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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
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August 2015 Issue
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RESIDENTS RETURN TO THE MACKINTOSH CENTRE
We feared it wouldn't happen but Monday 3rd August saw the return of staff and residents to Mallaig over a year after the Centre closed to residential care.
Staff at Invernevis House in Fort William gave them a big farewell party on Friday 31st July and Mackintosh Centre staff presented Invernevis with plants for their proposed sensory garden.
Another party on the Monday welcomed them back, with residents' families able to join together in a leisurely lunch and social afternoon. Locals shops provided flowers, balloons, wrapping paper and biscuits and volunteers spent the week on the Centre's garden.
An Open Day will be held on Friday 28th August when members of the local community will have the opportunity to share ideas for the Centre's future while enjoying a cup of tea.
MALLAIG'S UNCERTAIN FUTURE
Anger and frustration is growing in Mallaig over the Small Isles Marine Protected Area announced by the Scottish Government which is due to be implemented in 1st November this year. The consultation on Marine Protected Areas was extended by Scottish Ministers to the 9th of August following requests from a number of stakeholders concerning the implementation of the new orders.
If the proposed MPA goes ahead it will close off large areas to the local boats, preventing them from using the fishing grounds which for generations have provided them with safe and sheltered fishing. It is estimated that some 70% of the annual grossing of many local boats comes from these grounds.
The feelings of anger are shared along the west coast and in the Outer Isles where other proposed MPAs threated to restrict fishing. Although the proposals were supposedly to have had full consultation and although many meetings were attended and views given, the overwhelming feeling is that the fishermen's' input has been totally ignored, and protests are falling on deaf ears.
The local skippers all support the idea of protecting the marine environment and would willingly take steps to avoid sensitive areas which could be achieved without the blanket ban of the whole area.
The ban will also affect the regular seasonal visiting trawlers. The total effect on the economy of the area is potentially crippling and could lead to the loss of many jobs, including those not connected with fishing, as the ripple effect spreads ut and affects families and whole communities.
Dave Thompson, SNP MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch has submitted his own response to the consutation. In his submission Mr Thompson said:
"I believe that the excluded areas for prawn trawlers should be shrunk to the absolute minimum required protecting the marine features and therefore limiting the negative effects the current proposals will have on trawling and fishing livelihoods in the region.
"I don't think it is unreasonable to expect a balance to be struck between the needs of fishermen, particularly trawlermen, and environment protection. The latter I accept is vitally important, but not at the expense of seriously damaging the local area which relies so heavily on fishing.
"A highly unsatisfactory and possible outcome from the current proposals would be that Scotland's coastal communities suffer unfairly, therefore I will be working with fisherman to, hopefully, find a way of ameliorating the proposals, which will be put before the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee in September".
BIRTHDAY CEILIDH FOR WEST WORD
WE FOUND OUR LOGO DESIGNER!
Another soggy month gone by…And we're still waiting on summer…. The sun is a much appreciated treat at the moment here, where for a brief interlude, you might actually be able to remove your jacket. The kids have been much braver however, making the most of the warm (er) days by leaping fearlessly off the pier a few times. It might not be limiting the kids fun but we've seen the burger van and a volunteer day called off because of high winds, not to mention a small flurry of hailstones during one of the relentless downpours at The Games. It was a quieter games than usual this year, with hardly any folk from Mallaig over during the day but locals and tourists still enjoyed themselves none the less. The burger van and the Tearoom were busy, as we held the games in the village, with a bar being provided behind the hall. The sun even graced us with its presence for a wee while. There were no takers for the raft race sadly (but quite understandably!) and the wheel barrow race was rained off but the kiddie races, dog show, and tug of wars were some of the highlights. Ross Martin, Gabe, Tam the Banjo and Galen provided us with great music at night, despite power switching off at 11! Good on Kira and Freya for their ceilidh dancing in the pitch dark!! Despite all the weather misfortune though we have still managed to fit in a couple of bonfire nights on the beach, which remind you that maybe it IS summer after all. The market garden is producing lots of lovely salad and the soft fruits have started to appear, as well as vegetables, herbs and flowers, all of which will be on show at the Garden Open day in September.
It's been all go on the hydro front, with work commencing a couple of weeks ago on our dam improvement project. This is due to last for 7 weeks and during that time we are on generator, so no power overnight. It has to be said, there is definitely something nice about getting the candles out to go to bed. A huge amount of work has been put into the project and works will include replacement of pipework through the dam, new valves, improvements to the rear wall of the dam and more. On the rangering front, a group of Belgian scouts came and worked for a week with the rangers, helping with clearing out the old piggery, and creating a path through the boggy areas of the harvest maze amongst other things.
And finally, welcome back to The Humphreys, who have been living in the States for the past few years and have recently come back. Good to see them, but jeezo have the kids grown!
ISLE OF MUCK
Three' Camas' events took place in July and all were very successful. First was Elsa the Mercenary Fiddler (and her partner) a talented pair who have been trying to get to Muck for some years. They played on a number of instruments and sang to much applause. It was an enjoyable evening. Even more popular was the 'Ceilidh Trail' who come every year and this year was even bigger with eight young instrumentalists and a range of Gaelic songs. There was more dancing and less concert and it was billed to start at 7.30 at which time there were very few in the audience but by 10 pm the hall can almost be described as packed. Where everyone had come from was not that apparent but Muck has been very busy with resident visitors during July. Port Mor House and the Bunkhouse were unavailable in 2014 and the Yurt has been very popular. The number of self catering beds has doubled and Gallanach Lodge has had to turn custom away.
The third Camas event was the Raft Race. This was the second Raft Race and there was an amazing eight rafts entered by islanders and visitors . Each raft was manned by four paddles and once again Sandy Mathers and his crew rounded the island of Corolag and reached the beach well ahead of all the competitors. A Bar b Que followed and though it cannot be described as a fine sunny evening at least the rain stayed away. A poor month of weather has been July and it has been so cold that flies have been almost entirely absent and the dreaded midges have been confined to a few sheltered corners. However Colin and Barnaby have been able to make the silage - just!
Great news on the 'major jobs to be done' front. After 10 years the pier waiting room has doors and is wind and water tight. The school has its outdoor classroom. All due to the kindness of Marine Harvest. And we now have a super new pontoon at Port Mor harbour. Thank you very much indeed Marine Harvest.
That is all this month.
ISLE OF RUM
The non-summery weather continued through July and looks set to carry on through August. I think we're all pinning our hopes on an Indian Summer now as the Scottish one clearly hasn't showed up!
Rum numbers dropped even lower in July as we waved goodbye to Mel and Emily, formerly of Kinloch Castle. Ross is doing a grand job of running the castle tours and being Castle caretaker.
Jed & Derek at the Rum Bunkhouse have been really busy with a full house of visitors including lots of Geology students doing fieldwork. Jinty's Barbecue Bothy was officially opened with a barbecue warming party including Allan Henderson as a guest. Wednesday Market Days have been running in the village hall alongside teashop. This year we have had a great selection of pop up teashops run by various Rumachs giving visitors a huge variety of catering offerings.
The Big SNH move from White House and Kinloch Hostel up to the Big Green Shed is under way with lots of packing up of boxes and moving furniture around. Three Rum pony mares are 'entertaining' a visiting stallion in the castle field, testing Doug & David's fence strength!
Several great nights out in the village hall courtesy of visiting musicians, some brilliant ceilidhs, jamming sessions and wild dancing.
ISLE OF EIGG
There could not be a greater contrast with last year's column for July "Sun, sea and swim in an almost Caribbean setting, with azure sky and sea and temperatures to match": guess this year has to be "wind and more wind, rain and the lowest July temperatures on record"! Watching the weather forecast has become the most depressing activity ever! As a result, we have seen a substantial drop in day visitors' numbers. French visitors attracted by last year's programme on Eigg were amazed to witness all 4 seasons in one week, but said the island spirit made up for it. And at least we did not have that many midges…
What did not go down however was the number of our Feis participants this year, on the contrary, it was up to 30 children! Our stalwart friends from Fife were back again, withstanding gale force winds the campsite at Sandaveg with their usual good humour. Feis Eige 2015 saw the welcome return of Leo McCann as a button box tutor and of his wife Linda as the art tutor with her trademark plasticine figures. Jen's double-bass class was as popular this year than last year and our Gaelic tutor, lovely Lisa Moyers, got us all to sing the famous Eigg song Nighean Bhan Ghrulain, the fair maid of Grulin, made popular some years ago by Anne Martin singing with Daimh. The feis concert was fabulous, and the Feis ceilidh was deemed to be one of the best ever, thanks to our wonderful tutors! (see all the pics on our Feis website) Thanks also to all who helped raise funds for Feis Eige through the Feis Kitchen at the Monday market, the following week!
Our many Eigg volunteers have also been busy either helping John Chester in his wild life recording, or working with Tasha and members of the community, adding some laughter and fun to our summer. Our children have also benefited from the MiniEigg activities put on by Irish Nan, who has relocated herself to the island from London for the summer and is a great boost to our singing group.: we all hope she'll come back next year.
The rest of the month seems to have gone very fast, with a few good Friday music sessions at the pier, although the cancellation of Donald Black's concert owing to him being stuck on Canna with his band was a disappointment. Amazingly, both Saira Rennie and George Carr's birthdays fell on days that were dry enough were able to have a celebratory bonfire! And it ended with a high, thanks to Blaze giving us yet another wonderful night of classic rock: 4 solid hours or some 60 songs! A big hand to Mick Brett who organised it all and was on top form despite playing every night for a week in their highland tour: you're a real star!
ISLE OF CANNA
It has been a busy social month on Canna starting on July 4th with Limelight Singers performing a charity gig to raise funds for the community development fund. The Donald Black band (right) played in St Columba's Chapel, the music was fantastic and the venue made it even better, unfortunately due to bad weather the band didn't make it to Eigg to perform the next day. You must reschedule Eigg as they were great, very entertaining.
Sleeping Dogs, a band from Newcastle, performed another charity gig at Camus Arts Centre and we are hoping to get them back again sometime soon. A big thank you to all the performers.
Fiona and Donald MacKenzie hosted a house gig at The Square featuring The Fiddle Footed Cummings Family from Seattle, a very talented family.
Sadly we said goodbye to teacher Kirsteen Campbell who has moved to Avoch. Good luck for the future and do come back to visit soon.
Looking forward to seeing fellow islanders and all at The Small isles Games on the 12 September!
Feis Chanaidh is on from the 5-7 August, details on the Canna Facebook page.
For the first time ever a contract shearer came over to help get the bulk of shearing out of the way, thanks to Farquhar MacRae from Kintail who did a great job, hope to have you back next year.
Dave Thompson, SNP MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch recently visited Drimsallie Hatchery, near Glenfinnan, which was set up 20 years ago to address the decline of wild salmon and sea trout in Lochaber.
It is run by the River Lochy Association (the owning syndicate on the River Lochy) on a not for profit basis and currently attracts contributions from a wide range of stakeholders. The hatchery is managed by full time Fisheries Restoration Manager, Jon Gibb, who Dave was delighted to meet (as pictured) on his recent visit.
Over the years it has delivered restoration programmes for nine separate river systems in Lochaber.
Mr Thompson said,
"My visit to Drimsallie Hatchery in Lochaber was very useful and interesting.
"It was great to meet Jon who informed me that Salmon of up to 22lbs have been recorded and this year has seen the best return of spring fish from the programme so far.
"Based on early successes, there are plans to expand the programme further and Jon hopes to soon be working with Marine Scotland Science to formally monitor the project's success.
"I wish the Hatchery and Jon in particular all the best for further improved rates of adult salmon and every success going forward".
ARISAIG HIGHLAND GAMES
Arisaig Highland Games 2015 attracted a record attendance and enjoyed relatively good weather compared to the rest of the month of July.
We had a strong entry in the piping competitions with 8 senior pipers competing. The day was dominated by Angus MacColl from Oban, winning both the Piobaireachd and Light Music competitions. The Cameron family had a successful day with Sandy among the prizes in his first appearance in the senior competitions at Arisaig Games, with younger brother Finlay winning the junior piping title. The senior dancing competition was won by Kara Broughton from Australia. Molly Smith and Chanel Gillon won the other Open classes with Aimee Sneddon winning the local trophy.
The Heavy events were a tightly contested affair with a very strong field of 12 athletes. It was victory in the last event of the day which allowed Nathan Burchett from the USA to narrowly edge out Lorne Coltart of Blair Atholl for the overall title. The local title was retained by David Hart with Tommy MacEachen placing in the local hammer competition in his 62nd year of competing at Arisaig Games. Ross Douglas continued his dominance in the track and field category winning the sprints and jumping events and retaining the Robert Dempster & Astley Nicolson trophies.
The 2015 Games were a great success and we would like to thank all those who attended, participated or supported our event. We are, as always, extremely grateful for all the hard work of our volunteers involved in planning and running the event. The Games committee sincerely appreciate the time invested by everyone involved and it would be impossible to run the event without them. Particular thanks are due to Norman & Calum Milne not only for their huge input into the Games, but also for organising and hosting a meal & drinks for all Games staff.
We wish to thank our partners at Ardnamurchan Distillery and all of our sponsors for their generous support which is vital in ensuring the long term future of Arisaig Games.
Fraser MacDougall, Treasurer, said 'We are delighted that we have had another very successful Arisaig Highland Games. The weather held for us and we think we have topped the record crowd we set last year. The quality of competitors in the Piping, Dancing and Heavy events was very impressive and all of the feedback we have received has been incredibly positive. The ceilidh dance in the evening was another highlight with the village hall full to capacity for the visit of Skipinnish.' View the photos of the day on www.arisaighighlandgames.co.uk
MALLAIG & MORAR GAMES
Mixed weather for the Games which were held on the Lovat Games Field, Morar, on Sunday 2nd August 2015 but the rain held off for the many people who attended and enjoyed the day which was of the usual high standard. Games Chieftain Sir Cameron Mackintosh led the Lochaber Schools Pipe Band through the village to the field where he opened the event.
A tribute was paid to Charles Kennedy who was a keen supporter of local events.
The Games were followed by a Hog Roast and music in the Morar Hotel.
See photos of the event on alba.photos
Jane Sanderson with the Norma Downey Quaich and Martin Bird with the Jack Shaw Stewart Trophy
The day would not have been possible without the generous support of our sponsors whose support funds our prizes and helps offset the other costs associated with running the event. Traigh GC is grateful to Allroundsigns, Arisaig House, Arisaig Hotel, Cafe Rhu, Denholm Fishselling, Ferguson Transport, Knoydart Construction, Lochaber Housing Association, Mallaig Boatyard, Mallaig Fishermen's Coop, Mallaig Harbour Authority, Mallaig & NW Fishermen's Association, Marine Harvest, MacLean Deliveries, Andy McGregor, Scottish Fishermen's Association, Scottish Sea Farms, Tea Garden, Traigh Golf Course, Henry Young & Son and the West of Scotland Fish Producer's Organisation. Thanks also to Heather, Carole, June, Marion and Morag for looking after the food and drink and admin side of things, and lastly to Gavin Johnston, who battled the elements leading up to the day to get the course in the best possible shape.
Our next event is the Seniors' Mixed Open on 4 September. This will be the first time the Club has run a seniors' competition: let's hope for better weather!
Here is a 'Then and Now' picture spread which illustrates the changes that have occurred in the centre of the village of Mallaig at the head of Lovat Beach. The only trouble is I don't know when the 'Then' photograph was taken - some time I the early 60's I would hazard a guess!
ON & OFF THE RAILS
It's not the wrong weather, it's just the wrong month!
As I write this column - with the wood burning stove lit, the scented candle glowing, the mist hanging heavy in the air and the rain just about to start from the North - just allow (even me, the ever optimistic one!) a hollow laugh that this is the August issue that I am writing for!! I've just dried out from running up to the rock at the top of the garden (beneath the flagpole) to join Steve, as we cheerily wave to the departing Jacobite steam train passengers and crew. They are trying to demist their windows and there we are through the steam and mist. It's like a 'Mexican Wave' as carriage after carriage of people realise we are there and nudge each other into waving! Even the hardy souls that try to do sound recordings join in. Two minutes later and we are back in the house and glad to be so. At least I am not having to do any watering of plants today. If only I took up a white handkerchief each day we would be like two very senior extras from the 'Railway Children' film! Hopefully, with the Arisaig, Knoydart plus Mallaig & Morar Games all on in the next six days better weather will come our way. Goodness knows the Steam Inn Beer Garden and the Tea Garden and the new seating at the pier are all underused at present.
You may have noticed (or even experienced) that on our Branch Line we are sometimes, at quite short notice, having substitute buses instead of trains on our Abellio/ScotRail service in order to keep the timetable running. This is a knock-on effect following the decision of some staff to work only their regular contracted hours and not work any rest days, in lieu days or booked holidays. Currently at Mallaig we have two staff off, unavoidably, on long-term sick leave. This combined with other staff booked holidays and with Fort William experiencing similar problems this means we do not currently have enough staff to work the rostas without committing to extra shifts - which for some staff is not practical. When this happens the only solution is to put on a bus or coach. It is regrettable - and also very difficult for passengers with wheelchairs, bikes and dogs. It is not happening too often, but if and when it does, that is the reason why. Hopefully a resolution will soon be found. In the meantime, good luck to all who travel on Abellio/ScotRail on the branch line, including the booking office and catering staff who very often bear the brunt of customer frustrations.
It is only ScotRail (operated by Abellio) services that are occasionally being affected, not the Jacobite steam train services, or any booked charter trains. The Caledonian Sleeper Train service (operated by Serco) on the main line is also not affected.
Meanwhile - elsewhere on the rails!
Abellio/ScotRail will be celebrating the re-establishment of passenger railway services for the first time in 46 years on the newly refurbished line between Edinburgh Waverley and Tweedbank in the Scottish Borders on September 6th 2015. As well as a frequent timetable service, Steam Dreams and SRPS have joined forces with Abellio to operate Steam Trains on the line on seven days in September and eight days in October, on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. For full information of how to travel behind John Cameron's steam locomotive No 60009 Union of South Africa (one of only six remaining LNER Class A4 steam locomotives - she was built in Doncaster in 1937) contact Steam Dreams on 01483 209888. The same number applies for booking tickets or look up the details on the website www.steamdreams.co.uk.
Corrour Station House
In the past few weeks a change has been taking place at Corrour.
Ollie, Lizzie and Archie (the well documented dog) have departed to further their 'hospitality' business in, as yet, un-announced business premises. They have been operating Corrour Station Restaurant with Rooms; within Corrour Station House, next to Corrour Railway Station and are currently enjoying a wee break. We will follow their progress with interest. Corrour Estate Management wish them every success for their future plans.
In the meantime Corrour Estate, who own the premises, are now 'open for business', re-establishing themselves as 'being somewhere that will provide a welcoming refuge to walkers, cyclists and train travellers in one of the remotest parts of the Highlands'. In August they will welcome visitors from 11am - 9pm, 7 days a week, with further dates to be announced - whether it be for a full meal in the day time or evening if stopping off by train, or just for a snack, a hot drink, a warm by the fire and use of the facilities if walking through the estate - which encourages open access.
Steve and I travelled from Mallaig on the 10.10am train to the re-opening on Wednesday July 22nd. Arriving at Corrour at 12.30pm the weather was good, so the views were excellent. Approximately fifteen customers took lunch, some going for a walk, returning to have a hot drink before coming back on the train to Fort William (and in our case Mallaig) on the 3.30pm train.
David Taylor, who is the Lodge Manager, was 'mine host' on the first day, ably assisted by Amy Kincard and Shona Griffiths who by now will have fitted into their new roles of looking after travellers as they pass through Corrour. They are two very happy young adults who have returned to Corrour after a winter break (one in Antarctica, one in Edinburgh) and see this as an ideal opportunity to re-establish Corrour Station House as a 'haven in the wilderness.' Along with Loch Ossian and the Scottish Youth Hostel on its shores I am sure they will achieve this. The new website for details is www.corrour-station-house-restaurant.co.uk, Facebook Corrour Station House, telephone 01397 732236.
Thanks for making us so welcome - we hope you enjoyed the Jaffy's kippers and the plant!
Results of July On and Off the Rails competition
The correct answer to the question set by me in last month's West Word was 'Christopher Vine'. The lucky winners of the book - and what a charming and factual book it is - titled Peter's Railway The Great Train Robbery are Isabel MacPhee of Caol and Ross Martin of Morar. Congratulations to you both.
Following our visit to the launch day of the Corrour Station House, the Manager of Corrour Estate donated a 70cl bottle of Corrour Highland Blended (special label) Scotch Whisky to use for this competition. Distilled and blended especially for Corrour Estate by Tomatin Distillery, 40% proof and a product of Scotland, it has a pale honey like glow to it! and is available for sale online long with Corrour Venison.
To enter the draw and be in with a chance of ultimately winning the bottle, answer on a postcard the following question: Question: What is the name of the Corrour Lodge Manager?
Send it to me, Sonia Cameron, Fasgadh, Marine Place, Mallaig PH41 4RD, no later than Thursday August 27th. Good luck! For further details of making a purchase contact Corrour Estate Office on 01397 732200, or www.corrour.co.uk.
Latest News on ScotRail Club 50 (but only online)
Join Club 50 by 31st August for free membership for a year and an exclusive introductory travel offer. Go to www.scotrail.co.uk click on Offers then on Club 50.
The exclusive introductory offer lets you travel throughout Scotland for just £10 return until 30th September. After 31st August the annual membership fee will be £15.
Club 50 is ScotRail's new exclusive club for people aged 50 and over, launching 14th September. As a member you'll get a year round 20% discount on off-peak and advance tickets purchased online (10% if purchased at a station). Throughout the year you'll also benefit from other exclusive offers and deals.
It's quick and easy - all you need to join is an email address and a photo.
Once you register they will send you your exclusive Club 50 membership card in September.
The travel offer is valid on Scotrail services between any two stations in Scotland except Lockerbie. It is valid at weekends and restrictions on Monday to Friday travel is listed on the website
See you on the train.
Mallaig Lifeboat Log - July 2015
There were four callouts of the Mallaig Severn Class Lifeboat Henry Alton Hewat during July.
Thursday 2nd July 2015
Yacht Destiny acting on behalf of Yacht Arc eu Cello.
A Pan Pan call received from the yacht Destiny alerted the Coastguard to grounding of the yacht Arc eu Cello in the entrance to Loch Moidart at 11:05hrs.The Lifeboat proceeded for Loch Moidart at 11:15hrs. Whilst on passage to Loch Moidart the Destiny acting as a message relay station informed the Lifeboat that the casualty had refloated but was unable to navigate to safety. Once in the loch the Lifeboat deployed the Y-Boat with two crew members to survey the area around the casualty to ascertain how best to recover the yacht to safety. Because of the strong ebb the casualty was being held against the reef. Fortunately with only 30 minutes to slack water the crew of the Y-Boat found a safe deep route to safety. With the Y-Boat pushing the casualty against the tide and operating astern the yacht was guided to deep water and anchored to await more tide before continuing on its passage out of the narrow entrance of the loch. With the situation in hand Lifeboat returned to station and fueled and ready for service at 14:15hrs.
Wednesday 8th July 2015
Assisting two yachts in Loch Scavaig.
Launched by Stornoway Coastguard to the assistance of two yachts ashore in Loch Scavaig, Isle of Skye at 01:10hrs. Both vessels had been blown ashore by winds of the high surrounding mountains. Arriving on scene at 02:00hrs the Lifeboat found that a motorboat had managed to refloat itself but would remain on scene to offer assistance if necessary. Not so for the yacht which was hard aground against a rockface on the falling tide. The two crew managed to get fendering and their dinghy between the hull and the rockface preventing damage. The yacht was made secure and the crew brought onboard the Lifeboat by Y-Boat. The Lifeboat and motorboat remained on scene until low water. Two crew returned by Y-Boat to the yacht to inspect for damage to it. Fortunately she had sustained no damage bar a few scratches. Lifeboat returned to Mallaig with the yachts crew and the motorboat to await for the turn of the tide.
Wednesday 8th July 2015
Drifting Tender in Loch Nevis.
Whilst escorting a Yacht out of Loch Scavaig after being refloated and just making sure that all was in order before returning to Mallaig the Lifeboat was tasked to another call. A yacht on passage off Mallaig had spotted a drifting tender in the entrance of Loch Nevis at 12:35hrs. On scene at 13:00hrs the Lifeboat searched about the entrance of Loch Nevis and down to the Morar River Estuary. With a stiff breeze from the North, sea conditions were not helpful for searching for a small dinghy amongst white horses (small breaking waves). With the dinghy confirmed as missing with no persons onboard the Lifeboat was stood down and returned to port. Luckily a local vessel recovered the dinghy later in the afternoon. Lifeboat ready for service at 15:00hrs.
Wednesday 15th July 2015
Medivac from Isle of Rum.
Launched by Stornoway Coastguard to Medivac an injured person from the Isle of Rum at13:25hrs.A daytripper had tripped and fallen whilst enjoying a walk on the Island. Local Coastguards suspected that she had broken her arm along with a facial injury and that she should receive Medical treatment as soon as possible. On scene at 14:05 the Lifeboat was met by Coastguards at the new slipway with the casualty. Once secure alongside the casualty who was able to walk assisted was boarded and made comfortable in the back of the wheelhouse along with her partner for journey back to the Mainland. Once back at Mallaig the local Ambulance crew met the Lifeboat and conveyed the casualty to Fort William's Belford Hospital for further assessment and treatment. Lifeboat ready for service at 15:00hrs.
BIRDWATCH July 2015 by Stephen MacDonald
July was fairly typical birdwise, with lots of juvenile birds around and the first waders appearing on return passage from breeding grounds and further north.
The first Guillemot and Razorbill chicks were noted between Arisaig and Eigg during the first week of the month. Great and Arctic Skuas were seen regularly in the Sound of Sleat and also one or two Stormy Petrels. Interestingly a Stormy Petrel was found exhausted on a boat that was heading into Loch Nevis on the morning of the 21st. It was easily caught and fortunately appeared uninjured, so after a few hours rest it was successfully released after dark that night.
Some large rafts of Manx Shearwaters were seen between Arisaig and Eigg on several occasions and feeding birds were regularly seen offshore from Mallaig.
Broods of both Eider and Red-breasted Mergansers were reported from Camusdarach during the month.several broods of Red-breasted Merganser were also reported from Loch Morar.
Returning waders started to show from mid-month, on the 17th there were 21 Redshank, 9 Black-tailed Godwits and 4 Golden Plover by the Traigh Golf Course. The next day was still wet and windy and the Black-tailed Godwits were still present. On the shore by Traigh boat shed there was a flock of 61 Sanderling and at least 30 Dunlin. On the same day, Morar Estuary had several Curlews and a single Greenshank.
Several gardens in the Morar and Mallaig area reporting flocks of Siskins and Redpolls visiting feeders, with large numbers of juveniles in these groups. On the 21st, while ringing birds in a Morar garden, 2 previously ringed birds were caught. The first, a Siskin, had been ringed on the 25th April 2013 in Fern, Angus. The second, a Lesser Redpoll, had been ringed on the 2nd November 2013 at Stanford Reservoir, Northamptonshire, almost 370 miles to the south east. Our garden birds do get about!
Common Whitethroats were reported from Camusdarach car park on several occasions, an immature Sea Eagle was over Mallaigvaig on the 25th, and a late Cuckoo was seen there on the same date. On the 18th 2 male Tufted Ducks were seen on Loch nan Eala, Arisaig.
TWENTY YEARS OF WEST WORD
Twenty years ago - August 1995
The 250th anniversary of Bonnie Prince Charlie's Raising of the Standard at Glenfinnan was the lead story on the cover page of Volume 1 Issue 10 of West Word of 10 years ago. Several inside pages also featured aspects and items on Bonnie Prince Charlie - or Not So Bonny as Editor Jill de Fresnes' piece was headed. BBC filmed Capercaillie at Glenfinnan Monument for a future TV broadcast and West Word's middle page spread was given over to the Govan Chairman, John MacLaughlin, describing his self carved Arisaig & Bonnie Prince Charlie Chair - 5'9" in height and 23" wide.
The ongoing heatwave was also commented upon by several agencies and several correspondents throughout the West Word area. It was great weather for iguanas and Jason Weir was pictured with his unusual pet - a Common Green Iguana!
Fishing trends of 'today and yesterday' were commented on via a piece by Freddie Salmon on his early fishing career and an up to date poem entitled 'Mallaig Pier' written by Tam Gordon of the prawn trawler 'Twa Gordons' of Anstruther. Two Klondykers had arrived with two others expected and it was commented that the hum of their engines could be heard all around Knoydart.
A new series by Paul Galbraith entitled 'Place Names in the Rough Bounds' kicked off and proved to be very popular. Paul explained the derivation of local place names although Bourblach seemed to have him stumped!
There were reports from the Rough Bounds Saddle Club, the Mallaig Swimming Pool, Mallaig Police, and the Shoestring Circus at Glenuig!
The enforced retiral of Ambulance driver Alex MacKenzie after 17 years of unstinting service with hardly a holiday was the Page 3 story with Alex recalling his career. Angela O'Donnell dropped us a line from 'over the pond', saying that West Word was a better read than the New York Times!!! (That girl has got class!!)
Snippets had grown to almost a page and a couple that caught my eye were… 'are Tam Baillie's vegetables Fank Brae's best? And 'good luck to Arisaig Hotel's Janice and George Stewart on their new venture in Oban!
The back page was headed Wanted Desperately by Lonely Scottish Fisherman - A Wife, with the spoof ad ending with the 'lucky woman' having to send the fisherman a photo, not of herself, but of her boat!! As I recall the spoof ad made the dailies!!!
Robert MacMillan (written in August 2005)
Ten years ago - August 2005
'Glorious sunshine heralded the opening of the new Lovat Games Field in Morar on Sunday 31st July.' This was the opening sentence of the front page article about the field opening, which was done by Lord Lovat, who then opened the Highland Games, the first event on the new field. Councillor Charles King paid tribute to all those involved in the ten year struggle to get the £250,000 funding package together. Further on in the paper, Feis na Mara was also being planned to take place on the field.
Also on the front page and with a Games connection was the account of the 1st Clanranald Gathering at the 69th Arisaig Highland Games. The Chief of the Clanranald clan and MacDonalds from all over the world arrived at the beach by birlinn where they marched up to the field at Traigh.
Mallaig Marine Training Centre received recognition as a Royal Yachting Association Sailing School and were able to offer a range of new courses. The main concern in the Fishing News column was the high price of fuel, a crisis threatening the future of the West Coast industry.
There was a piece on an archaeological evaluation of the proposed new route of the A830 between Loch nan Uamh and Arisaig detailing the finds which ranged from a burnt mound, possibly Bronze Age, to remains of two 19th century croft houses.
Maggie and Phil Hunkin took over the Chlachain, while Nick and Lindsay Murray took over the Old Library in Arisaig from Mike and Jilly Jones. A Martial Arts weekend of intensive training took place in the Astley Hall while Muck hosted an All Singing All Dancing Weekend.
First Rail erected the plaque on Arisaig Railway Station which recognises it as the most westerly station in Great Britain. This has always been contested by people who think it must be Penzance as the usual aspect of the UK is straightened. If you look at it on a globe you will see it is true, and the longitude leaves no doubt - Arisaig is 5'51", Penzance 5'33".
Lawrence MacEwen wrote an article on the Muck boat Wave, celebrating its 50 years of service.
We had a page and a half of photos of the Mission Gala Day, including Rebecca McLean and Connie Grant as Gala Queen and Princess; some of the Arisaig Games along with the results; and a few of the Maratime and Coastguard Agency's Exercise Polar in Mallaig Harbour.
Donnie by Gosh retired from his business as mobile fishmonger after nearly 38 years,, and the mantle was taken on by Arisaig's Iain Stewart Jnr. Ten years on Iain works out of Fort William and has just opened a fish shop in the town!
Dukla Pumpherston returned to Mallaig to play a trophy match against the local Mallaig football team.
Our regular articles included the Coastal Ranger's report from Angus Macintyre and the list of Cetacean sightings from Marion Affleck who is a Marine Mammal Medic.
WEST PETS AND WILD THINGS
Thank you to Asha Gillies of Mallaig who sent us this great photo and says 'My pet sheep Poppy wasn't very impressed after her hair cut. '
That's an understatement Asha!
WORLD WIDE WEST WORD
Agnes Fraser from Mallaig took her copy with her on a trip to Dresden in Germany.
Jeed Clulow took time out from her Thai Takeaway business in Morar to visit her home country of Thailand with her family.
West Word and Jeed are enjoying a swing on the beach!
Allan Henderson (Fort William, left) and brother-in-law Elliot Ironside (Mallaig, right) took a copy of West Word with them to Catania, Sicily, where they visited the grave of Sandra and Dalla's great-grandfather.
John and Barbara Price from Rhyl recently visited a sister who lives in Fort William and on their return to Wales she sent them a West Word. They enjoyed reading it in the little village not far from them which has the longest name in the UK - as you can see on the right! John and Barbara tell us it translates as 'By the church of Mary in the hollow of the white hazel, near the fierce whirlpool and the church of Tysilio by the red cave.' they say they are looking forward already to their next visit to our 'beautiful mountains and islands.' Now we need someone to take us to Ae, in Dumfries and Galloway, reputed to be the shortest village name in the UK!
Billie Harbridge and husband Pete were on holiday from New Zealand to Europe where Billy is pictured with West Word at Lake Garda in Italy. Billie and Pete worled at Arisaig House for some months last year before returning home.
Kin Connections by Marlene MacDonald Cheng (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This month and next you will learn about two McDonald families who came from Arisaig and Morar, Scotland, to the area of St. Andrew's in Antigonish County, Nova Scotia. The first family I will discuss is that of Donald McDonald ("Dòmhnull mac Ailein" or 'Donald, son of Allan') and his wife Margaret Gillies/Gillis (nighean Dòmhnuill Bhàin 'ic Aonghais 'ic Dhòmhnuill - daughter of Fair-haired Donald, son of Angus, son of Donald) who arrived in 1816. Donald and Margaret had a large family of nine children. When they arrived in Nova Scotia, they went immediately to the St. Andrew's area where other relations had settled. An earlier arrival in 1801 was Ewen Cameron, who was also from the Morar area of Scotland. He kindly offered Donald and Margaret a small log house that was situated on his land, but not in use. With the help of Ewen and other earlier arrivals, Donald and Margaret's family began to settle into their new environment. They soon bought a piece of land from Angus MacGillivray, known as Angus "Coirneil" (meaning 'Colonel'), and began to build a home large enough to hold all of them. Almost a year to the day of his arrival, Dòmhnull mac Ailein died (1817), probably from the hard work he had to endure since his arrival on foreign soil. You can imagine how upset his family would have been, especially his wife Margaret. But the older children, some with children of their own, pitched in to help. Margaret must have been of strong constitution because she lived for many years in the same home that they had purchased from Angus 'Coirneil'. The children of Donald (son of Allan) and Margaret Gillis were: John, Donald Bàn, Alexander, Hugh, Mary, Margaret, Catherine, Elizabeth, and Ann.
John "Iain Bàn" MacDonald, the eldest son of Donald (son of Allan) MacDonald and Margaret Gillis, did not initially come to Nova Scotia with his parents. His wife, Ann Gillies (nighean Iain 'ic Aonghais Oig - daughter of John son of Angus Younger) was reluctant to leave her native soil. However, four of their children had died in Scotland, and they were feeling the loss. In addition, they were missing John's parents and siblings, so they decided to emigrate to the same area where Donald and Margaret had settled. John was given a piece of land at the rear of his parents' property. The land was covered in forest, and thus John earned his nickname - "Iain Bàn na Coille" (Fair-haired John of the Forest). John and Ann had eleven children, not including the four who had died. These children were strong in body and in spirit and all of them were very good-looking. They were a great help to their parents in settling the new land. John and Ann's children were John, Donald, Andrew, Hugh, Allan, Duncan, Alexander, Catherine, Margaret, Mary, and Ann.
Donald "Dòmhnull Bàn" MacDonald, second son of Donald (son of Allan) MacDonald and Margaret Gillis, taught school for a number of years and was known locally as "Dhòmhnull Bàn, Maighstir Sgoile" (Donald Bàn, School Master). In 1822 Donald Bàn purchased the farm of Hugh MacIsaac who had moved to South West Margaree, Cape Breton. It is interesting to note that even to this day, a forested section of Donald Bàn's land still stands and is commonly known as "Coille Dhòmhnuill Bhàin" (the Forest of Donald Bàn). Donald Bàn married Ann Gillis, daughter of Donald Bàn Gillis of William's Point, a small community about 10 miles from where his parents settled, and only a mile outside the town of Antigonish. Donald Bàn and Ann had eleven children - Hugh, Donald, John, Alexander, Mary Ann, Sarah, Margaret, Isabella, Catherine, Elizabeth, and Ann.
Alexander "Alasdair Bàn" MacDonald, third son of Donald (son of Allan) MacDonald and Margaret Gillis, settled on the old homestead. He was highly regarded in the community of St. Andrew's. A quiet and intelligent man, he was very interested in Scottish lore and history and was an excellent Gaelic scholar. He composed a number of excellent poems and hymns, mush appreciated by the St. Andrew's community. Alexander was married to Isabella MacGillivray (daughter of Donald son of Hugh Bàn) of Bailey's Brook, part of Pictou County but close to the border with Antigonish County. Alexander and Isabella had eleven children - Donald, Hugh and Angus (twins), John, Alexander, Allan, Mary (1), Catherine, Ann, Mary (2), and Margaret.
Hugh "Eoghann Bàn" MacDonald, fourth son of Donald (son of Allan) MacDonald and Margaret Gillis, died as a young man in tragic circumstances. He was going up stairs in his parents' home but the floorboards were quite loose and he fell through to the floor below. The post of a chair penetrated his lung and he died almost immediately. His family and the whole community mourned the terrible loss of such a handsome and cheerful person as young Hugh MacDonald.
Mary "Màiri Bhàin" MacDonald, eldest daughter of Donald (son of Allan) MacDonald and Margaret Gillis, was married, in Scotland, to John MacDougall who was from Moidart, Scotland. She and her husband emigrated to Nova Scotia in 1816, with the MacDonalds. Mary and John decided to follow John's three brothers and two sisters to Cape Breton. They found a large hill at the Rear of Creignish that they called 'MacDougall's Mountain'. Mary and John MacDougall had seven children - John, Donald, Alexander, Catherine, Ann, Margaret, and another daughter who died unmarried.
Margaret "Mairead" MacDonald, second daughter of Donald (son of Allan) MacDonald and Margaret Gillis, was married to Duncan Gillis (son of Martin) in Scotland. Duncan's father, Martainn Gillis, lived in North Morar, in the Loch Nevis area, close to what is today the town of Mallaig. That, of course, is where Duncan was raised. Duncan was married once before marrying Margaret; I couldn't find the name of his first wife, but they had a daughter named Catherine ("Catriona") by her, who was born about 1811. Margaret and Duncan married in Scotland some time after 1811 and before 1816, at which time they emigrated to Nova Scotia in 1816 with Margaret's family. They spent a year with Margaret's parents before settling at Grand Mira, Cape Breton. Margaret and Duncan had at least eight children - Donald, Angus, Alexander, John, Donald Og (Donald the younger), Hugh, James, and Martin. There might also have been an Archie, and of course, young Catherine from the first marriage was with them, being only about five years old when they emigrated.
Catherine "Catriòna" MacDonald, third daughter of Donald (son of Allan) MacDonald and Margaret Gillis, was married to Hugh "Eòghann" Gillis of the Oban Gillises who came to the St. Andrew's area of Antigonish County in 1801. Hugh was most likely born in Scotland. Hugh and Catherine are my ancestors, possibly in more than one lineage. They had seven children - John, Hugh, Andrew, Angus, Catherine, Margaret, and Mary, who was the wife of John MacDonald (son of Augustine, son of Angus, son of John Og, son of John of Guidale - brother of Bishop Hugh MacDonald, both sons of Alasdair 6th of Morar. This family was noted for their longevity.
Elizabeth "Ealasaid" MacDonald, fourth daughter of Donald (son of Allan) MacDonald and Margaret Gillis, was married to Donald "Borrodale' MacDonald, son of John of Borrodale in Moidart, Scotland. Elizabeth and Donald had five children - Mary, Margaret, Angus, Donald, and John.
Ann "Annie" MacDonald, fifth daughter of Donald (son of Allan) MacDonald and Margaret Gillis, was married to Allan MacGillivray ("Ailean mac Dhòmhnuill 'ic Iain" - Allan, son of Donald, son of John). They had nine children: Allan, Mary, Donald, Hugh, Margaret, John Allan, Jane, Catherine, and Duncan.
More about these families next time ... if anyone has questions about these families, please contact me by e-mail (email address is found at the top of this column).
Watch this space for extracts from next month's issue!
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