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

List of Issues online

March 2004 Issue

Contents of the online version:

Top stories
Monthly news from Knoydart, Muck, Eigg
Mallaig Heritage Centre
Coastal Ranger Report & Creepy Crawly Corner
Local Genealogy & History

Letters, e-mails and comments are welcome.
Contact Details & How to Subscribe
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FIRE AND ICE
North West Lochaber shivered under several inches of snow for some days in February, in contrast to Fort William which had hardly a flake! Main roads were kept open but were in a treacherous state for several days, causing several minor accidents to vehicles and strong winds at times produced blizzard conditions. The Mallaig - Fort William train however was extremely well used!
Schools were either shut completely or open but poorly attended so that lessons could not be held. The poor driving conditions led to the postponement of the grand opening of the new police Station in Mallaig, due to be held on Friday 27th February.
In the midst of the snow and ice, the building housing the Chlachain Bar caught fire in the early hours of Saturday 26th February, causing extensive damage to the bar and flat above. Under new management, the Bar has been recently refurbished and was due to open again in the near future. The cause of the fire is as yet unknown.

BROADBAND 4 LOCHABER IS HUGE SUCCESS
In the past two weeks Mallaig has reached the trigger level target set by BT in order for them to begin work in upgrading the local exchange. BT recently published "trigger level" targets for six telephone exchange areas in Lochaber. They promised that if enough people registered their interest for broadband, and the targets were met, they would begin work toupgrade these telephone exchanges for ADSL Broadband. The telephone exchanges in question are: Ballachulish (including Glencoe); Kinlochleven; Spean Bridge; Corpach; Mallaig and Salen. In the past two weeks Ballachulish, Salen, Spean Bridge, Mallaig and Corpach all reached their trigger levels. As on 3rd March Kinlochleven had 81 out of 150. Morven Cameron, head of skills and advisory services for the Local Enterprise Company, who are behind the Broadband 4 Lochaber campaign, said: 'Lochaber Enterprise would like to thank everyone who has been involved in working towards getting broadband for Lochaber.'


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The Pathway dwarfs the Loch Nevis to the right.

The 66.6 metre Pathway PD165 pictured here in Mallaig Harbour is the biggest ever fishing vessel to berth at the port. Owned by the Buchan family (Lunar fishing Co., Peterhead) the Pathway was launched in Norway last October and willfish for pelagic species (herring, mackerel, horse mackerel), although other off-season species like blue whiting and capelin will also be targeted.


KNOYDART
I am writing this with snow softly falling on what is already twelve inches of the white stuff and every aspect is very beautiful; even had the skis out this morning.
We greeted February with the alternative, postponed Burns Supper, dancing into the first of the month to music from our own resident musicians, Andy, Steve and young Alex, while during supper Stephanie on clarsach accompanied her father singing. Donald the piper played in the haggis (or its alternative creature; some locals will know to what I refer) and also enlivened proceedings with more piping during the course of the evening. There was a certain amount of ribaldry, Burns style, during the evening. Daniel's diatribe on the herring was hilarious, Finlay gave us The Selkirk Grace, Mark and Angela swopped roles and personae in toasts to lasses and ladies and Bob gave the vote of thanks.
Otherwise, the month has been relatively quiet, although not without the odd meeting, discussion or plan. However, all is about to change because not only has the countdown for work on the new pier started and visitors are trickling into Knoydart, but on Friday 5th March there is to be a wedding (alternative) in Inverie; it's been a long time since the last one here and Marion and Angelina, not to mention all the groupies, are putting the final touches to what will be a spectacular event this coming week. Those of you who haven't been fortunate enough to receive a personal invitation are cordially invited to Inverie Village Hall at 5pm for the nuptials, followed by a reception afterwards at the Old Forge. Enquiries and/or gifts for this worthy pair, preferably of the monetary kind, to the Wedding Co-ordinator at the establishment above.
Anne Trussell

ISLE OF MUCK
This month we have at last enjoyed some fine weather and a visit from D.M. Michie of Onich the well known builder, who was hoping to tender for the construction of our waiting room and store. He told me that it can't be done for the 30000 allocated by Highland Council particularly if a stone facing is required. Meanwhile no sign of the buoys needed by Cal-Mac before Loch Nevis will dock so Muck is the last island in Scotland still using a flit boat.
On land we have had the first fruit of all Mandy Ketchen's hard work with CAMAS . Josie Mahon has been with us for the last week and with the scholars has built an impressive willow structure in the school grounds. With the adults an evening of drawing in charcoal -it's a start.!
On the farm I have had a very pleasant couple of days with Alan Boulton of Achnacarry preparing for Rural Stewardship. All my life I have farmed to produce calves and lambs but this is the first time I will be paid for looking after nature! That is if I get in. R.S. entails undertaking a series of operations or 'prescriptions' as they are called, each one of which is paid for over five years but also gains one points. Only those with high points are likely to get into the scheme and they will not know until September. As I have never been in an 'agri environment' scheme before gaining points was fairly easy and Alan and I achieved 46. But there is a cost to all this. Many prescriptions entail keeping stock out of fields for long periods in summer. (in the case of Corncrakes 15th May till 1st August) so they have to be silage fields and that is a month longer than I normally would. I have only entered two fields. Another prescription is for growing crops you do not harvest - the birds do!
Lawrence MacEwen

CAMAS KICKS OFF
The intrepid Muck kids braved the bitter weather last week to build a fantastic willow whale in the playground. The next afternoon they made some beautiful lanterns in after-school club. Another intrepid group nervously braved a drawing class one evening where creative and other juices flowed unstemmed. All this with many thanks to artist Josie Mahon from Northumberland who very kindly offered us all this as Camas's first event, donated her time and encouraged us with her boundless enthusiasm. Thanks too to Jenny for providing accommodation and all the willow, to Eileen for providing the venues, and everyone who provided hospitality. Without all this the event wouldn't have been possible on the shoestring budget available to us. We're hoping the willow whale might be a great venue for storytelling later in the year, especially at night lit by the children's lovely lanterns.
Lawrence has requested a rougher tougher creative arts event for next year.....if you know of a brilliant chain saw sculptor who might fancy coming to Muck please get in touch (01687 462828).
P Broch

ISLE OF EIGG
Trading Hebridean wind and rain for sunny Paris was alright in deepest January even if one had to put up with all the car fumes, but what a pleasure it was to come back to early spring sunshine, daffodils showing up in the garden, Ravens carrying nesting material and Buzzards displaying their gyrating dances high above in Cuagach and Cleadale: an early start to the mating season says our Wildlife warden, with Skylarks, Lapwings and Fulmars back early on the island and 2 pairs of Long Eared Owls also displaying in the forestry. Meanwhile there are still 5 Hen-harriers busy at their winter roost in the Blar Dubh bog, a great number of woodcocks in the woods and some Redwings and Fieldfare stopping by on their way south.
The February sunshine was also there for a final farewell to one of the island's oldest residents: 88 years old Jessica Beer, affectionately known as "Bobby" passed away peacefully in Inverness on 13th of February. A Londoner who had moved to Eigg with her family in the 1980's, Bobby was quite a character, she had thoroughly enjoyed the comfort of her sheltered house in Cleadale, her meals on wheels, the care of her grand-daughter Amber and the Day-care centre staff as well the frequent visits from her many grandchildren. She was taken to her resting place at Kildonnan to the strain of Donna's pipes after a lovely service by Fr MacKinnon. Our thoughts are with the Robertson and Brett families.
The good weather also provided the Loch Nevis with an opportunity to dock at the new Pier at long last! From Wednesday 25th, the flitboat has stayed put at its moorings, but the Loch Nevis's ramp has so far only come down once. The ferrymen were certainly very glad not to have to row out in the choppy northerly wind when the weather turned at the weekend, and do not anticipate too many outings of the flitboat from now on. Our thanks go to John Cormack and Donald MacFaddyen for the great service that they have provided until now!
Whilst crofting reorganisation is being finalised, one good news is that the islanders have unanimously backed the latest proposal concerning the Lodge. Nora and Bob Wallace, a couple of Ecology graduates with a young family, are now been given the green light to turn the decaying 1920's 12-bedroom building into an ecologically-sound home for their planned Earth Education Centre, having set up their own charity "Earth Connections." The B-listed Italianate Lodge which has been the Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust's main headaches ever since it acquired the island on account of extensive dry-rot infestation and water infiltration from the flat roof, not to mention the nursery of Pipistrelle bats, was estimated by the Highland Buildings Preservation Trust to cost 2 million to restore it to its former glory, a price that the islanders felt impossible to justify in terms of benefit for the island and the public. They are enthused by the idea of turning the former Big House into a project that everyone on Eigg and beyond should be able enjoy: a demonstration centre of ecologically sustainable technologies, from solar and wind power schemes to eco-building techniques, organic gardening and the green lifestyle, capitalising on Eigg's already established reputation for alternative power and community empowerment. The couple expect that the renovation of the Lodge will be a demonstration project in itself. They have secured the help of an architect specialised in such challenging projects and will rely on volunteers to help them at first through their links with the Edinburgh Centre for Human Ecology. Alongside practical courses, they intend to eventually provide some academic background classes teaching the basics of ecology and green philosophy. Meanwhile plans are set to continue with the renovation of the exotic gardens around the Lodge and designing a mountain bike track in the surrounding woodlands. Watch this space for news on the progress of all these exciting ventures!
Camille Dressler.

EIGG LODGE SOLD
The Italianate 'Big House' built by Lord Runciman on Eigg in the 1920s is to find a new life - as a centre for sustainable projects. Bob and Nora Wallace, who have their own charitable business, Earth Connections, have bought the Lodge and will be moving the island with their two young children and hope to start renovating the lodge in an ecologically sound way with the help of volunteers later this year.
The new centre will promote projects such as sustainable technologies, renewable energy schemes, organic gardening and the basics of ecology through training courses and workshops, as well as being used an education centre and visitor attraction. Proceeds from the sale of the Lodge will be used by the Eigg Trust to go towards the costs of refurbishing three houses on the island.


Loch Morar Crafts
An old croft house and attached byre, dating back to the 18th century has recently been converted into a photographic and craft studio/shop with living accommodation by Loch Morar Crafts. Scheduled to open on the 27th of March, Loch Morar Crafts is a family run business. Sylvia Arnold, a trained botanist and retired teacher will run the craft shop to showcase the photographic work of her husband John Arnold and hand painted glassware of her daughter Bev Arnold. John's portfolio includes hand framed and mounted photographs of local interest and a wide range photographic gifts including notelets, bookmarks, postcards and pamphlets. Bev specialises in hand painted lead crystal whisky and wine glasses each individually hand painted with birds, animals and wild flowers. In addition the shop will stock a range of pottery, jewellery and gifts made in Scotland.
Situated at Bracara on the hill above the north shore the studio has spectacular views looking east along Loch Morar. The croft house has been sympathetically restored. The outer stone work and external character of the croft house has been carefully preserved and the studio is part of a working croft of some 10 acres that has several breeds of sheep , free range chickens and a Highland Pony. The croft land has over 130 different species of wild flowers, and information on these and the history of the croft is available in the studio. Parts of the croft are being managed to increase the wild flower diversity and especially the populations of spotted and Fragrant Orchids that grow in the grassland.
Visitors will be welcome at Loch Morar Crafts seven days a week. To find out more visit www.lochmorarcrafts.co.uk. For special commissions contact John or Bev directly on 01687 462235


HAPPY 10TH BIRTHDAY TO MALLAIG HERITAGE CENTRE!
The idea of providing a Heritage Centre for Mallaig and West Lochaber first arose twenty years ago in order to find a use for the old Railway Dormitory which used to occupy the site where the Heritage Centre stands today. In March 1994, after many setbacks and a great deal of hard work, the Heritage Centre opened its doors to the public.
During the first week that the Centre was open over 600 people, most of them local, came to reminisce over an exhibition of old photographs of the area and to look for themselves and their classmates among the collection of school photographs contributed by Hendry Addison and Jessie Corson. Over the following ten years more than 53,000 visitors have visited the exhibition. Surveys in 2002 and 2003 revealed that the vast majority (80%) of our visitors are from the UK, (5% from the Highlands, 21% from the rest of Scotland and 54% from the rest of the UK). The only complaint we get tends to be that the Centre is difficult to find: we still get visitors who have been coming to Mallaig regularly over the past 10 years without noticing it!
Since that initial photographic exhibition the Centre has received hundreds of other photographs, documents and objects which help to preserve the story of our area and the people who live in it. Further exhibitions have been developed about Knoydart, the area's roads, agriculture, fishing, navigation and Mallaig itself and the Centre has hosted exhibitions from Edinburgh's City Art Gallery, National Libraries of Scotland, the Eigg Historical Society, the Scottish Film Archive, the Highland Festival and Scotrail, among others. This May we will be showing the acclaimed exhibition "Discovery on the Move" from National Museums of Scotland, making its first visit to Lochaber.
After surviving solely on income from admission fees for seven years, in 2001 the Centre entered into a Service Agreement with the Highland Council which since then has provided a vital financial base and enabled the Centre to improve its facilities and services to meet the standards set by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. Most of the collection has been catalogued and stored using archive quality materials, to ensure that our area's history will be preserved for the benefit of future generations. The catalogue will soon be accessible over the internet, making it possible for anyone with an interest in the history of our area to see what is available for research, wherever they may be in the world.
To celebrate the Heritage Centre's 10th anniversary from 15th to 27th March there will be a special exhibition concentrating on photographs of local people and displaying as many as possible of the wide range of items donated or lent to the Centre over the past ten years. On Saturday 20th March we will be holding a special open day when visitors will be able to request videos from our collection of over 17 videos, and view the latest addition of two reels of 8mm video tape taken in the 1960s by Mr Allan MacDonald of Corran.
Needless to say, access to the Heritage Centre during the Anniversary fortnight will be FREE FOR EVERYONE. Please come along and show your support for the Heritage Centre: it will cost you no more than a few minutes of your time and we guarantee that you will learn or remember something interesting.


Coastal Ranger Report
Despite having had the luxury of an extra day in February (not a single proposal!!) I still find myself way out of "sync" with work. I'm not quite sure whether I can blame it on the weather or not, as the past few weeks have thrown most things at us, and some of it in unusual quantities! It was strange to be battling a treacherous course towards Fort William and then suddenly finding clear roads from Glenfinnan, just where the worst was to be expected. It's been tough on skiers to see all that snow here and a decidedly bare hill on Aonach Mor! Ah well "c'est la vie" (my golfing partners will confirm that that is the limit of my French!)
Already I can feel myself beginning to struggle with this report as I desperately grope in the confused channels of my mind, just what have I been doing this past month? One thing sure is that there has been absolutely nothing completed. At the moment everything that I'm doing seems to be hanging in mid air awaiting that finishing touch, but the final piece seems always to be beyond my reach. Some things in fact are becoming downright embarrassing, for example my little booklet of local walks that I sent to Inverness over a year ago to have maps inserted has still not been done despite the best efforts of both myself and my Access Officer. Frustration just isn't a strong enough word!
Talking of "access", this is a real "buzz" word just now, as both land managers and many members of the public become more aware of the implications contained in the "Proposed Code". Although the document has still to get approval from the Scottish Executive before going to parliament to become law, it is nearing the "set in stone" stage. For anyone who is unaware of what the new code contains, I can say briefly that when all is complete, the general public will have a remarkable right of access to most places in the outdoors. The over-riding control will be that all access must be "Responsible". Put simply, this all-embracing term means that you will have to behave yourself and not disturb others when enjoying the great outdoors! The code does not discriminate between public and land managers other than to suggest that everyone has a duty of care towards making access to the countryside as enjoyable as possible. At this moment in time, although the Rangers will be, and have been, quite heavily involved in the make up and expedition of the code, I cannot go into any fine detail as regards specific situations (certainly not in print!!). On the other hand, if anyone has any particular worries or queries, please feel free to get in touch with me (the usual number 01687 462 983) and I will do my best to allay any fears. I suppose that the one thing I should make clear is that users of the outdoors must face the reality that there are inherent dangers in the countryside, and must therefore take responsibility for their own actions (i.e. not try to blame someone else for your own mistake/stupidity/unfortunate accident!!). It is best for everyone at the moment to "hang fire" as all will be revealed towards the tail end of the year when a massive programme of education on the Code (as passed through parliament) will be released. It is intended that leaflets will be distributed, angled towards particular pastimes as well as summaries of the complete Access Code.
There now you have it! and I've just almost run out of space for my beloved column! I'll stop now, but finish by saying that one thing that I did complete is my proposed walking programme for the season. I have a few copies available, and will get more done, but if anyone needs one in a hurry just give me a ring. I will enclose a copy to the Editor as she may have room to print it.
Aren't you all amazed at the new quality of our wee magazine!!??
Angus Macintyre


February 2004 Bird Report
There were no unusual birds reported although a Water Rail seen crossing the road at Glasnacardoch, Mallaig, on the 7th was a good find, as they are normally shy and secretive, spending most of their time in thick cover like reed beds and overgrown ditches and are more often heard than seen. A Greenshank at Traigh on the 16th was quite early for a returning bird, or it may have been the one seen in December, so it may have wintered in this area.
Other birds seen returning to their breeding areas included Shelduck at Rhu and at Silversands, Traigh. Eight Golden Plovers were seen at Traigh on the 25th, and nine Lapwing at Back of Keppoch on the same date. Small groups of Skylarks were seen at Back of Keppoch and Traigh from the 25th.
Wildfowl seen during the month included 31 greylag Geese at Traigh on the 19th, and at least 12 Goldeneye on Loch Morar on the 12th. Goosander were reported from Arisaig and Loch Morar, with 3 on the latter on the 17th. Widgeon were seen at Arisaig, Traigh and Loch Ailort, and 3 Whooper Swans were seen on Loch nan Eala, when it was ice-free. Three species of Diver were reported, with Red Throated and Great Northern seen off Rhu, Traigh and Glasnacardoch, and a Black Throated Diver in Loch Ailort on the 29th.
Finches and buntings reported this month included 3 Reed Buntings at Rhubana View on the 12th, Bullfinches at Morar Lodge on the 17th, and Redpolls there on the 18th. 2 Twite were seen at Traigh on the 26th. Yellowhammers were seen in Arisaig and at Back of Keppoch. 2 Goldfinches were seen regularly coming to a peanut feeder in a Mallaig garden and 1 Goldfinch was seen in the last week of the month coming to peanuts at Roshven View, Arisaig.
Birds of Prey seen this month included Kestrel seen at Rhu and Traigh, Sparrowhawks at Morar, Kinigarry and Arisaig. Buzzards were seen at Morar, Glasnacardoch, Back of Keppoch and Arisaig. A Golden Eagle was seen on the North side of Loch Morar on the 13th and another over Loch nan Eala, Arisaig, at the beginning of the month. On the 18th a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Tree-Creeper were seen by Morar Lodge. On the same day, 2 Woodcock were seen feeding by the loch side.
Finally there was no sign of the Glaucous Gull which frequented Mallaig harbour for most of last year. Also there seems to have been no sightings of the female Mute Swan which had been resident about the Morar estuary for a good many years.
Stephen MacDonald


Rare Whales Washed Ashore on Coll and Mull
Within days of each other, two rare species of whale have been washed ashore on Mull and Coll. An 18 foot Cuvier's beaked whale - a species only seen alive off the Hebrides twice in the past 25 years - washed ashore just west of Torloisk on Mull. Staff at the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust (HWDT) - based in Tobermory - examined the find before samples were sent for analysis to the University of Aberdeen. Unfortunately it was too late to determine the cause of death because the whale had been dead for a few days before it was spotted.
On Coll, a 50 foot Fin whale washed ashore on Feall Beach only a few days later.
The rare strandings have prompted the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust to encourage members of the public who spot stranded whales to contact conservation agencies such as themselves as soon as possible so that valuable scientific data can be collected. For more information about the work of the HWDT visit www.whales.gn.apc.org.
(Thanks to the Scottish Islands Network Newsletter for this item.)


HUGH ALLEN
Although not entirely unexpected, as he'd fought his illness bravely for the past four months, the untimely death of fisheries leader Hugh Allen has cast a deep gloom over the fishing industry. This sorrow extended way beyond the confines of the Mallaig & North West - the Fishermen's Association which Hugh had so ably represented for the past eleven years - but throughout the whole UK fishing industry.
Hugh, who was appointed Secretary to the M&NWFA in October 1993, was a doughty fighter for the fishermen. Always supporting them and putting their case strongly, whether it was at a meeting in Kyle or in Brussels. Hugh had been a fisherman. He knew and understood their feelings. Instinctively knew their thoughts and would travel that 'extra mile' in support of causes he believed in. His commitment to the members of the M&NWFA went way beyond his remit but we soon came to understand that this was just the Hugh Allen way. His commitment was total as he drove the length and breadth of Britain - he was a member of 25 or so fisheries related committees - to speak up for, and defend the rights of, the fishermen of the NW of Scotland.
His death at 55 has robbed the fishing industry of a true leader, a true fisherman's friend.
Ronald Hugh Taylor Allen was born in Manchester a son of the Manse - his father Canon Ronald Allen was a holder of the Military Medal gained during action in the 1st World War. Prep school at Aysgarth in Yorkshire was followed by completion of his education at Rugby Public School and it was during this time at age 15 when he visited Auchterarder that he met Bridget - the girl who would be beside him for the rest of his life. They married in 1969, but when Hugh obtained a 6 month journalistic posting to Bombay, along with four friends they decided to travel to India overland. So they bought a Volkswagen Camper and journeyed to India in 1971, via countries like Iraq and Afghanistan - an adventure that made a lasting impression on them all.
Deciding to settle down and raise a family in Scotland, Hugh and Bridget set up home in Cuil Bay in Argyll and although thoughts initially turned to the commencement of a Sailing School, it was the fishing that won through in the end and Hugh's first boat, the Westward - a prawn creeler - was purchased. Over the years the boats came and went. There was the Merlin, Gangwarily, Spes Bona and Karen among them, and these were in general happy times for Hugh, but one tragic incident when on passage from Runcorn to Ullapool, his boat Cawsand Bay was run down and sunk by a big coastal vessel, causing the death of his nephew, left an indelible impression on him.
Hugh's next business venture was to sell fresh fish and shellfish to the restaurants and hotels in London. Indeed he and his partners were quite innovative, building holding tanks to keep their produce alive before transporting them down to London for selling.
A raconteur par excellence, Hugh could keep you amused for hours with all his stories of life on the road as well as at sea. In 1986, Hugh joined the Fishing News and soon became established with his authoritative and incisive writing skills, gaining contacts and valued friendships that would stand him in good stead when he was appointed Secretary to the Mallaig & North-West Fishermen's Association in October 1993.
Although Hugh worked hard he always found time for his wife and family, whom he loved dearly. He loved his vegetable garden; he loved being a great host to his many friends; he loved helping people and never spoke ill of anyone; he loved telling funny stories; he loved writing lengthy poems for the Fishing News and he took great delight in Ruaridh his grand child. Hugh was involved in committees both local and national, he wrote articles for West Word, and was a strong supporter of the Mallaig Marine Training Centre.
Yes, he will be sorely missed, and the sympathy of the community is extended to his wife Bridget, daughter Sophie, sons Peter and Sam, daughter-in-law Annie and grandson Ruaridh in their sad loss.
Robert MacMillan
Treasurer, M&NWFA

Many tributes for Hugh have been paid - here are some of them:

'Hugh was a stalwart for the industry, someone who was their strong representative, and he was not afraid of speaking out when the occasion demanded. The Highland community needs leaders of Hugh's calibre and his early death has left a big gap.'
Charlie King, local Councillor, and John Hutchison, Area Manager, The Highland Council

'Hugh was a man of great integrity, who worked tirelessly for fishermen and the fishing industry. He will be sadly missed by those who had the pleasure to work with him.'
Charlotte Wright, Acting Chief Executive, Lochaber Enterprise

'During many years of meetings and talks over fishing issues, I found Hugh to be a honest, caring and determined leader and I had a lot of respect for the way he handled difficult situations. Hugh's knowledge and love of the fishing industry was obvious and his views were admired across the network of organisations he was involved in. He will be hard to replace.'
David Stewart, MP

'Hugh was a stalwart of the fishermen in the West Highlands and his death will be a sorry loss to the fishing industry on the west coast. It was an honour to have worked with such a champion of the west coast fishermen who has helped me so much in representing the fishermen of my constituency.'
Fergus Ewing, MSP


In Memory of Brigg
I would like to offer my heart felt thanks to the special friends, family and people that have been involved in Mia and my own lives since the loss of Brigg a year ago.
Through kind words, letters, phone calls and messages or pure human contact, everyone around has made me feel so comfortable, happy, tied and secure to my roots on Eigg through the hardest year I have ever had to face with such a loss of a good friend and now being a single mum.
I felt that I had to start the many years to come by making the 25th of January a day to remember Brigg; not in a dark cloud but a cloud full of laughter, as he lived his life to the full at all times and always seemed to achieve what he wanted to do for the time and moment.
The first challenge for the day was to meet for 12 noonish at Gamekeepers Cottage to have coffee and drams to gather strength for the task ahead. Many folk appeared from different directions and connections, slightly baffled about what was going on and wandering, "who's idea was this anyway"?
Pascal Carr very kindly had made a gorgeous bench at extreme short notice. After some quick thinking and careful planning we had agreed upon a practical bench made out of Douglas Fir, to withstand extreme weather conditions, with the extra twist to be very chunky and heavy! It was carried up the mud track to Loch nam Ban Mora, to sit where Brigg spent lots of his time thinking and fishing!
The whole day was an emotional struggle but a huge release of sadness replaced by a lot of laughter - this only brought to me by the amount of people coming together feeling the emotion and generating incredible strength to achieve what would have been thought of as an impossible task. But that's the strength that Brigg gave all of us at some point through his bubbly sense of humour and he had the last laugh by the general palavas of the day!
The real thanks have to go to Eigg itself as, being part of a community like this with people all around to assist and support me in the different ways needed, takes a huge part of the underlying stress away to now feel the courage, strength and energy needed to look to the future.
As we all know when stuck in our daily routines, it's hard to enjoy the little things in life again. Over the last year I took my surroundings for granted and forgot to appreciate what I was part of. To look on the brighter side of life I am delighted to have had a wake up call and now feel able to put whatever energy left from my motherly duties back into this community! I feel privileged to be part of an incredibly strong community which helps ensure a happy life enjoying the simplicities around to enable Mia to feel the same strengths, belonging and energy, to give her the best gift in life to enjoy her surroundings. I can't imagine a better start in life!
Cheers,
Tasha & Mia Lancaster

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Brigg's father Brian with the bench as everyone takes a breather.


A Little Genealogy by Allan MacDonald (email: ealasaid6@btopenworld.com)
MacKellaig - continued from the last issue of West Word:

Alexander (2) b.1832, married Ann MacDonell, daughter of Donald MacDonell and Catherine Gillies who lived in Stoule in the 1850s. Catherine's family was from Shenagate, that area of land between Loch an Nostarie, Lochan Eireagoraidh and Morar Lodge where the Shenagate flows into Loch Morar. Alexander and Ann had six sons (A) Sandy," Pairc Mhr", (B) Donald (1) "Heatherlea ", (C) John, "Sunset", (D) Dugald, "Heatherlea", (E) Donald (2) Mallaig and (F) Archie, "Shore Cottage, Glasnacardoch
Sandy, "Pairc Mhr (A), was married to Kate MacLellan from Brinacory and they had six children - Angus, Duncan, Mary, Katie and Jackie, who married Jean Lindsay from South Uist and they had six children. Catherine Joan, Lindsay, Duncan, Anne Marie, Jacqueline and Sheena. Dougie, married Irene Dempster and they also had six children. Alistair, Douglas, Donald, Duncan, Theresa. and Bernadette. The other Pairc Mhr siblings of that generation were unmarried.
Donald (1) (B) Heatherlea" married Kate MacLellan of Glasnacardoch and had two sons and three daughters They were, Calum, Morar Hotel, Alexander, ordained priest, Margaret Ann, Mary and Katie Ann.
Calum bought Morar Hotel from his uncle, Donald MacKellaig. He married Nancy MacLellan of Woodside, Morar and they had six children. When they retired they moved to Blairgowrie.
Alexander b. 1913, was ordained a priest in 1939 and served in Rothsey, Eigg, Bornish South Uist and Taynuilt. He died in 1963 in Kingussie where he had served for the last years of his life.
Margaret Ann married Sandy MacDonald from Roybridge. There were no children of the marriage.
Mary and Katie Ann remained unmarried and lived in Mallaig.
John (C), (s.o. Alexander (2) & Ann MacDonell) married Margaret ? from Barra, lived their early married years in Mallaig and built "Sunset" in Morar. They had two children. (A) Alex. Iain who married a school teacher and (B) Flora who married Donald MacDonald (Donnelly Sheamus Ruadh) from Arisaig. They had three children, John, Mary and Nancy.
Dugald (D) "Heatherlea" (s.o. Alexander (2) & Ann MacDonell) married Kirsty MacDonell, sister of Kate (wife of Sandy Pairc Mhr) and, having no children, they fostered Michael Leonard who still lives in Glasnacardoch.
Donald (2)(E) Mallaig, b. 1874 (s.o. Alexander & Ann MacDonell ) In 1906 he married Katie Mary MacLellan, b. 1884. They had no children but, had an adopted daughter who died unmarried.
Archie (G) "Shore Cottage" (s.o. Alexander (2) & Ann MacDonell) married Beatrice Cattanach and had.three children. Mary ( A) who married John MacEachen ( Johnny Ruadh) Silversands, Bun a Caimbe, Arisaig, They had seven children. Daughter, died at birth, Cathie, Archie, Beatrice, James, Margaret and Donald.
James (B) who married Isobel Findlay. Their children are; Stuart, Rosemary and Anna. Jessie(C), died young, of meningitis.
The members of the next two or three generations of MacKellaig descendants are too numererous to mention in this version of "A Little Genealogy"

Footnote
The Ship "Lucy" departed from Druim an Darach on 12th July, 1790 in company with the Ship "Jane". The ships were sailing for St. John's Island (now Prince Edward Island) and carried a total of 320 souls from Clanranald's Estate. Among the passengers on the "Lucy" were:
Donald MacKellaig, Irin, (na h- Aorainn), Roshven, travelling alone and Mary MacKellaig from Caolas, North Morar, with one accompanying adult and four children under 8 years. Who were these unknown MacKellaigs? The name MacKellaig is recorded in Antigonish but it seems that they changed their name to MacDougall. Over to you Allan Gillis from Creignish./Ottawa. Can you give us any more information?


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