A week ago my friend Joe Rae called in on his annual road trip around Ireland. Joe and I got in touch many years ago through a shared appreciation of the song My Ain Countrie which was recorded by William MacEwan in 1911, and we have stayed in touch ever since. Joe lives in the hills above Beith in North Ayrshire. On previous visits I have made to see him, and his late wife Jean, he has taken me to the site of Braidstane Castle, which was the home of Sir Hugh Montgomery back in 1606, and also to the ancestral home of Montgomery's great rival, Sir James Hamilton, in the Main Street of the village of Dunlop which is also in Ayrshire. I took Joe on a wee jaunt around the Ards - up to Ballywalter, then to Donaghadee (specifically the Parish Church with the Montgomery memorial stone over the doorway), and then to Grey Abbey. Later that evening we went to the unveiling of a newly-restored cow tail pump in Greyabbey village, where I was pleased to introduce Joe to various Ards folk including Bill Montgomery, the head of the Ulster Montgomeries and a collateral descendant of the original Braidstane Montgomeries. The photo above could be captioned as: Joe Rae from near Montgomery's Braidstane visiting Donaghadee to see a Montgomery of Braidstane stane.