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Farms, wee beaches, four wind turbines, people who smile and wave, and the ferry chugging backwards and forwards to and from the Kintyre mainland. Gigha really is a rather lovely small island, about six and a half miles long by one and a half wide. It distinguished itself by a very successful community buy out in 2002 (at £4 million), putting an end to a series of more or less unsatisfactory recent lairds. But there had been one who was loved and who gave the island its crowning glory – the Achamore gardens; Lieutenant Colonel Sir James Nockells Horlick of the Coldstream Guards whose simple gravestone in Kilchattan burial ground has the memorable epitaph from Isaiah ”They shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks”. The island is managed by the Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust and the population is now increasing which must be good (from about 100 to 150, and from 6 to 17 children in the primary school by 2012). But I fear some of the new housing is not very inspiring.
There are a lot of anchorages for the size of the island, and one of them is sure to suit the wind conditions. Approaching the island from the east these days is a whole lot easier than in 1896 when Cowper complained that "There is absolutely not one single perch, beacon, or buoy, in the whole of this nine miles Sound".
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James Horlick's gravestone
Click on a name to go to the anchorage.
The ferry to the mainland