The way we were (or Nostalgia is just not what it used to be):

The Pines
Home-made electricity
St Catherine's Inn
By Ferry to Inveraray
To market, to market
The Post Office





The Pines, St Catherine's
The Pines, St Catherine's.
Since I haven't lived here very long I have no memories of St Catherine's or Strachur as they used to be. My neighbour, Robert, gave me this picture of his house as it used to be in 1964. If you are familiar with it you will know it looks rather different now. If you have an old picture of our community as it used to be and would like to share it - why not give me a call on 01499 302675 and we can discuss the possibility of adding it to the website.

Graham Thomas


Home-made electricity
This rusty old relic is a Pelton Wheel turbine found in the burn behind my home. They are nearly always used for powering electrical generators and indeed I stayed at a shooting lodge on Loch Hourn many years ago, before they had mains electricity, and it had electric lighting powered by a very similar turbine. I surmise, therefore, that this came originally from the Pines and dates to the time when there was not yet mains electricity in St Catherine's. Does anyone know how long ago that was - or have any recollection of home-made electricity being used in the local area? I would be very interested to hear such reminiscences if anyone is willing to share what they know.Graham Thomas


St Catherine's Inn as it must have been in the early years of the twentieth century at a guess. Those might be naval personnel in uniform at the front of the picture; on the other hand they might be the crew of the small paddle wheel ferry which used to ply back and forth between Inveraray and St Catherine's. (see below). The Inn looked in better condition all those years ago than it does now. Does anybody know any more about the subject of the picture?  If so, please share your knowledge. Graham Thomas


By Ferry to Inveraray
In the days when the trip around the head of the loch by road was not a trivial undertaking, people were willing to pay for transportation between Inveraray and St Catherine's in this dainty little paddle-wheeler. Not only people were transported - but livestock too for which, thanks to Mick Stephenson, we have some documentary evidence. (see below)


To market, to market,
to buy a fat pig,
home again, home again,

So went the old rhyme - and as this invoice shows, as late as September 1911 the ferry was still plying between St Catherine's and that wee toon across the watter. In those days it cost only sixpence to transport a box of pigs for His Grace the Duke of Argyll - they can't have been much more than piglets at that price, I should think. That might be why it took Mr Dewar until 16 December to get paid - or was that how long it took him to render the account? I'm not sure.


The Post Office
If you think the road is narrow now - it was a good sight narrower in the days when horse-drawn transport was still the preferred mode of travel. This, of course, is the old post office, lying on the shore side of the road. It is now a dwelling and considerably modified from what we see here. The south gable of the Pines can be seen in the background.