Campbeltown Harbour, Campbeltown Loch

Most folk will know the famous Whisky song but it would appear that few know about the poem by Archibald Munro M. A.

Campbeltown Loch
Campbeltown Loch.

What lamp in the sky, what planet or star,
O’er a haven more lovely its radiance throws,
Than the Loch that is guarded by Island Davaar,
And mirrors Bengullion’s majestic repose?

Encircled by ranges of varying charms,
It knows not the havoc of tempest or squall ;
When ocean outside it is ravaged with storms,
It has room for a navy and calm for a yawl.

In decades gone by when summer was new,
And Kilbrannon rewarded the fisherman’s toil,
What argosies furrow’d the haven’s deep blue,
Ere they anchor’d at morning to tally their spoil !

Where better can swimmers their languor recruit,
In pools for the timid or depths for the bold ?
In its brine there is magic and healing to boot
It ripens the youthful, makes younger the old.

How clear o’er its waters in softening sounds,
When sunlight is fading and Nature is still,
Comes the lowing of oxen, the barking of hound
Or the bleating of lambs on the crag or the hill.

Proud Venice exults in her gondolas’ crews,
As her gulf they make vocal with music and song ;
But dull are her echoes contrasted with yours,
As o’er thee, fair haven, they’re wafted along.

No circle of mountains Venezia girds,
To gather and render the complicate strain ;
But here the full swell of melodious chords
Rebounds from their summits and mingles again.

(If aught of a passion for chorus and glee
Has lighten’d the toil of my riper career,
I owe it to rudiments practised on thee,
Untutored in gamut but eager to hear.

Ah ! doubtless the spell of harmonious song
Was partly derived from my cronies of yore ;
Thus sweeter if sadder the themes that prolong
The memory of songsters now vocal no more.)

The ” salt ” at the stern and his mate at the bow,
The shallop responds to the lure of the breeze ;
Bright Phoebus with gold tipp’d valley and knowe,
And gifted the landscape with power to please.

O’er the tiniest wavelets the vessel and crew
‘Mid way from the beaches exultingly ride ;
A fair panorama enhances their view,
Suggestive of musings on every side.

On the right is receding in silence and gloom
Kilkerran’s churchyard, where sweetly repose
Rare worthies whose virtues no grave can entomb ;
For worth and its triumphs extinction refuse.

Still further and eastward Bengullion displays
The fancies of Nature o’er hillock and dells ;
From its foot to the summits in th’ evening rays
The bloom of the heather the purple excels.

From the northern border rise Askomil braes,
Responsive with smiles to Bengullion’s salute ;
The clamour of either the other repays,
And signals their neighbours to echo the shout.

The mound of the Trench (once mounted with guns)
Now slips to the rear with quickening glide ;
And leeward the slope of Glenramskill runs
From the shallop now urged by the wind and the tide.

Thus wafted the voyagers speedily gain
The western margin of lonely Davaar ;
An inlet was enter’d well-known to the twain
And the vessel was moor’d with the skill of the ” tar.”

Ere daylight should vanish from hollow and peak,
And the gloaming the smiling perspective obscure,
A spot on the slope the excursionists seek,
Whence a prospect may converse and pleasure ensure.

Arrived at a plateau both sunny and dry
The couple repose them to muse on the scene.
” Now, Ossian,” quoth t’other, ” while here we may lie,
Pursue you the sketch interrupted yestreen.”

Archibald Munro M. A.
Published c1886

Please note that the spellings are from the original. If you spot any ‘errors’ remember that many name places and local words have changed over the years.

For the Andy Stewart fans, it is a great song.