Moving to enjoy a drier climate
THERE is an old Morvern saying: ‘if you can’t see Mull it is raining and if you can see Mull it is going to rain’.
This year was a fine example. So much so I hear quite a number of folk are selling up and heading south, if not to the sun at least to a drier climate. And who could blame them?
I often wonder if some of the 19th century voluntary emigrations to Australia and New Zealand were due in part to the weather.
In 1837, a ship called the ‘Brilliant’ sailed from Tobermory with a large number of emigrants for New South Wales. Most of the passengers were from Argyll and many of them were Camerons.
The story was told of how an observer, reading of the arrival of the vessel, said to some friends: ‘Look here, the Camerons will soon be filling the country, over 200 of them have arrived in one ship.’
One of them was a Donald Cameron, who was more than 60 years old when he left his native Ardnamurchan. He had been married twice and was the father of 15 children, 11 of whom went with him to Australia.
Donald left behind a daughter in Scotland who married a Duncan Macpherson, Strontian, who also emigrated to Australia. He was a skilled road and bridge builder employed by Sir James Miles Riddell on his Ardnamurchan and Sunart estate.
Shortly before he emigrated, Duncan was presented with a gold medal by Sir James as a token of his outstanding work.
Drimnatorran Bridge, leading to the public graveyard of the same name, is one of Duncan Macpherson’s constructions. It cost £100 and is as sound as the day it was built.