Tears in the Glen

Tears in the Glen is the family history of an Australian family who have traced their roots back to Baron McInturner of Craigcoll/Craighoyle, Glenfinart, Ardentinny.

Dedicated to the history of the Turners of Craigcoll/hoyle, their ancestors and their descendants who migrated to Australia in the 1800s. The video tells the story of the family from its beginnings until the 1850s.

Created by Richard Balsillie, the story recounts how Baron McInturner received his Barony from Robert the Bruce and how members of the Campbell clan killed him one night on his way to Whistlefield for his supposed support of the Lamont clan. Remains of the cairn still exist and it is one of Ardentinny Community Council’s ongoing projects to restore it.

Additional images and footage were provided by ardentinny.org. Richard would welcome viewer comments and any additional historic information. A video on the next part of the story, focussing on the Turners of Eaglehawk, Victoria is expected to be published late in 2011.



Matthew Gardener of Ardentinny

We’ve received some fascinating historical information from Janet Gardner Roy, a relative of former Ardentinny postmaster Matthew Gardener. Janet is researching the Gardener family history. As well as running the village store and post office, Matthew Gardener also published local Ardentinny postcards.

Gardener gravestone at Kilmun

Matthew Gardner was born on 4th. October 1809 in Wishaw, Lanarkshire, he married Helen Currie on 19th. April 1835 in Bothwell, Lanarkshire. Matthew died on 24th. January 1878 in Ardentinny and is buried in Kilmun Churchyard (see photograph).

Helen Currie was born about 1814 in Bothwell, the daughter of John Currie and Isabella Carstairs. Helen died on 11 May 1899 in the district of Kilmun and is not mentioned on the gravestone. Matthew & Helen only had 5 children that I am aware of namely: Euphemia born in 1836 in Stoke, Surrey, England, Janet Gardner born 1843 in Lanarkshire, she married James Gardner on 22 Jan 1879 in Dunoon & Kilmun Parish (Not sure if there is a relationship here, maybe cousins).

Matthew Gardner was born Jan 1854 in Lanarkshire – I believe Matthew had a son Thomas (born 1881 in Dunoon) with Christina Turner Wright, born 9 Jan 1866, daughter of Joseph Wright and Janet Turner. Matthew died on 25 Jan 1934 in Ardentinny.

Robert Gardner born 29th. October 1856 in Hutchestown, Glasgow. John Gardner born abt 1838 in Stocke, Surrey, England. John died on 2nd December 1875 in Glenfinart (see Gravestone). Janet Gardner born about 1842 in Stoke, England.

In 1851, The family were living in Leatherhead, Surrey, England. Matthew was a gardener, they had moved to Ayrshire by 1861, again Matthew was a gardener. In 1871, they were residing in Glenfinart, Matthew was still gardening, and in 1881, the family were living in at Rock Cottage, Ardentinny.

It was the son Matthew born in 1854 who became a grocer in 1891 and postmaster in 1901 and presumably he is responsible for publishing the postcards.

With thanks to Janet Gardner Roy.

If anyone has more information on the Gardener’s, please contact us.


Demolition draws near…

SSE electricians were in attendance earlier today disconnecting the electrical supply to the beach hut. Security fencing is now being erected. Demolition of the building appears imminent.


End of an era.. World War II relic to disappear from Glenfinart Bay

A link to Ardentinny’s historical past will be lost within the next few days when the last remaining long hut at Glenfinart Bay, Ardentinny is demolished. We understand that the work will commence as soon as electricity to the building has been disconnected. The hut will be removed and replaced with top soil. The commando memorial has been moved temporarily near to the HMS Armadillo information board.

HMS Armadillo information board with hut in background
The last remaining hut can be seen in the background


The 70+ year-old corrugated iron structure was one of several constructed as part of the War Office camp. In 1942 it was transferred to the Royal Navy and became HMS Armadillo. The camp provided training facilities for Royal Navy Beach Commandos whose job was to go ashore in the first landing craft and establish a protected base for the Beach Commander to operate from. The nearby Glenfinart House was also requisitioned as the headquarters of HMS Armadillo. Loch Long was used for amphibious landing drills; training in reconnaissance; and specialised beach skills.

The camp accommodated some 500 to 600 men and women, one of whom was June Brown (‘Dot’ of Eastenders fame), who served as a Wren at Ardentinny around 1944. Her job was to teach sailors survival skills as well as show training films to pilots on how to land on aircraft carriers!

Corrugated hut at the former HMS Armadillo

After the war, the camp was used as accommodation for the unemployed who were retrained as forestry workers.

One of the huts circa. 1940’s.

In 1959 one of the original long huts was dismantled and moved to Uig (near Benmore Gardens) where it is still in use today as a community hall. Another of the huts, sadly now in a dilapidated condition, was also moved to Stronvochlan some years ago.

Latterly, the last remaining long hut was used by the Forestry Commission. Interestingly the hut still retains an area which was used for post mortems on animals as well as shower and toilet facilities for the workers.

In 2003 Forest Enterprise and Ardentinny Development Trust explored the possibility of the long hut being used as a visitors centre, incorporating a cafe; craft workshop; and sales area. At the time Forest Enterprise had £50,000 available to upgrade the premises, most of which would have had to be spent on upgrading the water supply and provision of new toilets. In order for the Development Trust to raise additional funding for the project, a commercial feasibility study would have had to be carried out at a cost of around £8,000. The plan was eventually shelved as it was not considered to be commercially viable.

Click image to enlarge.

Related resources:
Old photographs of the huts
Secret Scotland
June Brown at Ardentinny