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Today, I had great pleasure in providing a ‘Montgomery’ themed ancestry tour for two guests from the U.S.A.

After collection at Lochwinnoch, we drove north to view the 20 bedroom castle at Skelmorlie which dates from 1502. Historically, the castle was owned by the second Earl of Eglinton who led the Montgomery clan in support of Mary Queen of Scots in battle.

Next we drove down the coast to Largs, a pleasant seaside town, for a coffee stop. Then on to Ardrossan Harbour which was built by the Montgomerys of Eglinton Castle, a project which caused the family considerable financial distress at the time. From Ardrossan we could view the Isle of Arran which was granted to Hugh, the 3rd Lord Montgomery in the 15th century.

A next objective was Kerelaw Castle which was not easy find, being located in the midst of a social housing scheme in Stevenston. In fact, there are just ruins evident as a function of destruction by fire when the Montgomerys burnt this Cunninghame castle in 1488.

Next, we moved on to Eglinton Castle, near Irvine. This is a ruined 18th century castellated mansion located in a pleasant public park. See video for more information and views.

En route to Troon we stopped at Annick Bridge close to which Hugh Montgomery, 4th Earl, was murdered in 1586 by the Cunninghams of Colbeith and Robertland.

At Troon we enjoyed a spot of lunch at a pub close to the harbour, which was good value.

Our final destination was Polnoon Castle and Eaglesham both of which have strong Montgomery connections.

Polnnon Castle is little more than a pile of rubble in a field having been abandoned by end of the 17th century.The castle was built using proceeds of a ransom paid to Sir John Montgomerie by Sir Henry ‘Hotspur’ Percy after the Battle of Otterburn in 1388. See previous blog posting for more information.

The conservation village has close links with the Montgomerys dating from the late 1760s when Alexander Montgomerie, 10th Earl of Eglinton, decided to bring order to the local collection of crofts and farms. We visited the church burial ground where can be found records of many deceased Montgomerys recorded on grave-markers. There are also Montgomery place names and a Montgomery armorial stone over the (closed) Cross Keys pub.

En route to lodgings we viewed the Eaglesham Moor wind farm (largest in Europe) and photographed a herd of deer.

This is Annick Bridge close to which occurred the murder of Hugh Montgomery.

Place name at Eaglesham

Skelmorlie Castle
Marina at Ardrossan Harbour

Ruins of Kerelaw Castle, Stevenston.


Ruins of Eglinton Castle
Coat of Arms at former stables at Eglinton Castle. Inscription reads “Garde Bien” or Careful.

Ruins of Polnoon Castle near Eaglesham



Eaglesham Kirk, in the burial ground of which can be found many Montgomery grave markers.

Stag at Eaglesham

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This evening, I am posting a record of today’s private tour on Isle of Lewis, Hebrides.

We flew in from Glasgow arriving Stornoway after 8.00am and proceeded to collect our rental car at the airport.

First we drove north and stopped at Ness Historical Society where a very helpful lady provided detailed information on Morrison history and some very welome refreshment. This facilty combines help with genealogy with a local museum.

At suggestion of Society personnel we next drove down some unsealed roads to the nearby cemetery which is very old and contains some Morrison burials. By this stage the weather had deteriorated with some rain in the air.

Next we headed to Dun Eistean, a small islet surrounded by rocky slopes on the N.E. of Lewis. This was the ancient stronghold of the Morrisons of Ness where,in the 16th century, the Morrisons made their last stand against the MacLeods. This site, of which there are few remains at surface level, was subject to an archaeological investigation by Glasgow University during 2004-5 the results of which are available on the web. The island is now owned by Clan Morrison Society. Unfortunately, our arrival coincided with a deterioration in the weather but nevertheless videos and images were obtained.

On the way back to the road we stopped for photos of some peat stacks and a stone circle.

Next we headed to the other end of the island stopping briefly at Carloway Iron-Age Broch and then our prime destination of Calanais Standing Stones, one of the country’s top Neolithic sites.(See image below). Here we had a spot of lunch before driving to Tarbert to get a brief view of Harris-and some refreshment.

Finally, we drove back to our lodgings at Stornoway via some stunning Hebridean scenery.

This proved a good day, achieving our key objectives.

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