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  • David Leavitt

"I spent summers there as a boy"

I received a message from Titus Kodzoman, a subscriber of this blog from Norway. In his email to us, he said this: "My Grandmother (Frances Knowles) owned Knockderry castle and i enjoyed many summers there as a boy up to when i was 14 in 1979 when we had to sell. Funnily enough i spent a year based at Faslane as a Royal Marine in 90/91 driving RIBs and often drove past Knockderry on patrol. Wishing you all the best with your endeavor and would love to share some stories with you sometime.

I replied that I would love it if he would write some memories of his time at Knockderry. The following is his reply. I share it here with his permission. Thank you, Titus!

My Grandmother from my father's side (Frances Knowles) was the partner of Alfred (Unsure of last name) and she inherited Knockderry from him upon his death.

Frances was Scottish, drank a bottle of whiskey a day, had a huge nose and was quite a character (ie. completely mad). We owned it privately but there was a bar in the basement where the local fishermen used to hang out, call me sprog and slip me drams of whiskey.

Occasionally tourists made it down there but didn't usually last long. Frances was known for loosing off a shot gun from her bedroom window on a couple of occasions whilst tourist's made their hasty escape driving away.

You can ask about her in the little shop in Cove if the old owners are still there (doubt it, so long ago but stories may linger). I popped in once in for a chat in 1991 whilst on patrol.

I used to stay at the top room with the big window. I think i recognised it as the room where you found honey on the floor. We mostly just used the main tower when it was cooler with the smell of a portable gas heater and salted porridge a very clear memory.

I have a memory of outside rusty iron stairs somewhere on the back of the castle and the mountings were loose in the stone, rattling as we climbed it, we did it anyway looking down the cliff below. Scary stuff. Is that still there?

I was friends with and spent a lot of time with the groundsman (forgotten name) and his black Labrador that was unbelievably muscly as he ate so much fresh rabbit and other game.

The small fireplace in the main dining room was not there. You could walk into the fireplace, look up and see the sky, or did i do that from another room?

We sailed a 15ft boat on the loch each year and saw basking sharks and hundreds of huge orange jellyfish that at the end of the summer would be covering the beach as bleached white jelly circles. During my year driving RIBs on Loch Long nearly everyday in 1991 i did not see a single basking shark and only three much smaller jellyfish, bit sad.

Back then, I was told that the lift was one of only two hydro powered lifts in Europe still working.

These are some memories i thought you may like to hear. They are the memories of a boy from 7 to 11 (I'm 58 now) so maybe not so accurate but they are the ones i have.

Kind regards, Titus Kodzoman

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Mar 10

So incredible to have this man’s colorful history with his grandmother. She sounds amazing


Oct 15, 2023

How can you not love the history & wonderful childhood memories. How awesome that he shared those, makes the castle even more lovely.


Anna Crowe
Anna Crowe
Sep 17, 2023

I love this so much. Read it aloud to myself with a faux scottish brogue. Yes, the writer's from Norway, but how can ya not read "sed to hang out, call me sprog and slip me drams of whiskey," without rollin' a few r's?! Seriously... I've now stalked you on IG, FB and tiktok, sent it to my family, and now I'm commenting on your blog. What a fun Sunday diversion (aka rabbit hole).


Sep 16, 2023

Fascinating. I wonder if Alfred bought Knockderry from Charry Sloan (Templeton) when she sold it after the war.


Mykola Luchak
Mykola Luchak
Aug 28, 2023

Interesting to read that memory… And I wonder how did they lose that property and why?

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