11 October 1922 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

A sunny morning with stronger S.E. wind. Breakfasted 8.30 + left before 10 cycling to Ayr (2.1).1 Bought a Scotsman + went on to Alloway where I admired the scenery + walked over the old Bridge. Then to Maybole : views less distinct than yesterday. From Maybole I went to Crosshill (where I had never been before) + there swithered2 whether to go to Straiton + over the road to Newton Stewart that Jim3 + I once motored but it would have taken too long so I turned by a road that took me back to the Crosshill – Girvan road that ran down to Girvan – a fine road with some fine places notably Dalquharran Castle (old + new4). Got lunch at Girvan + had splendid run back by Turnberry and Dunure, the wind actually driving me up some hills. Stopped at Air [sic] + bought 2lbs of Salmon + got home at 5. Wrote Helen5 + sent card to Mrs Smith (Mary Dobie) who [sic] husband’s death is announced at Inverdovat (Smith).6 Walked along + posted them.

1 Dr Muir’s route was Ayr, grid reference NGR NS339,219, Alloway, NS334,185, Maybole NS298,100, Crosshill, NS325,065, Straiton, NS381,049 (from where the direct road to Newton Stewart – if he had taken it – was over the hills via Glentrool Forest, reaching 294 metres just east of the Rig of the Shalloch), Dalquharran Castle, NS270,022, Girvan, NX185,977, Turnberry, NS203,053, Dunure, NS254,159, and Ayr again by which time he was nearly back at his brother-in-law’s (it was a long way to get a piece of fish).

2 SWITHER, v.1, n.1 Also swuther (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); and, now chiefly ne.Sc., swidder, swudder; swydder (Peb. 1832 R. D. C. Brown Pastorals 70). [′swɪðər, ne.Sc. + ′swɪdər]
v. 1. intr. To be in a state of uncertainty of purpose, to be perplexed about what to do or choose, be in two minds, to doubt, hesitate, dither (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 80; Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai). Gen.Sc. Vbl.n. swithering [Dictionar o’ the Scots Leid].

3 Jim is conceivably Dr Muir’s brother James Logan ‘Jim’ Muir (1834–1914), East India Merchant, born North Leith, Midlothian, died 4 February 1914 at Prestwick, Scotland and Dr Muir attended his funeral, see Diary entries, Dr J S Muir of Selkirk, 3-8 February 1914.

4 There are two castles, old and new, the former 15th Century and the latter 18th Century.

5 Helen Frances ‘Mousey’ Muir (1880-1963), Dr Muir’s third daughter and sometime housekeeper.

6 Mary Meldrum Dobie (1857-1936), born at Leslie, Fife but removed to Selkirk with her family by 1871; she had married Thomas Smith, farmer, of Inverdovat, Forgan, Fife in 1888 at Selkirk and he died there 9 October 1922 aged 77 [Smith, Thomas and Dobie, Mary M, 1888, 778/ 17, Selkirk]

[Source: Scottish Borders Archives & Local History Service SBA/657/25, Dr J S Muir of Selkirk, medical practitioner, journal for 1922]

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Archivist, interests include Dr John Stewart Muir 1845-1938) of Selkirk, general practitioner, and Seton Paul Gordon (1886–1977), naturalist, author and photographer

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