Community paper for Mallaig, Morar, Arisaig, Lochailort, Glenfinnan
Glenuig, Knoydart and the Small Isles
List of Issues online
December 2004 Issue
Contents of the online version:
All photos are copyright either of the individual photographers or West Word.
Maureen Sutherland, head teacher of Lady Lovat Primary School in Morar, has won an award in this year's Highland Council Quality Awards ceremony. Maureen was nominated for distinguished service in the Community Council Commendation category of the annual Quality Awards, and heard her success in an Oscar style ceremony in the Nevis centre, Fort William on Tuesday, 9th November. Mairi MacLean, Chair of Morar Community Council which made the nomination, said 'We as a community are particularly impressed with our efficient and caring local headmistress.
'Despite not being a Gaelic speaker, she has run a Gaelic-medium unit alongside the English speaking section of the school and has done it all to a very high standard.
'In addition to all her work in the school, she finds time to engage the whole community and is always hospitable to the organisations that use the premises after school hours.'
Maureen, who was born and bred in Mallaig, previously taught at Rum and Mallaig primary Schools. She said 'It was a wonderful night and I was completely overwhelmed by it all.
'My success is down to the level of support I get n this community.'
Maureen was also nominated for Employee of the Year by area education manager Rosemary Bridge, who said Maureen carried out her work to a high standard and has the respect of the Morar community for what she has achieved.
Maureen Sutherland (centre) receives her award from Lochaber Convener Olwyn MacDonald,
with Mairi MacLean of Morar Community Council and event comperes BBC2's Men in a trench
presenters Tony Pollard (left) and Neil Oliver.
Photo courtesy of Iain Ferguson of The Write Image.
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Birthday over and done with and it's all back to normal - paper is late, printer and computer playing up… We had a good night at the Ceilidh, with about 80 folk who danced and sang in good style. It was never intended as a fundraising event, but as a Thank You to everyone, and we sent out over 40 double invitations to folders, printers, etc. Thanks must go to the famous Goat Island Ceilidh Band - Gabe, Ross, Colm and Dougie Hunter - who played for the love of us all and their bus fare. Half of the big birthday cake was shared out at Cnoc-na- Faire's Santa Surprise the following night, so it was truly a community birthday partaken of by lots of you. But where was Father Wynne?
The three editors of West Word cut the cake at the birthday bash in the Morar Hotel on the 26th November 2004.
A closer look at the magnificent cake made by Jill Smith of Curtaig, featuring the banner headers from the 1st and 121st editions.
Note the birthday present from Sir Cameron Mackintosh of the 10 year old Glenmorangie! The West Word committee would like to thank Marion and Raymond and staff for hosting the ceilidh at the Morar Hotel, and all those who came to it; to Sir Cameron for the malt whisky, shared by many that night; to stewards Willie and Donald ; to Jill Smith for the lovely cake; and to the Goat Island Ceilidh Band for great playing that kept the dance floor busy.
Santa at the Cnoc
Jenny caught Santa in action
Iain Ferguson sent us this clever composite photo
of the children on 'stage' and Santa after the tree was lit.
The Miss Hollies, Catherine (left) and Julie
Bonfire night went off with rather too many loud explosions for my liking (too similar to gunfire) but despite the persistent drizzle a good time was had by one and all who braved the conditions.
The Book Club has formed and met to discuss the first choice for reading and analysis, Pat Barker's 'The Ghost Road'. I have yet to learn what, if any, new angles were considered.
Last week-end there was a film show in the Village Hall; 'Jungle Book Two' for the wee ones in the afternoon and 'Cold Mountain' for seniors in the evening. There is a new screen and projector courtesy of remainder of money donated to the Knoydart Foundation by the Gulbenkian Foundation some years ago.
The Old Forge now has a pool table which has been in use already. I think Billy was one of the first players but I don't know the result or whether there is to be a championship league.
This contribution is short and not very sweet but I shall conclude by wishing all our friends at West Word, in Mallaig, Morar, Arisaig, Glenfinnan, the islands Rum, Eigg, Canna and Muck, Glenelg, Glenuig, Fort William and beyond a Very Happy Christmas time.
ISLE OF MUCK
November is usually a quiet month on the island and this year ha been no exception. However on the 23rd Bob Law of RML Safety Training Services arrived to train the Fire Brigade on First Aid. The brigade members were joined by other islanders including the present writer who needs a certificate as part of his Boatman's Licence. First Aid today bears no relationship to what I learned as a teenager nearly 50 years ago and even a few years can make quite a difference. Bob's theory was full of humour but the day was 'hands on' and we got plenty of practice in the routine examination of a casualty. Shock was one of the subjects covered and that is what Bob got plenty of the following day when Lochnevis failed to enter Port Mor and he realised he was on Muck until Friday. However Mark Woombs came to the rescue in his RIB and Bob and five island ladies had an exciting (and I believe quite enjoyable) high speed journey to Mallaig.
On the farm the reality of Rural Stewardship is here with half a mile of fencing to put in. Much of this will be in wet ground but the first section is just the opposite in rock. Putting in the strainers has been hard going although basalt can usually be penetrated with a crow bar. With the sheep, 'tupping' has been going on for most of the month. I put a harness on most of the tups and by changing the colour of the creyon at 10 day intervals I get an idea of which ewes have been mated first. They can then go first into the lambing fields next Spring.
ISLE OF EIGG
Things have been pretty quiet this month, with everyone putting on a brave face against the endless November rain. The most exciting thing on Eigg must have been the long awaited release of Aidan's CD "Rustic" with music from the Peat Bog Faeries, which occasioned a number of staggered celebrations over the month: yes! the CD is released, yes! posters have arrived, yes! the CDs are here! It's every bit as brilliant as you would expect a collaboration between all these talented people to be, very chilled with funky rhythms throughout, voice and instruments blending perfectly, a must for end of End of Year parties, and a good Christmas present. (to order, phone 01687 482402). The next most exciting thing was the equally long awaited Kildonnan House-warming party. Lots of tunes, lots of food, lots of dancing, which is just what people need at this time of year to cope with the short dark days. Kildonnan House, built in the 1810's and renovated last year, has lots of character and looks really lovely, with very nice period details. Marie, who is the island registrar, has certainly created the perfect setting to accommodate any wedding party! With food and hospitality to match, it is a great asset for Eigg.
On the crofting side, a milestone has been achieved: the Common Grazing fence is done! The next project is to re-do the Hulin sheepfank. Plenty new crofters to help. since the 4 new management and tenancy agreements are now ready to be signed. Lucy and Eddie are now officially crofters too! On the farming front, the last sale brought reasonably good prices for the Laig and Kildonnan bullocks and sheep as well as the Cuagach calves - the whole operation of sending animals away being much easier now that a cattle float can be taken over to the island. Excellent news by the way about Cal Mac freight prices being lowered by 62%: what a difference this will make to the Small Isles economy. Equally good news about Cal Mac taking on the business of providing and operating freight bogies!
The Small Isles Rural Voices project is coming along fine with questionnaires being sent to everyone in the Small Isles and Knoydart, and a forthcoming meeting with the 15 other Rural Voices projects in Scotland. The next step is for focus groups to meet in February and discuss the concept of a Small Isles Learning Network to take the whole idea further.
In the meantime, Eigg is welcoming the new priest for the Parish, Fr Barrett, who came for a weekend visit at the end of November. We are looking forward to work with him to raise funds to do up St Donnan's church and find a solution for the now extremely dilapidated Chapel house (consensus is building towards a sale before the building becomes irretrievable). Many thanks also to Tom Forsyth who travelled from Scoraig to finish his cleaning up of St Columba's well: a couple of stone steps leading to the well were uncovered during the work which now makes it possible for folks to go up to the well and take a drink of its sweet tasting water without getting their feet wet. The community also wishes to thank Roddy MacKinnon from Flesherin in Lewis for pledging £100 towards a memorial for the two World Wars combatants on Eigg. The plan is to erect the memorial at Cul nam Pairc, the hill at the Cleadale crossroads where traditionally folks used to gather for a blether about the business of the township.
And finally, from all of us. a very happy 87th birthday to his sister Katie, of Bayview, Cleadale, and a very happy 21st to Joanne Kirk, who is really enjoying studying furniture making in Glasgow.
A detailed report on the options for a long term sustainable solution for the restoration of Kinloch Castle on the island of Rum, has been commissioned by the island owner, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). SNH has commissioned the Prince of Wales' Phoenix Trust to produce the report. The process will begin with an analysis of all past work on the castle, followed by the collation of current ideas, concerns and opinions of others, including a meeting with the Rum community. This will identify a range of initial options that will be put to the SNH Board next year for short listing. More detailed feasibility studies will then be carried out into the preferred two or three options. This will ultimately identify the final option to be pursued, that will be the most sustainable in the long term and the most likely to attract the necessary funding.
Fliss Hough of Rum Community Association said: "The community on Rum are looking forward to working with the Phoenix Trust and SNH in finding a sustainable future for Kinloch Castle. It's a challenging project, any options being considered for the castle will complement the proposals identified in the recently completed Village Development plan and could lead to a whole range of further opportunities. This can only help to enhance the island for the community and visitors alike." Kinloch Castle captured His Royal Highness's attention after its appearance on the BBC2's Restoration Series last year. The Castle polled a total of 143,000 votes in telephone support narrowly missing out on the £3m plus prize money. The Prince then convened a meeting with SNH, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland, the Scottish Executive, the Phoenix Trust and the Landmark Trust. The Phoenix Trust then offered its help in finding a solution.
The island of Rum is owned by SNH and managed as a National Nature Reserve. The presence of Kinloch Castle and the high cost of its maintenance has presented SNH with challenges beyond its normal remit. It is now in need of major repair work with costs estimated at around £6m. The castle is 105 years old, and materials and services are nearing the end of their natural lives.
Jill's got it all stitched up
A mum-of-two living on the tiny island of Muck has really stitched up the market with a new global enterprise. Jill Noble has been hooked on cross-stitch since her teens, and has finally made time in her busy life to make business sense of her favourite hobby. Jill has set up the interestingly-named Miaou to sell her original cross-stitch design kits from her own website.
She explained: "There were all sorts of reasons for choosing cross-stitch. I was introduced to it when I was about 15 and designed a piece for my art A level. I just got hooked on it.
"It's something I've always really enjoyed doing, and I just wanted to make a business of it."
Jill has created 30 original designs that will be for sale on the site, with her trademark bright colours and bold designs, many with a touch of humour.
Jill has a background in retail, and started her career at Harrods - though she has been designing cross-stitch for other companies for many years. Now, she is fitting her new business in with being a classroom assistant and member of the auxiliary Coastguard - along with running a home.
She added: "The fact that I can work on the web means it doesn't matter that I live off the beaten track. I'm hoping this is going to be a success. Cross-stitch is such a big market that you've got to be different-hopefully, my designs will catch people's eye." Jill has also arranged to sell designs from a larger distributor on the site, to make the project viable. Husband Nick is, quite literally, the "in house" website designer.
She has received a start-up grant of £1,500 from Lochaber Enterprise to get things moving, and is grateful for the help. More information about Miaou can be found at www.miaoucrafts.com
Coastal Ranger Report
Well Hello Readers !! Just goes to show that when the chips are down and the ship is about to go down, who cares about the poor old Ranger's report! Aye aye, don't bother to bluster, there you were blissfully reading your West Word and not a single tear shed for the missing column! Thank goodness for the Ed. jumping in to fill the space with a bit of feeling. There was I, fretting and sweating having missed the deadline, and there, I shouldn't have bothered as not one of you even noticed! Well, "What now?" I ask myself. Should I continue to beat my brain into it's monthly submission, or is it now the time to stand down and make way for a superior article/writer? Do I hear you cry "No!" we just thought "Weeeeeeel"! Never mind I have a thick skin, so for the moment I will continue to pound the keys until you cry "Enough!!"
What happened to my article last month? I'm sure most of you are well aware by now that I was on holiday, just about as far away as I could get in the most pleasant Islands of New Zealand. For me, not being a hardened world traveller, it was quite an adventure, whole nights and days on planes (a wee plug for Singapore Airlines that made the flights a pleasure) and a landing on the other side of the world. Many of you I know have been there, but for those of you who have not, let me say that I can fully recommend it. The extra bonuses are the fact that the Kiwis drive on the same side as us, and eat the same foods, so there is no fear of upset tummies and you can rest assured that the water is good to drink. Furthermore, they have a wonderful yellow globe that appears almost daily to wash the cares away! For the courageous/reckless ones there is "bungee" jumping from heights that scared the pants off me, but for the more sedate there are multiple walks in the scenic regions, boat trips, train trips, helicopter trips and as much sand, golf and fishing as you could ask for! Coupled to all this, there is fantastic scenery and the remarkable geysers and boiling mud are a "must see". To wrap it up there are the Spas, with natural hot, mineral filled, water, and skilled hands to massage away the day's exertions. Ah! What more could a body want?
Yea! I enjoyed it, so what have I been doing since I came back? Well, apart from telling everyone I met how good the holiday was (time consuming, but essential!!) I have already been to the far north (of Scotland) for a full group Ranger meeting where many exciting things like corporate procedures were discussed (that reads lectures!), however at least this time our accommodation was a step up from the usual bothy! On my return, I began the laborious task of ploughing through the accumulation of a month's mail, keeping the litter basket handy! so if any of you haven't received a reply yet, give me a ring (remember the number 01687 462 983). Apart from that I have been trying to further educate myself on the mystical world of the computer, as it seems that the upper authorities in the ranger service reckon that we should all be comparative whiz kids! Seems to me that they have it wrong, or at least they are going a damn sight too fast for the ageing! Nevertheless, as "Microsoft Power Point" begins to make some inroads into my fevered brain, I suppose it will serve in the long run. In the meantime, let me know if there has been anything interesting happening on the wildlife side (behave, you know what I mean!) and perhaps I might consider organising some walks over the winter period should any of you be interested.
Have a lovely Christmas and make some nice healthy resolutions for 2005!
Ten years ago in West Word by Robert MacMillan
My first (and lasting) impression of the second ever edition of West Word - December 1994 - was how much better it was than Issue 1. Its 32 pages contained much more information than its predecessor. The first (tentative) Snippets were published as was the Personal Angle column, Police Information, and Hugh Allen's Fishing Scene. Auntie Mary's first ever Creepy Crawly Corner topic was - worms!!!
The front page headline was Herring Landed at Kinsadel and the story underneath described how a lorry load of herring, spilled at Kinsadel, lay for 5 days before being cleared away! PHEW!!!
In the Round and About section, Roy Stewart talked of the new Morar Motors Garage while our Muck correspondent was shocked that the puffer Eilean Easdale was up for sale.
There was a two page story on the Mallaig Fishing Boats changing over to sprats with Editor Jill de Fresnes interviewing skippers Willie John McLean and Robert Summers.
Chief Stone Eagle's visit to Eigg Primary School was highlighted while Lawrence MacEwen informed readers about the first Luing Bull, and Ross Campbell's rescue of a grey seal pup had a happy ending.
The back Page What's On informed us that country singer Gerry Ford would be performing at the West Highland Country Music Club on January 7th 1995 and the Christian Aid Bazaar, with crackers, sweets, gifts and baking plus Santa Claus, would take place in the Mallaig Hall on Saturday 10th December 1994. Nice to see some things haven't changed!
Front page December 1994 - Herring Landed at Kinsadel
A Little Genealogy by Allan MacDonald (email: email@example.com)
The Coiteachen MacLellans continued.
N.B. Last month I wrote that the word "Coiteachen" was the Anglicised version of "Croit Eachainn". However, another, very likely, translation has been given to me by Tearlach MacFarlane. It is that, "Coitcheann" is the Gaelic word for "Common Grazing"
Alexander MacLellan m. Catherine Cameron whose brother was the progenitor of the "Riverview" Camerons. In Mallaig, Alexander's family were called the "Sandys" Alexander and Catherine had 5 children. (a) Alexander "Sandy" , who married and emigrated to New Zealand. N.F.I. (b & c) Angus and John "Sandy" who were unmarried and were both killed on Armistice Day 1818. (d) Ishbel, aka Bella "Sandy", who m. Kenneth MacKenzie from Gairloch and had 5 children. (1) Kenny "Ruadh" MacKenzie who m. Agnes Smith from South Uist and had 1 son, Patrick Joseph. (2) Finlay MacKenzie who was married in Rothesay and had 3 children. N.F.I. (3) "Big" Angus MacKenzie married Violet Rafferty and had three boys, Alex., Kenneth and Angus. (4) Johnnie MacKenzie who is unmarried and lives in the family croft house. (5) Elizabeth Ann, "Lizack Ann" MacKenzie who was also unmarried.
(e) Donald "Sandy" m. Agnes MacAskill from Glenelg and their 4 children are; (1) Donald, who m. a girl from Eyemouth and whose children are George and Jean. (2) Iain who m. Catherine Campbell from Glenelg and their children are, Agnes, Isobel, John, Catherine, Angela and Janice. (3) Angus "Lochiel" was unmarried. (4) Alistair, m. Wilma Buchan from Fraserburgh and they had 3 boys, Alistair, James, Martin and 2 girls, Wilma and Catherine.
(F) Kate "Sandy" m. Donald MacRae from Kyle or, Kintail They had 1 daughter, Annie who m. Kenneth Macleod from Lewis and had twins, John and Catherine.
(G) James "Sandy" was married and lived in Fort William. They had 1 daughter and 2 sons. N.F.I.
(8) Flora MacLellan was unmarried.
(9) Ann, may have died young.
(10) Donald MacLellan m. Kate MacLeod and had 10 children, not necessarily in this order. They were, John, Catherine, Allan, Mary, Clementine, Angus, Rachael, Ann, Angusina, and Hector. (A) John, "John the Foreman" at Mallaig Station. John m. Margaret Ann MacMillan and had (A1) William, unmarried. (A2) Catherine who married John MacDonald - no issue. (A3) Donnie "Ruadh" m. Aonghasina (Eunice) MacDonald with issue - Theresa, m. Paul Skea, John m. Fiona MacDonald, Catherine m. William Joss and Claire m. Stephen Pinchbeck. (A4) James - unmarried and lives in Oban. (A5) Jackie m. Agnes Rice - no issue.
(B) Catherine MacLellan m. Albert Arnes and they had 5 children. They are, Rachael Arnes who m. Joe Raho and had 13 children. John, Anne, Michael, Catherine, Peter, Monica and Christine (twins), Josephine, Gerald, Bernadette and twins, Pauline and Francis. Kathleen Arnes m. Douglas Spooner and they had, Olive and Patricia, twins and Antony. dec. Francis Arnes - unmarried. Winnie Arnes m. Michael Gill and had Susan, May and Veronica. Theresa Arnes m. Tommy MacManus and had, Kenneth, Colin, Clare, Anne and Allan.
(C) Allan MacLellan m. Mary Coulter and they lived in Dingwall. Their children are Jimmy, Angus, Peggy, Kit and Hector.
(D) Mary MacLellan - unmarried and was, for many years, Father MacNeil's housekeeper in Arisaig.
(E) Clementine MacLellan, died aged 16 years.
(F) Angus MacLellan, emigrated to New Deer, in Alberta, Canada with his cousin, Angus MacDonald. (See Nov. issue.) Angus MacLellan m. Florence ? and had 2 children, John and Irene.
(G) Rachael MacLellan was a State Registered Nurse and was unmarried.
(H) Anne MacLellan m. Coll MacDonald and lived in Fort William. My information on this branch of the family is scant, other than that a son, James, was father of Fr. Michael MacDonald.
(I) Angusina MacLellan m. Simon MacDonald from Moidart and both are buried in Morar Cemetary. He was known as "Simon, the Master" after his profession of headmaster in St. Mary's School, Arisaig for many years. They had 2 children, Iain and Catherine. Iain m. firstly, Sheila Kerr from Oban and they had 6 children, Neil, Iain, Allan, Gavin, Andrew and Joanna. He married secondly, Olwyn and until his death, both were very active Town Councilors in Fort William, which Olwyn continues to do.. Catherine m. a Mr Ablaat and had sons, Andrew and Bernard.
(J) Hector " the Barber" m. Margaret Jane Smith from Eyemouth. Their descendants in Mallaig are known as the "Hectors". They had two children, (1) Donnie "Hector" who m. Rhona MacVarish of Bacara with issue. Anne who m. Iain Fairns and has 2 children, Jane m. Douglas MacLean, Mallaig and has 2 children, George who lives in Lewis with his partner, has 2 children and Hector who is unmarried. (2) George "Hector" m. Moira? and lives in East Kilbride with their children, Colin, Fiona and Peter.
Comunn Eachdraidh Arasaig
The members of the Arisaig History Society are quietly plugging away at recording the gravestones in the cemetery at St Mary's, and are intending to apply for funding to publish the results in a booklet. If anyone is interested in being involved with this project, please let Allan or Elizabeth MacDonald know. The next meeting will be at their house on Tuesday 11th January 2005 at 8pm.
Who Was Who, 1793-1803
(The Arisaig Post Office Petition of 1803)
On 18 August 1793 Simon MacDonald Younger of Morar asked a friend in Edinburgh to pass on to four newspapers as well as the Glasgow News - that 'the Roman Catholic gentlemen in this neighbourhood swore allegiance to His Majesty last week, in compliance to the late Act in their favour.' (The Catholic Relief Act which passed the House of Lords on 5 June secured the property rights of Scots Catholics.) This event was reported in at least two papers including The Edinburgh Advertiser of 10 September, its spelling unchecked by any editor:
'On Tuesday the 13th of August, the Roman Catholic Gentlemen, Clargy, and Laity of the countries of Knoydart, Moror, Arisaig, Moydart and Island of Eigg, convened at Ardnafuaran on Mr McDonald of Clanranald's estate, and took the oath of alledgeance to his Majesty, in conformity to the late act of Parliament in their favour; - The various toasts given after dinner were equally expressive of their attachment to the British Constitution, as of the real sentiments of gratitude they feel towards their Gracious Sovereign, and the members of the Legislature, on the occasion of being received under the protection of the laws of their country.' For Ardnafuaran read what is now the Arisaig Hotel. According to the author of that classic book Moidart; or Among the Clanranalds, Simon MacDonald was a Protestant 'to his death' - because of his military career - so merely writing on behalf of Catholic neighbours. It has not been possible, so far, to find a list of those who took the oath of allegiance. A Who Was Who for the area is available, however, for ten years later.
The most interesting thing about the successful Arisaig Post Office petition of 1803 (copy recently donated to An Commun Eachdraidh Arasaig by Val Smith of Sydney, New South Wales) is the impressive list of signatories from most of the West Word area: Arisaig, Morar, Knoydart, Eigg, Rum, and Muck. Can you help to fill in the gaps? From the order of names it seems that the petition was taken round the Small Isles after the mainland. Many of the men behind the petition were part-time members of local militias. Britain had just renewed hostilities with France (Trafalgar lay two years ahead) and the petition stressed 'the importance of this application in time of War, when a regular intercourse from the remotest parts of the Kingdom to the Metropolis is of the utmost importance.'
John MacDonald of Borrodale for Alexander MacDonald of Glenaladale.
John MacDonald of Borrodale.
John MacDonald of Borrodale for Major Simon MacDonald of Morar.
The man who signed for these others was Clanranald's mainland factor and a landowner who had recently added Rhetland, South Morar, to his Borrodale farm. Alexander MacDonald of Glenaladale built the Glenfinnan Monument and gambled away his father's Jamaican fortune with the young rakehell Reginald George MacDonald of Clanranald. Major Simon MacDonald of Morar is not the man behind the 1793 event but his son. The rank is a militia one, for Simon was mostly in Edinburgh studying law.
Arch. McDonald Deputy Lieut. Archie Rhu was remembered as a generous host to Small Isles cattle graziers returning from the autumn markets. He was a Deputy Lieutenant of Inverness-shire.
Donald McAskill Capt. Eigg Volunteer Company. Dr Donald was eldest son to the minister of the Small Isles at Kildonnan. Will. Fraser Minr at Arisaig. He was Church of Scotland minister 'at', not of, Arisaig because the parish church was at Kilchoan in Ardnamurchan.
Alex Chisholm Mercht Arisaig. Chisholm had the tack of Keppoch soon after this. His trade was in kelp, making money for himself and Clanranald.
Reginald Macdonell for the district of North Morar. This priest's 'parish' extended to Loch Arkaig. He lived at Inverbeg and died at Bracarina.
Ranald MacDonald of Laigg Eigg. Ranald Dubh continued the Gaelic scholarship of his father Alasdair Mac Mhaistir Alasdair, the Jacobite poet.
James McDonald M.A. for the District of Knoydart. The initials stand for 'Missionarius Apostolicus'. The priest's chapel was near Inverguseran.
John Macdonald of Glasgow Manfr. This manufacturer may be the Glasgow saddler who had some claim to the Morar estate in 1818.
Hugh Mcdonald Sandevour Eigg. Sandavore is north of the Sgurr. Hugh does not appear in Camille Dressler's Eigg: The Story of an Island.
Donald Gillies, Ship Master, Arisaig.
Dugald McDonald Mercht. Arasaig. He was maybe a son of Andrew MacDonald, an Arisaig merchant from at least 1792 who went to PEI (Canada) in 1806.
Anthony McDonald churchman in Eigg. This priest's chapel was in an upper storey at Laig. He also served Canna.
Angus Macdonald 2nd Lieut Eigg Vol. and Tacksman of Grulin. Was this the Angus MacDonald who struck the priest while drunk and died by his own hand?
John Macdonell Tacksman of Claidale Eigg. A man of this name and place returned safe after being taken to London as a Jacobite prisoner in 1746.
Lachlan Mackinnon Tacksman of Houlin Eigg. After moving from Skye in 1760 he became the first sheep farmer on the island.
Ranald Macdonald Tacksman of Five Pennies Eigg. Raghnall Òg came from Knoydart. He was a whisky smuggler and bad neighbour to Houlin.
Duncan Campbell Tacksman of Keppoch. Presumably he was in this Arisaig tack before Alexander Chisholm.
Colin macdonald 1st Lt Eigg Volunteer Company.
Hector Campbell tacksman Harris Rum.
John Mackinnon Tacksman of Gallanich Islemuck.
Donald MacLean Minr of Small Isles Eigg. He wrote an account of the isles in the 1794 Statistical Account with ambitious plans for improvement.
Kilgour Davidson Schoolmaster of Eigg.
Alexr MacLean of Coll or proprietor of Rum. The MacLeans of Coll had owned Rum for centuries and were increasing their control.
Hugh MacLean tacksman of Savanisir, Rum. Samhnan Insir is one of nine Rum settlements in George Langland's map of 1801.
Charles MacLean Tacksman of Guirdale in Rum. Guirdil was described in 1797 as 'a few huts, with a small boat or two drawn up upon the beach.'
John MacLean Merchant Rum. As Denis Rixson observes in The Small Isles, 'Maclean adherents . . . multiplied frequently' in the late-18th century.
Simon Dalgleish Papdale Rum.
The petition ends with the passage quoted at the start, 'certified' by three others. The most senior in militia terms signed his first name illegibly and his rank is also hard to be sure of:
___ McCaskill Inspr Field . . . Office of the Regiment. . .
Angus McDonald of Kenachreggan. This estate, now Inverailort, was sold to General Sir Alexander Cameron some time after the battle of Waterloo.
John McDonald Captain Moror Vol. He died at Bunnacaimbe six years later at a great age (much whisky and rum was drunk at the funeral) having passed on the Morar estate when his son Simon married in 1784.
Historical Snippet: Home Thoughts
During the Peninsular War Captain Donald MacDonald wrote to his father at Rhu House, Arisaig, while retreating from Madrid on 26 November 1812: 'For the last month we have been constantly moving in the worst weather possible, and the roads as deep as any part of the moss at Bunacaime.' He was at a place called Villa de Agra: 'At present we are much crowded, having one brigade and three troops of cavalry in this small village considerably less than Fort-William.'
The framed copy of the petition of 1803 in Alasdair's article, which was presented to An Comunn Eachdraidh Arasaig will be hung in the Astley Hall.
West Word is now receiving a number of emails and letters each month from people researching their family tree. We hope our readers will respond if they have any information. This is for genealogical purposes only and is not intended for people looking for friends they have lost touch with.
I'm looking for….
...any information on some of my mother's people, the 'bogainn' MacDonalds that lived on Eigg` in the late 1700s, supposedly the early 1800s as well. My relative was known as Angus 'Pioneer' MacDonald who settled at Judique Ponds. He was known as Aonghas mac Dhomhuill mhic Raonuill mhic Uilleam mhic Caluim. I can't remember where I read this but I think they lived in Laig and originally came from Moidart. Any information would be appreciated.
Ceuld Mile Taing!
Stacey MacLean, Canada firstname.lastname@example.org
Mallaig - Alberta, Canada by Robert MacMillan
I had never heard of another Mallaig. Had you?
I knew of an Arisaig in Nova Scotia and countless other Highland place names in places like Nova Scotia, New Zealand, Australia and the like. Names obviously transported, like the people themselves, from the old country to the new. People mindful of their heritage and paying homage to their origins.
But I had never heard of another Mallaig!
I never thought of the name Mallaig as being particularly 'romantic' in the way that some other Highland names are, and indeed some say that the name is of Norse origin meaning 'Bay of the Seabirds', but obviously one man thought enough of his birthplace to christen a new community in Alberta, Canada in 1927-28.
My investigations started when Ann McLean passed on to me an e-mail she had received from her brother Archie (see last month's Personal Angle). I was very surprised to learn that another Mallaig existed out in Canada. Surely, I thought, someone would have known about this other Mallaig and it would be common knowledge, but no, even Archie Campbell, now a Canadian resident, had been unaware until that chance remark at a Canadian Airport check-in desk.
Through the wonders of modern technology I established contact with Monique Ouellette, the Curator for the Mallaig & District Museum, Alberta, and via a series of e-mails and digital photographs, she has provided me with the following information on the origins of Mallaig, Alberta. I hope you enjoy reading of a Mallaig most of you didn't know existed until now.
'The first settlers arrived to this wooded, untamed area, situated in the North-Eastern part of Alberta, Canada in 1903. They came from various places, all seeking a better life. "Factory workers who could not make a living, and labourers in overcrowded cities, came West where land was available at a low price. Colonizing priests brought settlers from the province of Quebec. Many migrated from the United States, and Central Europe had its representatives.
These pioneers reached their new homes by various means: on foot, on horseback, by wagon, or by dog sled."(1) For most, their first dwelling was simply a log shack with a sod roof and a dirt floor. Heating was provided by a wood stove--lighting by a coal-oil lantern. Power did not come into the area until the early 1950's; natural gas came in the '70's.
Mallaig & District Museum, Alberta, Canada
"These pioneers took homesteads eighty miles from the nearest railway station because they could not afford to pay for a farm in settled areas. Their first implements were a plow, a disk, and a set of harrows. Powerful and steady, but also whimsical oxen provided the power...By law, homesteaders had three years by which to build a house, build a fence around the quarter section, and break 30 acres. They could then apply for the title of the land, whereupon the homestead was proven." (2) Depending on your location it would have taken 2-3 days by horse and wagon to get to the nearest railroad station. It was a long haul for farmers, storekeepers and postmasters who often had to freight their goods. Much to everyone's relief, the government proposed to extend the railroad so that people would not have to travel too far to sell their products. Therefore, towns, if none existed, were sited approximately every ten miles.
Mr. D.F. Campbell, engineer in charge of the railroad, bought land from the homesteaders and plotted the sites of the villages. Having unofficially been nicknamed 'Viel Siding,' Mr. Campbell officially named the site Mallaig--namesake of his hometown Mallaig, Scotland. That is how a settlement of predominantly French Canadian origin ended up with a Scottish name. Railway communication played an important role in the development of our communities, and assured people the luxury of a constant means of travel. Three times a week the train came, freighting products, bringing mail, and carrying passengers." (3) Once the railway passed through, the hamlet of Mallaig grew rapidly, and buildings seemed to go up overnight. At one time, the hamlet boasted 2 general/hardware stores, 4 grain elevators, a school, a lumber yard, a rooming house, 2 livery barns, a blacksmith, a shoe-maker, 2 restaurants, 2 churches, 3 farm implement agencies, and more. Even so, the population stayed close to 250. As times changed, so did railway service. Roads improved throughout the province and trucks increasingly took over the hauling of grain, cattle, produce, and mail. Train passengers diminished, and the service was eventually discontinued. The few freight trains that passed by were to deliver heavy crude oil from Cold Lake, and to haul grain from the few elevators remaining. Over time, the landscape has changed from a heavily-wooded area, to acres of prime farm-land in this agricultural-based community. Regrettably, the once-familiar sight of grain elevators on the horizon is nothing more than a memory, as the last elevator in Mallaig was demolished in 1980.
After 70 years of service, the rail-lines were in need of replacement. Due to the lack of use, the need didn't justify the horrendous cost of replacement, therefore the section of railway passing through Mallaig was removed in the late 1990's.
It has become increasingly difficult to make a living at farming--a few years ago this area was hit by a severe drought, and more recent, the B.S.E. crisis (mad cow disease). More and more people have moved out to the larger centres seeking employment. In 2003, Mallaig celebrated its 75th Anniversary. It was a celebration to honour our early pioneers...for they were the ones who laid the foundations that built our community.
Although our population remains steady at 200, the residents here have strong community spirit and pride. Yearly the community rallies together to show our support by volunteering for 'Haying in the '30's' every August long-weekend. People from all over Alberta come to support the society that raises funds for local victims of cancer. Visitors journey back in time when they take-in the event which includes non-stop activities such as horse-drawn wagon rides, butter churning, haying (the way it was done in the '30's), old-time fiddling, etc. The entire event is free! Mallaig welcomes between 1200-1500 people yearly for the event. We have an active Legion and Seniors Club, an Army Cadets Corps., a 3-rink curling arena, a hockey arena, a lumber yard, welding shop, an auto-body shop, 2 mechanic garages, a school (with Kindergarten to Grade 12 under the same roof--400 students are enrolled), 2 churches, a café, a hotel, a confectionery, a bank, a fertilizer and insurance agency, and many other home-based businesses.
Mallaig is surrounded flanked by several small towns or hamlets just minutes away. A larger centre, St. Paul (population 5000), is a short 20-minute drive from us. It is home to the world's first U.F.O. landing pad! The nearest town is St. Paul, population 5000, and home of the world's first UFO landing pad--a short 20-minute drive from Mallaig.
Quotes 1-3 were taken from the Mallaig-Therien History Book, named Precious Memories--Mémoires Précieuses. I'm indebted to Monique Ouellette for this fascinating insight and photographs and I would hope that now contact has been established between the two communities that possibly the Mallaig Heritage Centre and/or Mallaig High School will maintain contact and share experiences of our unique communities.
More information and photographs on Mallaig Alberta in next month's West Word and on my search to find out more about Mr. D. F. Campbell.
Watch this space for extracts from next month's issue!
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