Memories Of Tighvechtican by Chrissie Fisher nee Campbell >
MEMORIES OF TIGHVECHTICAN, THE WATCH TOWER
(Chrissie Fisher (nee Campbell)
From the Dewer’s Manuscripts it states that the Clan MacFarlane had a lookout at the bottom of Stronafyne Hill (Cruich Tairbeit). This was at Tighvechtican, situated between Tarbet and Arrochar from this point you could at one time see both Loch Long and Loch Lomond, making it an ideal spot for being a look out for enemy’s and raiders.
Locally one of the buildings still standing in the area is known as the poor’s house. One explanation for this being after the First World War some of the men not able to cope with life ‘took to the road’ and became known as tramps. Also the depression in the 20’s and 30’s encouraged this type of life.
One of the tenants at that time a Mrs Murdoch was said to have given shelter to these men. There is no evidence to hand that this was a Parish or State shelter.
Chrissie Fisher Stuckendroin was born in the shepherd’s cottage at Tighvechtican and lived there till 1926 when the family moved to High Kirkfield. Chrissies memories of her childhood at Tighvechtican and the Back Road are recorded below:-
“One of my earliest memories was as a little girl, hearing in the early morning, the sound of the reaper cutting the hay in the field below the road at the hall ( as it was known then, now the Outdoor Centre). I spent the first six years of my life in the thatched cottage situated behind the hall, beside which was the original road.
The sound of the reaper was very distinctive and I recall it clearly. The hay made would be for the cows belonging to the Arrochar Hotel. The farm steading was at Tighness and the cows grazed in the fields around. In 1926 after my Grandfather’s death (he was a shepherd to Stronafyne) we moved to Tighness and lived in a tenement building there. I now had a further mile to walk to and from school, but there was always something of interest to see or do. In winter we slid along the road, and in summer we used to take the cows down the back road to the steading for Mrs Humphries to milk. They were not on the road, just inside the fence, and were very biddable placid animals. At the steading we ‘helped’ feed the pigs, and put the hay down from the loft for the cows. Then we took the new milk home with us. At that time quite a few people kept cows, Henderson’s Hotel, Ross hotel, and Stronafyne. It must have been around 1928 –30 that Mr Thompson came from the Vale supplying most of the village with milk. He had big churns in the back of his car and measured the milk out to our jugs etc. After Mr Thompson died his wife and son Douglas continued the milk run. They were very dependable. Mrs Humphries must have loved children as there were always plenty round the steading and at Halloween after we had gone ‘guising’ we ended up in her kitchen where we dooked for apples etc.
I remember seeing, at the back of the steading the coaches, which must have been used for taking passengers from Arrochar pier to Tarbet pier, before the advent of the car. I remember two of them. One a black closed coach, lined with purple, in a material that looked like silk. The other was like a bus, open of course, with rows of seats, which you had to climb up to. It must have been quite exhilarating bowling along behind the horses. These machines were just left there to disintegrate.
Going to school from Tighvechtican I used to carry a can of milk to the two ladies – Misses Sinclair who lived in the Toll House, still there but altered very much. It was a little square cottage, the front smothered in roses in the summer and two beautiful Royal Ferns at the gateway. After the road was widened it was said the ferns were taken to Stronafyne Farm – they may still be there. The Misses Sinclair were kind people and I was always rewarded with a sweet and a penny at the end of the week.
After I moved to live in Tighness in 1926 the road to school was a further two miles. We passed the War Memorial, also beside the hall at the crossroads. On Armistice Day 11th Nov. we were always walked from Tarbet to the memorial, all the children and the teachers. A short service was held, hymns sung. The silence (2 minutes) was heralded by the Range hooter, clearly heard and ended the same way. Sometimes a shot was fired at the end of the silence. Then we walked back to school. Our schoolmaster at that time was Mr Rowatt and his successor Mr Marshall, who were both ex servicemen and no doubt had memories of their comrades. Before Mr Rowatt Mr Grierson was the headmaster. He had been there for a number of years and retired in or around 1926. He was a well-liked man - of the old school. For his retrial he built a house in Tarbet and called it ‘Bemersyde’, he had come from the Borders to Tarbet. The whole school were taken to see the house, which we all thought was beautiful. It must have been the first new house built in Tarbet for years. He, and his wife and daughter Aileen lived there until their deaths. Aileen who was a teacher latterly lived in the house on her own. On another occasion we were taken to watch the wedding of the twin daughters of Mr Telford the minister of the United Free Church at Tarbet. It was a double wedding and seemed very grand to us. We stood outside the church to see them come out, one of the girls, Jean, married a Mr Cuthbertson who was subsequently became the head of the Rowart Institution in Aberdeen – a Veterinary and Agricultural establishment, he was Knighted at the end of his career. He and his wife are interred in Arrochar Churchyard. People called the MacMurrays lived in Stewartonbank (now called Argyll View). They gave the children of the village a treat once a year in the local hall. We got a bag of goodies to eat, plenty of tea, orange and sweets as we came away. We played games, mothers came too, so I suppose it was an outing for everyone. This would have been in the 1920s.”
Chrissie Fisher nee Campbell