Members of the public, former mine workers and Ewen and Ian from Machrihanish Holiday Park, Machrihanish on 2nd Sept 2017, 50 years after the closure of Argyll Colliery. The banner was made by 3rd year art pupils from Campbeltown Grammar School. Photo Mark Davey ©
On the 2nd of September the current phase of The Road to Drumlemen project came to a close with an event at Machrihanish. Members of the public visited the former site of Argyll Colliery, now the Machrihanish Holiday Park, to hear former mine employees explain what used to be on the site. We are very grateful to Ewen and Ian of Machrihanish Holiday Park for allowing us to visit the site. Those attending met with others afterwards in Machrihanish Village Hall for refreshments and then watched the documentary film about Argyll Colliery, The Road to Drumleman, and this was followed with an opportunity to share stories from back in the days when the coal mine was functioning. It was a lovely evening, and at times quite an emotional one.
Screening of the documentary, The Road to Drumleman, at Machrihanish Village Hall, 2nd September 2017. Photo: Jan Nimmo
We’d like to thank the funders, all those who hosted us, who participated in the sessions and who volunteered throughout the project. Whilst this marks the end of the current phase of the project Jan Nimmo will be continuing to update the archive blog so feel free to contact her with your stories and images.
More photos here
Photograph of the late Willie McKinven brought to the event by his widow, Jenny McKinven. Photo: Jan Nimmo
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, Campbeltown. Photo: Jan Nimmo ©