From the Cardross Road to Loch Lomond

  

    

After a day of rest and recuperation at the charming Kirkton House, we ventured by the Cardross Road to that beautiful Argyll loch of legend and song.  On the way, we photographed gorse and sheep.  This little lamb had no better sense than to sleep on the road.  No wonder God calls us sheep.  When we arrived at the Loch, the skies turned dark, but even that lent a certain majesty to the look of Ben Lomond.

 

 

We visited the park's natural history museum, shops, and Drumkinnon Tower.  In the Tower, we purchased treasures from the gift shop, watched "Legend of Loch Lomond," had dinner at the café, and sat on the balcony overlooking the dark waters.  The "Legend ..." is a flight of fancy based loosely on the famous song.  Combining the romance of Argyll's Jacobite history with spectacular overflights of the Loch and a modern story line, the film mystically links past and present.  As though all that were not pleasure enough, we also visited Balloch Castle on the eastern shore of the southern tip of the Loch.

The "castle" is in reality a manor house.  It was built for a banker by the name of John Buchanan in 1808, long after the need for castles was forever gone.  Both its name and its stones were taken from an earlier Balloch Castle, which had been built near the present site in 1238 by the Earl of Lennox.  That ancient fortress is evidenced now only by a mound and a depression where the moat once stood.  The manor house is surrounded by 200 acres of woodland, parkland, and ornamental gardens.  After a walk through the gardens, we returned to Kirkton House for a dinner of haggis with neeps and tatties in a whiskey cream sauce, and took an evening drive.

North to Helensburgh

      

      

Following the River Clyde west brought us to Dunbartonshire and the port town of Helensburgh (pronounced Helensburrow), where the clouds hung low and wide.  We parked on the pier in the center of Helensburgh and took pictures looking back at the town.  In the first, the peak of Ben Lomond is seen in the distance, behind the long line of shops and houses.  The line stretches left and right of the pier, as seen in the next two photos above.

Helensburgh was founded in 1776 when Sir Ian Colquhoun (Calhoun) built spa baths, had the seaside resort town built east of the spa, and named the town for his wife Helen.  Across the river is the town of Greenock, barely visible in the photo below left. Returning from Helensburgh to Kirkton House, we sat by our bedroom window with Earl Grey tea and shortbread and gazed across the Clyde to Port of Glasgow.  Here, the tranquil hues of fading daylight had turned the grey clouds an ethereal blue.

To Ayrshire and Back Again

On our last full day at Kirkton House, we drove south to find the former barony of Lynn in Dalry, Ayrshire.  There, we would stand on ancestral land with its enchanting Lynn Glen and beautiful falls.  Since we never gained a suitable view of the falls, we are forever grateful to Steven Clarke of Ayrshire for his stunning photographs below.

 

The Barony of Lynn

 

             
   
Lynn Falls in Autumn  

 

For three centuries, the Lynns of that Ilk were Lords of the minor barony of Lynn.  Their property included Lynn Glen, Lynn Falls, and some portion of the present village of Dalry, as well as other Ayrshire properties called Baidland, Bourtreehill, and Highlees.  Even when they sold the greater part of Lynn to the Boyds in 1532, the Lynns of that Ilk continued to own the manor place which was the heart of the barony and its glen. Lynn Glen is described in Ayrshire folklore as the dwelling of elves and fairies.  Indeed, some of its scenes do appear a bit Tolkienish.  The remains of a stone column, about seven feet tall, form the only structure yet standing that may have belonged to the Lords of Lynn.  It is on one side of an old unpaved and unused road and likely was once one of a pair, forming a gate to either Lynn Manor or its predecessor, Lin Castle.

 

 

 

 

Both the castle and the manor are gone now, the site of the manor marked only by a mound.  The exact spot where the castle stood is unknown, but it was described by George F. Black, Ph.D., in his oft-quoted work Surnames of Scotland, as being near Lynn Falls.  William Robertson, in his 1899 Tales of Ayrshire, relates the story of "The Wraith of Lord Lyne," in which the young Lord Lynn's death was foreseen by his mother, Lady Lynn, and his body was later found at the foot of the falls.  Robertson describes the family as "a beloved aristocracy that came, lingered awhile, and vanished."  Their glen is an enchanting place, and it is easy to see how tales of elves and fairies came to be told, especially if one wanders there in the gloamin' and lists to the sounds of approaching night.

In Dalry village, however, we saw a few remembrances of the Lords of Lynn ...

 

Lynn Toll - Once part of the toll booth entering Dalry from across the Caaf Water, this planter now sits on a brick sidewalk just a short walk from the Glen.  Even as a toll booth, however, it was made long after the Lords of Lynn had vanished.

 
 

Lynn Avenue - This Dalry street is very near the Glen.  Its name memorializes the Lynns of that Ilk, who were Lords of Lynn and Superiors of Highlees and Bourtreehill.

 

 

 

For those interested in a bit of documented history of the family, see
                                            http://www.house-of-lynn.com/Lynn_of_that_Ilk.html.

Too soon, we left the Barony of Lynn and drove a few miles to the town of Irvine, where we met a young man who may be descended from the Lords of Lynn.  In the 17th century, Irvine was the home of cadets (younger sons) of the Lords of Lynn. Malcolm and his betrothed joined us for dinner at a local pub where we had a delightful time.  The town's architecture includes the 1810 Trinity Church, now abandoned, and the 1903 red sandstone Wellwood House, now the home of the Irvine Burns Club and Museum.  Born in 1756 in the tiny hamlet of Alloway and raised on a farm near Tarbolton, Robert Burns would later recall that it was after moving to Irvine at the age of twenty-two that he "learned something of town life."

 

In the Town


Trinity Church

 of Irvine


Irvine Burns Club

After a very pleasant and interesting dinner, we returned to Argyll for our last night at Kirkton House.

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