The Village Of Arrochar
Moving on from the Head Of Loch Long we come into the village of Arrochar - a well know tourist spot. The old pier used to service several steamers daily with visitors from Glasgow. There is a well opposite Craigard that was built to celebrate Queen Victoria's jubilee. There used to be a plaque but this disappeared in the 1950's.
The village has three large hotels - The Loch Long Hotel - formerly Ross's Hotel, The Arrochar Hotel - formerly The Arrochar Inn and The Torrence Hotel and The Claymore Hotel (formerly The Cobbler, Arrochar House and Inverioch House). Click on the HOTELS button to see images of these hotels over the past 200 years.
Ashfield House, Jenniville, Prospect House, Prospect View, Prospect Bank and the Ross Hotel all belonged to the Ross family. The old Ross Hotel, which was a small temperance hotel, has now changed its name to the Loch Long Hotel and grown in size to dominate the village landscape. The top end of the village of Arrochar is referred to in all documents up until the mid twentieth century as Tigh na Clach. It is here the Jubilee Well is situated at the side of the main rod leading though the village. The villagers erected this well at the time of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee. There was a plaque, which existed till about 1950, but has now disappeared. Some way up the hill directly above the well there is also a cairn that was erected at the same time.
There is talk of a Blacksmith of the name of Red at Tigh na Clach. He also extracted teeth; men were given a shot of whiskey but women had to endure the pain – no drink for women. Followed by Craigard and then Chestnut Cottage and Rose Cottage, with Belmont on the top side of the road opposite Craigard. Belmont was the local Police Station as far back as can be remembered up until 1956 when it moved up to new house at Wilson’s Turn.
Going through the village on the left hand – the area now known as the ‘Chapel Car Park’ stood a complex of four houses. Thistle Cottage and one that was called the ‘Crazy House’. No evidence can be found as to the origin of its name. Next to this was a field known as the Braeside Grazing, presumably as the people in the Braeside building kept cows on this piece of land. In 1950 the Cirelli’s of Breaside purchased the field and donated the site for the building of the Church of St Peter & St Paul.
The heart of the village was a busy place with a slipway to the shore at Cairnview; this allowed coal boats to unload. A baker’s shop at Greenbank providing bread for the Community. Known name of Baker’s are Gibson – Jackson – McCann – McCorquindale and Norman Campbell. Hawthorn Cottage, Mayfield and Rowantree Cottage were all Luss Estate workers cottages.
At Braeside there was the shoemaker – Old Lindsey is a character that every one seems to remember. The descriptions of him portrait, a stern man who had his own rules about everything. It is said that his son was a conscientious objector during the first world war. Instead of turning him over to officials Old Lindsey dealt with the situation himself he locked the boy up in a room at the back of the shop for the full duration of the war, only allowing him (accompanied by the Old man) to have a walk along the shore during the cover of darkness. There is also a tale that when his wife broke her leg he would not allow it to be treated in any way and the poor woman just had to suffer till the bone healed naturally. Old Lindsey’s shop is remembered as the shoemaker’s. He made and repaired shoes but also sold all manner of things from Tilly mantles to fishing tackle. He sold paraffin and petrol. Pratt’s petrol. It is said that if he was asked by anyone if he was the cobbler – pointing to Ben Arthur he would reply “naw, I am the shoemaker – thonders the Cobbler up there”. Although dark and dour another side of Old Lindsey comes out in his love of music and poetry. He made fiddles and taught local children to play the fiddle and the violin. He wrote songs and poems.
Still at Braeside there was also a grocers shop ran by Annie Davidson. At one time the Bank was also at Braeside. Another character living the Braeside area was ‘Lizzie the Spy’ so called because she observed everything from behind her lace curtain in the middle of the village. Stewartonbank. MacMurrays - Mrs Downie & Mrs Robertson came in the summer to stay with the MacMurrays. Did they rent the house for the summer from the MacMurrays? It is said that when Mrs Downie came from Glasgow she brought her housekeeper with her, the housekeeper staying in the back part of the building??
Moving along from Stewartonbank we come to Rowantree Bank this was for many years the site of the village Post Office. The Post Office was run by the MacNaughton sisters up until the second WW days when it moved to Craigard. There have been old trading ledgers, dating back to the early years of the twentieth century found below the floors of this building, they appear to belong to a Joiner’s Firm and refer to some of the larger properties throughout the district.
Lower Belview was a Bakers ran by people named Dodds, after that during the war years it was the home of the Misses MacFarlane had dressmakers and drapery. Mary MacCallum a niece cared for the last Miss MacFarlane and eventually moved with the other Mary MacCallum to Kirkfied Place. Mrs Muligan, - a niece of the Misses MacFarlanes and eventually moved with the other Mary MacCallum to Kirkfied Place. Mrs Muligan, - a niece of the Misses MacFarlanes – and her husband lived with them, he ran a boat hiring business from the shore below the Arrochar Hotel brae. It is believed that there was at this time an opening to the shore from every dwelling.
Lawless in other
respects, it was not to be expected that the men of Arrochar
should have much respect for the excise laws. Shebeens,
illicit stills, abounded.
On the road between Tarbet and the Big Rest in Glencroe, the
sites of eight places where whisky was sold are still pointed
out. There was one at Tarbet, one at Tyvechtican, three in the
village of Arrochar, one at the Highlandman’s Height, one at the
schoolhouse in Glencroe and one at the Big Rest.