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Conservation work begins on MacDougall Memorial Aisle

By Liam Griffin

A wise man (or woman!) stated that “ a journey of a 1000 miles begins with the first step.”

Friends of Kilbride took that first step last week, when Rowan Stonework of Appin tackled the infestation of ivy that threatened the North Wall of the Clan MacDougall Memorial Aisle.

As the before and after pictures show, multi branched ivy, in places as thick as the wise man’s thigh, had dangerously disrupted the wall supporting various Clan MacDougall  granite memorial stones.

Colin Rowan’s craftsmen dismantled the surrounding stonework, without disturbing or damaging the memorials, completely removed the ivy, and then re-built the stonework.

Friends of Kilbride record our thanks for the skill and enthusiasm shown by the craftsmen involved, and all those who provided the funds, not least Carraig Ghael Windfarm Community Fund.

We are now further motivated to continue with our efforts to ensure that we can supply the tools and funding for the next steps to be taken to preserve Kilbride’s historic past: for it is a past too rich to have no future.

If you would like to help us achieve our worthy aims, please donate by clicking here.

AGM to be held 27 May

By Caroline Boswell

Thanks to generous funding from Carraig Gheal Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund, urgent repairs are underway to save an eighteenth century Memorial Aisle at Historic Kilbride in Lerags Glen.  Built in 1786, the walls of the aisle bear the marble memorial stones of many members of the Clan MacDougall, recounting the history of the clan and its place in the history of Argyll, Scotland and the world. Recently, a catastrophic collapse of the wall has called for urgent action to save the wall and to ensure continued safe access to the site by its many visitors.

Friends of Kilbride, the voluntary charity which works to preserve and enable access to the nationally significant Historic Kilbride, were delighted to receive the full grant of £7000.  Awarded on 01 April 2019, the grant covers the cost of the removal of invasive ivy, along with the stabilisation of the wall and grave stone within a 5 meter section of the north wall of the MacDougall Memorial Aisle.  Contractors, Rowan Stoneworks, set to work on 3 April and works are due to be complete by the end of April.  The site remains partially open and visitors are able to observe the specialist stonemasons at work.

The subject of a comprehensive Conservation Report by Historic Environment Scotland in 2016, the national importance of Historic Kilbride is recognised by its designation as a scheduled monument. School groups, adult learners, amateur and professional researchers, local residents and visitors enjoy exploring and uncovering the stories within this incredible heritage site that forms an important part of the matrix of historic and cultural sites and services across Argyll. The current repairs will ensure the preservation of this historically rich and architecturally significant site so that it may continue to be accessed and discovered by a wide and growing audience.

It’s great to see this urgent work happening and we are preparing grant applications for the next phases of the work to stabilise and repair the whole site.

If you want to find out more about the plans and see what’s been done so far come along to our AGM at 10.00 on Monday 27th May at Cafe Kilbride.

Look forward to seeing you there!

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