Dunoon’s Castle House Museum, via Curator John Stirling, has completed the story of the so-called ‘Hermit’ or ‘Fairy Man’ of Glen Kinglas, raised by a reader almost a year ago and contributed to by several others since, with memories and photographs.
Together they got his makeshift hut and stove located on the uphill side of the road through Glen Kinglas from Cairndow to Butter Bridge, probably in the area of the unction with the Dunoon road end. Ben Ime is identifiable in the background of a photograph.
He was clearly something of an attraction on the road journey as readers had photographs taken of him with their families at his hut.
John Stirling can now confirm that the man’s name was Alex Drummond, that he was a forestry worker at Fernoch, near Taynuilt, in the 1920′s and 30′s and left after a disagreement.
He evidently had his huts in a couple of places – the junction of the Cairndow/ Dunoon Road which seems to be the site in the photographs we have had from readers; and the one John Stirling himself remembers at Butter Bridge at the foot of the the run up to Rest and Be Thankful. This hut, clearly in another location from the Glen Kinglas photographs in the previous stories, is the subject of the photograph above that Castle House Museum has now sent us.
It is though to be at Butter Bridge but we cannot reconcile this location with the loch view, the proximity to the water and the particular shapes of the hills at either side of it. We wonder if at this time he had his hut on the east side of the head of Loch Fyne at Cairndow, with this photograph looking southwards? This remains a conumdrum so we’re showing the photograph in larger form above and would welcome ideas on its location. It does seem to be a road construction site which would have involved Cairndow.
Mr Stirling confirms that Mr Drummond was indeed a bit of a tourist attraction and did quite well from tour buses. His home was called ‘Drummond Castle’.
He worked in the construction of the new road – the current A83. He had to shift his hut because of this but the contractors gave him a caravan which was sited at the head of Loch Fyne.
This was destroyed by fire and Alex moved to Struan Lodge in Dunoon where he died a few months later.
John Stirling, as part of a one time regular feature of his in the Standard / Dunoon Onserver, had posted a request for information on the Hermit and the information above is largely what he harvested from that request.
This sort of information service capability underlines how important and how fascinating local museums are.
Castle House is a Tardis of time travelling in glorious grounds with a stunning view – and hugely rewards a visit, a good poke around and conversations with the knowledgeable volunteers who man the reception desk.
With John Stirling, they all love their place, love having and sharing the memories of its multiple lives and adventures from wartime port [and the place where the Cockleshell Heroes set off for France in the mission only two would survive]; to cold war Polaris submarine base; to being one of the ‘Doon The Watter’ pleasuregrounds for Glasgow folk.
From the most recent to the first, other piece published on the hermit are: