CC BY-SA, Michal Klajpan

Location: The Cumbraes
the view from 2020

Saving Cumbrae's iconic building

Famous on the island of Cumbrae for his Elvis impersonations, local man John Burt played a pivotal role in starting the Cumbrae Country and Western weekend in 1995.

Twinned with Nashville, the festival offered line-dancing and cowboy shoot off events and attracted 23000 visitors in its first year! Three years later, it had such a musical following that the island festival travelled ‘up the water’ to Glasgow for a packed out performance at Glasgow’s famous Pavilion and it is still going strong today as the Millport Country festival.

But John did not stop there. In 1997, with a handful of local residents, he formed a human barricade to prevent library books from being removed from the Garrison, Millport’s iconic but at the time sadly neglected building. He continued to press for it to be restored and this was finally done after a major fire in 2001.

Initially built in 1745 as the residence of the Revenue Captain and officers of the Royal George, who played a key role in the pursuit of smugglers in the Firth of Clyde, the Garrison had also been remodelled in 1908 by Scottish Art and Crafts architect Robert Weir Shultz. Today, the beautifully restored Garrison House takes pride of place in the heart of Millport as a vibrant community hub and Museum of the Cumbraes.

More information on visiting the area can be found here.