In Lost Argyll, Marian Pallister looks not only at the lost architectural heritage of Argyll but also at its lost industries, ferries, roads, bridges and archaeological monuments. Poltalloch House, for example, built in the 1840s as a monument to commerce and investment, lies ruinous, its owners having stripped it of its roof to avoid paying crippling rates; Campbeltown once bristled with distilleries until a cocktail of economic factors left it with only two whilst others have been subsumed into the modern townscape; little remains of even the jetties at
Loch Awe and West Loch Tarbert, two of the busiest waterways in times past.
This largely rural county has seen its fair share of forts, castles and mansions rise and fall. Some were destroyed in battle; others simply lost the financial battle to remain standing in the face of increasing taxation. Vernacular architecture has also disappeared: the houses of the fishermen and those in agricultural settlements crumbled in the wake of depredations, clearances, afforestation and government demands on landlords to house tenants in fitting conditions.
In this fascinating yet poignant study, Marian Pallister introduces the many varied aspects of lost Argyll, showing how ancient and even relatively modern landscapes have changed inexorably, often with little thought for conservation or preservation.
Marian Pallister has been a journalist since 1965 and has worked all over the world, particularly in Africa, India and the Balkans. She has won awards for feature writing and has been voted Scottish Journalist of the Year. She founded Strong Women-Fragile Lives to aid women in rural India and is involved in community radio in Zambia. She lives in Kilmichael Glassary, Argyll.