Born 1915 Argyllshire; died Argyllshire 1989
Archie Kenneth, a 'fine Highland gentleman' was born on the 6th June 1915 at Shirvan, Lochgilphead, Argyll. He never knew his father as he died at Gallipoli just over a month after his birth; his mother was Katherine Louisa nee Graham-Campbell of Shirvan. After being educated in England, Archie Kenneth settled down as a country gentleman and amateur botanist on his estate at Ardrishaig in Argyllshire, where, following his mother's passion he cultivated specimens of rhododendron. During the Second World War he served in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in France.
As a botanist he specialised in marsh orchids and in the hawkweeds of Wester Ross and Sutherland contributing to Cunningham’s’ ‘The Flora of Kintyre’, but his expertise and involvement ranged much wider than that. He became a member of the B.S.B.I. in 1957 and botanised and recorded extensively throughout Perthshire, Argyll, Kintyre, Westerness, Ross-shire, Sutherland and the Outer Hebrides - the bulk of the his notebooks now stored in the RBGE Archives relate to his exploration of Knapdale - VC101.
However it is as a traditional musician and composer and editor of pipe music that he is better known. In 1947 he was elected to the music committee of the Piobaireachd Society and became editor of its 15 volume published collection in 1963. His interests in traditional music ranged from Gaelic song and Scottish fiddle music through to new wave rock and he is remembered through an annual amateur piobaireachd competition for the Archie Kenneth Quaich.
He died after a brief battle with lung cancer on the 27th July 1989 at the age of 74.
Information from this biography came from: The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, v.31 (2004), pp.280-1; Watsonia, v.18 (1990), pp.242-4; the B.S.B.I. Scottish Newsletter (1990), pp.4-7; R. Desmond ‘Dictionary of British and Irish Botanists and Horticulturalists’; Piobaireachd Society website
D.W. and L.P.