WEST WORD
Community paper for Mallaig, Morar, Arisaig, Lochailort, Glenfinnan
Glenuig, Knoydart and the Small Isles

List of Issues online

April 2008 Issue

Contents of the online version:

Top stories
Monthly news from Knoydart, Muck, Rum, Canna, Eigg, Arisaig
West Word ten years ago
Crofting Roundup & Fishing Focus
Nature Notes and Coastal Ranger report
Local Genealogy & History

Letters, e-mails and comments are welcome.
Contact Details & How to Subscribe to the Paper
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All photos are copyright either of the individual photographers or West Word.
Not to be reproduced without permission.

MALLAIG HOUSES READY FOR TENANTS
The new housing scheme in Mallaig, to be named Kingsway, will be handing over the keys to the new tenants on 14th April. The Lochaber Housing development of 16 units has cost Deep peat, rock and Scottish Water approval delays added £306,000 to the original cost. Future LHA projects are in train for Arisaig, Morar and the Isle of Rum. The tender for the Arisaig scheme has been returned and have been submitted to Communities Scotland, and it is hoped that the contractor will be appointed this month and on site by June. The 20 houses are hoped to be completed by December 2009. It is hoped the two LHA houses planned at Glenancross Farm, Morar, will be built at the same time.

photo photo

DEER PROBLEM IN ARISAIG
Arisaig residents are concerned by the presence of four or five deer who are roaming the village, eating plants and posing a possible danger to visitors who may see them as a photo opportunity and attempt to feed them. At the Arisaig & District Community Council meeting on 31st March, the issue was discussed with local residents - most of them keen gardeners - and James Colston of Arisaig Estate, Graeme Taylor, Deer Commission and Stuart Wilkie, West Lochaber Deer Management.
Reports are of four deer coming in a group from the Kinloid direction, and one lone stag from Rhue. They are unafraid and can be seen in the main street and back roads at any time of the day or night. A great deal of damage is being done to gardens. It was made clear at the meeting that the deer cannot be culled in the village, and a special warrant would have to be applied for if culling was to take place out of season and there was a question of dangerous behaviour.. A number of residents do not want them culled.
Maureen McColl, Secretary to the Community Council, said: 'While it is not assumed that anyone in the village would encourage these deer by feeding them, a worry was expressed about the way holidaymakers may react around deer in the village and may try to feed them. This would encourage the possibility of a dangerous incident and the Council would appreciate people being discouraged from this behaviour. It makes the likelihood of these animals having to be culled all the greater. 'With the onset of Spring, more food will be available to the deer in the hills and the problem may solve itself. The Council will hold a watching brief on the situation until July, when the culling season for stags opens.'


KNOYDART
Well, what a start to the month! As you may have read on the front page last month, the Knoydart children won their category in the First Light Movie Awards, and a very successful trip to London it was too. Congratulations to them all for the hard work they put into their film (still on sale), and to Sam Firth who helped make it all happen. Highlights for me included wandering around Leicester Square in penguin suit and gorilla mask, trying to track down late Knoydartians, and the trip round the Houses of Parliament where the kids all made themselves at home exploring every nook and cranny.
On return from London, it was straight into the next event. Dark Sky Scotland came to Inverie with their giant blow-up planetarium. A mind-bending weekend ensued, with astronomical concepts being explained in a way which the kids understood, and the adults got after standing there with confused expressions on their faces for a while. I personally had a few questions answered which had been bugging me since I was 10 (such as exactly how the planets orbit the sun, and where they all are relative to each other). The planetarium was fun, with mild claustrophobia being the only complaint. And we even got to see six stars in real life when the clouds briefly cleared. Thanks to the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh for sending up such and enthusiastic and patient team.
International Women's Day (WID as it's now known here) took on the usual bizarre but laudable slant, with our female population transforming themselves into the Knoydart WRI for the day. Cardigans that hadn't seen the light of day for years emerged, alongside some very tasteful necklaces and shoes. Those that didn't need to dress up came along as they were. Some escaped to Mallaig to rattle tins, and others headed for the village hall, which was a hotbed of bottle stalls and vegetable carving. Not forgetting, of course, Hannah's electrifying massages which may explain why Rhona senior had a rather surprised expression on her face for much of the day. Even the environmental health mannie got in on the action. The day finished off in the pub, which featured a quiz and an auction. Lots of money raised for deserving causes, and thanks to all those who donated.
Easter swiftly followed, with a Bizarre not quite as bizarre as the previous weekend. Dave M's home cooking got us all salivating, there was jewellery galore for sale, egg painting....followed by Grant's famous Easter Treasure Hunt, which the kids roundly beat the adults in. At least the grown-ups got a nice walk in the sunshine. They didn't really stand a chance against a young team which was determined to get the prize at all costs! Then it was on to the Easter ceilidh, with the usual influx of visitors reminding us that quiet winter times are almost over. Tam and friends played their wee hearts out, followed by a play-off between DJ Sam and DJ Davie which was well received, especially by the large group of hillwalkers who thought they were in a rave. As I type, a gaggle of women from Knoydart have just disappeared on to the ferry for Aaran's hen-do down in Crieff, and they'll be followed tomorrow by Fraz's stag party which has hired Dr Woombs to take them to Tobermory (a town still recovering from the last time the good doctor visited, what with all his pogo-ing carry-on). We can only assume that the stag will be wearing, with pride, his own purple / lilac / maroon nightdress, and that the photographic evidence will make it into next month's West Word...
April promises a busy weekend with Bob and Morag's housewarming, swiftly followed on Sat 12th by the Knoydart Arts and Crafts Day. Hopefully see a few of you over for that - we are doing boat deals including tickets that are a bit of a bargain, to be honest. Lots of stalls, and a raffle which should have at least one very special prize. You should be able to pick up tickets very soon at the Flower Station in Mallaig.
Later in April, Isla and Rhona's pottery workshop will be opening, which as well as hand-crafted pottery, also promises home baking, teas, coffees and light lunches. Also, Knoydart Lodge will be open for business at the end of the month - Knoydart's newest B&B. So what are you waiting for? Jump on a boat and come over before everyone finds out about this place...
Tommy McManmon

ISLE OF MUCK
It is not often during winter months that I have been overwhelmed with news for West Word but there is plenty this time.
First the departures and arrivals on the 20th. We all gathered at Sandra Mather;s house to say farewell to Graham and Eileen Henderson, Jake and Duncan. Muck has been lucky in recent years in having had two excellent head teachers; Barbara Graves followed by Eileen. But Jake was nearing secondary school and it was time for a shift. Suddenly she was gone to sort out two schools in Easter Ross and we are left with no time to appoint a replacement.
Accompanied by a furniture wagon nearly as big as their new house; Jeff, Ros and Katie Garrett have arrived and Pier House is occupied again. We can expect more domes like the one above Port Mor that has weathered this winter's gales without damage.
Stormy weather on Easter Friday prevented anyone from the island being present at the cremation of Anne Nimmo Smith who died on the 12th March. Anne's long life took her from Edinburgh to Oxford and for the last 26 years Muck. There were many destitute Oxford students who found lodgings in Anne's large town house and became her lifelong friends. She also managed to rear six children on her own. A character - deeply missed! Her ashes will be scattered here but not this year!
Lawrence MacEwen

ISLE OF RUM
Poor Fliss - so very bravely tolerating my driving (damn those twisty roads) whilst feeling a little worse for wear the morning after her Champaign fuelled hen night! She really was a very interesting shade of green…Still, it was great to be let loose for a very enjoyable couple of days of girlie fun on the mainland! Thanks to Lesley for organising the trip and Ali for doing most of the driving (thankfully). Bring on the wedding!
Easter weekend saw the first busy period of the tourist season with a lively atmosphere on the island despite the disappointment when the boat was cancelled on the Friday leaving the Ceilidh band stuck in Mallaig. The weather managed to perk up a bit so Sorcha, Nell, Keava and Meiggidh opened the teashop with lots of yummy home baking and we had a book sale to raise funds for the Community Association. Sunday's Easter egg hunt in the woods around the Dairy was 'eggstremely' challenging (we've still to find the last egg yet…) and lots of fun - thanks to Fliss for organising the hunt.
After three previous attempts to get to Rum - thwarted by the weather, Lesley Riddoch finally managed to make it over as part of her role as chair of Rum's task force. This was a fact finding mission to learn the aims and aspirations of the residents. Accompanying her was Robin Callander representing the Crofters Commission and Susan Davies, Operations North Director for SNH. Lesley was certainly very thorough in her gathering of information and prompted an enthusiastic response from the locals.
This month we say goodbye and best wishes to Sally from the Castle who is off to work the summer season at the Highland Folk Museum in Newtonmore, and hello to Mike and Georgie who are here for what is shaping up to be a busy summer at the Castle. Welcome also to Martyn Baker who joins us as the new field research assistant at Kilmory. Our intrepid Explorer, Rhys is off again - this time to Iceland, can't wait to hear all about it!
Stroma Frew

ISLE OF CANNA
February seemed to go in a bit of a blur, no doubt something to do with the new arrivals. They seem to be enjoying their stay so far, with much merry making in the wee small hours and occasional jaunts around the place in the Silver Cross to keep them (and us) amused. Makes mental note not to leave the pram so far down the shore at the next spring tide…
The other new arrivals have settled in nicely, and are busy organising themselves up at Caslum. The new intake has meant that the school roll has risen considerably, as has the volume of playful noise, which is great to hear. Most of the wee jobs have been completed at the school; fencing is not quite finished so the early morning PE lessons have been adapted to include sheep rustling and cattle wrangling.
The Easter celebrations were a great success and I believe everyone was in attendance, with eggs at the ready. Our own Tighard resident was crowned King of the Hill; a close run race which ended in a photo finish but might have ended in disaster had it not been for the lightning fast reflexes and gymnastic efforts of the referee dodging illegally modified eggs. On a more serious note, grown-ups are reminded that there are still several chocolate bunnies unaccounted for; the Games Committee have decided that there should be an Egg Amnesty where any suspect confectionery may be surrendered anonymously to the authority. Half price and past their sell-bys don't count.
Clearances have begun on the garden at Canna House; looks like there's plenty more firewood to keep us going. We've needed it…temperatures plummeted last month at the same time that the price of a barrel of oil reached an all time high; blood pressures are also predicted to rise when the latest fuel bills arrive shortly. With the prospect of some more settled weather we might have half a chance of getting across to Eigg to be inspired by their wind power scheme. There might even be an opportunity to get some clothes dried on the line for a change.
These longer days and the short spells of better weather seem to bring about a renewed vigour as everyone starts to gear up for the coming season. Once the boats change we'll be looking forward to seeing both new and familiar faces on the island. Lots of organising, clearing and cleaning to be done, and painting still to finish! Then there's the grasscutting…Time to try and start the lawnmower again, and to remind myself to service it properly this year.
Geoff Soe-Paing

ISLE OF EIGG
Both the beginning and the end of March were wild and windy, disproving the old saying about lions and lambs. The odd spectacularly beautiful day intervened, lulling us all into a false sense security, but we were soon to be brought back down to Earth with a bump. There was quite a bit of disruption to the ferries, however once again I realised that we on Eigg are lucky compared to the Muckers - an encounter with Rosie and Julie and her daughters valiantly trying to get home after three failed attempts, and still smiling was a lesson in accepting life's little setbacks gracefully.
Despite the weather, lambs are beginning to appear everywhere, along with the first calves of the season. Primroses are springing up in abundance, and coltsfoot and gorse are blooming profusely. For the next month Eigg will be a riot of flowers and birdsong, a short but special time of year. Sadly, two Pilot Whales were washed ashore, one at Kildonan and one at the Singing Sands. I'm sure their presences will haunt us for a few months yet.
Quite a busy month for meetings and discussions, starting with a visit from Joe Hunt of Highlands and Islands Local Food Network, Anna Trafford from The Outdoor Capital and Keith Hoole from Lochaber Geopark, each of whom gave a brief but very interesting presentation of the work their organisation does followed by a question and answer session and discussion. The evening was organised with her usual aplomb by Camille Dressler, who also prepared a delicious meal for all who attended. A lot of discussion about issues such as local food, and how we can make the most of our island economically by focusing on its natural features was the outcome.
Eva Schonveld, who with partner Justin and kids is a frequent visitor, gave a talk on Transition Towns, the movement started by Rob Hopkins to try and prepare us for a future without oil by re-skilling local residents to grow their own food, and generally live more sustainably. There are 20 Transition Towns around the UK at the moment, with around 90 more going through the first stages of the Transition Towns 12 steps process. We have to be at least part of the way there with our new power system which incidentally is still working fantastically well.
Donna MacCulloch and Bernie McCoy, both on the Trust Board of Directors, organised an inaugural Youth Council evening which was very well attended by all youth both young and old! Watch this space for details of the Grey Rights meeting next month. Seriously though, the evening was reported to be a great success, with many people who don't normally attend community meetings going along and having their say and coming up with some new ideas- let's hope it's the first of many such evenings, and an idea that could be useful for other communities.
Congratulations to Ian Leaver on his appointment as Community Development Officer for Rum. Ian will be working from home part of the time, so we are lucky not to be loosing him completely. Treasure him you lucky Rum folk.
BBC 1's The One Show made a visit to look at the new power system, and the feature, presented by Carole Thatcher (who's a bit of a hoot by the way), should be going out soon. Expect more revelations from Scruff!
The Easter Ceilidh with the Goat Island Ceilidh Band was a great success in spite of slightly low numbers, due mainly to Easter being so early as well as a lot of people being away. Low numbers over the Easter weekend have been made up for at the end of the month, and with the boat being on the summer timetable and the clocks going forward it really feels like we are in summer time now.
Milestone birthdays for Eilidh Kirk (twenty one), Kay Jones and Kathleen Miller as well as Elizabeth Lyon, Breagha Miller, and Eileen Ferguson. Bon voyage to Felicia Greene who is off to India travelling for a few months-have a great time, Fil.
Sue Kirk

ARISAIG
Well, let's begin with a happy ending. Up until this morning I was preparing to publish a 'Missing' poster for the two dogs belonging to Gordon and Alison Stewart - but fortunately I don't have to.
The dogs, Barney a springer spaniel and Joss, a Rottweiler, went missing from the garden down the Rhue road on Monday (31st March) and no sign could be found of them. Friends helped search and Morrisons were alerted. Gordon even donned a drysuit and searched underwater in case they had somehow got into difficulties in the sea. However, this morning 3rd April) they were found up the hill, dirty, tired and very hungry. Alison and Gordon are grateful for all the help they received.
Another good story: the lighting in the Hall will soon be fixed. The long ongoing attempt to get the Hydro to pay for it has borne fruit - I hope. The lighting units were damaged when we had the strange surge thing last June which took out so many appliances in Highland and the Old Manse, and the cost to replace them will come to well over £2000. We didn't pay for the repairs hoping to be recompensed because it was understood they were buying the units - which they were when they thought it would only cost a few hundred. However, all is well - I hope!
Some Arisaig folk are very energetic! Not only, as reported in last month's West Word, are Steve Brown and David Sharpe walking the West Highland Way this month in aid of the Meningitis Research Foundation - sponsorship forms in Cnoc-na-Faire Hotel - but Mary Ann Gillies is entering the Race for Life in aid of Cancer Research at Bught Park, Inverness, on May 11th - sponsorship forms in Spar Arisaig. Great stuff!
A couple of Norwegians with an interest in the SOE got in touch with me and I showed them the display in the Land, Sea & Islands Centre and sold them an SOE book (they really sell well, mostly from our website). They promised to send us some photos of Norwegian trainees, who were mostly based at Meoble and Loch Morar, and to write a piece for West Word. At the Centre we are short of material on the Norwegians presence in the area, concentrating as we do on the Czechoslovakians who were based around Arisaig. We would still love to get out hands on one of the local passes which residents needed during the War to get in and out of the village! Speaking of the Centre, we will be opening for the season soon, so if anyone has a couple of hours to spare a week and likes to meet people and promote the local area, please get in touch with Elizabeth Fleming or me.
Ann Martin

GLENFINNAN
We enjoyed a Glenfinnan Community Council cheese & wine at the National Trust. Many thanks to John the cheese of JR Fine Foods for his kind donation. I brought along the photo book 'Glenfinnan 07 - the year in pictures'. This book is now on the reception desk in the hall at Glenfinnan House Hotel and is available to view. You might see yourself on one of the pages.
Most people in the village have experienced problems with their BT Landline. Problems such as poor lines, low broadband speeds or not being able to get broadband. The BT Exchange at Kinlocheil needs upgraded to provide us with the service we deserve - and pay for! The community council are planning a campaign and we need the support of the village. There will be a letter coming out soon for you to sign and send to BT.
When the sun shines and the days get longer we enjoy working in the garden, playing outside, going for walks. Not so, in Glenfinnan. Our rural idyll is shattered by low-flying aeroplanes on training exercises. Children run screaming indoors afraid to play outside, conversations are interrupted, siestas disturbed. Worse still, you've settled the children to sleep and at long last sit down when back they come to practice a spot of night flying, wake the children and annoy the rest of us. Apparently it is necessary and a man from the RAF is coming to Glenfinnan House Hotel on June 7th to give us a presentation and an opportunity to raise concerns, ask questions. The time is still to be confirmed but the community council will let you know nearer the time.
An Easter Sunday christening brought Spring cheer to the village. Angus Iain William Hunter was baptised in the Glenfinnan church by the Rev. John Christie.
Happy 1st birthday to Seumas MacFarlane. Happy birthday also to Cat Hunter and Euan Stoddart who celebrated with a night out bowling.
Eileen O'Rua


West Word - ten years ago - by RMM
There were two photographs on the front cover of the 32 page West Word of ten years ago (April 1998). One showing the (then) new ferry MV Sileas on Loch Shiel, the other showing the successful local highland dancers, Stephanie Bridge, Christine MacPherson, Naomi McMinn, Kayleigh MacBeth, Donna Clarke, Rebecca McLean and Olivia Bridge, all winners at the Lochaber Music Festival in Fort William.
A follow up story, explaining the history of the Sileas and the ferry service on Loch Shiel adorned page 23 but it was another ferry story that dominated page 1, telling of the concerns about the indecision by ferry operators Cal-Mac as to which ferry would be carrying out the Mallaig/Armadale summer service. The Lord of the Isles was having to continue meantime on the Oban-Lochboisdale-Barra run due to delays with the newly launched Clansman.
Page 2 carried the good news that the Isle of Muck Community Enterprise Ltd - a community company formed to improve the quality of life on the island - had been awarded £95,000 towards the island's £215,000 wind/diesel electricity project. A cartoon showing 'Big Drew from Knoydart' on the Cilla Broon Blind Date show gave us all a laugh!
Charlie King's Council Corner noted the retiral of two locals - District Nurse Mary MacLellan (Morar), 37 years after arriving in Mallaig - and Seumas MacDonald, retiring after 24 years service with the Fire Brigade. He also brought news that the Princess Royal would be visiting Mallaig to open the new Outer breakwater on Tuesday 24th July.
Two call-outs for the Mallaig Lifeboat were noted in the Lifeboat Log along with the information that the 'Knoydart Women' had raised £257.05 on International Women's Day for the new Mallaig Lifeboat Appeal Fund.
The 'On the Rails' column on page 6 told of the intention to get more cycles onto the trains with bikers being able to transport their cycles free of charge on all of ScotRail's 1900 daily service train services.
Morar Hotel's Alistair MacLeod was appointed Chairman at the re-launch of the Road to the Isles Marketing Group with the aim to make it a more focused and enthusiastic body working to provide sources of information for visitors to the area.
Work was now underway on the new Health Clinic site - three photos of the site clearance at St Elmo depicted some crazy parking and the demise of the old Ambulance Shed, etc,
The Feis na Mara music festival had received a grant of £1000 from the Scottish Arts Council and on page 21 a profile of the local band 'Starsky' (once known as 'Something To Get Your Teeth Into') who were now writing their own material.
Reports on the Lochaber Credit Union and Lochaber Rural Complex were listed on page 8 while grilled monkfish kebabs was Alan Broadhurst's recipe from the Old Library.
Ross Campbell's 'Heaven's Above' column explained how Easter Day is worked out - it's the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Vernal (Spring) Equinox - so now we all know! Ross and Frankie's son Neil was presented with the Crawford Memorial Dux Prize for outstanding performance by the President of the Lochaber Rotary Club, Finlay Finlayson (now the owner of the Mallaig Boatyard) at Mallaig High School, while the Primary School Page was occupied by limericks and poems from Primaries 6 & 7 of Mallaig Primary School.
Letters/acknowledgements/birthday snaps occupied the middle pages, one of the photographs being of Forbes MacInnes wishing him well on his 40th birthday on 15th April, so I guess it's the big 5 0 for the Mallaig born but now Sheffield based drummer!!! The Morar Sea Trout Project was described by Dr Jon Watt, Lochailort, and the Rev Ben Johnstone and Supt Jim Ralph provided the monthly religious Message and Mission News respectively.
As well as being the title of a song, 'River Deep Mountain High' was also the title of a month long exhibition in the Mallaig Heritage Centre - a story of cultural collision using Native American sources; and the Sense of Adventure featured the concluding (two page) part of Charlie Bremner's log on the journey of the Ocean Quest from Scotland to its new home in Tierra del Fuego.
'Happy Birthday Bella' was the headline on page 20 and beneath it was an interview in Gaelic and English conducted by Allen MacDonald (Glenuig) and featuring reminiscences and songs by 101 year old Bella Muir. Bella died the following year (January '99) and here is a photograph of Bella and her brother Alistair (Addie) MacLellan, who died two months later, aged 91.
A local football quiz complied by yours truly adorned the back pages as did reports on the Sub Aqua Club, Junior Badminton Championship, Military Whist in Mallaig, Arisaig Whist Club and Quiz Night in the Chlachain.
The local news for all the islands and outlying areas was contained in the Round and About Sections and Auntie Mary's Creepie Crawlie Corner concerned badgers in NW Lochaber.
I'll finish by embarrassing Jason Weir, Morar, by publishing the Limerick he wrote while in Primary 7, ten years ago,
There was a young man from the moon
Who flew round on a wooden spoon.
He crashed into Mars
And was covered in stars
And looked like a dying cartoon.


News in Brief


CROFTING ROUNDUP by Joyce Ormiston

Cross Compliance Open day
An Open day was held at Keppoch Farm, Roy Bridge on 4th March to assist Crofters and Farmers through the maze of regulations imposed by Brussels and to show us as Land Managers what the Dept of Agriculture officers are actually looking for when they arrive on a farm or croft for a 'Cross Compliance' inspection. Three inspectors from the Department of Agriculture were there to talk through the most commonly occurring issues incurring penalties.

Cattle
Records
In the main, record keeping and tagging were the predominant bugbears for the inspectors. Records must be kept on the computer or in record books and when the Department come onto your holding they will have a print out from BCMS [British Cattle Movement Service] which they will compare with your own data and animals on the holding. Why then cannot we use BCMS for our own record keeping and simplify things? Well apparently soon we will be able to do this but not until Europe has seen a reduction in the number of unrecorded movements and deaths. Once this count is down BCMS data will be able to be used for records. Unrecorded movements and deaths count for the highest cause of penalties and next to this are records that do not contain enough information [date of birth, sex and breed].
Tags
On visiting a holding the officer checks that all the ear tags match with the BCMS statements. Broken tags constitute a missing tag, and if any tags are found missing you are given 28 days to order a new one. As far as tags are concerned SEERAD are only concerned with constant offenders, not finding the odd animal with a missing tag.
Cattle movements
All grazing links that you have recorded with BCMS must also be recorded in a movement book of your own every time you move from your holding to a link. Animal Health are also involved in these visits but just to add to the confusion they do not share the same office, can appear at a different time, and yet seemingly work along side each other ! Animal health may become involved if you record several deaths in a short space of time, as part of a routine visit from SEERAD or if you are lucky enough to be one of the 20% of farms and crofts that are put into a computer and chosen at random.
The SEERAD officers also said that they receive complaints from members of the public and the one thing they get the most phone calls about is poaching of ground. They vehemently stressed that any poaching of in bye ground is not a cross compliance issue, but hill ground is a different matter. Hill ground, because of its environmental impact is treated differently. Winter feeding, with its subsequent poaching, is allowed on a sacrificed area, just so long as that area is used year in and year out. The one thing that is not overlooked is using tractors and round feeders on the hill and moving hay or silage around to a different area throughout the winter.
Something else that I took home with me from the CC Day was that as well as the transport license for anyone moving animals over 40 miles, there will now be a license required for anybody selling any fodder from their farm. So making hay or silage and selling it on is now subject to licensing.
Spraying weeds such as ragwort and Docks with any form of sprayer [knapsack] on farm or croft land also requires a licence unless you were born before 1965 when you will have grandfather rights[!]

Sheep tagging
Records still have to be kept for sheep for Animal Health purposes. A flock/herd book is required to record movements, but deaths don't need to be recorded.
Tagging There has to be a replacement ear tag policy and as of 18th Jan this year lambs that are to be kept [not slaughtered] beyond 12months have to be double tagged. This has caused a great deal of consternation among crofters and farmers and if you have not already done so you can add your name to the sheep tagging petition , protesting against the double tagging.
Find it at http://www.thescottishfarmer.co.uk/sheeptaggingpetition There is also a text message service for people to sign up. For someone to sign up, they just need to send a text from their mobile to 80011 starting the text with the word "NFUS" followed by their name and town. There's also a phone line (0131 472 4015) where people can leave their details for the petition.

Indigenous People's Proposal
The Scottish Crofting Foundation have called on the government to recognise Crofters as indigenous people of the Highlands and Islands; to respect the growing body of international law on indigenous peoples and to devolve power and decision making on indigenous issues to the people who maintain the indigenous cultures of the Highlands and Islands
An 8 page document published by the Scottish Crofting Foundation contains parallels between Highland Crofters and Norwegian Sami and some political implications of indigenous status. A full version of this report can be found on the Scottish Crofting Foundation website www.crofting.org


Council corner
This past month I finally managed a visit to Morar Community Council, another cohesive group with firm aspirations for their community.
The ward forum was, this month, held in Banavie and again a fair representation from the west area was present. John MacMillan took full advantage of the officials present, to pursue outstanding issues. The forum is proving an excellent platform for community councils and the general public to have their collective voices heard.
Councillor Eddie Hunter and myself made a visit to Rum to take part in the official setting up of the Isle of Rum Trust. It now has a properly constituted board and hopefully this enthusiastic group will now move forward to take advantage of Scottish National Heritage's willingness to facilitate a community buyout in the Kinloch area, where most of the population live.
An invitation to the AGM of the Credit Union gave me an interesting insight to the workings of the organisation. This is an excellent method of saving for a rainy day (and we get plenty of them) or taking care of unexpected bills. With a branch in the area it is certainly worth taking out membership at only £1.
All 3 ward councillors have been involved in the renewed A82 campaign and as this affects everyone travelling to Inverness or Glasgow I urge you to display a Demand Upgrade sticker. If you cannot find one let me know on 01397 705954.
Yours in service
Allan Henderson (councillor ward 12 Caol & Mallaig)

FISHING NEWS by John Hermse, Secretary Mallaig & North West Fishermen's Association

Fuel Costs
The cost of fuel continues to rise and has become a real problem for primary producers such as the fishing industry. High fuel costs, which have more than doubled in the last three years - with a further expected duty increase of 2 pence per litre in November, is now threatening the future viability of the fishing industry. Fishermen cannot dictate quayside prices, they have to take what they can get and in some instances they are being subjected to lower prices, as buyers, processors and transporters lower the price they pay for fish, in order that they can maintain their own profit margins
Spain, Belgium and France are providing support to their industry. French buyers are now charging 3% levy on all shellfish imports to assist with their fishermen's fuel costs. In other words, shellfish from the West Coast, destined for French markets, is resulting in the local industry paying towards the fuel costs of French fishermen, in addition to paying the highest prices in the UK. The Spanish Government is providing up to £30M under de minimis State Aid rules to help their fishermen with rising fuel costs.
This de minimis scheme would be available to the UK if our Westminster government cared to access it.
Furthermore, light dues and the costs associated with maintaining VMS systems are levied on fishing vessels, both of which are of no benefit to fishermen and are further eroding the profitability of the fleet, compared to their EU competitors.

Inshore Fishing Groups and Inner Sound
A new committee has been set up by trawl and creel fishermen on the West Coast to manage the fishery in the Inner Sound of Raasay, between the Isle of Skye and the Applecross peninsula.
Proposals had been made by the Highlands and Islands Fishermen's Association to close the sea area from Applecross to Loch Hourn to trawlers all year round.
A meeting of over 50 fishermen, which included static and mobile gear boats, agreed after a "robust" debate to draw up a code of conduct so that both types of fishing could progress in the area. The code could eventually form part of the rules of the emerging Inshore Fisheries Groups which are to be set up in the area.
The Inner Sound is currently closed to trawlers from October to April, but HIFA wanted the closure all year round to mirror the situation in Loch Torridon. Mallaig and North-west Fishermen's Association set up a series of meetings, culminating in last weekend's session after challenging the information on which the proposal was based, and claiming it would have a serious effect on the livelihoods of its members. The proposed closed area stretches from north of Applecross, over to Raasay, around the southern tip of Raasay to the Skye coastline and surrounding the island of Scalpay. It includes Loch Carron, Loch Alsh and Loch Duich and south into the Sound of Sleat to include Loch Hourn. The proposal however, met with little enthusiasm at the meeting.
Also present at the meeting were observers from the Western Isles Fishermen's Association, from the Scottish Government's fisheries division and from the Scottish Fishermen's Federation. Duncan MacInnes, secretary of WIFA, said: "The meeting went well as far as I could see and this is the beginning of a new direction for fisheries management in this area."
A number of fishermen warned that if the closure went ahead, trawlers which currently had access to the Inner Sound during the summer months would be displaced to the west and south of Skye. There is a proposal now for the code of conduct to become part of the management regulations of the Inshore Fisheries Groups which will be piloted later this year and then rolled out for the whole of Scotland. The Inner Sound is on the boundary between the IFG for Mull and the Small Isles and the North-west IFG, which is marked by the Skye Bridge.
We had some guidance from the Government's inshore fisheries department on what the Inshore Fisheries Groups will mean for this area. It is likely that the code of conduct will start off as a voluntary code, but it will become part of the management arrangements for the IFGs for this area, when they are set up. It is far better to get a resolution to this issue through better communication than to have the fishermen picked off by people who know little about the industry.

MSC Accreditation
MNWFA decided at their AGM to seek a meeting with the Marine Stewardship Council with a view to seeking pre-assessment of the nephrops fishery. This follows on from the Clyde and Western Isles recently undergoing pre-assessment and it is hoped that the initiative will help consolidate the already high quality product that is landed on the West Coast.

Net Stores
The Net Stores at West Bay Mallaig are nearing completion ahead of schedule. It is hoped that the project will be finished by end of April. The stores are a culmination of 3 years of work to raise funds etc and I think all will agree that the stores will help tidy up the West Bay area.


A Backward Glance - By Gordon MacLellan
After scribbling a few words in the January issue where I mentioned Dr MacRae, I was surprised on two counts: one, to receive a letter from the Doctor's daughter Jean, such a neat letter, as she must be about 94 years of age; and number two was the fact that she still reads West Word. She asked about my brother John and I was able to tell her that he had his practice on the Clyde coast. Allan Johnston had posted the paper to his pal Ian 'Rogie' Gillies in New Zealand, and I well remember Veronica Gillies who wrote an article in this paper sending best wishes to all her friends in Mallaig; sadly this was not long before she died. The Gillies family decided to emigrate to New Zealand but could not settle there, and returned to Mallaig, but at the second attempt they set off again for New Zealand but this time they stayed. Perhaps they sailed POSH, as wealthy passengers did in the old days to ensure having the sun in their cabins - Port Out Starboard Home - wonder if Posh Spice knows where the name originated! Still on New Zealand, there is a gentleman who lives there and recently when his carer popped in she noticed West Word and told him her mother was the late Veronica Gillies and the family belonged to Mallaig, to which the gentleman replied telling her that his daughter Pam is married to Stephen who writes the monthly Birdwatch column and they live in Morar, which yet again proves West Word reaches the parts which other papers fail to reach!
Having spent a period of my misspent youth working in the Railway Booking Office I was so shocked and saddened to learn of the very sudden death of Irene MacKellaig as we were buddies in the office; usually there were five of a staff including two clerks from Glasgow. I'm sure regular reader Christine MacIver, now in Fort William, will have memories of this busy office. Difficult to understand, but the but the Station Master had a separate office without a telephone. Also difficult to understand but there was a regular Goods Train in and out of Mallaig and there was a separate Goods Office with two of a staff, one being Jean Cuthbertson, originally from Seahouses; when there was a local concert Jean had a solo spot in full regalia dancing the Highland Fling with Ronnie Seaview her piper. Jean was so petite her feet hardly touched the boards, added to that the platform was higher than the hall seats so everyone enjoyed the colourful scene, especially the boys! She is, of course, Mrs W Boyd and has lived in Arisaig for many years.
Alistair Munro, our Boss, spoke very little and was very severe but very fair and didn't allow anyone else to sell train tickets, and there was always a queue at the Ticket window, remembering passengers off the various Steamers from Stornoway, Kyle, Portree, Armadale - and no matter the destination he always told them where to change trains, not like the cheeky clerk in Central Station who told the lady when she asked for a ticket for the deep South, 'Do I have to change?' - 'No, you're fine as you are.'
There was a BT phone in our office and this was the only one in the entire station, even the Station Master wasn't allowed one in his private office. Not allowed to use the phone, we had a Telegraph instrument attached to a bench, and in Morse Code we had to send the messages to Fort William for onward transmission. With all the Fish Specials I was dreadfully slow but the Boss was so fast tapping out the messages it sounded like music. Often even on a Saturday the Office was open till 8pm and we accepted parcels even at that hour!
During the extensive ATC training the Morse Code was an asset and frequently we were sent to Inverness Airport where I was lucky enough to be allowed to take the controls of the duel controlled Ansons as part of the training. Later I was ordered to appear down before the selection board in Edinburgh; having passed I was told I was being sent to Canada for Air Crew training. All I ever wanted to do in life was be up in the skies so five days before leaving I was grounded - health. Devastated and shattered beyond description.
Back to the office. The Boss always had his breakfast break from 9 till 10 and one morning he set off at 9 a single man and returned at 10 a married man! During the hour he had taken his Bride to the Manse and was married, although in his return we knew nothing of this event. A contrast from the Mallaig family who recently decided to flap their wings and take to the skies and touched down in Mexico where they enjoyed TWO wedding ceremonies - as is their custom. So now we have a pretty Mexican bride living in Fank Brae!
When the Russian Klondykers were anchored up Loch Nevis and the flit boats came in, we were surprised to discover that on each ship there were a number of girls as part of the crew. When they came in for personal shopping they were neat and tidy and all wore vivid red lipstick despite living on these big rusty boats. Ammonia, turpentine, anything in a clear glass with clear liquid we had to remove from the shelves as they were adding it to their shopping thinking it was vodka. The agent for the Russians had their office in the West Highland Hotel and I always found the Russians decent and easy to deal with. I became very friendly with one Russian skipper who invited me out to stay the night!!!
If you are not about to read the details in the next paragraph, you will know that our Editor has used her red pen once again - must be her Fleet Street training!


Auntie Mary's Creepy Crawly Corner
On a walk in the snow Derek saw some tracks and wondered whose they were.
From the description it sounds like you came across Otter prints from the webbing apparent between the five toes; and the arrangement of the toes in an approximate circle with the pad. In the paw print of a Fox four toes form a sort of diamond with the pad; whereas a Badger's five toes are nearly parallel with the pad.
Otters roam widely in the Highlands and are not confined to beside the sea or watercourses. They often go across country between lochs, burns, or rivers. As there are brown trout all year round in hill lochs there is food available in winter, although not so plentiful as in the coastal waters, or in the summer-time when Otters feed on frogs as well as fish.
Otter droppings are called spraints. They tend to be grey coloured with obvious white fish bones. If you find a fresh spraint it may smell fishy - if there hasn't been rain. Mink droppings tend to be smaller and darker than otters, and have an acrid musky smell. Often spraints are deposited on rocks or tree stumps, this leaves a message for other Otters and in some positions marks a territorial boundary.
Here are photos of Otter tracks through snow and an otter spraint close-up!
Dr Mary Elliott

photo photo

EIGG NATURE NOTES
The cold northerly winds that dominated throughout the month certainly had an effect on local wildlife with many plants & animals well behind in their spring activities.
Several pairs of Ravens were still nest building late in the month, numbers of newly arrived Meadow Pipits & Skylarks were still relatively low at the months end & the first Wheatear was not recorded until the 31st ( 10 days later than the norm) Other reasonably interesting bird sightings included Whooper Swan - 2 on 20th, Pink Footed Goose - 1 throughout, Manx Shearwater - 1st on 27th, White Tailed Eagle - ad. & juv in mid month, Greenshank - 1, 24th-27th, Lesser Black-backed Gull - 1st on 6th & Iceland Gull - imm on 22nd. Most intriguing bird report though was of a possible Pomarine Skua between Muck & Eigg on 20th.
Not many mammals of note with just the odd Otter sighting & a count of 45 Common Seals at Kildonan worth mentioning. Sadly the most noteworthy occurrence was the two long dead Long Finned Pilot Whales which washed up on the island early in the month.
John Chester

Birdwatch by Stephen MacDonald
.Despite the cold snap near the end of March, the first of the Summer visitors had arrived near the end of the month. On the 29th, 2 Sand Martins were seen at Loch nan Eala, Arisaig, a single male Wheatear was singing near th ePorter's Lodge, Rhue, and a single White Wagtail was in a field at Traigh along with about 50 Skylarks.
A nice find early in the month were 3 Snow Buntings feeding on the shoreline in front of Traigh House. They frequented the area from 4th to 6th March at least.
Whooper Swan numbers on Loch nan Eala dwindled as the month progressed. 8 birds including the colour-ringed bird were present on the 8th but only 2 adults were there on the 29th.
A single Canada Goose was seen along with the Greylag and the single Pink-Footed Goose in the games field at Traigh on the 10th. By the 17th it was joined by another Canada Goose, and 2 others were on Loch nan Eala on the same date. All 4 birds were still around till the month end and the Pink-Footed Goose was still tagging along with the local Greylags. Still a few Iceland Gulls about Mallaig during the month, with at least 8 still there on the 30th. The Immature Glaucous Gull was present all month.
There were still two Greenshanks on the Morar Estuary on the 8th, along with several Curlews and Ringed Plovers. The Lapwings at Back of Keppoch were claiming their territories by the end of the month. On the 29th, 3 Golden Plover were in the games field at Traigh, and in the evening Snipe were 'drumming' over Rhubana, Morar.
Up to 11 Goldfinches were seen on feeders at Rhubana View on the 18th and a pair of Bullfinches were feeding on an apple tree there on the 30th.
A Kestrel was again seen on several occasions by the roadside of the A830 east of the golf course. Sparrowhawks were reported from several gardens in Mallaig and Morar. On good days Buzzards could be seen soaring and displaying, especially in Arisaig, but also at Kinsadel and Morar.
A Peregrine Falcon was seen near Rhue pier on the 15th and a female Hen Harrier was seen flying over Arisaig mid-month.

COASTAL RANGER REPORT
Gee whizz! It's hard to get some response from you lot! There was I last month full of belief that the kindly walking public would give me all kinds of feedback on my new approach to my column. See, there you are, you didn't even notice that I had a new design did you! No, don't bother rushing to get last month's issue to see what I did, you are too late! and I am just thoroughly dispirited!! See now, I'm in a bad mood, so read on at your peril!
Ah well, that break gave me a moment to mellow a wee bit, so I will try to remain calm and continue in a sane and sensible manner.
Seeing as at least I got no adverse response (that's the alternative way of looking at it!) to my "walking on paper", I will continue on that theme until someone finally tells me that they are fed up ! Last month I covered the walk to "Innis Riabhach" so I will skip the next couple on the programme and give you a run down on "Arisaig Past, Present and Future" This walk, starting from the Land, Sea and Island Centre in Arisaig is probably the best attended of my walks. Given a "C" rating because of its length (it runs to around 7 miles) O.K. seven miles isn't far for all you fit folk, but for me, and strangely enough everyone that goes on this walk, it takes around five hours! All right, so we are not route marching, and do have a wee while for lunch (can stretch to a longer while if it's a nice day!) and an odd stop here and there, but regardless, the 11.30 start aye finishes between 4.30 and 4.45! But to the detail, and perhaps even why people enjoy it! A couple of hundred yards down the "Rhu" road we turn onto the "Glen" path where, if I can slow the group long enough, I can point out the "canal" and say a little about it. A quick stop at the "Mains Loch" then on past the house and eventually over the hill to "Ghaoideil". Here a short "comfort" stop and a wee prowl amongst the lovely stones rounded by years of Atlantic rollers usually prompts a question or two about "Carlita's Stone/Fawcett's Folly". There, now maybe I have your attention! No, I won't elaborate! Mine to know and yours to join and find out! Anyway, ever onwards and in this case slightly upwards, to the favoured lunch spot where the odd tick (collected in the sometimes head high bracken) can be flicked off the trousers! Sated by both food and the peaceful view, the walk continues roughly following the shore past "Druimindarroch" and on to "Arisaig House" the one time billet of the "Commandos" (S.O.E). Here we move back into woodland where the participants arboreal knowledge is tested (and maybe extended!) before passing through the "Green Gate" and finally on to the "Glen" path and back to where we started some five hours previously! Maybe you would question the time taken and in fact why the walk has qualified for such a title, but just please pop along some time and I promise that I will do my best to answer both these questions, and of course, any others that you may have! There you have it! "Arisaig Past, Present and Future" in about a minute and a half, not bad eh!!
The past month has been reasonably quiet for me, giving me some time to lay on the fat for the walks programme starting on April Fools Day with "The Arisaig Triangle". Helping the "Active School Co-ordinators" with the nursery children in the "Larachmor Gardens" was rather good fun, the children showing great enthusiasm for "animal house" building, but not quite understanding that the den wasn't quite a "Tardis" and able to accommodate all at once, but were very photogenic at the entrance! I won't attach a photo lest envy rears its ugly head! Other than tidying up the sleepers at the side of the Loch an Nostarie path, more funding fights and a little bit of willow planting I have been left to get on with odd admin and prep. Oh, forgot to mention that I'm off to Badaguish on the 8th. & 9th. for a Ranger meeting, so the walks days that week are not my usual days and have been changed to the Thursday and Friday (10th. & 11th.) The dates are correct on the programmes, but it's as well to draw your attention to the days, mind you sometimes I wonder just who reads all this!!!!
Well, that's it, hopefully there will be some nice things to say about all my walking clients next month, who knows, maybe I'll even get some feedback or some questions! The magic number is as usual: 01687 462 983
Stay well
Angus Macintyre


A Little Genealogy by Allan and Elizabeth MacDonald (email: ealasaid6@btopenworld.com)
MacEachan & MacEachern Arisaig & Morar

This article follows the path of Jane and Sandy (Alexander) MacEachan who had the patronymic "Lamont" although the reason for this appellation is now lost to us. Their parents, Ronald MacEachan, b.1831, the son of Ronald MacEachan and Ann, MacGillivray, married Mary MacVarish, born 1841, dau.of Alexander MacVarish and Mary MacDonald, Borrodale, on 3rd February 1869, in St. Mary's, Arisaig.
Ronald was a gardener on Arisaig Estate and he and Mary lived in High Land, Arisaig and had six children. Jane, b.1870, Christian, b. 1873, Ronald, b. 1875, Alexander, (Sandy) b. 1878, John, b. 1880 and Donald, b. 1882.
All of their children were born in Arisaig. Upon Ronald's death (before 1891) and, because they lived in a tied house, Mary and her children had to leave the house in the High Land. They moved firstly, to Moss of Keppoch, where they were in 1891, then to Polinden, past Keppoch, (on the north shore of Loch na Ceall) where they settled. The ruin with the chimney stack remaining, which can still be seen at Polinden, was their home. Sandy MacEachan m. Mary Crilley who had been brought up in Tigh an Loin with the MacDonalds. Sandy and Mary went to live in Glasgow where Sandy worked as a docker until he retired.
One of their children, Mary, married Iain Kennedy, Lochyside, (whose grandmother, Flora Pennett, née MacDonald, was a Lotaidh, sister of Allan Mór, Kilmory, Arisaig and Big Willie, the High Land, Arisaig) son of Donald Kennedy and Isabella Pennett and they live in Lochyside. Mary and Iain have three children, Isabella, Iain and Charles. Charles became M.P. for Ross, Skye & Lochaber and later became the Rt. Hon.Charles Kennedy, Party Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the Westminster Parliament. Later, he resigned the post to Sir Menzies Campbell whilst maintaining his constituency seat, and has been recently appointed Rector of Glasgow University.
Isabella Kennedy, nee Pennett, Charles Kennedy's grandmother, had a sister Mary, (Polly) Pennett who married James MacDonald, Bohenie, Roy Bridge and their son, James married Sarah Mackay (see below). Their 3 children are James, Nicola Jane and Mary Frances.
Jane MacEachen is recorded as Jean MacEachin in the 1891 census - General Servant, residing with Gamekeeper, James Fraser and his wife, Jessie, Millburn, Arisaig. Jane was then aged 20.
On 27th February 1896, Śne "Lamont" ( Jane MacEachen) married Dugald MacDonald, son of Lachlan and Mary MacDonald of Bun a' Caimbe and they had a son, also Dugald, (NFI except that he eventually went to live in Helensburgh) aged 2 years in the 1901 census. In the same census, Jane is living in Polindan and is a widow.
She was widowed when her husband, Dugald, was drowned the previous year. He and John Nicholson, Bun a' Caimbe, had delivered barrels of beer to the Inn at Ceann a' Chreagainn, (Lochailort) by yawl, from Arisaig and they had struck a reef on the ingoing journey. Although the boat was taking water, they decided, despite misgivings by others, to return to Arisaig that evening, declining to wait for repairs. They left Ceann a' Chreagainn about 4 p.m. and were last seen off Roshven around 7 p.m., sailing for Arisaig on a strong, easterly wind. That was the last sighting of the two men. They were declared missing, presumed drowned. We don't know if their bodies were recovered.
On May 10th, 1910, Jane remarried, to Iain MacEachern of Kinsadel, (Ceann Saideal) South Morar. Iain's patronymic was Ailean Ewen. His father, Allan, features in MEM Donaldson's book, "Herself", page 54, carrying a creel of seaweed on his back. Iain's mother was Ann MacLellan, a dau.of 'Illeasbuig MacLellan, Bruinacory, which MacLellans are still in Morar. Allan's father, Ewen, can be found in the Clanranald Kelp Record of 1822 along with two sons, John and Alexander MacEachern, as having received a payment of £9 .12s . 2d between them, for their efforts. This would probably have involved harvesting about 30 tons of seaweed to get 1.5 tons of kelp. All we know of Ewen MacEachern is, that he came into Arisaig from Argyllshire as a kelp gatherer for Clanranald, lived in Kinloid until evicted by Cranston c. 1840 and removed to Kinsadel where the MacEachern family lived until c.1970. See Footnote.
Both of his sons are recorded as having spoken at the 1883 Napier Commission Report where they are named as "MacEachran" Iain and Jean Ailean Ewen, as she was now styled also, having acquired her husband's patronymic, lived in Lochailort where he worked as a porter at the station and she was employed as a laundress at Inverailort Castle. There is no record of any children of their own but, they brought up 4 girls in their home. Mary Docherty, Sarah MacKay, Priscilla White and Esther MacLoughlin. Some, or all of these girls eventually went to live with Kenny MacColl and his family, shepherd in Arnipol and, later, Rannachan. NFI. Esther MacLoughlin had a brother, Robert who was brought up in The Sheiling, Back of Keppoch and worked for a while in Traigh farm after leaving school. Upon his retirement, Iain Ailean Ewen MacEachern worked as a ghillie in Loch Eilt and died 1951 aged 77. His wife, Jean MacEachen died in 1960 aged 90 years.
Dugald MacDonald, who was lost somewhere between Roshven and Arisaig, was the 3rd youngest child of the family of Lachlan and Mary MacDonald, Bun a'Caimbe. His brother, Duncan, 2nd youngest of the family, was father of the late Johnny, "Duncan", MacDonald, Arisaig. Duncan, who married Christian MacDonald, Tigh na Mara, Arisaig, was gored to death by a bull at Bun a' Caimbe. Two tragic deaths in one family.

Footnote. Iain Ailean Ewen MacEachran's brother, Eoghainn, was married and lived in Kinsadel and had 4 children, Allan, Archie, John and Mary Ann. Mary Ann later, married Bill Anderson.They lived in Inverness and had issue. Mary Ann died in January 2008 aged 89 years. We don't know of any descendants of this family still resident in the district and these are the only MacEacherns we have been able to identify in this area. There was possibly a relative in Glenuig. A Clan Donald sept, The MacEacherns, (Gaelic) mac Each Thighearna, (son of the Horse Lord) are distinct from the MacEachens (Gaelic, mac Eachainn, son of Eachan or, Hector), and were of Islay or Kintyre origins. Historically, they are designated as, "Hereditary Masters of Horse and Armourers to the Lords of the Isles".

Brunary, or, Bràighe an Àirigh, Arisaig
Brunary, is the modern name given to the little burn which rises about 1,400 feet in the hills above Carnach (Càrn Achadh) and eventually, makes it's way down into Loch nan Eala. Today, we talk about the Brunary Burn and the two ruined houses at Brunary. In fact,"Brunary" is the Anglicized name for the Gaelic "Bràighe an Àirigh" and the translation is, "High Sheiling or Sheiling on the Brae." The name Bràighe an Àirigh described the sheiling area above Carnach, The little burn, and later the dwellings, acquired their names from that source.
There were a number of sheilings in the hills above Carnach, and, as was the custom in the Highlands, in early summer, the women and children would take the cattle and herd them up into the hills, to the summer pastures.They would remain there with the cattle until summer's end, when all would return to the lower ground and home.
Brunary was just one wee area around Arisaig and, as a consequence, scant mention is made of it in historical terms. A reference appears in the work of the Revs. A&A MacDonald when, after the '45, Alexander MacEachen was granted a charter of Druimindarach (Druim an Daraich) and Brunarie "in room of his brother who was outlawed for his activities in the Rising of 1745". In the 1841, Census, Angus and Sally MacEachen are living in Brunary with what appears to be their family, John, with his wife, Sally and family of 4 children. Recorded, also, are two female servants, Janet and Kate MacEachen. The only recorded baptisms for children born in Brunary are two children of John MacEachen and Marion ( Ṃrag is Gaelic for Marion or Sarah, therefore, Sally?) MacNeill. The children were born in 1839 and 1842 respectively.
In the 1861 Census, there is no mention of Brunary but there is a different MacEachen family recorded as residing in Carnach. Donald and Mary MacEachan and their family of 3 children and two grandchildren. Donald was the Estate gardener. It is probable that in 1861, Brunarie was included in the "Carnach" area.
In the census of 1871, Carnach is occupied by a shepherd, Alexander Cameron, and his family. The farm had obviously become a sheep farm and the previous occupants of the little district had possibly been been moved out.
At the moment, we know nothing further of the MacEachens of the 1841 census but we have traced some of the present day descendants of the family of Donald and Mary MacEachen, of the 1861 census.
Local, oral, history tells us that at one time, these ruins were the home of MacEachens, ancestors of the Cnoc na Faire MacDonalds, also, of Alistair MacLeod, latterly of Morar Hotel, of Simon MacDonald, late Headmaster of St May's School, Arisaig and others of whom we know little
Elizabeth MacDonald

photo
Brunery burn & ruins, July 2007
photo
Brunery, January 2008


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