park in the village and walk down past Saddell Castle.

Family history, History

More voices from the past

We’ve been doing more sorting and came across this case.


Unfortunately the key was nowhere to be found but with a little ingenuity, some skills from past “life” and a tiny amount of vandalism  managed to release its secrets.

Not everything was exciting, or indeed even useful. Most of the contents ended up in the shredder, but there were a few thrilling exceptions.

Foremost among these was this little photo.

Narwahl at Cullipool


I’ve written before about our suspicion that George’s grandfather, George Paterson once sailed the seas around here delivering coal and other supplies from his steam ship the Narwhal. And here we found proof.  “At Cullipool” (a village on Luing our next door island) is inscribed on the front.

And on the back it confirms that this is indeed the Narwhal, sailing past Cullipool on the 15th June 1933.

Narwhal pic reverse

Another  exciting find was a clipping from the Greenock Telegraph printed after George Paterson’s death in 1950. It  details his career from his apprenticeship on the sailing barque Glaucus, to gaining his master’s  certificate, then war service with the Royal Naval Reserve 1914 -18 escorting convoys in the Mediterranean, followed by peacetime deliveries to Northern Ireland and the West of Scotland on his steamers,  interrupted by war duty again 1939 -45, he continued  this work until his health failed.

He was, perhaps, ahead of his time being  very keen that his daughters completed their education and training. And all three of them did, graduating from Glasgow university and going on to become teachers. We have a letter he wrote congratulating his youngest daughter on passing her finals in 1946, his pride and love is very obvious. In the same letter he writes of the excitements of his eldest daughter’s wedding in 1944 and then the arrival of his first grandson in 1945. He would live only a few year more but knew of the impending arrival of his second grandchild, George, before his death in 1950.


History, Uncategorized

And the Academy Award goes to …*!

I love finding old pictures of Sheiling, so I was really excited to find it had featured in a movie . I came across this site – Reelstreets which not only lists film locations, but has a clever now and then feature so that you  can view a still from the movie and then an up to date photo. The “now” picture of Sheiling was taken a little while ago too. The tree has been felled and the bushes cut back since it was taken, but the gate and posts are still in place.

The film is The Bridal Path a 1959 movie starring Bill Travers and with a cast including  George Cole, Gordon Jackson and Annette Crosbie. Other scenes were filmed at Ellenabeich, Oban and Castle Stalker. I haven’t seen the movie yet but it is still available, so will be joining the dvd library here.

* The Bridal Path rates a respectable 6.9 on IMDb but it didn’t win Best Picture for 1959. That honour went to a slightly better known and bigger budgeted film,  Ben Hur

History, Tourism, Uncategorized

A gap in the clouds

We’ve been lucky to escape the worst of the winter storms so far but Gertrude and Henry gave us a bit of a buffeting. So it was lovely when the sun peeked out yesterday afternoon and we were able to enjoy a walk more or less upright and without one layer of waterproofs.


oops! need to clean the windows 


We climbed up the hill behind the house looked down on the Sound bathed in sunshine.


that’s Sheiling peeking out on on the left hand side


Although on our return we crunched through this…

hail on path

hailstones on the path


Today dawned brightly and as we needed to make a trip into the town we took Bramble to her favourite beach for a run and then walked over the hill (following the cycle path ) to Dunstaffnage Castle.

castle feb 16

inside Dunstaffnage Castle

I spotted some signs of Spring in the ditches,


it’s frogspawn


but Winter will be with us a while yet, there was sleet after lunch. Still it’s beautiful here , whatever the weather.


if we didn’t have rain there wouldn’t be rainbows



History, Uncategorized

Exploring the past

We were away down south for the holidays, visiting my family in Wales. While there,  I took the opportunity to visit the town where one of my maternal great grandfathers was born. I’d found out about this branch of the family largely thanks to the great local history site Thornbury Roots. I was amazed to find my great, great grandmother was named Caroline!  This was purely coincidental, my parents  just liked the name which was very popular in the early 60s.

My  great grandfather lived in this house


with his parents and eight siblings. The family lived at other addresses in Thornbury and one of my great grandfather’s brothers ran a decorating business from this house


on Castle street.


My great-grandfather left the town and moved to Wales where he married my great grandmother. She was also a migrant from England;  her family came from Dorset. But that’s a story for another day.


…red sky morning

We’ve had days of rain as successive Winter storms have battered their way across the country. So far we’ve been lucky and spared the floods seen elsewhere but it is good to enjoy a day without rain, though it’s still very windy and strangely mild for December.

It may portend more storms later but a little bit of sunshine always lifts my spirits so I was probably smiling as I set off with Bramble for our morning walk, and well her mouth is just set for smiling….


And I got happier as we walked. Because  I learned another snippet of local history. An out building which I’ve previously thought was a byre turns out to be where coal was delivered to the  island. So could that puffer  delivering coal along Loch Feochan have also delivered coal to Seil?  Did George’s grandfather sail past our house all those years ago?

We can’t ever know for sure but it all helps root us here, making new connections and discovering the old.

History, Uncategorized

A lucky find

We visited George’s Aunt last week, and as so often happens the conversation turned to the past. We talked about George’s grandfather (who he never met) and in particular the two puffers he sailed around the West Coast of Scotland from the ’30s to the ’50s. They were called the StarFinch and the Narwhal.  Later we were helping to sort some old papers at her house and I came upon an envelope addressed to  George’s cousin once removed (his grandfather’s nephew) Inside we found a letter, and these.



Back home we did a little research and found a story here  about the Starfinch delivering coal along Loch Feochan.

Loch Feochan is close to Sheiling, we drive along it on our trips to Oban. So now when we do I have a little think about George’s grandfather delivering coal and other goods to the communities along our coast. And about my grandfather who mined coal in Wales.



A little dog named Dobhran*

Our dog Bramble has a Blog, lots of dogs do, and there are many thousands of  #dogsofinstagram  These are not new things though. Pets have been communicating their thoughts for years, predating the internet by decades. Last week we found some letters which a little dachshund called Dobhran* sent to his absent owner.

He's not too good at spelling, but then he's a dog!

He’s not too good at spelling, but then he’s a dog!

Dobhran lived in Jura in the 80s and early 90s. He seems to have been a prolific letter writer and liked to keep his owner in touch with events on Jura while she was away visiting friends and family. He wasn’t the first dachsie to live with the family. Here is one of his predecessors.


We don’t know this dog’s name

Why the interest in these dogs? Well were in Jura last week to remove personal items from a holiday house which is to become a permanent home. And Dobhran’s letters were among those things.  George’s family have strong links with Jura,his gran was born there, so packing up was a little sad. It’s the end of an era.  But we  took away momentos to remind ourselves of all the people who  enjoyed the house over the years.And so I have a new addition to my desk. In memory of Dobhran and his pals.

letter opener

dachshund letter opener

*Dobhran – means otter in Gaelic. See his own comments about spelling!