Thursday, October 18, 2007

Loch Lomond, Ballantrae, Portpatrick

Last big driving day through Scotland: off Mull, retracing the path northward to Corran, and then eastward through Glen Coe, and all down the western edge of Loch Lomond. I pulled in near the top of the loch, allowing Bondi to roam around the shores while I had a sandwich, gazing over waters so brilliant from the sun that I could barely look across them.

Glen Coe, a little brighter than our prior westward passage

Loch Lomond

Rainbow over Ballantrae

Skirting Glasgow as we crossed the Clyde, there was a mess of highways to negotiate, some of which I had passed through coming from Arran. Finally we got down to the Ayrshire coast around Girvan, from where I could see the rock Ailsa Craig jutting formidably out of the water a few miles away.

Not much further along was the village of Ballantrae. My 3xgreat grandfather David Kerr, was born at a farm(?) Big Park near here in 1810. He moved with his family to Melbourne in the 1850s. I had a quick look in the town cemetery, but didn't spot any familial names.

Portpatrick Harbour

Next came, Stranraer, major ferry port for crossings to Ireland, and a major seat for my Kerr ancestors, along with the surrounding villages of Stoneykirk, Kirkcolm and Old Luce.

We have two nights booked in Portpatrick, a charming village on the coast to the south, which marks the western end of the South Upland Way, a 212-mile coast-to-coast path running over to Cockburnspath, a little north of Coldingham. This, coincidentally connects the two Scottish branches of my family, each having migrated to Melbourne in the 1850s. The families intermarried, with my great-grandmother, the swimmer Beatrice Kerr, being the first child of that union.

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