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A Kilbride Christmas

By Liam Griffin

Around seventy people gathered at historic Kilbride on Saturday for the switch on of the Christmas star, as well as have their say on the site’s future.

Benderloch-based architect Shauna Cameron has developed a preservation plan which, when brought to fruition, will ensure Kilbride can be safely accessed by coming generations of visitors, be those visitors from far off places or local folk.

Some 50 adults and about 20 children took up the invitation to experience Christmas at Kilbride. Those participating toured the site, discussed Kilbride’s past and its future. The kids enjoyed ball games in the play area and took turns on the swings and slide. Everyone, young and old enthusiastically contributed to an engaging quiz and survey: “What does Kilbride mean to you?”

Catherine Gillies, of specialist heritage firm, ERGADIA , was on site throughout the day, to answer questions, encourage participation in the quiz and generally answer enquiries about Kilbride’s rich past, and its future.

Clan Chief Morag MacDougall of MacDougall, was in attendance throughout the day with members of her family. Clan MacDougall have a historic connection with Kilbride going back to the 13th Century and are enthusiastic Trustees of the Charity.

Santa Claus was also present throughout the day, to the delight of the kids, (and the adults!) as he dished out wee parcels of festive fun. A sumptuous festive spread, catered for by Karen Payne’s Silver Laced Catering, and donations of home baking from neighbours and friends, was enjoyed by all.

As darkness fell, Clan Chief Morag, aided by Keiran Griffin, at 10 years old, Kilbride’s youngest official “Friend,” organised the countdown for the switch on of the Christmas Star and illumination of the historic ruin.

Keiran had performed sterling work throughout the day, enthusiastically helping Kilbride volunteers set out the buffet, running errands, organising children’s games and contributing to the survey.

As the kids’ countdown concluded, and as a final cry of “Christmas!” echoed through the darkness, on came the illuminations, and the 4 metre diameter star, secured high in the branches of Kilbride’s ancient larch tree, shone bright in the night sky.

Final, “goodnight”s and “happy Christmas when it comes” were exchanged, Kilbride’s car park emptied and the guests made their way home.

Friends of Kilbride Trustees expressed their gratitude for the input of all those who made it such a happy occasion, and look forward to the next time.

For there will be a “next time.” As the Trust’s motto proclaims, “Kilbride’s past is too rich to have no future.”

From all of us at Friends of Kilbride, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of our friends around the world!

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