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Blackwaterfoot  - District of Shiskine

Other Shiskine districts are Balmichael, Shedock, Feorline, Kilpatrick, and Torbeg.



Blackwaterfoot Hotel Pier and Hotel View from the south Pier

Blackwaterfoot has expanded in the last 100 years with the tourist industry, but SHEDOCK, an inland village, was the hub of industry up until the 1930s. There was a church, school, dressmaker, public hall, police station, tailor, two joiners shops, library, sadler, smiddy, transport depot, post office and other shops selling just about anything. meal mill, public house, hotel, doctor and two of the largest farms on the Island. The farms Balnacoole and Shedock had large dairy herds and the best arable land in the valley. Cheese was the main product. After the Great War these farms were divided into small holdings for the returning service men. Oats were ground at the meal mill at Shedock until the late 1920s with porridge and oatcakes being the staple diet.

The name Blackwaterfoot, which now refers to a wider area, originally belonged to the hamlet immediately around the little port at the mouth of the Blackwater. Blackwaterfoot was the port for Shiskine and in the 19th century had a shop and an inn. A sailing packet boat was subsidised by the tennants in addition to their rents and sailed between Blackwaterfoot and Campbeltown.

The tourist industry began to develop around a hundred years ago and a golf course was laid out behind the fine sandy beach at Drumadoon  and opened in 1896. The inn was rebuilt as Blackwaterfoot Hotel. A bakery and further hotels and boarding houses followed. Tennis courts were constructed beside the golf clubhouse. A branch of the Bank of Scotland was opened and a large new building in the 1920s eventually closing in 1969. A Mobile Bank has taken its place. In 1981 a bowling green with an all-weather surface was opened.

According to tradition, Christianity was brought to Shiskine by St. Molios from his cell on Holy Isle, Lamlash, about the 6th century; there is also a tradition that the Saint's last resting place was at the Clachan Glen near the present burial ground.

The first road between Brodick and Blackwaterfoot capable of taking wheeled transport was the String Road, buit in 1817 to plans of Thomas Telford. The first motor bus, a solid tyred Albion, was purchased about 1913 by Colin Currie, Balmichael. Bridges being too narrow the bus had to ford the burns while passengers crossed the bridges on foot.

The port at Blackwaterfoot was a busy centre as most goods arrived by sea until this was superceded bt transport from Brodick. Up until the 1930s bulk cargoes such as coal, fertiliser, drainage pipes, etc. were brought by smacks and puffers and unloaded at low tide into horsedrawn carts at the mouth of the Blackwater. The outgoing cargo was often potatoes. many well known names plied to and fro - The Dasher owned by John Murchie, the Princess Maysie  owned by John Hamilton, the Number Ten (captain Willie Sim) and the Betsy Crawford also locally owned.

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