Town’s iconic cross restored to former glory

From left: Catherine Dobbie, Angus Martin and James Lafferty at the small ceremony marking the completion of the works.
From left: Catherine Dobbie, Angus Martin and James Lafferty at the small ceremony marking the completion of the works.

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Works to restore Campbeltown Cross and its surrounds have been completed, restoring the iconic 14th-century monument to its former glory.

Campbeltown Community Council member Catherine Dobbie and James Lafferty, Argyll and Bute Council’s Campbeltown Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme officer, worked together on this project as part of the town centre’s regeneration programme.

The cross had deteriorated over a number of years, becoming cracked and covered in lichen and algae. The bronze plaques had been covered in verdigris and the railings were in a very poor state.

Catherine said: ‘The community council is indebted to Historic Environment Scotland, Campbeltown Common Good Fund, Machrihanish Airbase Community Company, Kintyre Antiquarian Society, and the Rotary Club of Campbeltown, all of which donated funds recognising the importance of conserving the cross.

‘In addition, Glen Scotia, Springbank and Glengyle distilleries donated whisky barrels which have been planted with tulip bulbs.’

Conservators Eric Waanders and Leire Gardeazabal from Graciela Ainsworth Sculpture Conservation Ltd completed the specialist works on the cross.

James Lafferty coordinated the additional works carried out by local contractors to an excellent standard. These were: Taylor and Wishart, scaffolding; Graham Powell, stonemason; Archie Johnston, railings; Neil Galbraith, floodlights; and Gordon Bennie from Argyll Signs, interpretation board.

As a result of the present Covid-19 restrictions, a small ceremony was held to celebrate the restoration, addressed by Angus Martin, local historian, author and poet. Angus gave a brief history of the eventful life of the cross and unveiled the interpretation board.

This was recorded by Kenny Craig on behalf of Campbeltown Courier and Kenny Ralston of Phonomorphics Ltd. A short video marking the importance of the cross and its renovation is being produced by Robert Westerman. This will be available on YouTube shortly.