SIXTY years after the end of the Second World War, the legacy of the conflict lives on in personal memories and family histories, in rebuilt city centres and "new towns", and in our education, social and health services.
A travelling exhibition exploring how the war changed Scotland's people and landscape has been telling stories of how people kept their families safe, and how wartime experiences changed lives as well as how we remember those who were lost. The exhibition is currently on show in Campbeltown - at the tip of an area which played such a crucial role during the war - before moving to the Smith Art Gallery and Museum in Stirling later this month.
Once the coast of France was in German hands, the North Channel between the Mull of Kintyre and Northern Ireland became the main route for trans-Atlantic traffic and the German Navy made determined efforts to close it. Kintyre and Campbeltown's geographical positions made them a focal point for communications and transport.
Various sites around Kintyre which played a part in the allied war effort have been included on a trail conducted by a local historical society. Although organised tours are no longer running, it is still possible to visit some of the places of interest. Details of the tour are available from Campbeltown library.
Among the sites is the original Machrihanish airfield. The flat land of the Laggan between Campbeltown and Machrihanish was perfect for an airfield and between 1940 and 1941 the English-based firm, Sunley's, constructed a new airfield for the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy, called HMS Landrail. (The Royal Navy names its aerodromes, like its on-shore buildings, as if they were ships, but they are distinguished by being called by the names of birds. Landrail is another name for the corncrake.)
Over the war years it was home to over 200 air squadrons flying Swordfish, Chesapeakes, Blenheims, Masters and Fulmars and one of the three busiest frontline air stations in the UK. The home base of convoy escort squadrons and anti-submarine squadrons, it finally closed in March 1946.
By the end of 1940, Britain had built the biggest-ever series of anti-invasion defences of all time: 296 coastal batteries - including 28,000 pillboxes and 414 local roadblocks. Among the most imaginative was the anti-submarine boom laid across Campbeltown Loch between McCringan's Point and Davaar Island. The "boom" was a steel net, reaching 90ft deep, about 2,000ft long and weighing nearly 500 tons. Still visible on the hill behind are the remains of the maintenance and accommodation units for the boom personnel - two officers, three Wrens and 22 ratings. It was removed in July 1945, which took several weeks to complete, but the site is currently occupied by the Campbeltown Water Treatment Plant.
And if you can't wait until Boxing Day to enjoy repeat showings of great war films, there is a screening tonight of The Dam Busters, at 8pm at Campbeltown Picture House.
Their Past Your Future, Victoria Hall, Kinloch Road, Campbeltown, until 19 November, Mon-Sat 10am-4pm, admission free, www.theirpast-yourfuture.org.uk; Campbeltown Picture House, 26 Hall Street, tel 01586 553899.