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COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER OF THE YEAR 2005 & 2008
Community paper for Mallaig, Morar, Arisaig, Lochailort, Glenfinnan
Glenuig, Knoydart and the Small Isles
List of Issues online
March 2009 Issue
Contents of the online version:
All photos are copyright either of the individual photographers or West Word.
VILLAGE TURNS OUT FOR GEP
The community of Arisaig came together on Friday 27th February to throw a surprise party for Gep MacMillan, their recently retired postman.
Gep retired on 30th January 2009, after 26 years as Arisaig's postie.
But Gep was more than just a postman, it's been generally agreed, he was a community worker! Tommy MacEachen, who worked with Gep for over twenty years, reminded us in his speech that Gep had once been instrumental in the apprehension and subsequent jailing of some shady characters who had been preying on old folks in the area by selling dodgy goods. Another crofter recently reminisced of the time Gep arrived with the post and stayed to deliver a calf which was having a hard time arriving in the world. He was always ready to help out and regularly went that 'extra mile.'
So it was with nostalgia and a sense of sadness that so many gathered together to express their appreciation on Friday 17th February. All of Gep's family were present for an evening of great craic and entertainment in the Astley Hall which kicked off with Arisaig Primary School pupils who entertained everyone with 'Knock Knock' jokes with a postman flavour and sang and played their own version of 'Postman Gep' - to the tune of 'Postman Pat' of course!
The first joke was: Knock Knock
Arthur any letters for me?
And they didn't get any better than that!
A programme of music from the youngsters of Lochaber Fiddle Orchestra followed, leading up to the speech from Tommy and the presentation of gifts from the community by Joanna. A splendid buffet prepared by the Arisaig ladies and a licensed bar provided refreshment, and later there was informal music by Ross, Gabe, James and Tam.
Happy retirement Gep!
Postmistress Joanna MacEachen makes the presentation to Gep on behalf of the community
HAPPY BIRTHDAY KNOYDART!
Ten years ago, on 1st March 1999, the final documents were put in place to finalise the sale of Knoydart Estate to the Knoydart Foundation. Ten years on from this historic event, Knoydart is thriving under community ownership, after years of neglect. A packed programme of events are planned for the year to celebrate the anniversary.
OFFICIAL ROAD OPENING CEREMONY
Stewart Stevenson, Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change will attend the official opening of the Arisaig to Loch nan Uamh scheme on Wednesday 15th April 2009. Transport Scotland are arranging the celebration of the finish of this, the latest and final stretch of the A830.
WEST WORD - Community Newspaper of the Year
Pictured here is West Word director Susan Grant, collecting the Community Newspaper of the Year Award from First Minister Alex Salmond, at the Press Ball in Nairn on 6th February 2009.
The prize consists of an engraved quaich, a framed certificate, a bottle of The Singleton Malt Whisky, and a cheque for £300, £100 of which was to be donated to a charity of West Word's choice.
We chose The Mackintosh Centre Amenity Fund, and West Word Chairman Robert MacMillan presented the £100 cheque to Centre Manager Julia Foster.
New RNLI Memorial will remember lifeboat crews' sacrifice
A lifeboat crewmember from Mallaig lifeboat station is to be honoured on a new RNLI memorial. Patrick Morrison from Mallaig RNLI lifeboat station, who lost his life in 2001 while going to help others, will be remembered on the memorial.
The memorial sculpture, to be unveiled in Autumn 2009 at the RNLI's Dorset headquarters, will pay tribute to those who gave their lives while helping to save others. The majority of names on the memorial will be RNLI volunteers from the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, but other maritime lifesavers including those from HM Coastguard will also be remembered.
Mr Zander Mathieson, Lifeboat Operations Manager for Mallaig RNLI lifeboat says: 'While we proudly remember local lifesavers in the community the new memorial sculpture will be located opposite The Lifeboat College in Poole, where future generations of RNLI lifesavers and fundraisers from across the UK and Ireland will train. The memorial will remind us all of the commitment and dedication of those involved with maritime search and rescue past and present, especially the RNLI's volunteer lifeboat crews.'
The RNLI invited submissions from artists for an inspirational design. A selection panel representing all areas of the RNLI chose a design by sculptor Sam Holland ARBS. Her evocative steel sculpture depicts a lifesaver in a boat, vulnerable to the elements, saving another from the water, and was thought to symbolise the history, and future, of the RNLI in its most basic and humanitarian form. Then names of those who lost their lives will be engraved in steel bands around the base of the memorial sculpture.
Brian Wead, RNLI Service Information Manager, explains:
'Significant research has been undertaken both at headquarters and at our stations to identify over 750 individuals who have made the ultimate sacrifice, but given the passage of time and the vagaries of record keeping over the years, we sadly still have some unknowns or missing initials.'
Maureen La Frenais, RNLI Memorial Manager adds:
'The project is being managed and part-funded through the RNLI Heritage Trust, which was set up to preserve the historic objects and archives of the Institution for future generations as donations and legacies given to the RNLI for lifesaving can only be used for that purpose. So we are extremely grateful to the lifeboat station volunteers and crews, the wider RNLI family and our supporters who have made this memorial possible. Our Chief Executive, Andrew Freemantle led the fundraising drive when he cycled 1,100 miles from Poole in Dorset to the Italian capital of Rome and raised more than £55,000, which covers over a third of the cost of the sculpture.'
For more information or to make a donation please visit www.rnli.org.uk/memorial
Lay-bys to be provided on £23 million A830 upgrade
Two lay-bys are to be introduced on the vital economic and community lifeline for North West Lochaber.
Transport Scotland has invested a further £239,000 to provide two lay-bys on the upgraded A830 between Arisaig to Loch nan Uamh.
Lay-by 1 will be located adjacent to the eastbound carriageway approximately 50 metres west of the existing Beasdale Railway Bridge (the last one before Loch nan Uamh going towards Fort William) and within the Special Area of Conservation.
Lay-by 2 is a significant extension to the existing lay-by at Prince's Cairn just outside the western boundary of the scheme. This is a popular lay-by and tourists regularly stop to take photographs. In addition a new footpath will be provided from this extended lay-by westward to connect with the footpath/cycleway provided under the contract
Transport Scotland Project Manager Graham Porteous said: "It is clear the local community was firmly in favour of provision of lay-bys on this route and we have listened to their views on this matter.
'This is an area of great visual beauty and we are conscious that road users may want to stop to enjoy the scenery.
'However, it was important we conducted a thorough road safety evaluation of the site and the impact on road safety of providing lay-bys was properly evaluated.
'Having just completed this process, we are pleased to be in a position to instruct our contractor to provide two lay-bys on this stretch of the upgraded road.'
Contractor Morrison Construction is nearing completion of the scheme.
The provision of lay-bys along this stretch of the A830 will not impact on the timescale for opening of the road and it remains on target to open in spring 2009.
Councillor Henderson said 'I am delighted that a common sense solution has prevailed. I have no doubt that the local pressure and the petition that I organised through the Outdoor Capital of The UK had a big part to play.
The development, in particular, of the Loch nan Uamh layby by enlarging it and connecting to the cycle path is exactly what I requested earlier, but better late than never.
With Homecoming expecting to increase the number of visitors, this layby and its important links to Jacobite history, access to Prince Charlie's cairn, marking the spot where he left Scotland to go into exile, is a magnet for tourists.
I congratulate Transport Scotland for listening to public opinion and moving swiftly to develop this stunning tourist route properly.'
Congratulations to Jim and Kristy Brown, proud parents of baby Kitty. It's wonderful to have a new-born baby in Knoydart, and especially in Airor, which has had a severely declining population over the years. A dramatic lifeboat across the water 24 hours before the birth didn't phase either parent - nor did ambulance problems on the way necessitating an unplanned halt in Fort William en route to Inverness. Now the main problem seems to be dealing with Decks the dog's jealousy!
Sad news from across the water - Donald MacDonald of Tarbet was one of a kind - born and brought up on the shores of Loch Nevis, he remained there until the end - he must have loved Tarbet Bay. A long-term Royal Mail employee (I doubt very much if I'll be lucky enough to put in as many years as him), he was regularly seen on this side of the loch at the annual Knoydart Games. Condolences to all who knew him well.
Preparations are coming on apace for the Knoydart 10th Anniversary celebrations, with a packed schedule taking shape. The music festival (17-19 April) is coming along, with headliners Shooglenifty now confirmed. Tickets for the weekend cost £55, and can be purchased from the Booth - follow the link from www.knoydart10.com . Apart from the 10 bands, we've also got My Giddy Aunt (that's the folks who do the solar cinema), and plenty of activities to keep folks amused. Please book your tickets as soon as possible if you are thinking of coming along - they are starting to sell fast.
The rest of the year's anniversary celebrations can be viewed on the Knoydart Foundation website (www.knoydart-foundation.com) - we kick off with the "official" day of celebration on Thursday 26th March, which is closely followed on Saturday 28th by music in the hall with Vaguely Cajun, Lynn Johnstone's band. There's lots of Spring Watch events hosted by the Ranger Service, followed on 6th May by an exhibition of artwork by James Hawkins in the SW1 gallery in London. And we can't forget the Big Rhodie Bash, the log-building project, the totem pole, the Big Beach Clean, Autumn Watch, the 10k Run - and a few more ceilidhs. Phew! I think we're all going to need a wee rest next year.
ISLE OF RUM
It has been a quiet and fairly uneventful February on Rum with many islanders seeking periods of rest and recuperation on the mainland along with the mandatory bouts of retail therapy normally associated with trips off island.
Lucky Jim Cowie went off to collect a clean and shiny new 4WD Jeep only to have it broken into and vandalised within hours of him picking it up. Still ! That's Coatbridge for you! On a happier note or certainly a louder one, Ross returned from holiday with a new electric guitar and amp and has been entertaining neighbours and passers by with various refrains. Across at Harris the cattle all received their 1st round of Blue Tongue vaccinations and appear none the worst for their ordeal.
Finally the proposed transfer of assets from SNH to the local community has now been scheduled for Saturday 7th March and plans are well under way to celebrate this important milestone in the development of a sustainable independent community on Rum
ISLE OF EIGG
At long last, a February like they used to be, cold and frosty with blue sky! With snowdrops and catkins appearing everywhere, it's a joy to walk about and hear birdsong in every thicket: spring is definitely in the air. Plenty of wildlife about, with Eddie Scott witnessing some unusual activity in Lon nan Gruagach, the pond below his house much frequented by Sue and Neil's ducks. This time, he saw a mallard disappear under water and an otter emerging at the other end of the pond with the bird in its mouth: it has simply pulled it by the leg until the bird drowned, ready to eat! There has been much speculation as to whether this was the same otter that had caused much devastation in the Cleadale poultry in the last few months.
Nevertheless, world events did not pass us by, and an outstanding £220 was raised to help the people of Gaza on Sunday 8 February, Sue Kirk having organised a very well attended afternoon tea and cakes at Lageorna. Thanks to Sue and all that contributed cakes for this worthy cause.
Valentine's day saw Ailidh Morrison dressed with her customary flamboyance and dressing the pier café in similar style for a romantic but family friendly Valentine night: led by Megan, the kids did a wonderful Mama Mia set, Sharon King sang beautifully and her husband entertained young and old with his skilful juggling and storytelling. If this is anything to go by, we can look forward to their 10th wedding anniversary party in September!
On the nestbuilding side, Karl's house is now finished on the outside, the subject of much admiration, George and Saira are doing much needed renovation at Laig and Dean is making very good progress with the planned extension under the watchful eye of a blossoming Berni: not long to wait now! Meanwhile, at the Cormacks' bothy, the upstairs room has been turned into a very efficient recording studio where they are recording Donna's tunes for the Eigg Giant green footsteps CD, which will feature many artists who have performed on Eigg, including our absent poet, who is presently relaunching the launch of the boat he doesn't yet have (at Borders, on the 6th of March in Glasgow, no less…Aidan's new edition of his poetry now available from other quality outlets such as the Eigg Craftshop.)
Greenwise, the various committees have been very active, new interpretation plans are afoot to present our electricity scheme to the visitors and what we are doing for the Big Green challenge. Having enjoyed two films on Climate change shown in the hall, we are now looking forward to discover more about the issues with Moving Sounds, a music and drama group coming to Eigg on the 9th and 10th of March.
With Easter and the visitors season starting in earnest at the end of the month, we are also looking forward to an energising night with Box Club on the 25 March.
WORLD WIDE WEST WORD
This month we're on Willow's Beach, Victoria, Canada, with subscriber Màiri Éilidh (Marlene) MacDonald Cheng. Màiri's roots are in the Arisaig area, which she has visited a number of times.
Strangely, Màiri's January copy arrived after her February issue - it had been to Vietnam! Below is a copy of part of the envelope stamped Ho Chi Minh City - truly a World Wide West Word.
Please send us your photo of West Word being read elsewhere - it doesn't have to be abroad! Take it on holiday with you and send us a snap; or if you're a subscriber, send us one of it being read in your local area.
On and Off the Rails
Bus service to replace trains between Mallaig and Fort William for one week
Network Rail have announced a line closure on the West Highland Extension between Mallaig and Fort William, commencing after the 18.15 sprinter departs to Mallaig on Friday 27th March to allow for essential engineering work.
First ScotRail will run buses as near to the published timetable as is possible from Mallaig and Fort William until the re-commencement of trains to Mallaig with the 08.30 from Fort William on Saturday 5th April.
Please be advised to turn up at your station of departure a few minutes early during these times to allow for luggage/bikes/pushchairs etc to be loaded onto the buses, and, if departing from Arisaig, Lochailort or Glenfinnan in either direction, to be at the roadside (where the buses will stop), not at the railway station.
Your co-operation during this time is appreciated, and naturally Network Rail and First ScotRail apologise for any inconvenience caused during this necessary closure of the line. This period of line closure coincides with the (long awaited!) re-commencement of a fuller Sunday service on Sunday March 29th! So on that Sunday (and until the autumn), departures will be as follows:
Mallaig: 10.10, 16.05 and 18.15
Fort William to Mallaig: 12.12, 16.19 and 22.10
Model Rail Scotland 2009 competition winners
Thanks to those of you who took the time to enter last month's competition. The winners of family tickets to the event were David Bird of Mallaig, Gerald Rivett of Spean Bridge, and Malcolm Poole of Bracara. I understand an enjoyable and tiring time was had by all.
West Highland Line voted 'the world's top railway journey'
For the first time, a railway category was included in the annual awards by readers of independent travel magazine Wanderlust, and the West Highland Line beat off 400 other nominations - among them two Peruvian journeys which took second and third places, and the Trans-Siberian and Eurostar lines. Accepting the award in mid February in London was First ScotRail's External Relations Manager, John Yellowlees. The award, I am told, now resides in the Board Room of First ScotRail, but I am sure that John will have paid tribute to all the other users of the line during the year, i.e. West Coast Railway Company, The Royal Scotsman, Scottish Rail Preservation Society, The Railway Touring Company, Pathfinder Tours, Hertfordshire Rail Tours. A big pat on the back to all of you for arranging visits that bring thousands of visitors to our area to share what we are fortunate enough to know as our 'local' railway line. Thank you all.
'West Highland News' Spring 2009 issue now available
Friends of the West Highland Line's latest magazine (A4 size) is now available at £2.25 from 'Bill's Place', the newsagents at Fort William railway Station.
Front cover pride of place - in colour - goes to Mallaig photographer Alexander (Moe) Mathieson. It is a shot that takes your breath away. I know it nearly took his, as he scrambled above Loch Eilt to photograph the charter train at the end of the Jacobite season in 2008! I have it on good authority that a banana, an inhaler and a bottle of water also were essential equipment used in the pursuit of the shot. Well done Moe! The 'floating' turntable shot of an engine being turned last year at Fort William is attributed to him on page 23. The magazine is also available by post by contacting Doug Carmichael - Editor - on 01631 562915.
In conjunction with HiTrans, First ScotRail and FOWHL, a promotional picture postcard set is just being launched. There are four large size postcards, each showing a train running through a beautiful, scenic section of the West Highland Lines. Individual postcards will be available FREE from the catering trolleys on First ScotRail's West Highland service trains. They are also available to purchase - as a set of four - for £1.50 including postage by post from Glenfinnan Station Museum. Please make cheques payable to the Museum and send to John Barnes, 'Reef', Station Road, Glenfinnan PH37 4LT.
First Insight - the monthly newsletter (glossy A4) FREE is available in racks on the local sprinter trains each month. If travelling, do pick one up. It is always a good read, and informative.
See you on the train.
CROFTING ROUNDUP by Joyce Wilkinson, SCF Area Representative
Study into Changes in Crofting
Last Summer a group of Students from the University of East Anglia visited the Arisaig area and some of them prepared studies on Crofting and Fishing. Amy Wilson from Okehampton Devon was one of the students who took an in depth look into changes in crofting within living memory and interviewed local crofters. In her findings Amy took five themes that emerged from her interviews with local crofters and presented the results, I am quoting directly from Amy's report with her permission:
I had anticipated the rising cost of fuel to be a major factor in the changes in costs in crofting, and while it was mentioned by half of the respondents, it was done so in a more matter of fact manner, as one of these changes that must be coped with rather than fought. Rising costs of transport of livestock, slaughter, fencing, processing of produce and fertiliser all featured, often linked with changes in law that demand change in practice, pasteurisation for example. One respondent was keen to stress that traditionally crofting is a wholly organic process and that the impact of artificial fertilizer was not positive.
Tourism was of interest to all respondents. Most agreed that tourism was changing in style with a move from in -house accommodation where the same families returned year on year for long periods of time, to more impersonal, short stay caravan and camping sites. Respondents involved in the tourist industry said that it was not affecting crofting in any way other than supplementing their income, furthermore, considering income generated by involvement in the tourist industry supplements their income from crofting and so allows them to continue they felt it was protecting crofting culture. On the other hand respondents not involved in the tourist industry felt the presence of unknown individuals for brief periods of time makes the community less close knit. One respondent went so far to suggest that competition for custom from tourists was creating a tension in the community. On a positive note, this respondent said that by February the community was fully functional again having had a significant period without the presence of tourists
No respondent was able to immediately recall important folkloric traditions or even songs relating to crofting, suggesting that the crofting cultural identity is not very strong.. It is apparent, however, in talking to members of the crofting communities that crofters are aware of a strong cultural heritage and thus identity, even though they may not be able to cite specific examples.
In Appendix 2- Root cause analysis of Ceilidh Decline, Amy asks ' Why Among Crofting Communities, are impromptu ceilidhs a thing of the past'.
No provision of Music - No interest in Learning an instrument
People can't get there- Fewer Crofters- crofts further apart - Drink Driving Law
Less Informal Interaction- Fewer time specific tasks- Mechanisation
Communities are less close knit- Increase in tourism - More strangers around
Half the respondents mentioned the decline in crofting dairy production and this was due primarily to an increase in bureaucracy. Other main changes mentioned by the respondents were the mechanization of crofting, changes in the type of livestock along with the prices of livestock, and crop change, both to make best use of the land and follow taste trends, but also because of government directives.
Attitudes towards the Crofters Commission varied from negative to indifferent with no respondent willing to be wholly positive about them. Most respondents agreed that there was more official paperwork involved in crofting now than ever before. One respondent suggested that this increase in bureaucracy is the main cause of the decline in crofting '
Following this study I believe that crofters and crofting have seen some very hard times, who can say if the challenges facing them now are less likely to be overcome? The youngest respondent in my study was by far the most positive and hopeful for the future of crofting. They saw crofting as willing and able to step up to its place in the larger scheme of environmental change. It was suggested as long as forty years ago that 'the wheel has turned full circle in that the larger farmer has been and gone and the land is back in the hands of small tenants' [Turnock 1969;29] This study has not changed the fact that we can still only wait to see what those small tenants will do with that land.'
Thank you Amy for your interesting report.
Thanks to the response from Crofters, Grazing committees and representatives from Crofting bodies and MSPs the Scottish Parliament has decided to leave the Bull Scheme the way it is for the time being and prepare a working group for the autumn to look into the future and viability of the present scheme.
West Word - ten years ago
- Knoydart Celebrations ran the headline as the people of Knoydart finalised the sale of the Estate to the Knoydart Foundation. Out then Councillor Charlie King was featured on the front page with resident Lorna Schofield and baby Kira.
- Mallaig was experiencing difficulties with the new Breakwater and monitors were going to be placed to provide readings that might be used to eradicate the 'swell problem'.
- 79% of the funding to install the railway turntable at Mallaig had been achieved with a Lottery grant-so what happened??
- Rosemary Bridge, Head of Mallaig Primary School, was appointed Head Teacher at Upper Achintore School in Fort William.
- Guess what! The railway line was closed for a week at the end of February, to allow maintenance work on the tunnels.
- We pictured Maggie MacNeil and Neil MacDonald at their wedding in Morar - so happy 10th anniversary to you!
- A grant had been awarded for a CCTV system for Mallaig which was to lead to a lot of 'discussion' over the ensuing months!
- Angus Macintyre was appointed as 'Sea Ranger' for the area!
- The building of the Day Care Centre was held up by difficulties with the site.
- Our occasional feature 'A Sense of Adventure' featured Viv de Fresnes and Donald MacLellan's climb of Kilimanjaro in aid of Leukaemia and Cancer Research, with the aim of raising £4000. Donald made it to the top, but Viv succumbed to altitude sickness about an hour from the top of the 19,500 ft peak.
- The March 1999 edition of West Word consisted of 32 pages, much of it in quite large print, and there was still room for a gardening/recipe page and a crossword! Now we struggle to contain everything in 40 - 44 pages! Richard Lamont was doing the gardening feature, Alan Boradhurst the recipe (kedgeree), and Andrew simpson provided the crossword.
- Plans were afoot to restart the Scouts, and Morar Angling Club were looking for new members.
MMCCA Wind Turbine: Open Meeting
As most of you will be aware, Mallaig and Morar Community Centre Association (MMCCA) are currently investigating the possibility of installing wind turbines to provide electricity to power the community centre.
Over the last few weeks, we have been doing some background research, and this includes questionnaires being situated in local shops and circulated to the properties overlooking the site. There is a lot of support for the idea, but equally some people have valid concerns, and MMCCA would like to address these concerns.
We intend to have a public meeting on Friday 20th March, at 7pm in Mallaig and Morar Community Centre. At this meeting, we hope to be able to show what the turbines might look like, and answer any questions that people may have. To help us do this, Jamie Adam, who works with Community Energy Scotland will be coming along.
Everyone is welcome to the meeting, and there will be an opportunity to ask questions on the night. If you have any specific questions, which might need a bit of research to answer, then please feel free to speak to one of the committee members and we will endeavour to have the answer on the night.
JOIN THE REVOLUTION - THE GREEN REVOLUTION
A new feature for West Word - local environmental projects
Isle of Eigg
In September 2008, the Isle of Eigg was announced as the only Scottish finalist in NESTA's £1 million prize climate change competition The Big Green Challenge. Each of the ten finalists have 12 months to radically reduce their CO2 emissions, in innovative ways, that engage their community, and that can be grown and replicated across the UK. Here on Eigg we are looking at how homes and water are heated, our island and mainland transport choices, and waste disposal, our 86 islanders set the ambitious target to reduce their CO2 emissions by 50% in just 12 months. We also want to share our CO2 busting successes and challenges through a website where people and communities across Scotland and beyond can record their own achievements, share information, and collectively do their bit to fight climate change. This should be up and running in March, so keep an eye on the Eigg website for a link.
Along with Eigg's recently installed renewable energy supply, powered by hydro, wind turbines and solar PV panels (with backup generators in the extreme case of having no water, rain or sun!) we are continually trying to find other ways to be more energy efficient and cut our CO2 emissions.
One of our many projects is a pilot scheme to fit solar water heating panels. We have chosen three households that currently heat their water using Kerosene, Coal or Wood. Hot water production in each house will be monitored, and compared with the amount of energy and money it took to heat it previously, so others can judge how efficient a panel might be for them in a similar situation.
Home Energy Checks have been done on each household which produces a report with an energy efficiency grade from A, being ideal, to G being poor. We have made available a Green Grant scheme that assists in purchasing energy saving measures and/or reduce CO2 emissions contributing to household efficiency.
Another project on the go is a Woodfuel Feasibility Study investigating all aspects of wood for fuel along with encouraging the use of wood rather than coal. This year a scheme will be open to visitors to promote travelling to the island by public transport. Visitors will be rewarded by vouchers redeemable at participating businesses on the island.
We will be running all sorts of projects, workshops and events throughout the year covering many environmental issues. Our main event is our green festival 'Giants Footstep' being held on the 2nd & 3rd of May. A family orientated weekend with talks and workshops by local and invited individual speakers and organisations. Interpretation displays and stalls selling, showing, promoting and teaching green lifestyle choices, music and much more. Not forgetting the children there will be a programme of events on offer with eco drama and recycled art workshops to mention a few! We really hope you can come along to share and exchange your ideas!!
If you would like more information on our island, log onto www.isleofeigg.org or contact the Big Green Challenge project managers Tasha Lancaster or Kathleen Millar by emailing: email@example.com
A Car Club for the Mallaig area?
Can you help us to find out if a Car Club serving Mallaig, Arisaig, Morar, and the Small Isles and Knoydart communities would be a good idea?
- Do you need to use a car sometimes, but don't want the hassle and cost of owning it?
- Do you struggle to find somewhere to park?
- Would you like to get rid of your second car?
The benefits of a car club include potential cash savings compared with buying and maintaining your own car, less hassle sorting out insurance, MOT and finding somewhere to park, and a reduced carbon footprint.
A car club provides its members with quick and easy access to a car for short term hire. Members can make use of car club vehicles as and when they need them. All they have to do is:
- Book - from as little as half an hour at a time to a week or more - using telephone or internet. The booking can be made well ahead of time, or with a few minutes notice.
- Unlock - cars are located at designated parking bays in the local area and accessed using the member's smart card
- Drive - It's just like a normal car. Simply return the car at the end of your journey. If you have any problems, or need to extend the booking, the car club help desk is just a button push away.
- Pay - Pay-as-you-go mileage charges include fuel and maintenance costs.
The Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust has received funding from the Climate Challenge Fund to research a car club for the Mallaig area. The project started because Eigg residents, and those living on other islands and in Knoydart, were looking for a way to reduce the costs of owning a car for use on the mainland. Also, because Eigg is working to reduce its CO2 as part of the Big Green Challenge, Eigg residents were also keen to look at options for reducing the number of cars they use on the mainland, or to replace them with cars with lower CO2 emissions. Rather than just set something up which benefited Small Isles residents, funding has allowed us to extend this research to see whether people living in the wider Small Isles, Mallaig and Arisaig area might also benefit.
The research will be done on behalf of the Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust by Commonwheels Community Interest Company, which works with local communities to establish car clubs across the country.
The Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust and Commonwheels is eager to know the thoughts and opinions of local people as to whether this scheme would work in this area. We are looking for one person to work for a couple of months on a part time basis to co-ordinate the research (see job advert on page 43 for more details), several volunteers to help with surveys and interviewing people and everyone to be willing to answer questions about their car use and journey patterns.
For further information please contact Commonwheels.
0113 245 0158
Green Revamp for Glenuig Inn
Work has begun on upgrading the Glenuig Inn to make it more attractive to people seeking a green tourism experience.
A complete renovation of the hotel includes energy efficient measures and replacing the one remaining wooden chalet with internal bunkhouse accommodation.
Steve Macfarlane bought over the business in December 2007. It has been closed since October to allow the work to be undertaken during the winter months and expects to reopen in late spring 2009.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has approved assistance of £182,340 towards Mr Macfarlane's own capital to the project which will ultimately be a low carbon footprint business attracting customers from niche markets.
Glenuig Inn is the only hotel within a ten mile radius and the main Inn building dates from the 17th Century. The renovated building is designed to be highly energy efficient including insulation, heat exchangers and solar panels. A report from the Energy Savings Trust indicates that 70 per cent of the current energy used in the Glenuig Inn could be saved by implementing these green measures.
Mr Macfarlane aims to capitalise by committing to the Green Tourism Business Scheme the UK's sustainable tourism certification scheme. Businesses opting to join are assessed by a qualifying grading advisor against a rigorous set of criteria covering a range of areas including energy and water efficiency, waste management and biodiversity. Businesses that meet the required standard receive a bronze, silver, or gold award based on their level of achievement.
After the upgrade, niche markets will be targeted throughout the year making the hotel more profitable with the mixture of accommodation, food and beverage sales. Mr Macfarlane is already working with outdoor activity providers to encourage them to use the hotel as a base. He is also developing a concept to link with other Inns on the west coast of Scotland with access to the sea to provide a trail for sea kayaking and yachting.
Mr Macfarlane said: 'Taking responsibility for the environment and local community is an important part of our commitment to the sustainable development in the hotel. This will make bring the accommodation available to a much higher standard, and also improve the quality of the public areas, including upgrading the existing restaurant facilities to attract more passing trade.'
Arisaig's stag is becoming quite tame now and some folk are getting fond of him! Here he is in Strath View.
A VIEW FROM AIROR
It's great to see the creative and entrepreneurial spirit alive and well in Knoydart, in particular in resourceful whistle and flute maker, Daniel MacGinley. This endeavour (Domnahl na Gruen, Whistlecraft) started approximately 18 months ago, creating the first two whistles from an old mop handle. The progress and development since has been steady and well appreciated by musicians world-wide. Daniel has a website receiving orders daily, as well as releasing some onto Ebay.
When asked about the original idea, Daniel said: 'Having wanted a low 'D' whistle all my life, but not being able to afford one, I finally decided to make one myself. It's important that whatever I produce, it must be robust, of good quality, and affordable to a wide range of folk.'
It is all the more enlightening that an old tradition is brought alive again. This fits in well, hand in hand with the wild and beautiful landscape of the Scottish West Coast. Contact Daniel via his web site: www.domnahlnagruen.com
There is a sound clip on the website to illustrate the tonal qualities of these fine instruments.
Daniel will be happy to discuss particular requirements or any other advice regarding details of his whistles and flutes.
'An excellent whistle, I would recommend Daniel's instruments to any musician' - tinwhistleblower
Good luck Domnhal.
After spending 36 hours trapped in a collapsed single man tent in the north west Highlands (a lonely and wet experience!), Jason Finch of Edinburgh was inspired to set up 'Scotster' ( www.scotster.com ) - a website dedicated to bringing Scots and friends of Scotland together online and offline.
Jason wrote to us: 'I have been reading about West Word and thought you may like to hear about something great for Scots in Mallaig area & the Small Isles - and indeed anyone with a connection to or love of Scotland.
'Scotster is a refreshingly different approach to promoting and showing Scotland and everything Scottish, bringing people together in a worldwide network for Scotland that is totally free and which has members from all over the world. It's growing fast and West Word should be a part of it too :)
'People join Scotster to share photos, exchange ideas, meet people, give opinions, research travel options, get advice, organise events, find things to do, expand their social circle, chat to friends, build more business, discover new places.
'Tell us more about you: add your events to the calendar, upload photos of Scotland and your own local area, chat with people in private or in the forums.
'Scotsters say it's fun, useful, educational, photographic, highly addictive and a great alternative to anything else dedicated to Scotland!
'See you on Scotster - it's at www.scotster.com and is totally free and really easy to use :)
Very best wishes,
A Little Genealogy by Allan and Elizabeth MacDonald (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Priests of Arisaig (Scotland)
1625 - 1664 Fr. Cornelius Ward Franciscan
1664 Rev. Francis White
1678 Rev. George Fanning Irish Dominican
1687 - 1700 Rev. Morgan
1711 - 1727 Rev. MacGregor
1727 - 1731 Rev. Fraser Benedictine
Assisted by Rev. George Douglas or Dalgleish
1731 - 1733 Rev. James Leslie. Brother in law of Iain Òg MacDonald, Gaoithe Dail (of the Morar family)
1733 - 1738 Rev. Neil MacPhee
1742 - 1745 Rev. Allan MacDonald. aka Don Alano. From Uist. One time teacher at the seminary at Gaoithe Dail. Ordained by Bishop Hugh in 1742, he was chaplain to Clanranald in the '45 and confessor to Prince Charles Edward Stuart. He was banished after the Rebellion.
1745 - 1747 Rev. William Harrison. Fr. Harrison also ministered to the areas of both North and South Morar and indeed, at one point, this was extended to take in Knoydart. He would only have had sporadic assistance when possible. Taking no part in the Rebellion, he seems to have been free from persecution by the authorities.
1747 - 17?? Rev. Alexander . MacDonald
1777 - 1782 Assisted by Rev. James Hugh MacDonald, grandson of Iain (MacDonald)Gaoithe Dail, son of Iain Òg. His sisters emigrated to P.E.I. in 1772 and his brother, Angus, went to Canada on the "Nora" in 1801.Assisted by Rev. Alexander MacDonald.
1768 - 1773 Rev. William Harrison.
1773 - 1782 Rev. Alexander Kennedy
1784 - 1791 Rev. Norman MacDonald"1798 - 1834 Rev. John MacDonald. - 1st cousin of an "Dotair Ruadh". Died, aged 82, at Kinloid on 7th July 1834, buried in Kilmory. Originally named John MacEachen, son of Charles MacEachen, Druim an Darach (Charles was disposessed in favour of his brother, Alexander as punishment, after the '45) and Mary MacDonald, niece of Alisdair MacMhaighster Alasdair. See W.W ALG Feb. 2005
1798 - 1834 Rev. John MacDonald. - Brother of an "Dotair Ruadh. Died, aged 82, at Kinloid on 7th July 1834, buried in Kilmory. Originally named John MacEachen, son of Charles MacEachen, Druim an Darach (Charles was disposessed in favour of his brother, Alexander as punishment after the '45) and Mary MacDonald, niece of Alisdair MacMhaighster Alasdair See W.W A Little Genealogy Feb. 2005
1798 - 1801 Assisted by Rev. Ewen MacEachen who was born in Arisaig in 1769. A noted scholar in Gaelic and Mathematics, Fr. Ewen was educated and ordained in Valladolid. Returning to Scotland in1800, his first charge was in Arisaig. Thereafter he served in various charges around the Highlands and was responsible for building the Church at Sròn an Dùin in Badenoch.. He was the author of a Gaelic Faclair (Dictionary) in 1842 and translated other works from English to Gaelic.
His three brothers, Donald, John and Hector emigrated to Canada where they changed their name from MacEachen to MacDonald. Father Ewen died in Tombae, Glenlivet in 1849.
1801 - 1804 Assisted by Rev. Alexander MacDonald
1801 - 1804 Asssisted by Rev. Charles MacDonald. Died at Borrodale on 8th Oct. 1848. and buried in Kilmory
1829 - 1838 Assisted by Rev. Angus MacDonald.
1837 - 1876 Rev. William MacIntosh. b. 17th May 1794, at Braechly, Glenmuick, Aberdeen-shire and ordained in Edinburgh in 1831. Thereafter he was a professor at Blair's College for four years after which, he served as parish priest in Barra for two years. He took up the charge of Arisaig in 1837 and was to serve here until shortly before his death in 1877. A man of great energy, he toured the country, raising funds for a new, and larger church for his congregation. Due to his efforts, St. Mary's, Arisaig was built in 1849. In 1869, he built a combined school and teacher's house beside the church. He died on 6th January 1877 and is buried in Kilmory Graveyard where we can still see his grave and memorial headstone.
1876 - 1878 Rev. Angus MacDonald. Of the Glenaladale/Borrodale family, Fr. Angus was born at Borrodale on 8th September 1844. He was ordained in 1872 and one of his earliest charges was St. Patrick's, Glasgow. Due to Fr. MacIntosh's failing health, Angus was given the charge of Arisaig from 1876 - 1878 . He was subsequently appointed Bishop of Argyll & the Isles from 1878 - 1892. His next, and last, appointment was as, the Most Reverend Angus MacDonald, D.D., Archbishop of St. Andrews & Edinburgh and Metropolitan of Scotland, from 1892 until his death, in Edinburgh, in May 1900.
1878 - 1882 Rev. Donald MacKay
1882 - 1895 Rev. Donald MacPherson
1883 - 1885 Assisted by Rev. John Black
1895 - 1903 Rev. Angus MacDonald.
1903 - 1925 Rev. James Chisholm
1925 - 1928 Rev. Bernard McClymont O.S.B. (Order of the Society of Benedictines)
1928 - 1933 Rev. Malcolm MacKinnon
1933 - 1964 Rev. John MacNeil
1964 = 1983 Rev. John Gillies. From Bracara, Morar and known at Father Iain. He was a skilled carpenter and carried out major improvements to St. Mary's Church. He was also instrumental in preserving the ruins of the Crùisle, the ancient church in the graveyard.
1983 - 1985 Rev. John Angus MacDonald.
1985 - 1996 Monseigneur Thomas Wynne, now in St. Margaret's, Roybridge.
1996 - 2004 Rev. Donald MacKinnon, appointed Vicar General, now Monseigneur, in St. Mary's, Fort William
2004 - Present Rev. Andrew Barrett.
After the Reformation in 1560, Catholicism was proscribed and suppressed. All records of birth, baptism, marriage and death were destroyed and they may not keep any further records. Priests were banished or imprisoned, thereby removing them from their flocks. As a result, Catholicism was forced underground. In many districts of the Highlands, the people hadn't received the ministrations of a priest for some seventy years. When clergymen eventually succeeded in returning, they were shocked to find that some inhabitants were lapsing into "the old religion". The parish of Arisaig was served from 1625 - 1792 by itinerant priests who also spent time in other parishes in the Rough Bounds, moving on to another district, where they were not known to the authorities, as soon as danger threatened. We know that Father Cornelius Ward was in Arisaig in 1625 and 1636. He pops up in other areas between times, as did most priests before 1793. We assume that he visited Arisaig at other times during his sojourn in the Highlands and Islands. The Highland Vicariate was instituted in 1725, under the bishopric of Hugh MacDonald of the Morar family, as a means of training Highland priests to minister to their flocks in the native language and customs. These priests were known as "heather priests". The scarcity of priests resulted in the few available having to administer to huge areas, sometimes taking in several parishes. Unsurprisingly their health, both mental and physical, was often a casualty of such extreme hardship. The above account is based on records, thankfully, preserved in various archives. From 1778, a softening of attitude of the authorities, allowed the priests to remain in the parishes under sufferance. Various Acts between 1791 and 1829 removed the former restrictions on the practice of Catholicism.
Watch this space for extracts from next month's issue!
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