From the Cardross Road to Loch Lomond
After a day of rest and relaxation 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
and Drumkinnon Tower. In the Tower, we
purchased treasures from the gift shop, watched
of Loch Lomond," had dinner at the café, and sat on the balcony overlooking the
dark waters. "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 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.
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. From Helensburgh, we returned to Kirkton House, 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 turned the
grey clouds an ethereal blue. Our photo is a tad bit blurred, but the
colors are just as they were.
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 to
falls, we are forever grateful to Steven Clarke of Ayrshire for his stunning
The Barony of Lynn
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 the barony 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
on one side of an old unpaved and unused road and likely once was 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
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 ...
Once part of a toll booth entering Dalry from Lynn Bridge,
this planter now sits on the sidewalk just a short walk from the Glen.
Even as a toll booth, however, it was made centuries after the Lords of Lynn had
This Dalry street is very near the Glen.
For those interested in a bit of documented history of the family, see
Too soon, we left the Barony of Lynn and drove a few miles to the town of Irvine,
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
Irvine Burns Club
After a very pleasant and interesting dinner with Malcolm and the future Mrs.
Lynn, we returned to Argyll for our last night at Kirkton House.
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