Archive for September 2013

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Reproduced from Private Eye, with a little addition of our own.

Ellenabeich at the movies in the 50s and 60s

Trawling the net for images to illustrate what Ellenabeich used to be like, we came across a website that matches location shots from old films with what those places look like now. In 1959 Ellenabeich, Seil and Oban were used as locations for a film called “The Bridal Path” starring Bill Travers, George Cole and Gordon Jackson, among other names familiar to those of a Certain Age.

The plot looks pretty dire, and features every stock Scottish comedy character in the book. A young man from a remote Hebridean island (er … Ellenabeich) is forbidden to marry his childhood sweetheart because the local Elders believe her to be his cousin and are concerned about “in-breeding”. Accordingly, he sets off to The Mainland in search of a suitable bride. Long story short … the Elders finally establish that the childhood sweetheart is not, in fact, his cousin and he returns home to claim her hand amid general rejoicing.

Here’s one of the shots from the film:

Spot the location! The “now” shot shown alongside it is quite startling. You can see the rest of the images on the Reelstreets website HERE.

The whole film is on YouTube, split into seven sections, and the second section featuring the image above (and shots of Oban with some wonderfully tank-like cars on the pier) is HERE.

Scenes for “Ring of Bright Water” were also shot in Ellenabeich in 1969 – again starring Bill Travers. This is him coming down the hill to the village, with Easdale in the background, and it looks as though The Bull has completely closed the harbour:

Getting closer to the village, there’s the square in its original condition, and a surprisingly intact pier surmounted by the crane:

And M.A. Cameron’s General Store was to become the Oyster Bar:

Search for “Ring of Bright Water” on the Reelstreets website for more images from the film.

Wonderful thing, the internet.

A ‘bus shelter for Ellenabeich

Waiting for the 418 during the winter months is a tooth-chattering, limb-numbing experience, as the rain lashes down driven by icy winds blasting from the North. The only shelter available is the door-less telephone kiosk which will just accommodate two – and that only if they’re already very well acquainted. For many years, regular 418 passengers have longed for a ‘bus shelter but, for complex reasons involving acceptable design and acceptable siting, it seems that this is not to be, even though Argyll & Bute Council could find the funds.

Now, our former ferryman George has taken the initiative himself and erected a shelter at the ‘bus stop. Here it is in situ:


Granted, this scaled-down version will only accommodate persons of approximately 10cms tall, but the gang of teenage sparrows will probably love it to hang out in as an alternative to the streetlamp covers. Here it is in close-up:

Hey! Some small people have already rushed in to put up posters!

Looks very appealing, doesn’t it? And shivering passengers wish that they could have an even more appealing full-sized one. The arguments over design and siting relate mainly to the fact that Ellenabeich village is a Conservation Area and, of course, Conservation Areas must be respected and protected from inappropriate development; but the square itself has changed so much over the last couple of decades.

Do you remember when:

- Harbour Cottage was a shop (run by Mike & Catherine Shaw), selling waxed jackets, wellies, tweedy items and a wide variety of interesting gifts to appeal to passersby – or those of us looking for a last-minute birthday gift?

- The Sea.fari booking office was our sub-Post Office, with Morag behind the counter? How convenient! And the Post Office did stock a good range of more than basic groceries. Not only that, but you could pick up your daily newspaper from there!

- The crane was still on the pier (albeit crumbling)?

- There were no paving slabs, no planters, no “heritage” streetlamps?

Surely a humble ‘bus shelter, with its unobtrusive perspex design, could fit in comfortably right at the ‘bus stop. After a short while no-one would notice it, and very soon no-one would remember when it hadn’t been there.