Community paper for Mallaig, Morar, Arisaig, Lochailort, Glenfinnan
Glenuig, Knoydart and the Small Isles
List of Issues online
July 2007 Issue
Contents of the online version:
All photos are copyright either of the individual photographers or West Word.
SUN SHINES ON ARISAIG SHOW
The temperature sweltered at over 25°C at Camusdarach on Saturday 12th June for the 12th Road to the Isles Agricultural show, making it necessary for the livestock to be cooled down by water sprinklers! A good turn out enjoyed the Askival Clydesdale Horses giving a working demonstration and the parade of Highland Cattle, Quad Bike Trials and a fun demonstration of 'Flyball'. As usual a race between two shearers using traditional and modern methods of sheep shearing drew a big audience and the Dog Show attracted a number of beautifully groomed and well behaved dogs.
Competition was fierce in the livestock classes and also in the Handicraft tent! The Lochaber Wind Band provided background entertainment and stall holders sold produce, raffle tickets, hot food and plants. A great day out!
Photos Moe Mathieson
THE COUNT DOWN BEGINS
Councillor John Laing, chairman of the Council's TEC Services Committee said: 'I am delighted that work to upgrade the stretch of the A830 from Arisaig to Loch nam Uamh to two-lane carriageway has began. This route is vital to the economy of the North West Highlands and the improvements will benefit locals and tourists with shorter journey times, benefits to the local economy, and improved safety.'
Councillor Michael Foxley, who was councillor for Mallaig and the Small Isles for 10 years from 1986, said: 'This is great news for the area and marks the end of a long campaign by the Council. Retired Mallaig Highland Councillor Charlie King who has played a huge role in pushing for this work particularly over the past 20 years has found newspaper cuttings from 1937 calling for a new road, making the campaign for improvements 70 years old.' Highland Council, acting on behalf of Transport Scotland, will have a site based team involved in monitoring the construction works and a specific website will be available to advise on the traffic management details as they affect the travelling public. The construction costs for the whole scheme is £22.8M and it is anticipated that works will be complete within 18 months. Improvements to the 27 kilometre length of the A830 Trunk Road extending from Mallaig to Lochailort began in 1987 and 2003. The construction of this scheme will be technically challenging given the difficult terrain, the proximity to the Fort William to Mallaig railway, and the need to maintain traffic flows along the lengths of the improvement overlying the existing road. The works will involve rock blasting and excavation with haulage of the material to create new road embankments. A significant area of peat has to be excavated and replaced at Carnach. New structures are to be constructed at the Larachmore, Brunery, Borrodale and Beasdale watercourses.
It's a quick update this month due to half the writing team careering across the country on a mountain bike and the other half on a birthday fuelled weekend of debauchery. Tsk priorities eh? So, deep breath…
Raffle tickets have continued to sell extremely well, raising over £1000 so far. I hear that a further 5000 tickets have been allocated, as the Friends of Knoydart apparently couldn't resist the lure of lovely prize heaven. As ever all offers of help are appreciated and those of you in the village who have yet to purchase a ticket best gallop down to the Foundation office sharpish.
Villagers can put away their camping stoves and tea-lights again. Last Thursday's power cut enabled our intrepid oil sample takers to, er, take samples of oil to be sent off for testing to ascertain whether or not it needs to be changed. A new emergency switch has also been installed at the main turbine house, which will enable those in the know to be able to switch off the line in the event of an emergency.
Bob and Morag's market garden is now flourishing, with all manner of healthy goodies available. Anyone interested in buying salads or fresh berries should contact Morag at the hostel.
The John Muir Trust were on the peninsula recently and they were very impressed with the continuing work the Foundation are doing. They were also able to catch a viewing of the magnificent "Munchatreeaforest".
The Eigg festival was a few short weeks ago and I hear that it was a great success with all attendees reporting (through their hazy, drink addled memories) that they had a fantastic time. Apparently a certain person was spotted dancing like a postman possessed on top of someone's Landrover at five in the morning, so I'm inclined to believe them.
A big thank you to everyone recently who helped with the various bits of maintenance around the village - Victor and James for the sterling job they did clearing out Iain's shed, Bob for his car door friendly efforts on the road past Donald's corner and Stewart and Fred for cutting the grass around the old Weigh Bridge. We salute you sirs!
Until next month…
Woofer quote of the month - "How many arms would a person have to have for it to be an inconvenience?"
ISLE OF MUCK
Things have been fairly well on the island recently and it was a harsh reminder of the dangers of complacency when Ruth Harland shattered her ankle and was airlifted to Raigmore. Once again Sandra Mathers was in danger of being alone in the Craft Shop, but just in time Jenny (though still recovering from her own broken ankle) managed to drive the Land Rover and take her place behind the counter.
In a June recording only 2 and a half days of rain it would have been really bad luck had the Open Day not been blessed with sunshine, but Sunday 17th was probably the best day since Open Days began nearly 20 years ago.
This year we had Dave the Chain Saw from Rum carving a totem pole and there was a trampoline for the children. Dave and Libby Bardon gave a demonstration of rug making on a peg loom. They are hoping to add a lot of value to some of our wool clip. The Open Day also saw the start of fund raising for our community hall and a cake stall assisted in this direction.
The Feel Good weekend followed a week later - a brave new venture for Camas. As I did not participate I will leave the details to others. At the same time we welcomed John Christie, our new interim minister, and 30 church members from Arisaig and Mallaig.
On the farm things are going well and so they should be with such a fine spring. Silage has started and shearing has almost finished.
Our fine new shearing shed built by Sandy Mathers and Colin MacEachen is working well and a great improvement on the old. 5 acres of Swedes are now well up and game crop is growing in patches in some of the fields and on the hill.
Lastly, is anyone looking for piglets? We have plenty - mostly pink but some with black spots.
The children of Muck Primary Enterprise presented a cheque for £200 to Ruth Harland, the first donation towards the planned Muck Community Hall. The children of Muck Primary School have their own company which makes and sells calendars, fridge magnets and other items depicting the Isle of Muck. The community on Muck are in the very early stages of fundraising for a community hall and the children decided that as they were going to benefit greatly from the hall they would like to make a donation. The children are also organising a sponsored triathlon, a sand sculpture competition and a barbecue on 10th August in aid of the hall.
ISLE OF CANNA
A mixed bag of weather; as I look out across to sunny Rum it's raining here…no it's not…aye…no…etc. Friends arrived from the far south and were reminded that we hadn't seen any precipitation of note for about three weeks; sure enough, the heavens opened. Quite cold I suppose for the time of year. And again, there were the usual plans to spend a midsummer's night under the stars, or at least under canvas with the duvet for company, but to be honest, it wis Baltic. Anyway, midway through the month the rain was welcome indeed, as we were running short of water. And it's official…the nights are fair drawing in.
On the farm, the shearing is reported to be going very nicely indeed, and unusual to be so well ahead of the game this early on. In no small part, of course, due to the assistance at hand in the shearing shed courtesy of the school on their regular farm visit. Only the clerical assistant was notably absent. More of a hindrance than a help perhaps…
Building works are moving on…the team from the New House have progressed well with work on Caslum. Some of the lads like it here so much, they're almost reluctant to leave…especially on a Wednesday.
It's been a busy term. Many hands made light work of the beach clean on Sanday…The school took off to Rum for a few days to help with the mosaic for the new hostel, and hosted a brief return visit on the Wednesday to tour the island in the new school bus. We think most of them managed to get back to the boat on time, so far no one has phoned to report otherwise.
Which brings us to the school sports report. The sun shone, at last, and the going was good on the day; the groundsman and his team having put in some late work with the mower. After a last minute pitch inspection, proceedings kicked off around lunchtime with a game of dodgy ball as a warm up, and which proved to be an ideal way to settle scores and lay to rest past grievances. Much tidier than pistols at dawn, and more effective than any council meeting I've witnessed. Team events followed. Record numbers in attendance thrilled to the spectacle and excitement of classics such as the relay, the obstacle race (with hoop option) and three-legged race. The newcomers impressed the judges with their performance in the Sack Race. Top marks to Team Wingnut who took the Bogie Rally honours, setting a course record of 28 seconds. The inaugural Puffin Hill Race, which was almost abandoned due to lack of puffins, was won by the National Trust team. The cup should have been on its way to Inverness but unfortunately someone dropped it in the sink. Events took a turn in the Egg and Spoon Race when a complaint over the use of a snow shovel was lodged; stewards held an enquiry and the offender was disqualified. In the Freestyle Rat-Throwing there was dead heat throw-up, and again the Trust took the points despite dispatching an official with the final rodent. Rivals claim that the shot was aimed deliberately, but the decision was upheld. In a nail-biting finish, the youngsters scooped the overall prize, despite the children being outnumbered by grown-ups fifteen to one. Hooray! And thanks to everyone who took part.
ISLE OF RUM
This month saw a number of folk leaving Rum - the Talbot Family, who have moved back to Kyle - Richard has a new job with Calmac; Daniel Colville, who has been here for a year as a student placement from Thurso college and Sharon Forsyth (who actually left in May) for pastures new. All will be missed and we wish them well.
New arrivals are Ross and Sally, new seasonal staff at the Castle and Mike Dunbar, who replaces Daniel from Thurso College. And a colt foal called Clyde born to Judy, three more foals are still to come.
There are now 4 vacant posts with the Reserve staff, the school roll is down to 3 for the coming year and population is just 26. Progress with the Kinloch Castle restoration project is somewhat erratic. With no regular updates forthcoming from SNH or the Prince's Regeneration Trust, we rely on snippets of information gleaned from visiting contractors. We heard that the current proposals for a new hostel had been rejected by Historic Scotland on the grounds, it was too near to the castle, but a replacement site has been agreed. We heard that they are building two staff houses on the site of Ferry cottage (which burnt down a few years back), we find this particularly galling when you consider how long the community have been trying to get a bit of land off SNH for social housing ! As in, still not yet. While we are in the process of negotiating terms for land being released for housing and community projects, no one seems to be able to tell us on what terms the Prince's Regeneration Trust are getting the land for the new hostel, houses or the castle itself. The proposals, themselves, for the regeneration of Kinloch Castle, appear greatly approved of - the concerns I'm raising are the usual lack of information/consultation kind of concerns which lead to conjecture and disapproval. Although we, on Rum, are completely used to being ignored in this fashion, it doesn't make it acceptable in the slightest.
With the future of the Habitat Restoration proposals on hold - after intervention from MSPs Fergus Ewing and Jamie MacGrigor bought to the public eye the real nature of the project, several thousand containerised trees are sitting in the tree nursery with no sign of being planted out on the horizon... SNH, we are told, should be concentrating on their Natura qualifying habitats instead to meet European legislation deadlines by 2010. Given that SNH have spent almost 10 years putting the Habitat Restoration plans together, despite great protest from many sides right from the beginning, the whole project has become a monumental waste of taxpayers time and money. It seems only right that SNH should be made to account for this?
As stated, this year's deer cull will only be a maintenance cull and currently, local independent stalker, Derek Thomson, has embarked on his annual round of difficult discussions with SNH staff to get a share of the cull. Derek is of the opinion that as the local stalker, with a thriving business, he should get the whole cull, at least this year, since the cull targets are relatively low. He also states that SNH should be supporting local enterprise in our small community, something which they have made a commitment to do on several occasions.
ISLE OF EIGG
What a month! The corncrake has at last made a home again in Cleadale, the wild roses are at their fragrant peak, and orchids are blooming everywhere. Whilst this powerhouse of natural activity has been coming to a crescendo, there's hardly been a let up in the whirl of social activity over the past few weeks. We began June with Stuart and Kathleen's wedding of the year. Celebrations got off to a great start with the hen night, which began very salubriously with nibbles and wine. Off course, this state of affairs could not last, as Kathleen was soon swept off her feet by an amateur stripper (dressed as a very fetching fireman) who couldn't control his hose. Unfortunately, the thrilling climax of his act could not be fully appreciated by the rapt audience as the bride began to sport what looked like a fairly serious black eye. A compress of honey and thyme, speedily applied, seemed to do the trick. (To spare his blushes, the dancer shall not be named, but he certainly has some nifty moves!) I am told the Stag night was "very civilised". What a load of light-weights!
Sadly, the previous week's glorious weather didn't last for the big day, and the many guests from far and wide had to don waterproofs and wellies over some serious finery, to make their way from the church to the Hall. The bride looked stunning in a cream floor-length sleeveless dress, and a lot of concealer! After consuming a grand spread prepared by Lizzie Boden of Old Pier Tearoom, which starred some wonderful seafood caught by Stuart, the guests danced the night away to Skippinish.
Barely had we recovered, when it was time to begin preparations for the 12th of June, the tenth anniversary of the buyout, and an occasion for much celebration and rejoicing. The day itself dawned fine and rosy, and we were lucky to be joined so many old friends and supporters that I am unable to mention them all individually here. Special mention for the founders of the Old Isle of Eigg Trust who got the ball moving by publicising the situation here in the first place. John Hutchison, recently retired from Highland Council, formally agreed to become the new Chair of Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust, and a better man to fill the role would be hard to find. We were presented with a beautiful piece of commemorative stained glass by Bob Harris, which complements the piece he gave us ten years ago, now to be seen in the community hall. Speeches aplenty by the great and the good, oh and Colin, were followed by a timeline and song brilliantly performed by the Primary school children. A real community effort provided a fantastic feast for everyone to enjoy, and then sadly it was time for the Sheerwater to depart, taking many guests with them. The celebrations continued into the night, with singing and playing at the Hall.
Many of you reading this were with us for our weekend of music, but for those that weren't suffice it to say it was a blast. Sorry, don't want to rub it in but the diverse range of music was excellent, and the atmosphere couldn't have been better. Kicking of on Friday, the latest evolution of the Eigg Ceilidh Band acquitted themselves with distinction. Daimh presided over the night with a masterful sound that was so tactile it was three dimensional. Ruby and the Emeralds, new to us here, finished the night with some fantastic funk - please come back sometime! Even old us old fogeys managed to make it out for a second night on Saturday, and were well rewarded by the ever popular Ja Ma Ha, who reeled out some fantastic dance tunes. Local boys Massacre Cave's heavy metal blast delighted nearly everyone; I personally haven't seen head banging like that since 1972! Brilliant! Shooglenifty's legendary sound provided a really memorable main set. Sadly, not everyone survived until DJ Dolphin boy appeared, but those that did were well rewarded with a mix of effervescence and chill which wouldn't allow you to sit down. Sunday night saw a session in the tearoom, with some great music but only the hardcore still standing. Thanks to everyone who helped to make it such a special weekend, especially the visiting volunteers who put heart and soul into helping us out. Hardly had we dusted off our dancing shoes than it was time to join Hilda Ibrahim and her family in the tearoom to celebrate her sixtieth birthday. Hilda has been with us for nearly two years now, and she has contributed much to the quality of life here. This proved to be a rare opportunity to hear the oldest metamorphosis available of the Eigg Ceilidh Band, with Duncan Ferguson, Angus Kirk and John Cormack joined by Bean and Eddie Spoons, and they reminded us all just how good they are. Don't hide your lights under a wotsit, boys - give us some tunes more often.
The end of the month saw Catherine Davies and Pascal Carr moving from Shore Cottage to their croft in Cleadale, and new owners Andrea and Bill Sadler just about to arrive!
Finally, a fond farewell from the Primary School to Bryony Kirk, who is heading off to Mallaig next term. Go get 'um girl!
Eigg Nature Note
The consistently hot sunny weather of the past month provided ideal conditions for butterflies & exceptional numbers of Dark Green Fritillaries were on the wing. A few Large Heaths were also recorded & a moderate influx of Painted Ladies occurred early in the month.
Orchids too have had an exceptional early summer with huge numbers flowering throughout the island. Greater Butterfly Orchids have been particularly noticeable with a couple of croftland fields each boasting over 100 flowering plants. On the higher ground most Alpines/Arctics have now finished flowering but a chance find at a small pool on Ben Bhuide on the 21st reconfirmed the occurrence of Starry Saxifrage on the island, the first record for many years.
Offshore mammal sightings have been spasmodic though a few Minke Whales have been seen here & there. The best record though was a report of 100+ Common Dolphins moving through the Sound of Rum on the 9th.
For birds it's been a pretty mixed breeding season. Yet again seabirds are having a terrible time with no terns nesting for the first time in many years & gull numbers at an all time low with hardly an egg having been laid. In direct contrast raptors are having an excellent season with exceptionally high numbers of Field Voles allied to the ongoing forestry management work providing breeding conditions for Hen Harriers, Short Eared Owls ( 1st breeding since 1997) & an impressive 4 pairs of Long Eared Owls. Small birds are having a very mixed year but a couple of persistently singing Corncrakes in the croftland is perhaps a hopeful sign for the future.
Migration continues to be almost non existent with very little activity on the sea & only a Yellowhammer on the 19th providing even a flicker of interest. Waders though are already beginning to return with Curlew numbers building up at the bays & the 1st returned Greenshank on the 29th.
Arisaig Week this year has a variety of entertainment on offer, kicking off the Friday before with a concert by Nuala Kennedy (who also plays in Harem Scarem) with a fine line up in her 'New Shoes' concert. Then on Tuesday 24th is the third Arisaig Craft Fair, bigger and better than ever. The Games and the Games Dance on the Wednesday are followed the next day by an art workshop for children courtesy of Highland Council's Summer Activities programme. A banner will be produced which will become part of the Blas Festival, and which hopefully we get back to put on display later. And we round off an excellent week with the Lochaber Ceilidh Trail concert. An all-girl line up this year and no doubt once more it will be a sell out. Make sure you get your tickets early. By then the Land Sea & Islands Centre should have stocks of an exclusive 'Arisaig' T shirt. We are also hopeful that later on we may have the chance to host an exciting photograph exhibition.
Arisaig Hotel has undertaken a major refurbishment, with the big window turned into a door and decking providing seating for al fresco drinkers (and smokers). Inside the wall separating the pool room from the bar has been removed and the area can be used by visiting bands.
Speaking of local establishments, after my little rant last month I have been asked to point out that the Old Library is open for lunches every day, Monday through Sunday, and has been throughout the season from April to October.
I must end by thanking the Hydro Board (especially Donnie and his team) I'm sure on behalf of everyone affected, for the swift and effective response to the High Land and Old Manse residents who were affected by the odd power cut thingy last month. Equipment was repaired or replaced with new very quickly. I was rather embarrassed that my West Word piece about it was picked up by the Sunday Post but at least it was a positive story!
Highland Constellation Project
The Highlands are to have a new Constellation in 2007!Working with the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh, The Highland Constellation team; Linda Cracknell (writer), Gill Russell (artist and astronomer), and Rachel Hazell (bookbinder), have been running workshops in schools throughout the Highlands over the past month to identify the seven stars which make up the new constellation Each area chose a star which related to the heritage of their area, based on its distance in light years from the earth - to see the stars chosen and the link to each area visit http://www.darkskyscotland.org.uk/constellation/ and see the schools progress page and find out more about the project. The stars are now in place and a competition has been launched to name it. The pupil's writing will be creatively bound by Rachel Hazell and all the work created will form an exciting touring exhibition.
Glenuig becomes the base for the Team from August. Gill Russell will be starting her residency to create a land artwork that reflects the project. The new artwork will be opened as part of a weekend of events on the 2/3rd November. Before that we have a weekend creative writing workshop with Linda Cracknell on the 4/5th August. Gill will also hold a talk on the project and visitors will have an opportunity to view the night sky in the Starlab Dome. On the 22nd/23rd September Rachel Hazell will be running an art bookbinding workshop.
Creative Writing Workshop with Linda Cracknell
Over the last eight years Linda Cracknell has established a reputation and readership for short literary fiction. Winning the Macallan / Scotland on Sunday short story competition in 1998 lead to the publication of a collection of short stories, Life Drawing, in 2000, which was shortlisted for the Saltire First Book of the Year Award in 2001. Since then she has been commissioned and published by BBC Radio, The Edinburgh Review, Northwords Now and Mslexia. She has also written drama pieces for radio and has great experience in running workshops. In March she was honoured with a Creative Scotland award from the Scottish Arts Council to write a series of 'journey essays'.
4th August from 10am -4pm Glenuig Hall
5th August from 12 -2pm
Cost: £25 for both days. £15 under 18. Max 10 participants.
Tea and coffee supplied but bring a packed lunch.
Make a weekend of it and stay on for the Feis Concert on Saturday evening!
Astronomy and Residency introduction
5th August 2pm - 4pm Glenuig Hall
Gill Russell will introduce her contribution to the project and talk about her residency in Glenuig and what she plans to create.. Gill works in digital media using sound and vision to create digital theatre. Recently she has been collaborating with poet Brian Hill and astronomer Francisco Diego to create the CosmicSky exhibition and is enthusiastic and knowledgeable about astronomy. You will also have the opportunity to view the night sky in the unique Starlab Dome. Entrance Free.
22/23rd September Creative Bookbinding with Rachel Hazell
22nd September 10-4pm
23rd September 11am- 2pm
Rachel is a highly creative bookbinder and artist; indeed she explores and redefines our definitions and preconceived ideas about what a book is. She'll be leading a workshop titled 'Constellation Series' creating books with a starry theme. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn a new skill or develop an existing one with a very experienced tutor.
Suitable for adults and teenagers. Max 10 participants.
Cost £25 for both days. Under 18's £15.
Materials costs will be as used - you should estimate £10 per person.
Tea and coffee supplied but bring a packed lunch.
Please reserve your places for both workshops by contacting Pamela Conacher: tel 01687 470320
More details on the November event to follow.
Funded by the Scottish Arts Council Partners fund, The Highland Council, Highland 2007 and supported by the Royal Observatory Edinburgh and Glenuig Community Association.
West Word - ten years ago
The West Word of July 1997, with a cover price of 75p, had the one main story, 'Clanranald's Castle For Sale', illustrated with a photo of Castle Tioram - the original seat of the MacDonalds of Clanranald. Dr Foxley had chaired a meeting of concerned locals in the Lochailort Inn,
Several items made the front page under a News in Brief heading. Ten years on, do you remember these:
- an Unidentified Object in Loch Nevis is spotted by Hamish Smith and Fr Michael Hutson from the air;
- Murray Campbell is leaving Mallaig Fishermen's Mission for Aberdeen, swapping places with Supt. Jim Ralph;
- Mallaig's new Spar store opened last week after several months of refurbishment;
- Historic handover of the Isle of Eigg to the community.
The new Children's Ward in the Belford Hospital was the beneficiary of a Charity Abseil in Glen Nevis by members of the Spar shop in Mallaig. Over £1000 they raised (and Mary Ann enjoyed the Guinness!).
Page 3's On the Rails column waxed lyrical (and rightly so) on the advantages of having a turntable at Mallaig to enable the steam train to be turned round. Lottery funding was to be sought to achieve this as a site had already been identified.
The Fishing Scene column by Hugh Allen led with some good news - the launching of a new boat, Golden Promise, in Eyemouth, for M&NWFA Chairman Mr John MacAlister, and keeping the sea scene going there was news of improved facilities at Arisaig Marine, and Small Isles residents were to step up their bid for new jetties and ferry.
The Fairway was first, Shanna G second, Amethyst third and Belmar fourth in the Fishermen's Mission Trawler Race whilst those Fishers of Men, The Ministers Fraternal, Alan Lamb, Murray Campbell, Michael Hutson and Donald MacKinnon, went fishing on Loch Morar!
Page 8 of the West Word of ten years ago listed all the prizewinners of the Road to the Isles Agricultural Show and the River Fund Committee revealed that after recent fundraising activities they were now halfway to achieving one of their aims, the purchase of a £4000 Pegasus Therapy Bed.
Regular features included Astrological Advice Lines (Aunt Prudence); Encounter Group Activities (Jo Cowan); Heavens Above (Ross Campbell); Down to Earth (Neil Robertson); and of course Auntie Mary's Creepy Crawly Corner (Dr Mary Elliot).
There was also, rather strangely, a Christmas Wordsearch (in July?) and a Bank of Scotland Wordsearch and a Colouring Competition insert.
The flashback picture was entitled 'The Class of 1946/47/48' (Mallaig School Photo) where I saw myself and my classmates - somewhat scary!
My Personal Angle of ten years ago told of A. Kennedy's missing boots and Nevis Radio's pioneering spirit, and that spirit was evident in this month's sense of Adventure which told of Tamsin Helliwell from Eigg who went to Zimbabwe for a five month voluntary environmental programme.
News that Mallaig was to have its first ever musical festival was announced on page 13 with the working title of Feis A Chuinne - Festival by the Sea. The Committee hoped to hold this over a weekend of traditional music on the 10th - 12th October 1997. We Do Like To Live Beside The Sea - Part 1, a documentary project being carried out by Arisaig's Charlie MacDonald, featured photos of activities around Mallaig Harbour, and Acting Sergeant H. MacKenzie's column discussed Vandalism, Schools' Football, Youth Club and Dogs Straying among its topics.
Norwegian War Hero Revisits West Highlands was the headline on page 19, while the story below told of Joachim Ronneberg's war exploits and his training in 1941 in Meoble. He was pictured with Bracara's Bob Poole, another SOE who trained in the area.
Mallaig High School Teachers Paul Haynes and Pamela Stewart were pictured with pupils and go-kart competing in the Scottish regional Finals of the Young Engineers Club at the Crieff Hydro in Perthshire.
Laura Kingswood, the young Arisaig artist, was featured (and pictured) in the Mallaig Heritage Centre displaying some of her paintings, and Jon Watt of the Lochaber Fisheries Trust contributed an environmental article on the Arctic Charr.
There was a lovely article by Bill Ellis, Alalbama, USA, on Traigh Golf Course in which he waxes lyrical about the course and the view. He ends his piece with 'Nothing Royal about Traigh - merely glorious.' I do hope that Jack Shaw Stewart has got a copy of this article - it should be on display and used in an advertising campaign.
Football, Angling, Running and Badminton were the other sports featured, and included in the Snippets was congratulations to Bill and Mary Robertson for their 35th wedding anniversary on 4th July, so I guess it's now congratulations on your 45th, Bill and Mary!
Birdwatch by Stephen MacDonald
A fairly typical June with lots of newly fledged young reported. Siskins seemed to be especially abundant this year, with many reports in excess of 20 birds at a time at garden feeders from Arisaig, Morar and Mallaig. There were also numerous Chaffinches and Greenfinches reported and the first juvenile Goldfinches noted were in a garden at Fank Brae, Mallaig, on the 18th.
At Back of Keppoch, newly hatched broods of both Redshank and Lapwing were seen on the 18th. Ringed Plovers and Common Sandpipers had small chicks at Traigh. Some Herring Gulls at both Traigh and Mallaig had well grown chicks at the end of the month while others were still on eggs. Arctic Terns at Traigh were still on eggs at the month end, but numbers seem to be up on last year.
A few unusual reports this month included a Turtle Dove first seen in a Morar garden on the 13th. The bird was mainly seen feeding on the ground below a bird table, sometimes in the company of the local Collared Doves. It lingered until the 18th at least, the Turtle Dove is a summer migrant mainly to South and East Britain, with only a handful reaching this far North most years. Five Shoveler (4 drakes, I duck) were seen on Loch nan Ceall just West of Millburn early on the 2nd. They are uncommon in Highland region with most reports coming from the East side around the Black Isle.
At least one, possibly two, dark phase Pomarine Skuas were seen flying North 2 miles off Arisaig on the 23rd. both Arctic and Great Skuas were reported throughout the month, with some of the former seen very close inshore at Traigh and Loch nan Ceall on occasions.
The first Stormy Petrels were not reported until the 17th, seen between Eigg and Arisaig, then more widely reported in the Sound of Sleat.
A few Dunlin were still around the shore at Traigh until mid-month, a Sanderling lingered there until the 4th, and a late Turnstone was seen there on the 16th.
Great Spotted Woodpeckers with young were reported from a couple of gardens in Arisaig from the 24th.
A Little Genealogy by Allan and Elizabeth MacDonald (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
MacLellans of Bourblach & Canada
This month I am endeavouring to connect three branches of MacLellans who must have a common root. The family concerned is the Bourblach MacLellans, some of whom emigrated to Canada. It seems that one of these MacLellans was the tacksman of Bourblach Farm. * See extract at end of this article. The name MacLellan derives from the Gàidhlig, Mac Ghillle Fhaolain, St Fillan's Servant.
One must remember that Bourblach farm, at that time, included Glasnacardoch, Seaview, and bordered with Beoraid Beag, which was the old name for the present Morar village.( Beoraid Beag and Beoraid Mór consisted of the lands between Allt an Lòin or, the Seann Achadh /Shennagate and the burn which flows out of Loch a' Ghille Ghobaich ( Loch of the Cheeky Boy) and runs past Morar cemetery to the sea. It also bordered the pennylands of Seann Achadh behind Cruach Beoraid, the highest hill behind Morar Church.)
I have a book called "My Life on Margaree Island" (Cape Breton), written by Duncan MacLellan and published in Novia Scotia, 2005. ISBN 09737316-0-5. Featured in the book is a photo of the author, Duncan MacLellan, Ronnie MacLellan, Seaview, Morar and Ronnie's son, Donald Archie, on the site where the "Bourblach" MacLellan's left between 1800 and 1820.
Duncan MacLellan's ancestor, Iain 'ic Calum MacLellan sailed, unaccompanied, on the ship "The Three Brothers of Hull". The ship, captained by Capt. Murray, "cleared Fort William on September 20th 1800" and sailed for Canada, the voyage taking nine weeks instead of five, due to stormy weather.
Gary MacLellan, from Canada, visited Ronnie MacLellan, Seaview, in Morar this June and I include below, part of Gary's later email to me.
Gary wrote. "According to my g. uncle, my g.g. grandfather, Archibald MacLellan, left Morar at the age of ten, travelling with his family to Pictou, Nova Scotia, Canada in 1815 aboard the ship "Three Brothers" of Hull. The ship left from Stornoway under Captain Maddison. (As distinct from Captain Murray of 1800, the then captain of "The Three Brothers.). Archibald was the son of Angus, the son of Neil, the son of Neil, (yes, two Neils) the son of Angus. Since Archibald was born in 1805, I'm guessing that Angus was born about 1775, Neil about 1750, and so on. However, my great-uncle also states that Neil, the father of Angus, was one of a family of nine boys, all of whom, except Neil, left Morar to take part in the wars of Bonnie Prince Charlie, so my dates may be off. Only one of Neil's brothers, another Angus, returned. This Angus resided in Arisaig.
My great-uncle calls our family lineage, (starting with Angus, father of Archibald) the Buirblach MacLellans because they lived on the Buirblach Farm on Loch Morar (Baile na Buirblaich). Archibald was also known as Gilleasbuig Mac an Tàillear (or Taillear or Tailleas) which suggests Angus was a tailor, perhaps."
So, two Bourblach MacLellan families. "The Muster Roll of Prince Charles Edward Stuart's Army 1745 -46. No Quarter Given" Editor Alastair Livingstone and Others. ISBN. 1-903238-02-1, page 166 & 167, MacDonell of Glengarry's Regiment, lists Angus and Donald as farmers, Bourblach, but also lists two other Anguses and two other Donalds as farmers in Morar. They are all designated as MacLennans. There must be some mistake there, as there were, almost certainly, no MacLennans here at that time! They were all transported, except for one, Donald, who died? Gary's ancestor, Archibald, had the patronymic, Gilleasbuig, mac Aoghnais, 'ic Niall, ic Niall, 'ic Aoghnais.
Another Bourblach family, which I mentioned in a previous issue, was Red John MacLellan, (W.W. May 2007) Christopher MacIsaac's ancestor, who went to Cape Breton, in 1818 on the "Three Brothers of Hull". Again the ship's captain was Capt Maddison, Red John MacLellan was married twice in Scotland before he emigrated, so we can assume that he was born c.1780, his patronymic being Iain mac Dhomhnaill 'ic Iain 'ic Dhomhnaill ic Niall.
How can we connect the three families as, they were almost certainly related?
* Extract taken from "The Clan Ranald of Knoydart and Glengarry", by Norman H. MacDonald. FRSA FSA Scotland. ISBN 0 9502210 4 X, pages 190 & 191.
"In 1762, Bourblach consisted of eight farthings of land, known as a pennyland. Angus Gillies held three farthings of the pennyland. Neil MacLellan held the other five farthing lands. Angus MacLellan held the six farthing lands of Glasnacardoch. The wadset of Beoraid ( probably this included both Beoraid Beag and Beoraid Mór ) was held by Neil MacLellan, John MacLellan Senior, John MacLellan Junior and Donald MacLellan."
These MacLellans must have advanced a considerable amount of money to Glengarry in the form of a wadset, to secure this land. Question; was Neil MacLellan in Beoraid the father of Neil MacLellan in Bourblach? At this time, in the whole of the rental of the estate of Glengarry, (numbering 260 rentals) there were only two Neil MacLellans so, it is likely that they are the father and son to whom Gary MacLellan refers.
Watch this space for extracts from next month's issue!
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