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Friday, 12 April 2013

A-Z Challenge: K is for Kyle, Kirkbean, Kirkcudbright & Kippford

Join me on this journey  into  A SENSE OF PLACE where I will be:
  • Featuring places connected with my own family history
  • Highlighting places with happy memories
  • Shining the spotlight on place names that appeal.
  • Linking my interests in history, travel and photography.
K is for:
KYLE OF LOCHALSH  (from the Scottish Gaelic meaning   "strait of the foaming loch") is a village on the northwest coast of Scotland,  opposite the Isle of Skye and  63 miles east of Inverness.  The railway line  linking inverness and Kyle was built in 1897 and is regarded as one of the most scenic routes in Scotland, if not Britain.   

A hill  above  the village afforded this wonderful view  on a beautiful day over Loch Alsh and the Skye Bridge, built in 1995 to replace the ferry service to Skye.   

Along with nearby Plockton , Kyle of Lochalsh  became the backdrop to the BBC drama series "Hamish McBeth".

We now head as far south as we can in Scotland to:

KIRKBEAN, a small village in south west Scotland on the Solway Firth.   Among its most famous sons were John Paul Jones (born 1747),  the founder of the  United States Navy, and John Campbell (born 1720) who became  a naval officer and colonial governor of Newfoundland, Canada.   During the late 18th and early 19th centuries,   it was  the departure point for thousands of Scots emigrating to America and Australia.

Kirkbean was the location of one of my Foolish False Trails in family history. For many years when researching my husband's Donaldson family, I made serious wrong assumptions. I traced the family easily through census returns and old parish records to the marriage of Samuel Donaldson, merchant  in South Leith, Midlothian in 1759.  Then I reached the proverbial brick wall in trying to prove Samuel's parentage.

The church at Kirkbean


In the Old Parish Records, there was a Samuel Donaldson born in 1729 in Kirkbean. This very much appealed to me - the date was about right, and the coastal location  fitted with Samuel's later life as a merchant in a seaport.  On the basis of following ancestral roots, we even had an enjoyable  short break exploring the area.

It was only many years later when I was writing  the Donaldson family history, that I stopped suddenly and thought - I have absolutely no proof that the Samuel Donaldson, born Kirkbean was the same person as the Samuel Donaldson who married 30 years later in Leith and was my husband's GGGGG grandfather.
So years of assumption and work on the background history of Kirkbean came to nothing,  - though we did enjoy our holiday there.
KIRKCUDBRIGHT - an important first lesson - how to pronounce this place name.  It is not "kirk - cud - bright",  but "ker - coo - bri"

A town house at Kirkcudbright.

Kirkcudbright is  on the estuary of the River Dee, which flows into Kirkcudbright Bay on the Solway Firth,   The name Kirkcudbright means ‘Church of St Cuthbert’.

Kirkcudbright today is a picturesque place with a working harbour, castle , broad streets  and elegant civic buildings and town houses.  It is also know as "the artists' town", through its  association with the Glasgow art movement; the Glasgow Boys and the Scottish colourists making a base
there 1880-1910.   
KIPFORD is a small sailing village on the banks of the River Ure as it flows into the Solway Firth.  We walked to it over a scenic hill path from Rockcliffe  to whip up an appetite and enjoy a bar supper (fish and chips of course), overlooking the bay. 
Join me on the next stage of my A-Z Journey to the Letter L



1 comment:

  1. You have some beautiful photographs here. Did you ever figure out where your Samuel Donaldson came from?


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