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Blair's Ferry

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Blair's Ferry shoreline and cottage, 2008
Blair's Ferry shoreline and cottage
© Leslie Barrie
Jetty remains at  Blair's Ferry, 2009, Fox
Jetty remains at Blair's Ferry

Blair's Ferry is the name of a small settlement to the south of Tighnabruaich and Kames on the western shore of the Kyles of Bute, and was probably named after an 18th century ferry which sailed across the Kyles of Bute to Kilmichael on the Isle of Bute, to the east, where the remains of a ferryman's house and inn are reported, together with those of a stone breast built in 1769.

The remains of a stone jetty can still be found on the shore at Blair's Ferry, near a cottage and outbuilding which are still in use.

Concrete ramp

Ramp from the north, insignia is to right, 2009, Fox
Ramp from the north, insignia is to right

Approximately 300 metres to the north of the remains of the old stone jetty at Blair's Ferry is a modern concrete ramp, which has been identified as a World War II artefact. The ramp and surrounding area would have been used for training in landing craft operations in advance of operations such as the D-Day landings, and is one of a number of similar locations which were created and used by CTC Inveraray for such exercises.

Local lore tells of Winston Churchill landing on the ramp during a wartime visit to the area, and although this event remains uncorroborated, he did make a documented visit to HMS Quebec in 1941, a naval base which was located a short distance to the north.

The site has one heavily built concrete ramp with side reinforcements of over 30 centimetres thickness, and leads east from the road into the water. The southern reinforcement of the ramp is banked in shingle, while that to the north is exposed, and carries a military insignia, further described below.

A significant amount of brick and concrete debris lie on the beach near the ramp, and may have come from buildings associated with the installation and its training activities. However, no evidence has been found of such buildings.

The verge opposite the ramp has been reinforced with concrete which extends for some distance to the north and south of the ramp area, and may have been hard standing which served as a muster point for vehicles waiting to access the ramp and landing craft which would have been operating from it. This would also have avoided destroying the soft verge as heavy military vehicles manoeuvred on the area.

Seating for tourists, and a waste water treatment plant serving Kames and Tighnabruaich now occupy part of the area across the road from the ramp, which is now used a slipway.

Ramp insignia

I Corps insignia, 2009, Fox
I Corps insignia

The northern part of the ramp has a large military insignia impressed into its surface, measuring almost 2 feet (60 cm) per side. This has been identified as the insignia of I Corps (One Corps), which would have been expected to have been training in the area as it was involved in the early part of the D-Day landings, and is referred to as a spearhead unit that was landed early, with the specific remit of advancing on, and capturing the city of Caen, in Operation Charnwood.[1][2]

Photographs

The road passing the ramp, 2009, Fox
The road passing the ramp
Reincorced cable buried on beach, 2009, Fox
Reinforced cable buried on beach
Northern reinforcement with insignia, 2009, Fox
Northern reinforcement with insignia
Lookin east along the ramp, 2009, Fox
Looking east along the ramp
Viewed from the south, 2009, Fox
Viewed from the south


References

1 Caen_spreads - ww2_caen.pdf Retrieved April 01, 2013.

2 Second World War Commemorative Booklets - Publications - Inside Government - GOV.UK Retrieved April 01, 2013.

External links

Related Canmore/RCAHMS and ScotlandsPlaces (SP) entries:-

 

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