Calum McLean – a schoolboy visit to Argyll Colliery that went off with a bang!

In 1961, Calum McLean from Campbeltown, went on an underground visit to Argyll Colliery at Machrihanish, which was organised by Campbeltown Grammar School, where he was a pupil. Calum was one of a group of about 6 fourteen year olds. He recalls that two of the other boys that were with him were Davey Livingstone and Alistair McLaughlin. While they were underground, Dan Stalker, let Calum set off a blast and Calum says it gave him “Quite a fright!”.

Calum didn’t like the “no windows” aspect of the mine and decided that a job down there wasn’t for him so when he left school he went to work at the Jaeger factory, known locally in Campbeltown as “The Clothing Factory”.

Calum married Roselyn Farmer whose father, Charlie Farmer or Feeny,  worked at Argyll Colliery.

Calum, who wasn’t from a mining family, was still able to go on Miners’ Gala Days as these were open to all children and recalls going up to a Gala Day at Ronachan beach, on the north west coast of Kintyre. He remembers that there were four buses full of children and that he won half a crown for winning a race. Later that day Calum and his pals climbed up a steep hill and ran all the way back down. As he ran down the hill the half crown fell out of his pocket and was lost forever!

Calum McLean.jpg

Calum McLean, Campbeltown. Photo: Jan Nimmo ©

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