The village of Kildonan lies on the south coast of the island of Arran in Scotland. Kildonan has a long and beautiful beach and on a clear day if you look out to sea you will spot the island of Pladda (from the Norse for flat isle) and the more prominent Ailsa Crag. The houses of the village are strung out along the coast, as is often the way in Scotland.
It was a murky day when we arrived in Kildonan. Undaunted we took a stroll around the village and found this handsome memorial bench not far from where the coastguard lookout once was. The coastguard station closed in 1981 but the old coastguard house still stands. On a clear day the bench has spectacular views. We stayed at the campsite and the following morning we were blessed with blue skies and sunshine and could enjoy that view with our breakfast.
In the Arran Banner I found out a little bit more about James Potts from his grandchildren. The paper’s Where’s Archie feature had a photograph of the black Labrador, Archie, next to this bench and it was quickly recognised. One grandchild told the paper, ‘James (wee Jimmy as he was known) was the senior coastguard at Kildonan until he retired to Whiting Bay in 1975. The Hagan and Kinloch grandchildren had the bench made at Kiscadale Forge in 1994 and it was designed by their grandson David Hagan.’ Another responded, ‘I was sat on it [this memorial bench] when we were up for a long weekend last week. It’s dedicated to my grandparents Meg and Jimmy Potts who lived up the road at the Coastguard Station for 20 years.’
Kiscadale Forge, that created this unusual and lovely bench, is based on Arran. The design includes the letters J and M for Margaret and James and gives the bench a moving and personal touch.