I hope that you have all managed to enjoy some time for relaxation over the summer. Frances and I had a week in a cottage on the Isle of Skye (now that there is a bridge, is it still an Isle?) and the second week in Gairloch and Ullapool. My last visit to Skye was around 1964 with my parents and brother – we were in a caravan for a fortnight and it rained for a fortnight – and I can still recall my mother trying to dry clothes with very limited facilities.
However, this time, the sun shone and we had a lovely time exploring some of the main centres and also going off the beaten track. The cottage we were in was on the shores of Loch Ainort, and the whole wall of the cottage facing the loch was made of glass and so we had wonderful views of the loch and the hills beyond, and some beautiful sunsets.
It was when we moved to Gairloch (or more accurately Badachro) that we began to realise that Carnoustie must be the centre of the universe. Before checking into the B&B we went for a walk in Gairloch – and within 10 minutes we had met a member of Carnoustie Panbride Church who was also on holiday there. The next morning at Breakfast, the other couple at breakfast were from Edinburgh, who told us their son had been married in Arbirlot Church, and his family were also holidaying in Badachro. His mother mentioned the house where her daughter-in-law had grown up. Her face was a picture when I told her who her daughter-in-laws parents were!
Then at Church in Gairloch on the Sunday, the minister asked us where we were from, and he told us that he had relatives in Carnoustie, but I probably wouldn’t know them. Well, I did and they live in the parish! Leaving Gairloch, for Ullapool, we stopped off at Poolewe Hall where there was an indoor market – and met the Church officer from Forfar St Margaret’s!
It is amazing the number of times I hear others recalling similar incidents where they have met people they have known in Australia and America, or have got talking to someone on a cruise who when asked where they have come from, said “A little place you probably haven’t heard of – Carnoustie” and told that their aunt/uncle/grandmother came from Carnoustie!
For the Homecoming Service in November, we are planning to have messages from people across the world who have links with Carnoustie Panbride. Already we have a video message from Bangladesh. I certainly know of people in America, Canada and Australia who have links and who have made contact with me over the years, and I plan to contact them soon and invite them to send a message for the Homecoming, and any recollections they have of their time in the area.
There are of course, others in various parts of the UK and they too will be contacted. Do you know of someone in your family who used to be a member of Carnoustie Panbride, or who went to Sunday School here, was baptised or married here? Why not invite them to send an email message to my email address at the top of this letter. I realise that this has been mentioned before, but from previous experience, people take a mental note to do something, and then forget. It will take time to get the messages prepared for the service on 29th November, so now is the time to do something.
Carnoustie Panbride will be the centre of the universe at the Homecoming – let’s make this (and the other events associated with the Homecoming) events to remember – and more importantly to remind ourselves of the heritage which we have and those who have taken something of Carnoustie Panbride with them wherever in the world they have settled. People from here have gone into all the world – and whatever Carnoustie Panbride is – it is not a building, but a people.