In search of the McColls

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July 18th 2009
Published: July 21st 2009EDIT THIS ENTRY

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Skye to Ballachulish

The scenery from the B&B at Kyle of LochlacshThe scenery from the B&B at Kyle of LochlacshThe scenery from the B&B at Kyle of Lochlacsh

Not the best of days and we wished we had taken the photo the day before with the sun shining and hills on Skye more visible
Today is Gretchens turn to do a little family history tracing once we reach Ballachulish as her GG grandfather came from that town to NZ in the mid 1860's.
The full Scottish breakfast is going to be missed after tomorrow morning which is our last planned B&B for a while.
It has kept us full for the day with only a sandwich and some fruit required for lunch to top up the reserves.
We are breaking our rule of not travelling on the same road twice today but there is no other alternative and so after chatting away with Murdo and his wife putting the world to rights we hit the road,the A87,out of town and over that grand hill pass and headed inland.
The scenery wasn't quite so good today with a little misty rain falling at times and the tops of the hills hidden from time to time.There were no screaming jets taking a swoop down on us either!!
We turned south on the A82 and drove alongside Loch Lochy....a little weird calling a loch after a loch??!!perhaps they ran out names when it came to naming this one.
Loch Lochy was very pretty with more bush down to the edge than the lochs that were further up the hillsides.A noticeable difference in Scotland to NZ is that the hills at home are generally covered in bush whereas here it is generally open grassland.
There were just a few small villages to pass through as we continued south to the more substanial and busy transport hub for the Highlands at the town of Fort William.Here the train station and bus terminal were combined and were very busy with tourists.Of course Ben Nevis peak is nearby and the area is very popular with walking trails.
With such a large breakfast we didn't need a stop for lunch so we continued south driving now down the edge of Loch Linnhe a huge loch that opens to the sea many miles away at the Sound of Mull.
It had been raining lightly off and on for all of the trip and it was still doing so as we crossed the bridge over Loch Leven into Ballachulish.
Our B&B was found easily as the dominant feature in the centre of the village was a large park for football and gaelic hockey and our B&B was called the Parkview.
Ballachulish used to be the
Main street,BallachulishMain street,BallachulishMain street,Ballachulish

Notice the coal smoke coming from the chimneys.This is a Scotland summer after all !!!
slate capital of Scotland and the quarry/mine used to produce all the slate for roof tiles which are used predominantly even today in Scotland.However it is considerably cheaper to import slate from China and Italy and the slate industry here closed some years ago.
With the misty rain around and the temperature at times hovering in the mid teens the sight and smell of coal smoke from several of the houses wasn't unexpected.The village nestles beneath towering hills on three sides with the other side opening out to Loch Leven.
Our B&B hostess must have thought we were in town for a Homecoming event planned for the church tomorrow as without any prompting she asked if we were related to the McColls.How spooky is that...when Gretchen's GG grandfather came from this village to NZ and settled in the Lawerence area.
She suggested that we might like to take in the church that we had passed on the road into the little valley and so with the rain now stopped and a peep of sun about we hiked off to see what we could find about GG grandad McColl.
The first thing that hits you as you enter the church grounds is a McColl family headstone.
A woman who was preparing for the church service tomorrow was very helpful and gave us information to read through about the families from the village who had emigrated mainly to Australia.However one article did say that one McColl family did reportedly go onto NZ to settle.
Many of the christian names are those that appear and reappear in the McColl line in NZ so it had to be them.
We can't unfortunately stay for the service tomorrow when McColls and others are coming from all over the country as we have a Benvie reunion of our own to attend that cousin Aileen is arranging at Montrose.
However Gretchen left our email address and the woman organising the event said she would pass it on to the historian that had much of the work for the event and any others who may be interested to get in contact.All more exciting family history stuff!!!!and something to look forward to.
To finish off the day we took a drive up to view the Glencoe site where the Cambells slaughtered the MacDonalds at the behest of the English.A tragic day in Scottish history and still remembered and commenarated
Church cemetary and Loch LevenChurch cemetary and Loch LevenChurch cemetary and Loch Leven

McColls buried all over in this cemetary
to this day.
Dinner was at the local pub and with nothing much on TV and feeling like we needed to catch up on some sleep we had an early night even though it was still light outside!!

Additional photos below
Photos: 6, Displayed: 6


Glencoe passGlencoe pass
Glencoe pass

The area of the Glencoe massacre

22nd July 2009

Who side are we on?
Macdonalds or Campbells? Can't remember. The family will shoot me for asking.
23rd July 2009

Who knows?????
Think we were in the middle and got out alive !!!!

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