From Our Files, October 16 2020

In 1995: Maurice Duncan at the Royal National Mòd; he was featured as a schoolboy, winning at the Mòd in 1970 in last week’s edition.
In 1995: Maurice Duncan at the Royal National Mòd; he was featured as a schoolboy, winning at the Mòd in 1970 in last week’s edition.

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Friday October 15, 2010

Frank’s 600-mile fiddle journey

Campbeltown Grammar School student Frank G Rochford made the 600-mile round trip to the Royal National Mòd at Wick and came home with a trophy.

He won the Robert MacCallum Memorial Trophy for the 13 to 15-year-olds’ open competition as well as a traditional Mòd gold badge.

Frank was competing against 23 other young musicians each playing a slow Gaelic air and March, Strathspey and Reel of their own choice.

Friday October 20, 1995

A fiddler’s three

A Campbeltown man has won the top award for fiddling at this year’s National Mòd.

Maurice Duncan, who now works as an accountant in Oban, has won the Sutherland Cup three times.

He won at Oban in 1992, Airdrie in 1993 and wasn’t allowed to compete last year at Dunoon as no one is allowed to take the cup three times in a row.

Mr Duncan came in for high praise from adjudicator James Alexander who told an audience in the Games Hall in Golspie, which is hosting this year’s Mòd: ‘I feel Maurice had superb variety throughout and it was a well-designed and thought-out performance.’

He awarded Mr Duncan 91 marks. Mr Duncan has been playing the fiddle since 1967.

Minister’s pledge on incendiaries

Defence Secretary Michael Portillo has pledged to do all he can to find the source of thousands of incendiary devices being washed up around the Firth of Clyde.

In the fortnight up to Tuesday over 1,500 had been washed up in Kintyre, Jura and Islay.

The minister made his promise at a meeting with the MPs representing the areas where the devices are being washed ashore – including Argyll and Bute MP Ray Michie.

Mrs Miche is also asking for a statement from the Scottish Secretary on the matter.

She said Mr Portillo had given assurances that the devices were not military.

Earlier this week Government scientists were still trying to precisely identify the devices.

Despite Mr Portillo’s assurances, one theory is that they could be anti-tank weapons made by the British during the Second World War. Another is that they are German incendiary bombs.

The devices have been washing up from Skipness in the north east corner of Kintyre to Southend. Some have appeared on the shores of Campbeltown Loch while a few have been found as far away as Islay and Jura in the west. By Tuesday the total stood at 1,520 devices washed up.

A further 440 had been washed up on Ayrshire beaches by Tuesday afternoon and almost 1,400 on Arran, mainly on its west side. Almost 200 had turned up on Cumbrae.

Mystery also surrounds the source of the incendiaries. The MoD said that until the devices are identified it is impossible to say where they have been escaping from.

There has been speculation that British Gas pipe laying operations north of the munitions dump at Beaufort’s Dyke in the Irish Channel could be responsible.

But there is also a weapons dump marked on charts between Arran and the Ayrshire coat.

Others have suggested the devices may have come from a boat sunk in the Firth of Clyde by the Germans during the Second World War.

Thursday October 15, 1970

Smaller school for Drumlemble

Drumlemble’s new school is to be considerably smaller than originally planned.

Argyll County Council Education Committee will inform the Scottish Education Committee that a joint school for local youngsters and children from RAF Machrihanish is not longer required.

The RAF children have now settled at schools in Campbeltown.

A five or six room school with community facilities included was envisaged but now all that is needed is a three or four room school to replace the existing Drumlemble primary.


Machrihanish Golf Club’s Thunderer Cup has been won by Mr W Colville (77-8-69) after a play-off with Mr C Repke (87-18-69). The scratch prize went to Mr WJ Wood (73).

In the Torpedo Cup competition the winner was Mr K Kelly (82-16-66). Runners up were Mr EB Lyon (72-8-67; best inward half); Mr W McDonald (81-14-67); Mr C Flaws (85-18-67).

A number of visiting Canadian airmen took part in the Torpedo competition.

Saturday October 16, 1920

Kintyre Agricultural Society’s autumn shows

Kintyre Agricultural Society are holding their Produce and Foal Show at Campbeltown today.

The produce show has been in abeyance since 1915, and the entries are, naturally, not up to pre-war standard. Nevertheless the exhibition is of quite a representative character.

The exhibits of cheese are just about half of the average, and the same remark applies to roots. With regard to the latter, however, the season has been of an uncommonly backward character in the peninsula. The butter exhibits, however, are above the average, which is quite a notable fact.


The Highland Pony mare, which belonged to Mr John Gemmell, and which went through the Gallipoli and Macedonian campaigns with the Argyll Mountain Battery, being ultimately returned to its original owner at the close of the war, is now nursing a lively little horse foal.

The pony was bred at Carskiey, and Mrs Boyd having bought it back from Mr Gemmell, it is now quartered at its old home.