The Road to Drumleman

Bus collecting miners at Argyll Colliery

The Road to Drumleman Community Exhibition.

An SKDT community heritage project celebrating South Kintyre’s coal mining past.

We are delighted to announce the launch of a new project – The Road to Drumleman Community Exhibition, which celebrates South Kintyre’s mining heritage and coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Argyll Colliery’s closure in April 1967.

In 2010, Campbeltown born artist, Jan Nimmo, released her acclaimed documentary, The Road to Drumleman, bringing to life the history of the Argyll Colliery which once thrived at Machrihanish. The colliery employed more than 300 men in its heyday, and between 1947 and 1967 was at the heart of the communities of Campbeltown and the outlying villages of Machrihanish and Drumlemble.

Jan’s film, which told the story of Argyll Colliery through the personal narrative of the men who worked there, was premiered at Campbeltown Picture House. The film brought together the memories of many mining families and took the story of the mine and its men to new audiences through screenings at film festivals around the UK and in Spain, and worldwide via Culture Unplugged.

The Road to Drumleman Community Exhibition has been a collaborative project involving mining families, local organisations and schools.

Jan worked with the support of SKTD (South Kintyre Development Trust) to deliver mining themed creative workshops in three local schools which were also attended by local miners and the resulting artwork was included in the exhibition. Local miners visited the schools with Jan. There were four public drop-in archiving sessions which were extremely well attended. People who either worked at the colliery or had a connection with the mine brought photos, stories and artefacts. These were scanned or photographed to create a digital slideshow for the exhibition and published on the blog. Images gathered will form an archive which will be publicly available in Campbeltown and become a legacy for future generations.

The exhibition took place at Glen Scotia Distillery in April 2017, and included the work done by local children and young people, the community archive material, and a series of drawings by Jan Nimmo portraying many of the Argyll Colliery workers.

The project will close with a community event in Machrihanish/Drumlemble in the late summer of 2017.

This project is being facilitated by South Kintyre Development Trust, is funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, Campbeltown Common Good Fund, Laggan Community Council, West Kintyre Windfarm Trust, Campbeltown Community Council and SKDT, and is supported by Glen Scotia Distillery, Campbeltown Library and Campbeltown Heritage Centre.

Lucy Casot, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund Scotland, said: “Sharing Heritage is a wonderful opportunity for communities to delve into their local heritage and we are delighted to be able to offer this grant so that South Kintyre Development Trust can embark on a real journey of discovery.

Heritage means such different things to different people, and HLF’s funding offers a wealth of opportunities for groups to explore and celebrate what’s important to them in their area.”

Updates will published on the existing The Road to Drumleman Facebook page and on the SKDT Facebook page.

All archived material is available on the blog.

For further information email: telephone:  07981642564 or 0141357 3803

The Road To Drumleman project provided opportunities for the community to come together and engage with their heritage. They were able to find out about their ancestors and make connections with Kintyre’s coal-mining heritage.


The lives of the surviving miners who took part were enriched by sharing their stories, anecdotes and photographs to a very interested and often diverse audience. By participating in learning activities, both young and old were able to find out and understand information that had previously been unrecorded. They learned to value their heritage and understand that it helped to shape their lives and the community they live in.

The amount of volunteers who assisted with this project has been unbelievable. People really took The Road To Drumleman into their hearts and it has been more successful than we could ever have imagined. Before this project very little information about the mine was preserved but the blog is ongoing and provides a digital record which will continue to grow on a voluntary basis for future generations.

We are very grateful to all our funders and supporters who made this possible. Thank you!

Road to Drumleman funders