Shepherd Sandy features in magazine’s spring edition

The front cover of the spring 2022 edition of The Kintyre Antiquarian and Natural History Society Magazine features Alexander (Sandy) Helm, left, and his brother-in-law Alexander McAllister at Auchenhoan during lambing time circa 1952.
The front cover of the spring 2022 edition of The Kintyre Antiquarian and Natural History Society Magazine features Alexander (Sandy) Helm, left, and his brother-in-law Alexander McAllister at Auchenhoan during lambing time circa 1952.

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With lambing keeping many farmers busy at the moment, a 1950s photograph of Kintyre shepherds is a fitting cover image for the spring 2022 edition of The Kintyre Antiquarian and Natural History Society Magazine.

The photograph, taken circa 1952, shows Alexander (Sandy) Helm and his brother-in-law Alexander McAllister at Auchenhoan, with crooks in their hands and a sheepdog at their feet.

Sandy is the subject of an article in the publication, penned by the magazine’s editor, Angus Martin.

Angus was informed about three farm-related photographs, taken in Kintyre in 1960, on a website, and identified the person in the images as Sandy.

After speaking to the shepherd’s family, Angus discovered that the photographer was a Bruce Davidson, born near Chicago in 1933 and now living in New York City.

The article takes a deeper look at both men’s careers – Sandy’s in farming, including a description of lambing of yesteryear, and Bruce’s distinguished photography work, which also includes a photograph of herring-gutters in Tarbert – and how the two came to be connected in 1960.

It is just one of the many articles which features in the latest edition of the popular magazine.

The opening piece, titled My Campbeltown Mackenzies: A Monumental Tale, is written by Sharron Gawler.

It tells of the Australian woman’s road to discover more information about her Scottish forebears, including many Mackenzies from Campbeltown.

The article delves into the story of how the family was connected to ship-owner and businessman Sir William Mackinnon – and it is not only through both having lived on Campbeltown’s Main Street.

The piece, which is illustrated with two 1850s photographs, goes into detail about enterprise and building empires which took the men across the world.

This is followed by a letter sent by Hugh Ferguson, farmer at Kilmaho, in December 1861 to an unknown recipient in the United States of America.

As ever, the editor’s notes provide some welcome background and context for 21st century readers of the 19th century letter.

A piece on the census of 1891 follows this, apt given that the deadline for completing Scotland’s 2022 census has just passed.

The regular By Hill and Shore passage tells of the editor’s outings in and around Campbeltown since the previous magazine’s publication, providing information on the variety of flora, fauna and people he encounters during his excursions.

Another article is on the topic of homelessness in Campbeltown in the 1800s, and gives the account of three individuals who appeared before the town sheriff for conducting themselves as ‘vagrants’ and trespassing.

The edition ends with a fitting tribute to Agnes Stewart, a stalwart member of the Kintyre community, who died in November last year.

As he began his detailed and interesting eulogy, Angus said he would miss not only Agnes herself but also her knowledge which had enriched his books and articles over the years.

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