In this neighbourhood one is never far from the sea, and our marine biology is exceptionally interesting. The following information has been sent to us by someone who has been working on research in these waters. An unusual and noteworthy feature of this part of Argyll is the very small range of the tides. Even the spring tides, occurring just after new and full moons, have an average range of only 4—S feet, and the intervening neap tides, associated with the first and third quarters of the moon only rise and fall about a foot or so. The marine fauna and flora of Loch Sween and its off shoots (the marine inlets off the main loch such as Caol Scotnish, and the Linnhe Mhuirich to the west of Taynish peninsula with its access through the rapids to the south) is extremely interesting and it has attracted a lot of attention from marine biologists. During the period of the second world war a team of scientists from Edinburgh University and Millport Marine Laboratory carried out some fertilisation experiments in the loch with the aim of improving sea fisheries—an early attempt at ‘fish farming’ which is now being investigated further by other scientists near Ardnamurchan and in Loch Ewe. More recently a detailed descriptive account of the intertidal plants and animals of the area has been published from Millport Marine Station and this account indicates that as well as the usual fucoids, tangles, barnacles, limpets, snails, etc., found on Scottish coasts, Loch Sween has unusually rich populations of rarer forms such as sponges, ascidians, hydroids, and certain rare red and green seaweeds - the Linnhe Mhuirich and parts of Caol Scotnish being especially rich in this respect.

The nearby rocky shores around Carsaig bay and Loch-na-Cille on the open coast of the Sound of Jura also have a good variety of marine plants and animals. The area is not particularly good for sea fish but there is excellent lobster and clam fishing in parts of the Sound of Jura.

Natural oysters have long been known to exist in Loch Sween. In particular the Linnhe Mhuirich, a shallow and land-locked arm of the main loch, provides the high summer temperature and rich feeding which favour the growth and breeding of this valuable animal.

Towards the end of the last century the proprietors of Taynish and Poltalloch attempted to improve the beds and to set up a system of oyster culture on a commercial scale, but this enterprise lapsed. However since the second world war scientists from the Marine Station at Millport have carried out investigations and experiments aimed at finding the conditions necessary for a successful fishery in the loch and as a result a grower has taken out the fishing rights and the past few years has been operating a commercial fishery in the Linnhe Mhuirich. The oysters are sent to markets in Scottish and English towns and to the continent where they are high esteemed and there is now a prospect that a carefully controlled fishery may become fully established.

We have left to the end a word about the great women’s organisation to which the compilers of this history belong. The Tayvallich branch of the Scottish Women’s Rural Institutes was founded in 1929, with its first meeting in December of that year. Mrs. Crawford was the first president, and she continued in office until, after her husband’s death, she left the district in 1936, leaving the Institute a flourishing and good-going concern to her successors. The membership at first was 20, of which four or five still live here, while today we have 33 members. This increase is partly because with better transport more women living farther away from the village are able to get to meetings; it is not, alas, a sign of an increase in population.

Preface | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

In this neighbourhood one is never far from the sea, and our marine biology is exceptionally interesting. The following information has been sent to us by someone who has been working on research in these waters. An unusual and noteworthy feature of this part of Argyll is the very small range of the tides. Even the spring tides, occurring just after new and full moons, have an average range of only 4—S feet, and the intervening neap tides, associated with the first and third quarters of the moon only rise and fall about a foot or so. The marine fauna and flora of Loch Sween and its off shoots (the marine inlets off the main loch such as Caol Scotnish, and the Linnhe Mhuirich to the west of Taynish peninsula with its access through the rapids to the south) is extremely interesting and it has attracted a lot of attention from marine biologists. During the period of the second world war a team of scientists from Edinburgh University and Millport Marine Laboratory carried out some fertilisation experiments in the loch with the aim of improving sea fisheries—an early attempt at ‘fish farming’ which is now being investigated further by other scientists near Ardnamurchan and in Loch Ewe. More recently a detailed descriptive account of the intertidal plants and animals of the area has been published from Millport Marine Station and this account indicates that as well as the usual fucoids, tangles, barnacles, limpets, snails, etc., found on Scottish coasts, Loch Sween has unusually rich populations of rarer forms such as sponges, ascidians, hydroids, and certain rare red and green seaweeds - the Linnhe Mhuirich and parts of Caol Scotnish being especially rich in this respect.

The nearby rocky shores around Carsaig bay and Loch-na-Cille on the open coast of the Sound of Jura also have a good variety of marine plants and animals. The area is not particularly good for sea fish but there is excellent lobster and clam fishing in parts of the Sound of Jura.

Natural oysters have long been known to exist in Loch Sween. In particular the Linnhe Mhuirich, a shallow and land-locked arm of the main loch, provides the high summer temperature and rich feeding which favour the growth and breeding of this valuable animal.

Towards the end of the last century the proprietors of Taynish and Poltalloch attempted to improve the beds and to set up a system of oyster culture on a commercial scale, but this enterprise lapsed. However since the second world war scientists from the Marine Station at Millport have carried out investigations and experiments aimed at finding the conditions necessary for a successful fishery in the loch and as a result a grower has taken out the fishing rights and the past few years has been operating a commercial fishery in the Linnhe Mhuirich. The oysters are sent to markets in Scottish and English towns and to the continent where they are high esteemed and there is now a prospect that a carefully controlled fishery may become fully established.

We have left to the end a word about the great women’s organisation to which the compilers of this history belong. The Tayvallich branch of the Scottish Women’s Rural Institutes was founded in 1929, with its first meeting in December of that year. Mrs. Crawford was the first president, and she continued in office until, after her husband’s death, she left the district in 1936, leaving the Institute a flourishing and good-going concern to her successors. The membership at first was 20, of which four or five still live here, while today we have 33 members. This increase is partly because with better transport more women living farther away from the village are able to get to meetings; it is not, alas, a sign of an increase in population.

Preface | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

Geologically we live mostly on Dalriadan quartzite with epidiorite and hornblende schists, and some bands of limestone and black slate. We are on a fault that runs north east and south west, down which earth tremors sometimes occur. Two were recorded in January 1927 and one in 1936. Others have been felt by inhabitants at later dates, one during the war and one in 1949. The soil is very acid and is largely peat, though less so where the limestone shows itself. This is mostly on Danna where there was at one time a limekiln, the stone being worked and lime burnt there mostly for sale in the Western Isles. On this island is some very interesting flora. The following plants have been found and noted here and in nearby places and are considered unusual if not rare.

Ferns - Osmunda Regale; A dwarf form of Adder’s Tongue which is very rare; Buckler fern.

Mosses - Pottia Heimii, Tortula Intermedia, Barbula reflexa and Gymnostoma Colcoreum.

Flowers, etc. - Narrow Helleborine. Water Whorlgrass. Frog Orchid. Some rare Fescues. Wood Millet. Eelgrass. Climbing Corydalis. Scarlet Pimpernel (a rare weed in our acid soil). Some rare Eyebrights. A rare Cranesbill. Field Gentian. Elecampane. Cranberry, which is found on much of the higher ground and also on Taynish Island. A rare Veronica Agrestis. Bulbous Buttercup. Some unusual Bladderworts. Wall Pennywort. There are also some primitive stoneworts, and Bullrush is found in marshy places. An unusual Pondweed is to be seen in Taynish Loch, and it is thought that other rare aquatic plants may well be present. There is an interesting Bur Marigold near Danna na Cloiche, which is probably a relic of cultivation. All these are in addition to the abundance of commoner flowers to be found all over the district, of which we may perhaps name the Grass of Parnassus, Bog Asphodel, and many different sweet smelling Orchis, which delight through the summer months. We have a real wealth, and can discover plants from every sort of geography, those of mountain, woodland, pasture, pond, bog, and seashore. Is this perhaps because we have not yet used chemical sprays in such quantities as to denude the countryside of its flora and fauna, as has too often happened elsewhere?

Our fauna shows nothing very specially unusual among the fourfooted species. As in many other parts of the country, foxes have decreased since the advent of myxamatosis, but as rabbits seem to be on the increase once more, one wonders if we shall soon have more foxes too. There are certainly more badgers than there were twenty years ago. Roe deer abound, to the detriment of our gardens, and while we may be charmed with the engaging looks of these animals we could wish their number were fewer. Jap deer appeared some years ago having been introduced to Achnamara and found their way over here. Red deer were not known until the first world war, when in the hard winter of 1917 they crossed the Crinan Canal in search of food, and have been with us ever since. We have a few real wild cats, besides the usual tame cats gone wild, and some stoats and weasels, with the commoner small rodents. There are plenty of seals in the waters around our shores; beautiful and beguiling they are, but unpopular with the fishermen as anyone who has to mend a net torn and tangled by these animals will know. An observer tells us that she has seen as many as six seals at one time basking on a rock in Caol Scotnish, and larger numbers have been observed on Carsaig Island.

An observer of birds writes that though this district is not noted for any particular species, one or two are of real interest. The Hen Harrier is one of these. Of recent years it has had pretty well its only British stronghold as a nesting species in Orkney and a very few of the Outer Hebrides, but since 1939 it has bred fairly freely here, and though it is now spreading a very little elsewhere it can still be counted a Knapdale bird. We still have the Corncrake, very rare now everywhere else in Scotland and probably extinct in England, and the Black Throated Diver which is a nester only in the Orkneys and West Highlands, and occasionally in North Perthshire.

Choughs, though they do not breed here, have been occasionally seen; Waxwings come now and then when the weather is very hard on the East Coast. As with the flora we have a great variety of types of birds from the large predatory hawks—even Golden Eagles have been noted near Ardnachaig—to the tiny Goldcrest. Birds of hilltop, woods, field, hedge, shore, and seabirds of all kinds may be found here, and perhaps the same reasons apply here as do with the flowers.

Game birds on the other hand have shown a distinct decrease. In the Taynish game book, which covers most of the ground south of Tayvallich, we see that the number of snipe and woodcock killed in a season about the turn of the century often ran into hundreds. The numbers of woodcock varied more than those of snipe, and this would be accounted for by the variation in the cold of the winters. Grouse, red and black, were shot in fair but not in large quantities before the second world war, and 60 or 70 years ago there were a great many partridges. Now the red grouse has pretty well disappeared though an occasional black grouse has been seen fairly recently. With better farm drainage and cultivation the number of snipe are much less, and as a result of having less arable ground partridges are non—existent. Pheasants were few in the old days, but in the early 1930’s the Taynish proprietor reared a considerable number, and though these were reduced during the war years, they are now again on the increase, and more are killed in a season that in, say, 1910.

Capercailzie have never been one of our game birds, but one wonders whether they may appear as a result of the changing face of the countryside due to afforestation. Our landscape now looks so much more like that of Invernessshire where they abound. Our President writes: ‘It is very interesting to watch the terns from the small island in the bay coming down to wash and splash in the burn beside one of the Kentallen cottages, they keep themselves busy all day long.’

Preface | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

In this neighbourhood one is never far from the sea, and our marine biology is exceptionally interesting. The following information has been sent to us by someone who has been working on research in these waters. An unusual and noteworthy feature of this part of Argyll is the very small range of the tides. Even the spring tides, occurring just after new and full moons, have an average range of only 4—S feet, and the intervening neap tides, associated with the first and third quarters of the moon only rise and fall about a foot or so. The marine fauna and flora of Loch Sween and its off shoots (the marine inlets off the main loch such as Caol Scotnish, and the Linnhe Mhuirich to the west of Taynish peninsula with its access through the rapids to the south) is extremely interesting and it has attracted a lot of attention from marine biologists. During the period of the second world war a team of scientists from Edinburgh University and Millport Marine Laboratory carried out some fertilisation experiments in the loch with the aim of improving sea fisheries—an early attempt at ‘fish farming’ which is now being investigated further by other scientists near Ardnamurchan and in Loch Ewe. More recently a detailed descriptive account of the intertidal plants and animals of the area has been published from Millport Marine Station and this account indicates that as well as the usual fucoids, tangles, barnacles, limpets, snails, etc., found on Scottish coasts, Loch Sween has unusually rich populations of rarer forms such as sponges, ascidians, hydroids, and certain rare red and green seaweeds - the Linnhe Mhuirich and parts of Caol Scotnish being especially rich in this respect.

The nearby rocky shores around Carsaig bay and Loch-na-Cille on the open coast of the Sound of Jura also have a good variety of marine plants and animals. The area is not particularly good for sea fish but there is excellent lobster and clam fishing in parts of the Sound of Jura.

Natural oysters have long been known to exist in Loch Sween. In particular the Linnhe Mhuirich, a shallow and land-locked arm of the main loch, provides the high summer temperature and rich feeding which favour the growth and breeding of this valuable animal.

Towards the end of the last century the proprietors of Taynish and Poltalloch attempted to improve the beds and to set up a system of oyster culture on a commercial scale, but this enterprise lapsed. However since the second world war scientists from the Marine Station at Millport have carried out investigations and experiments aimed at finding the conditions necessary for a successful fishery in the loch and as a result a grower has taken out the fishing rights and the past few years has been operating a commercial fishery in the Linnhe Mhuirich. The oysters are sent to markets in Scottish and English towns and to the continent where they are high esteemed and there is now a prospect that a carefully controlled fishery may become fully established.

We have left to the end a word about the great women’s organisation to which the compilers of this history belong. The Tayvallich branch of the Scottish Women’s Rural Institutes was founded in 1929, with its first meeting in December of that year. Mrs. Crawford was the first president, and she continued in office until, after her husband’s death, she left the district in 1936, leaving the Institute a flourishing and good-going concern to her successors. The membership at first was 20, of which four or five still live here, while today we have 33 members. This increase is partly because with better transport more women living farther away from the village are able to get to meetings; it is not, alas, a sign of an increase in population.

Preface | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

This century has seen a fair amount of building in and near Tayvallich. Four council houses were put up in 1932, and the Scotnish proprietor modernised the cottages at Kentallen two years later. Four more council houses were erected in 1955, and some ten years later two dwellings were built by private owners.

Until 1924 the village had no hall, and all functions took place in the school, though on summer nights the young folk of the place would gather over at Carsaig green in the evenings and had a merry time dancing to the bagpipes or melodeon. In that year however the community was presented, by the owner of Scotnish, with an army hut from the first world war, which served us well until after the second world war when it was felt to be inadequate, and money was gathered for a new one. This was completed in 1955 and lately has had a small addition in the form of a better kitchen. It is a very good hall and we are very proud of it.

Many a good shinty match has been played and watched on the green at Carsaig, but interest in this fiery Highland game is dying out with the coming of the popularity of football.

At the turn of the century there were three schools in the district; one was part of the Free Church at Carsaig, one was at Auchentenavil, and one was on Ulva. From Tayvallich, the children of Free Church families went to Carsaig and the others to Auchentenavil, and it is said that there were many battles between the two factions when they met coming out of school! Ulva served the farms and cottages too far away to attend either Tayvallich or Carsaig, and it was closed in the 1920’s. The Free Church school was demolished along with the church itself, so that Auchentenavil remains the only one for the neighbourhood. At one time there were 72 children in school. Now the numbers are reduced to twelve. We are, alas, not only a declining but ageing population.

Electricity has come slowly to Tayvallich. A few householders had their own private plants, but there was no mains electricity supply until 1955 when the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board brought the power to the village and a switch-on ceremony was performed in the newly built village hall. Now the whole district is supplied, and the line goes across the Sound to Jura and Islay, bringing them, too, the benefits of electric power. Gone are the days of candles, paraffin lamps, and bottled gas, and if we sometimes grumble at the power cuts and breakdowns when they come at awkward times, few of us would want to go back to the old ways, and even those who thought electricity quite unnecessary now wonder how they even managed without it.

Public transport consists of one bus a day to and from our shopping town of Lochgilphead. This bus carries the mails and goes on to Ardrishaig to meet the passengers and goods arriving by boat from Gourock. Before the war, and during it, when petrol was rationed, most of us used this way of getting into town, but now nearly all have cars and the bus carries fewer. Goods transport is by British Road Services who give us a once weeklydelivery. Our nearest railway is over 40 miles away.

For some years a well known sight on the road in summer was a coach and horses which plied once a week from Ardrishaig to Tayvallich carrying visitors on a pleasure trip. This was a day’s outing, leaving Ardrishaig in the morning, spending a few hours in Tayvallich, and returning in the late afternoon. This trip is now discontinued, and the coach itself reposes in the Museum of Transport in Glasgow.

Before the war not many houses had a telephone, now there are few that do not. In 1937 a kiosk was put up at the Danna road end in response to a request from the houses in the immediate neighbourhood, but since most of these now have the telephone installed the kiosk was not enough used and was removed some years ago.

A Queen’s District Nursing Association was formed in 1898 and the nurse who served most of the parish of North Knapdale came to live in Tayvallich in 1907. The Association, run by a local committee, flourished until 1948, when the National Health Service made it redundant. We still have our nurse living in the village; our Doctors reside in Lochgilphead.

A recreation club was formed not long after the last war and meets once a week in the winter months. This began as a Youth Club, but proved so popular with those inhabitants who were not so young, that the name and rules were changed and now anyone of any age or either sex may join.

We also boast a very flourishing Amateur Drama Club with an enthusiastic membership.For the last three years we have produced a Pantomime at Christmas, and a selection of one act plays in the spring.

During the summer most people are busy out of doors, or entertaining or catering for the many visitors who love to spend their holidays in Tayvallich. Many houses are let for the summer months, the bay fills with small boats of all kinds, and the two caravan parks do a brisk trade. It is perhaps rather a sad sign of the times that many of the houses that fall empty are bought by those who come here only for holidays, but such is the attraction of this beautiful district that visitors enjoy and admire it in spite of the climate which is mild, wet and windy.

We do not experience the hard frosts and long lying snows of eastern and central Scotland except on rare occasions, but our rainfall is in the neighbourhood of 50 inches per annum, the wettest months being October to December. The growing season is long, usually from early April to the end of October. We do have gales of great violence which in the past have done a lot of damage. The old houses were solidly built to withstand these great winds, and in many places one can see the effect of the prevailing westerlies in the growth of the older trees.

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