Magazine readers hop, skip and jump back to their youth

The autumn 2020 edition of the Kintyre Magazine features a cuckoo and stonechats at Balnabraid, photographed by James R MacDonald on Easter Monday 2020.

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The latest issue of the Kintyre Antiquarian and Natural History Society Magazine has landed on shop shelves.

The autumn 2020 edition of the popular magazine, edited by Angus Martin, is packed with the usual historical and contemporary stories but begins with a section on street and playground games of the past.

The 12-page article, penned by Moira Burgess, is bound to be of particular interest to older readers who may be familiar with the rhymes and games referenced.

Several counting rhymes, including eeny-meeny-miny-mo, one potato, my mother and your mother, are mentioned, as well as examples of running, chasing, singing and skipping games.

Some of the activities – leapfrog, follow the leader and coalie-backs, for example – and songs – Oranges and Lemons, London Bridge is Falling Down and The Farmer’s in His Den – are still widely played and sung today, but some seem to have dwindled in popularity.

In her opening few lines, Moira writes: ‘Books have been written and videos made on the topic of children’s playground games, the more urgently as these traditional pastimes are dying out, replaced by electronic amusements and a more indoors way of life. I am not qualified to add to their number, but it did occur to me that it might be interesting to look at the games played in Campbeltown, some probably identical with those recorded elsewhere, but a few intriguingly different.’

Another interesting feature is a letter, written in January 1900 by a Maggie Gillon, whose father John spent the last 33 years of his life as caretaker and signaller at the lifeboat station at Dunaverty.

Addressed to her sister, the letter tells of the Battle of Ladysmith in October 1899, one of the earliest engagements of the Second Boer War in South Africa.

Another article towards the end of the publication, titled Tarbert and the Second World War and written by Archibald K Smith, tells of life closer to home during wartime conditions.

The magazine also shines a spotlight on some ‘little-known or forgotten individuals who were connected with Kintyre’.

The passages about Donald Carmichael, Daniel Dewar, Charles Drummond, Edward Hogarth, Captain William Hutcheson, Lizzy Kirkland, Thomas Lacy, John Alexander Paterson MacBride, Francis McCallum, John MacDougall, Helen McIntyre, Robert MacKenzie, John ‘Dorrif’ McMillan, F Marion McNeill, John M Murphy and Rev Dr Robert Stevenson were taken from one of Angus’s works-in-progress, Kintyre Families: An Encyclopaedia, which he hopes to publish next year.

The next section of the magazine, titled By Hill and Shore, was written by Angus himself and tells of his own outings throughout Kintyre, first as normal and then under the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

An obituary for Dr Runa Blyth Mackay, whose photograph features on the back page, occupies several pages towards the end of the magazine.

Written by Liz Findlay, it tells of Dr Mackay’s 60 years of service to the people of Palestine. Dr Mackay, who was born in 1921 and died in May this year, had family roots in Kintyre, and visited the area several times over the years.

The magazine ends with a poem by Susan Grant, a former resident of Machrihanish, titled Efric.

An editorial note adds that the Kintyre Antiquarian and Natural History Society’s usual winter programme of events has been suspended for 2020/2021 in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. It adds that 2021 is a significant year for the society as it marks the centenary of its foundation.

Copies of the latest edition are available to purchase from The Old Bookshelf, The Kintyre Larder, Made In Kintyre and Coastal Design in Campbeltown and in Muneroy Stores in Southend.


The autumn 2020 edition of the Kintyre Magazine features a cuckoo and stonechats at Balnabraid, photographed by James R MacDonald on Easter Monday 2020. NO_c46kintyremag01