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COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER OF THE YEAR 2005 & 2008
Community paper for Mallaig, Morar, Arisaig, Lochailort, Glenfinnan
Glenuig, Knoydart and the Small Isles
List of Issues online
April 2010 Issue
Contents of the online version:
All photos are copyright either of the individual photographers or West Word.
COMMUNITY OWNERSHIP FOR RUM ISLANDERS
A new chapter in the history of the Isle of Rum began on Tuesday 6th April 2010 when the community took ownership of land, housing and other assets in Kinloch village. The move comes after the agreed transfer of ownership of a significant area of land and property from Scottish Natural Heritage to the Isle of Rum Community Trust (IRCT). SNH and the Rum community have worked together through a process agreed with the Scottish Government to identify the most useful and appropriate division of land and property to enable the islanders to plan and manage their own future.
That process has now culminated in the transfer of around 65 hectares of land into the ownership of the IRCT as an asset for its future development in the second phase of this historic event. A total of 35 hectares was provided in the first phase.
Fliss Fraser, the IRCT spokesperson, said: 'This is a day the community of Rum has been hoping for and working towards for more than 10 years. The land and property transfer now enables us to realise the plans which have been developed over many years and take decisions about how best to move our community and the island's economy forward. We are now building a new relationship with SNH as a neighbour on the island, rather than our landlord.
'Now we can work with SNH to ensure the fortunes of the community and the national nature reserve are promoted by a mutual interest in the future of Rum.'
Formerly growth of individual and community enterprises was limited by the exclusive ownership of land and property by SNH. This historic second phase of land transfer adds houses, tracks, woodland and infrastructure to the croft land, camp site and village amenities previously transferred.
Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham has been closely involved in the transfer process and said: 'I am delighted to be able to announce the start of a new dawn for the people of Rum and the island. This agreement allows all parties to create a sustainable future and I am particularly pleased for the community which now sees the fruition of more than 10 years of campaigning and hard work.'
SNH will continue to have a significant presence as an employer and landowner of the Isle of Rum National Nature Reserve covering most of the island and the visitor attraction of Kinloch castle.
SNH Chairman Andrew Thin said: 'SNH is committed to assisting the Rum Community Trust realise its aspirations to establish a viable and sustainable future through economic activities based on the island's agricultural potential, built facilities and natural assets. The transfer of a portion of these to the people of the island enables that future to begin.
'SNH now looks forward to working in partnership with the islanders to help them develop a strong and successful community which will deliver benefits for Scotland through improved visitor services and infrastructure. Meanwhile SNH will continue its stewardship of the Rum National Nature Reserve on behalf of the people of Scotland.'
What a busy month its' been on Knoydart. Ian and Jackie's new build has got the roof on, the Market Garden has had a lot of work done to it, allotments are being allocated and we are waiting for deer fencing to go up. Sam Firth has been making a film about the foundation and the events that lead up to the buy out of the then Knoydart Estate. The premiere is on the 2nd of April and should be a star-studded event - (half of Knoydart has been interviewed).
We kicked off March with the usual International Women's Day. This is where a group of what Bernie would call "monstrous" women fundraise for the day and night and strike fear into the men's hearts. Mark Woombs has been known to go into hiding in early March because of this. The theme this year was "school" which might explain why you may have recently seen Jane and Liz from Doune smoking behind the Mission and trying to sneak into the Marine. £620 was raised for a prostate cancer charity and our village hall. Everyone got into the spirit of the day and it was fun to see the look on tourists faces when they came into the tearoom which had been turned into a school canteen for the day, they were then faced with the roughest looking dinner lady this side of the Clyde. Chic must have been busy swotting for he won the 11+ exam later in the day, and the night ended with a school disco. We discovered that John the Ghillie is no bad at skipping, Tommy is useless at break dancing - although can spin round really fast, Lachie is the coolest dancer in town and Lorna and Angie successfully managed to smuggle in drink, in a rather dubious looking 100% zero alcohol bottle. The women's theme continued to Saturday with a girls night at Sandaig complete with a sleepover for those too inebriated to drive home. Just as well it wasnae in her school days or Cath Curd's mum might've had a word or two to say when she got home to Inverie at 7 the following night.
There is currently a bit of WIFE SWAPPING going on over at Scottas, Chic and Joanne's chicken spent the night in Jim and Claire's Chicken house…(Best little chicken ranch around) With the new season about to begin we've got some familiar faces back. Lauren is working at Doune, Grace will be working with Bob and Morag, Kristy will be back from her holiday in New Zealand and will be working in the tearoom, and Phil, Aggie and Heather are back at the pub. There are also some new people to get to know, Mrs Morrisons granddaughter, Gemma, Paul and Danka from Slovakia and Peter from Edinburgh will all be working in the pub. We also have a gardener starting at the market garden called Sam. Hope you all settle in and like living here.
The hall is doing a lot of fundraising to get renovation work done and an extension. There is a 50/50 draw, which takes place every week and gives you a chance of winning a cash prize, as well as raising money for the hall. So far the winners have been: Angela, Jo Wilson, John Murdo and Mark Harris. We celebrated St Patrick's night with a Ted Fest - We watched episodes of Father Ted and ate lots of potato-based snacks. It was attended by a few locals, Mrs Doyle, 2 priests and a minister. About 50 locals have done some nifty drawings of themselves, which has been arranged for printing onto tea towels, this will be going on sale in the next few weeks and is also for hall funds. There was also a Cuban food and film night in the hall, which I missed - so I haven't any gossip, although the menu looked amazing. The pool table is away for the summer and the last pool comp of the season, was won by Gerry, luck of the Irish or what! He also cleaned up with a win at chase the ace. You never know, these things might run in 3's and he might win the prize at the Easter bonnet parade at the bazaar. Talking of which there is an Easter Bazaar on 3rd April 12-2, egg painting and a bonnet competition and there is a ceilidh at night with Gary Innes and friends.
Happy birthday to everyone who has birthdays this month, well done you - to Gerry for passing his driving test, good luck Paisley for all her exams at uni in Glasgow. And finally, get well soon Morag - who won't be hitch hiking for a while but that's another story…..
ISLE OF MUCK
One of the saddest departures from the island for many years is soon to take place. The Gregg family (Bryan, Gail, Ben and Maise) are leaving the school and returning to Strontian. Muck has been fortunate since our new school opened-we have had three married teachers in succession; all excellent at the job and their children have increased the school roll. They have also had partners who played a considerable part in island life and none more so than Gail Gregg who has played a key part in getting the Community Hall to (we hope) within six months of cutting turf. We all wish the Greggs the very best for the future and luckily Strontian is not far away!
On the farm tree planting is complete and preparing for the wedding has taken top priority once the stock are fed each day. Although we should not be lambing until 8th April some black lambs have made their appearance due to the escape of the Jacobs tup at the appropriate time. The number of twins arriving is very encouraging. We need them as we have never spent more on feeding the ewes.
ISLE OF CANNA
Just enough precipitation this month to top up our water supply...running low in March? Well I never... three months of dry weather was all very well, but the grass is certainly in need of it.
The entire population descended on the Gille Brighde for the opening night... we've no doubt that Aart and Amanda have provided a breath of fresh air and this wee enterprise should prove a real asset to Canna... quite a sight to see folk dressed up for a change! It's reassuring to know that most of us still retain a sense of sartorial elegance whilst living on a lump of basalt in the back of beyond. I did say most of us...
Thistle camp volunteers were in force once again, and a power of work was done around the place. Didn't have the best of the weather but I hope they'll think about returning soon. The binder shed got a clear out, work down at the pier, and a general trim about the edges. These folk are a blessing! And let's not forget Drystane Dougie, who dropped by on his travels and did a great job. Reminder for next time ... the school wall needs just a little TLC, if you have a few days spare...bring your own Angel Delight..!
We should be getting another visit from our property manager, newly appointed. Hopefully he'll be able to move over here soon and get stuck in to the tasks in hand. A big project this year will be the renovation of McIsaacs, assisted in no small way by the goodwill and generosity of the NTS Patrons Club. Work should be starting sometime in April and if everything goes to plan will be completed by the end of the season. Just like Grand Designs! Other big plans this summer include upgrading our fresh water storage, the opening of the gardens at Canna House, a folk museum/exhibition space and a bucket of tomatoes behind my shed on Sanday. So it's all go…so much to do before we lose an hour next week.
The big issue at the last Community Association meeting was... rabbits. Numbers are on the increase, and the damage is becoming more visible. Trees have been got at in and around Canna House, grazing is being badly affected, structures undermined and archaeology destroyed. If anyone has any (legal) suggestions, please get in touch. And I can wholeheartedly recommend the Rabbit and Cranberry with Pistachio at the restaurant.
Refreshing to see some fresh faces about the place, and the Summer sailings are just around the corner. It's a busy time on Canna... calving in progress, lambing in a few weeks... the school beach clean and not forgetting the Canna Mile run for Sports Relief... the place is slowly coming alive after a what seems a long winter. A great time to visit... already rooms are being booked up and it's quite apparent that we need to expand our accommodation, er, portfolio. I'm sure some canny folk will see to it. Watch this space.
Finally, a farewell to our good friend, Red Landrover. He will be sadly missed by many. Not by me, though.
ISLE OF RUM
It almost feels like spring on Rum and lots of people are out in the garden getting ready for the growing season. We have a new resident on the island - Linda from Denmark who is the new administrator for SNH in the Reserve Office - welcome Linda!
The Isle of Rum Community Trust is about to enter Phase Two of the Asset Transfer - transferring ownership of many SNH buildings to the Trust, an exciting time for residents. Castle repairs on the tower and oriel windows are almost complete and looking good - just in time for the scaffolding to come down before the castle busy season. The castle hostel is welcoming guests all summer with loads of bookings for May and April already. Portia and Sarge are going to be serving teas and coffees in the village hall this summer - so if you are visiting Rum, stop in for a cuppa. Also the Community Ranger guided walks and evening talks will be starting up again this Easter.
Rum is hosting the Small Island Games day this year in June and we are organising some fun events - watch this space for details. All in all a busy summer ahead!
MORAR COMMUNITY TRUST
UPDATE ON THE PAVILION IN THE PLAYING FIELD
As previously mentioned in West Word the Trust secured funding last summer for the first phase of the project, which is the Feasibility Study and Design of the Pavilion. However, the architect could not proceed until issues regarding the access road to the site were resolved. For the last two years we have been trying to sort out these issues. Last December we were finally getting somewhere and we asked architect John Renshaw from Edinburgh to start his work.
We have had a recent visit from him and a very productive meeting followed with most directors and two members of the Building Group present.
He had done the preparatory work on services, obtained and analysed site maps of water, electric and drainage systems on and around the site and done an assessment of how the existing services may affect the plans for the building. He had also looked at the boundaries of the site and the access road to it. Drawings were sent to the Planning and Road Departments for approval.
John presented us with two draft designs of the Pavilion, both of which we discussed. We then asked him to start further work on the most appealing scheme. He needs clarification and action on some points that we are at present pursuing.
In April we will have another meeting with John. When the draft design is at a further stage the Trust will organise an "open" consultation with the members on the design before it is submitted to Planning.
DEMOLITION OF OLD MORAR HALL
The Trust is taking on the demolition of the old village hall in Morar. Since about a decade the hall has not been in use because of asbestos in the building. We are in the process of getting a survey done in order to identify how much asbestos is present and where it is located. We can then obtain quotes from companies that are registered for asbestos removal. However, for the actual demolition no funding is in place yet and not available from Highland Council or any other organisation. Everyone can help though by supporting our fundraising events or lending a hand.
This project is proving to be a really exciting opportunity for local people to determine how their environment and quality of life in the Morar area is improved for everybody in the community. Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any comments on the issues in this newsletter or you would like to be involved in the Morar Community Trust. New members are always welcome! Contact Anna 462702, Eleanor 460007, Gemma 462876, Keith 460216, Mairi 462823, Martin 460365 or Tiina 462230.
These updates are included in the March newsletter put out by the Morar Community Trust to keep their members informed of progress.
WIDE WORLD WEST WORD
Last month we were in the company of some of the best local musicians we have to offer!
Above left: Gabe McVarish visited his home in California with Fraya Thomsen and his children Ida and Cian. Taken from the southern tip of the Marin peninsula, in the background is the Golden Gate Bridge
Above right: Ingrid and Allan Henderson took us to No 11 Downing Street the day before the budget!
Below left: The Jim Hunter Band was on tour at the "societe du gentlemen" in Bern, Switzerland but found time to snatch a read!
Below right: Ross Martin found himself in the company of Lenin and Stalin in Moscow's Red Square. Lenin seemed to want money but Stalin showed a definite interest in goings on in North West Lochaber and was a bit miffed Ross wouldn't part with his copy.
Below left: June Cairns took West Word on her cruise along South America and found chance for a perusal outside Argentina's Casa Rosada, where Eva Peron addressed the crowd in 1945.
Below right: Pictured in Mallaig, Inverness-shire are Robert and Isabelle Martin with their children Celine and Colin. Originally from Mallaig in Alberta, Canada, Robert, his wife and family are presently residing and working in Holland, but they will be returning to Canada in July - perhaps they will send West Word a photo when they get to Mallaig, Alberta!
Brian Ferguson, Paul Sinclair, Stuart Griffin, and Colin MacDonald even took West Word on the piste in Mayrhofen, Austria. Cool get up boys-very cool, we imagine!!
Ann and Michael Currie took their copy with them on a cruise on the Amazon, and Michael met this local selling his wares (bone sculptures) in Santarem. Their ship visited Port of Spain, Trinidad, and there they met Barra man Michael Ian MacLeod - seen here with Ann - who is a lecturer in Marine Studies in the nautical College there!
West Word - ten years ago
- Issue 6 of Volume 6 - 36 pages, 75p - had as its front page story Ross MacEachen of Arisaig, named as the Highlands Top Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Ross's invention of a single-eyed creel led him to start up in business as Cyclops Creels, and his business planning and its potential proved a winner with the judges.
- Also on the front page was the news that the Mallaig Health Centre was nearing completion.
- Archie Lawrie was pictured on his retiral from Mallaig Coastguard after 30 years service. John Henderson retired from the RNLI after 40 years service.
- A meeting was called for the middle of the month to discuss the project to celebrate the centenary of the Mallaig extension of the West Highland Line in 2001.
- Arisaig Police Station looked certain to close, despite long and strong opposition by the Community Council. Sgt. Souter promised that, in the even tof closure, the new Mallaig-based officer would be tasked with liason with school and community groups so that the officer would be 'Arisaig's' officer even though living in Mallaig.
- We carried a half page story about the possible introduction of a Pierhead Electrical Motor Cycle Service, using a miniature Italian folding 17mph model, to speed the workers on the pier to their place of work, after complaints of having to walk ¾ milr down to the end of the new Breakwater. There was a photo of the Harbour Master, Captain Alletson, trying it out. Keen readers picked up that the model was called the Lola Firpo and remembered the date - others were taken in!
- The first tuna ever landed at Mallaig came in at the end of March. An Irish boat, Western Viking, and a Shetland boat, Adenia, landed three between them, all about 8 ft long and weighing 40 - 45 stone individually. One sold for £800, another for £740.
- Lady Lovat Primary school pupils had a page in praise of 'Our Coastal Ranger - Super Angus!'
- Again a story from ten years ago mirrored by current events. Scrapped cars were being taken off Eigg - sound familiar?!
- A photo gallery of local business people who had achieved Investors in People Awards: Paul Longmuir (Cornerstone), Bertie and Billie McMinn (Traxnav and Western Battery Service); Ian Robertson (Old Forge, Knoydart); Angela & alan Broadhurst (Old Library, Arisaig); Kay Kirk and Jacqueline McDonell (Isle of Eigg Tearoom) and Alan Robinson (Doune Marine, Knoydart).
- The very popular Poet's Corner carried a page of verse from different people - including Rusty Dog!
- We reprinted an article from the Weekly News dated February 23rd 1901 about 'The Mallaig Railway - description of the new line'. Arisaig is described as 'a primitive little village', while Mallaig has 'a new hotel on a small plateau...a handsome structure, so arranged that every window commands an uninterrupted view of a great part of the unique panorama of ocean, isle and mountain around.' on th eother side of the page was large advetisement for 'Pink Pills for Pale People', containing a numberof testimonials. The page from the Weekly News was given to Dunriona and Iain Stewart, Arisaig, by Mr Flaus of Stirling, and was given by them to the Land, Sea and Islands Centre. It was laminated and is still on display at the Centre.
- Our occasional feature, A Sense of Adventure, featured Ranald Coyne of Arisaig in Vietnam.
- A Village Enhancement Project was being planned, run by charitable organsiation ILM which offered employment and training in the various skills required to carry it out.
On and Off the Rails
Heavy snowfall on West Highland Line causes more disruption to ScotRail services
After being closed for two weeks, due to avalanches, the West Highland Line was again the victim of heavy, drifting snowfall at County March Summit (1024ft above sea level) on Wednesday March 31st. A southbound freight train hauled by a GBRF Class 66 ran into snowdrifts at the 42½ mile post and became stuck. The drift was approximately 160 yards long and five feet high. The engine and wagons had ploughed into the drift and managed to travel about 80 yards before getting stuck fast. Following this train was the 06.03 Mallaig to Glasgow (I was on it!) which on arrival at Rannoch was told to return to Fort William. Eventually the freight train reversed to Bridge of Orchy, ran round its wagons and returned to Fort William.
Due to track renewal and re-ballasting between Spean Bridge and Crianlarich, a tamping machine was working in the area of Tyndrum, and this machine was dispatched to push through the drifts and clear away the snow. The line was re-opened to passenger trains at 17.00 hours the same day. It will be interesting to see if new freight operators GBRF and passenger operators ScotRail get together next Winter, and put in place a 'snow clearance programme' that would involve snowploughs at Crianlarich and Fort William.
Disruption to passenger and freight services on the West Highland Line due to advers weather conditions obviously affect the financial commitments of both companies. The track record of passenger trains is carefully monitored by 'Squire' and the frequent stoppages due to weather related conditions will probably convince them to put a snow-clearance package in place for next winter. Caledonian Sleeper services are also operated by ScotRail and were severely disrupted during the closure at County March Summit. This has a 'knock-on' effect as the Fort William Sleeper connects to the Inverness and Aberdeen sleepers at Edinburgh and it means rolling stock, locomotives etc. are not in the correct formation into London. It also disrupts the rota for staff and maintenance of the Fort William section.
Pathfinder Tours and Riviera Trains visit Mallaig
Sunday April 4th saw a Special Land Cruise Train into Mallaig. Having started its journey at 06.00 hrs at Salisbury on Friday April 2nd it travelled up country to Mossend where the train split into two sections, one half travelling to Kyle of Lochalsh via Inverness, the other half to Mallaig via Fort William. The Mallaig train consisted of two Class 47's and six luxury land-cruise carriages. The locomotives were owned by Riviera Trains and were outshopped in the original BR colours and livery, just as they were delivered to BR in 1965. One, numbered D1916, had its original pre-tops number. The other, numbered 47815, was post-tops and named Great Western and was used on the Penzance to Paddington sleeper services. The organisers hope that one day these engines will eventually reach Thurso, but to date Mallaig is the furthest North these 'celebrity' locomotives have been. The train crew were so impressed with the scenery around Mallaig that they decided to take the CalMac ferry across to Armadale in order to photograph the mountains and Loch of Inverie and Knoydart, which looked magnificent with the mountain tops covered in snow and mirror images in the Loch.
The train crew were from Newcastle and Crewe, and had never been to the West of Scotland before. They were taken aback with the stunning views and scenery. After crossing with the passengers travelling our way from the Kyle of Lochalsh via Portree, the Mallaig passengers went on to Inverness, whilst the Inverness passengers came to Armadale and across the sea to Mallaig, where they boarded the awaiting train and slowly travelled to Fort William, enjoying a 'premier dining evening meal' en-route. Many photographers chased the train by road, popping up and taking shots at various locations as the sun set. On Monday, the train left Fort William to meet up with the Kyle of Lochalsh section at Mossend, and onward to Salisbury (dining again on-board) to arrive at midnight. The organisers would like to say a big 'thank you' to local piper Katie Macnaughton, who turned up at Mallaig Station to pipe them aboard their 'special train'. In future issues of West Word I will try to keep you informed of any 'Special Trains'. The Jacobite steam train season from Fort William to Mallaig on Monday May 17th. This year West Coast Railway Company who operate the Jacobite intend to run through to the end of October. The longest season to date!
First visit of SRPS to Mallaig in 2010
Saturday May 9th sees the Scottish Railway Preservation Society visit Mallaig for their first visit of 2010, using West Coast traction and crew - along with their own vintage carriages. The locomotives will probably be Class 37 or Class 47 (or a mixture of both!). SRPS are always welcome visitors to Mallaig, bringing additional revenue to our shops and food outlets. Please make them feel welcome while they are here.
Friends of the West Highland Line Magazine and ScotRail picture postcards
The Spring issue of the above magazine and the latest ScotRail picture postcard sets are now on sale at Mallaig Visitor Centre. Both are interesting, the magazine featuring some photos taken by a local photographer!
Damage to Arisaig Station Platform edges Those of you who regularly board trains at Arisaig, both Northbound and Southbound, will have noticed severe damage to the platform edges due to salt eating into the concrete slabs. This has been an ongoing problem during the Winter months, and temporary repairs carried out during last Summer to try to alleviate the problem proved unsuccessful. The type of salt used this Winter to keep the platforms clear has had catastrophic results. The platform at Tulloch totally collapsed and led to single-line working for several weeks.
ScotRail pulled out all the stops to try to repair the platforms at Arisaig, and three new sections were inserted into the platform edges. Unfortunately, these repairs are only an interim measure, and eventually the whole edges of both platforms will have to be repaired.
See you on the train.
Thank You for the Music
Stella Nova, the Mallaig-based community choir, has for the second year running competed in the Inverness Music Festival and on this occasion returned home with the St Aubyn's Trophy awarded in recognition of their excellent performance in the Open Choirs section of Inverness Music Festival. The adult singing competitions were held on the evening of Saturday 13th March at the One Touch Theatre, Eden Court in Inverness. Stella Nova entered two classes, singing two songs in each class and were given high marks for both performances.
Established in the Spring of 2006 the group has gone from strength to strength and now has nearly thirty members from the West Lochaber area. In 2007, Stella Nova was lucky enough to secure the services of Christopher Josey as Musical Director for the group. Born in Australia now living in Roy Bridge in the Highlands of Scotland, Christopher has enjoyed a varied career. This included working with Opera Australia before moving to London to further his professional singing career. After ten years in London, he decided on a change of career and moved to Scotland where he now enjoys a career as a Vocal Tutor for Highland Council.
Christopher has encouraged Stella Nova to sing a wide variety of songs and has been developing the choir's capabilities over the past three years. With the experience of various concert performances and two years competing at Inverness Music Festival, Stella Nova can now look forward to their next concerts with confidence. There will be a joint concert with Lochaber Wind Band in Mallaig and Morar Community Centre in April and another joint concert with the Coire Choristers at Boat of Garten in June.
We are also very lucky to have our own accompanist in Stella Nova - Angela Hardman from Arisaig joined the choir initially as a singer but it was not very long before she found herself at the piano providing some much needed help and support to the choir. She plays at all the rehearsals and accompanies the choir at the various concerts.
Stella Nova will take the usual summer break from the middle of June and will start again at the end of August. If funding can be secured, the group is hoping to be able to record a CD later in the year.
We would like to thank all our supporters for their attendance at the various concerts over the past four years - and we hope we will see many more local people at our future concerts. Anyone who is interested in joining can just turn up at the Mallaig and Morar Community Centre on a Wednesday night at 7.00 p.m. or phone Hilary Trodd (Secretary) on 01687 450740 for more information.
News in Brief
- POWERDOWN communities are celebrating after exciting projects to boost local skills, create green jobs and cut carbon netted almost £800,000 in new funding. The 25-strong Powerdown consortium, which links communities from the Northern Isles to the Borders, has received the cash boost from the Climate Challenge Fund for a range of innovative schemes. On the Knoydart peninsula in the west Highlands, new life is being breathed into a historic market garden. Twelve plots have been allocated at the site in Inverie, and a part-time community gardener is helping restore the garden and teach people gardening skills. A total of £41,643 was awarded, which will enable the remote community to dramatically reduce food miles by growing their own fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Planning application for the turbines at the end of the West Bay Car Oark has been withdrawn by the Mallaig & Morar Community Centre Association. Other options for the placing of the turbines are being considered.
- A military training exercise in the Sound of Sleat was responsible for some late night/early morning sleep deprivation for locals on Monday 8th March. Villagers in both Mallaig and Arisaig as well as Sleat were wakened in the early hours by a helicopter flying back and forth over the Sound. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence confirmed that military training was taking place in the area!
- Important message for fishing boat skippers and yacht owners - with effect from 1st April 2010, the local Coastguard cannot accept time expired pyrotechnics (flares etc.) from any source. To arrange for disposal at your nearest Coastguard facility, telephone Stornoway Coastguard on 01851 708450.
- The Highland Council is launching the second phase of a major review of Community Councils, which focuses on a proposed new Scheme for Community Councils, including a model constitution, standing orders and code of conduct for Community Councillors. The consultation, which runs until 30 June, also provides the opportunity for communities to further consider any potential boundary changes, which featured in the first phase of public consultation from September to December 2009. 21 proposed boundary amendments emerged from the first phase of consultation. A further 14 proposals were received and recommended for further discussion locally during phase two of the consultation process. A third and final phase of consultation will follow in September 2010 which will consider any amendments made following phase two consultation.
Birdwatch by Stephen MacDonald
A few birds on the move this month with the first of our summer visitors appearing. A male Wheatear at Rhue, Arisaig, on the 23rd followed by another sighting on the 26th at Mallaig Vaig were the first reports.
Some 20 Whooper Swans resting on Loch an Nostarie on the 7th were probably part of a large movement of Whoopers noted heading North throughout the country around that time.
A single Waxwing was visiting gardens in the Clanranald Terrace area of Mallaig from the 3rd of the month. It was feeding on apples and pears that had been put out for blackbirds and thrushes. The last confirmed sighting was on Saturday 20th. This was a notable sighting as there has been very few reports of Waxwings this winter in the British Isles. In N W Scotland there were single birds reported from Mull, Skye and Sutherland in February.
An adult Iceland Gull was seen in Mallaig on the 18th and was still present at the month end. There have been very few reports of them or Glaucous gulls this winter also.
The first Gannets fishing close inshore were seen off Glasnacardoch on the 18th. The wintering Greenshank on the Morar estuary was joined by a returning bird on the 22nd. Also on the 22nd, a single Pink-Footed Goose was seen with the Greylags at the Back of Keppoch.
There were still good news of Red-Breasted Mergansers and Goldeneye on Loch nan Ceall throughout the month. On the 31st there were 7 Goldeneye and 3 pairs of Goosanders on the West end of Loch Morar.
A female/Immature Hen Harrier was seen at Back of Keppoch on the 18th and a female Merlin was seen chasing Meadow Pipits at Achnaskia on the 22nd. On good sunny days Buzzards could be seen displaying throughout the area and Sparrowhawks were reported regularly from Morar and Arisaig.
Finally, there was an unusual report at the end of the month of a possible sighting of a flock of Choughs (pron. Chuffs) between Tougal and Cross Farm. The birds were only seen briefly from a car as they flew up from the ground.
The Chough has a very restricted breeding range in Scotland, the main areas being Islay and Colonsay. They do form flocks outside the breeding season and sometimes wander foraging for food.
(They are the member of the crow type with red bill and legs.)
A Little Genealogy by Allan and Elizabeth MacDonald (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Borrodale/Glenaladale MacDonalds. Where are they now?
After the '45 Rebellion, the system of land tenure in the Highlands changed. Clan chiefs who, in the past, leased farms to tacksmen, usually their own kin, had the rents paid, partially in kind. The chiefs now had to pay taxes to the crown and this had to be in cash money, a rare commodity among the lower classes from whom the tacksmen found funds via rents. The tacksmen could not afford these higher rents so they were forced to look overseas for new opportunities. This was not a new phenomenon as from 1680 there had been a steady trickle of emigration to North Carolina. When the dust of the '45 settled the trickle became a deluge to the Carolinas and newly opened Canada. The principle tacksman of Clanranald was John MacDonald of Glenaladale and Glenfinnan, a nephew of Angus Borrodale, who, having received a classical education, was appointed second in command to Ranald, 17th Chief and Captain of Clanranald. They had a very amicable relationship until 1766 when Ranald died and John then had to deal with Lady Clanranald, the former Margaret MacLeod of Luskintyre and Bernera, who was holding the estate in trust till their eldest son, Ranald would come of age. John and Lady Clanranald did not see eye to eye. Added to this was the religious persecution of the Uist Catholic population by Colin MacDonald 11 of Boisdale a cousin of Clanranald. John MacDonald, V11 of Glenaladale, later known as "Captain John" then made plans for emigration and by 1772 he had secured lots 35 and 36 in St. John's Island, now Prince Edward Island (PEI) which consisted of thirty thousand acres. He hired the ship Alexander and took with him to PEI, some three hundred people from Uist, Arisaig, Moidart and the Small Isles.
On board was his cousin, Donald (MacDonald) Alisary, who was married to Jane MacDonald, daughter of John of Gaoithe Dail, granddaughter of Alexander 1V of Morar and niece of Bishop Hugh, first bishop of the Highland Vicariate who blessed the standard at Glenfinnan. Donald and Jane had seven children. Nelly, Angus, John, Allan, James, Mary and Catherine. Jane also had two married sisters, Catherine and Margaret who settled in PEI, as well as a brother, Father James Hugh who joined them later. (in 1793). Jane's brother, Angus had nine boys and two girls and he and his family went to Nova Scotia. Angus was grandfather to Judge Hugh MacDonald, a judge in the Superior Court of Alberta. Judge Hugh's brother, Angus Lewis, was twice the Premier of Nova Scotia. They had a sister, who became a nun and whose religious name was St. Veronica. She came to Scotland after World War 1 and stayed for two months in the West Highland Hotel, Mallaig. There was also another brother, Father Stanley MacDonald.
Last year we had a visit from Evan MacDonald, aged 22, of PEI. Evan is the descendant of Donald MacDonald, Alisary and his wife, Jane MacDonald of Gaoithe Dail. He visited Borrodale and was taken on a boat trip from Borrodale to Arisaig by Charles Dodson, the present owner of Borrodale House.
Ronald, Angus Borrodale's second son, who inherited Borrodale at his father's death, had five daughters, four of whom, Kirsty, Mary, Ann and Isabella, married and went to PEI. The fifth daughter, Flora, married Alexander MacDonald, the Banker, from Dalilea. The sisters' eldest brother, John, took over Borrodale when Ronald died in 1780. John Borrodale had also spent a lot of time administering to the Glens for his uncle, Alasdair an ̉ir who in his old age, married a young cousin of the MacGregor/Graham family from Corriearklet by whom he had three children.
It may be relevant at this point to review the Glenaladale family of John, the fifth laird. (1) John V1, (2) Angus Borrodale, (3) Ronald of Druim Laoigh, (4) Lt. Ruaraidh, who fought at Colloden, (4) Alasdair a' Slataich, (Glenfinnan) (6) Allan a' Slataich, (7) James, baillie of Canna, (8) Donald, (9) Catherine who married Donald Macleod of Aultergill, the Prince's Pilot and (10) Penelope who married Angus MacDonald of Stoneybridge, South Uist.
In 1919, a Canadian soldier, William MacDonald, on his way home from WW1 in Europe, took time out to visit Arisaig. He met Donald MacDonald and his wife, Elizabeth, parents of Donald (Dearg), Charlie (Gille Fhein) and William, which family lived in the Shieling, Back of Keppoch. William corresponded for a short time with Donald . Canadian William MacDonald's patronymic was Uilleam mac Aoghnas 'ic Raonull 'ic Iain 'ic Raonull 'ic Alasdair (Alasdair a' Slataich). In 1956 he commenced a correspondence with Willie MacDonald, b. 1881, Tàigh an Loin, Back of Keppoch. They corresponded for a few years, establishing the fact that they were distant cousins, descended from two brothers, Alasdair and Allan, of Angus Borrodale and John V of Glenaladale. Willie's patronymic was, Uilleam mac Ailean 'ic Alasdair 'ic Ruaraidh 'ic Allan (a' Slataich). I wonder where did the name "William" come into the family as it seems to have come down the emigrant branch of the family as well as the Arisaig branch?
William, the Canadian soldier, now living in California, sent Willie Tàigh an Loin a copy of "the Life and Times of Fr, Angus Bernard MacEachen of the Diocese of Charlottetown, PEI, signed by the author, Emmett J. Mullally MD at Montreal, 7th September 1948. Bishop Angus Bernard was a gg grand uncle of William's wife. NFI.
All was not roses with the 1772 emigrants when the settlers arrived in PEI. The land they acquired was all forest which had to be cleared. Dissension arose between the emigrants and Captain John. They could not grow crops, but they had a form of Rates, "quit rents" to find, and rental owing to Captain John for their farms. Unfortunately, they had no income to cover these expenses. Also, John MacDonald expected to continue the old social hierarchy in the New World. These intrepid pioneers, who had travelled far, to escape just such restrictions and limitations in the Old World, were having none of it.
Hugh MacEachen, former gardener at Kinlochmoidart and his wife, parents of Bishop Angus Bernard, along with Andrew MacDonald, ex-Baillie of Eilean Shona and his wife Isabella, daughter of Ronald Borrodale, who had also gone out in 1772, were the first of the settlers to move out of captain John's farms and get superior land on the island, for themselves.
For further information on the Tàigh an Loin family, see WW November 2006.
A correction to the article of March 2010. A mistake was made regarding the wife of Iain Frangach. Her name was, in fact, Catherine MacDonell, not Mary, as we stated. Mary was Catherine's sister who was handicapped and lived with the family.
We would also like to thank Neil MacEachin, Tullochgorm and his son-in-law, Jeremy Benfield, for their generous contribution of information towards last month's article on the MacDonalds of Rhu.
Moran taing a' cairdean.
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