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

List of Issues online

November 2004 Issue

10TH BIRTHDAY EDITION!

Contents of the online version:

Top stories
Monthly news from Knoydart, Muck, Rum, Eigg, Canna
Local Genealogy & History

Letters, e-mails and comments are welcome.
Contact Details & How to Subscribe
Sign our Guestbook

All photos are copyright either of the individual photographers or West Word.
Not to be reproduced without permission.

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SHIRLEY RETURNS TO HER ROOTS
WHEN Shirley Jones took up the post as Manager of the Mackintosh Centre in August, she was returning to her birthplace after 19 years away. Shirley is the daughter of Peggy and the late Alex Ralph, both well remembered in the Mallaig area. Born in Knoydart, she attended Mallaig Junior Secondary School and Lochaber High School before leaving for Glasgow in 1973 to do her Nursery nursing course. The family lived at Garramore Youth Hostel and in Mallaig but moved to Liverpool while Shirley was studying. Shirley worked for Knowsley Borough Council for 16 years in a variety of managerial posts in Social Services, completing 26 years work for Social Services before she returned to Mallaig to work at the Day Care Centre. Shirley, with her husband Ian, has continued to visit the area in her years away. She said 'We intended to retire here, so it's lovely to have the opportunity to move back to the community I was brought up in. Everyone is so welcoming.' Shirley is at present commuting from her mother Peggy's home in Fort William. Peggy returned to Mallaig and Arisaig some years ago and before her move to Fort William was very active on Arisaig & District Community Council and with the Encounter Group in Mallaig. She keeps up a commitment to the area with her involvement with Shopmobility Lochaber. Shirley has a sister Margaret and a brother Alex, who until recently was fishing out of Mallaig.

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A FIRST FOR EIGG
This photograph below may not look too exciting for the front page, but it heralds an easier way of living for the residents of the Small Isles. With the provision of the new jetty for Eigg, it is now possible for cattle and sheep to be herded onto floats on the island and driven on board boat to be taken to the mainland sales. The picture shows the first ever livestock float to arrive on Eigg transporting 200 of Colin Carr's sheep.

SALTIRE AWARDS FOR ROAD AND JETTIES
The A830 Arisaig to Kinsadel Trunk Road Improvement Scheme and the Eigg Ferry Terminal project have both won commendations at the recent Saltire Society Civil Engineering Awards ceremony in Glasgow. The A830 won a commendation in the Project Category and the Eigg Scheme was commended in the Construction Category. The Highland Council acted as the Engineer for both schemes. Congratulations to all concerned!

MONARCH OF BACK OF KEPPOCH
Cnoc-na-Faire Hotel, the silver sands and Camusdarach beach featured in the episode of 'Monarch of the Glen' screened on 31st October. Golly the ghillie was taking his new romantic interest, Meg, on holiday to an 'island' for a romantic weekend. Glimpses of the views and of the hotel were fleeting but the dining room at the Cnoc looked good - are they keeping the palm trees?

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Filming at the hotel.

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The lairdess and laird of Cnoc, Jenny and David, with Karen Westwood who plays Meg, beside with the sign made and donated by the film company - but not shown on screen!

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
We hope you like the colour insert and that you recognised us in our colour cover. We wish we could do this every month but the time and cost is too prohibitive.
I've been reading through ten years' back issues and felt as if my eyes were failing, with all the faint print and poor photos - thing of the past thankfully. I just wish we could reprint all those weddings, babies, presentations, fancy dress etc etc to show them as they really are. You all faithfully continued to send them in, thankfully
In my Editorials I seemed to have apologised every month for the misbehaviour of the printer - the machine that is. The technology might have changed but other things haven't - I still have nothing to do all month until the last few days and then sit here for 12 or 15 hours at a stretch to get everything done.
And things still playing up and kkey sstrokes are going in twice so if I'v emade a boo-boo bbe patient with me! This is what an uncoorrected ssentence looks llike!
Speaking of birthdays, do you know that through these pages we've reported on four 100th birthday celebrations in thee ten years? And this month there's mention on a 101th!
Not one letter or message from readers about our anniversary, our content, our past issues… Mind you, at the moment, having spent days printing out the colour pages I don't want to hear the words birthday , West, 10th, or Word together - in any order - for several weeks! Don't expect colour pages again until we're 20!
Thank you, all of you, for making West Word what it is.
Ann Martin
Thanks to all the photographers, professional, amateur and accidental, who have ensured West Word could produce an archive like our insert. Particular thanks go to Iain Ferguson of The Write Image who always shares his photos with us; to Moe Mathieson and Arthur Campbell, and to Mick Rodgers who took many of them for this issue. Thank you to everyone else, too many to name.
Sir Cameron Mackintosh featured in our first front page story and has been very supportive of our venture from the start. He has given this message to West Word:
'I think it's been a fantastic achievement to get up and running and develop a home grown newspaper which has now got an excellent reputation world-wide. It is treated as a 'proper' paper for this part of Scotland by agencies and others and carries in not only local news but things of national importance. Its articles range from the purely enjoyable to the informative. I was especially impressed that you got the world scoop on my present of a double decker bus being delivered to my house in Knoydart! West Word is a credit to everyone concerned and I wish you every success for the next ten years.'

Ten years ago in West Word
As this edition of West Word makes our tenth birthday, it is the ideal time to initiate a new column, a monthly look back at events and issues as reported or highlighted in the West Word of ten years ago.
I would like to start off however for thanking all those who have assisted West Word over the past ten years ans who have enabled us to 'stagger along' to finally achieve this local literary milestone.
Editors, committee members, folders, printers, contributors, advertisers, distributors and financial benefactors deserve great credit but it is YOU, the reader, who has been the key to west Word's ten year success story.
I find it interesting to look back (a sign of advancing years?) and it should be remembered that the first issue of West Word - printed and published in November 1994 - didn't just suddenly appear overnight. I think back to the night of Monday 24th January 1994 when Jill de Fresnes, Mgr Thomas Wynne, Ross Campbell, Ann Martin, Alison McLean, Stephen Burt and, of course, myself, met up in the Fishermen's Mission - the very first meeting of the Mallaig & District Newspaper Association.
West Word's gestation period therefore went the full nine months, but in that period of time the groundwork was done. Work like getting legalities completed, drawing up the constitution, finding out about printing machines, computers, grants, meetings with anyone and everyone who could possibly help. High school teacher Denis Rixson organised a special Desktop Publishing Computer course for several of the committee members but as Jill de Fresnes, who had been appointed Editor, sent out flyers and put up posters informing everyone about our plans, September came ad went without the committee coming up with a suitable name for the new community paper.
Just days before publication, on the 31st October 1994 to be exact, the Minutes of the meeting state: 'After much discussion and with a little trepidation the name West Word was selected as the title of the newspaper.'
The very first West Word cost 50p and consisted of 24 pages. On the cover was a picture of Cameron Mackintosh, with the lead story being the purchase by the West End producer of he North Morar section of Lovat Estate. Inside was an exclusive interview with Mr Mackintosh and the paper carried letters of support from Councillors King and Foxley, Rev Alan Lamb and Foreign Office Minister Douglas Hurd, while local advertisers all wished us well.
Never one to miss out a publicity opportunity, the Mission News column was provided by Superintendent Murray Campbell (who remains a subscriber) and Mgr Thomas Wynne provided the first Christian Message.
Gaelic wasn't forgotten, with Paul Galbraith providing a piece in both English and Gaelic entitled 'Our Language and heritage', while Arisaig's Nellie MacQueen remembered her childhood in Ardnish. Glenuig Hall was about to open after '12 years of gritty determination by the 150 strong community' and the Mallaig Swimming Pool, the Team Relay Triathlon, Our Environment, a Tourist seminar and a Tourist Survey (the untidiness of Mallaig - 'the litter along East Bay and the rubbish below the boatyard slip is a disgrace') were all highlighted.
Mallaig's Heather Smith recalled her 'operation Raleigh' trip to South America and three High School pupils, Kevin and Graeme Gillies and Naomi Spirit, showed their artistic skills. There was a competition page and a cartoon by Viv de Fresnes, but theone page which has remained unchanged over the past 120 issues is the back Page with its What's On listing.
I would like to end this first look back with a question about the future. What is it that you, the reader, wants to see in West Word? All ideas and suggestions will be considered so don't be slow in coming forward with your thoughts. I've often thought a Soapbox Column - giving someone the opportunity to have a rant (within reason of course) on local issues that they consider important and in need of rectifying.
Anyway, that's for the future, maybe - let's just blow out the candles on West Word's 10th birthday cake and be thankful that we are still here!!!
Robert MacMillan.


KNOYDART
Ten years on and I cannot remember whose suggestion the title "West Word" was all those years ago but it has certainly caught the attention and imagination of many far and wide since those early days. There is something compelling about the word west, which conjures up romance, excitement, anticipation, mystery, beauty, history. A stunning sun setting in the west, "The golden evening brightens in the west", "Westward Ho", "Playboy of the Western World", "Westering Homeward", "Go west young man", "When young Lochinvar came out of the west, throughout all the land his steed was the best" etc. etc. And so it is with "West Word". We all look forward to the latest news, dramas, events and I was going to add scandals, although "West Word" is not known for airing those.
I feel I should add a summary of all that has happened in Knoydart through the ten years but much is already on record in the archives of WW. The population has expanded, visitors have multiplied, construction is proceeding apace and WW pages have increased to accommodate news flowing from Knoydart and the Small Isles, Mallaig, Morar, Arisaig and beyond. Jill de Fresnes put out the original feelers and steered WW through its conception and subsequent years most ably until handing over to Ann Martin, who has smoothly guided WW forward, expanding and consolidating the reputation which appears to be World Wide now with the inclusion of Email correspondence. So there you are - World Wide West Word in ten years. Very well done.
Anne Trussell

Knoydart's Firefighters turned out in force - no fires, thankfully: the occasion was a sponsored car-wash. Unfortunately, some of the vehicles washed looked less stable once the rust patches had been revealed! Over £200 was raised for the Firefighters' Benevolent Fund.
The Pier is coming on apace, with latest safety precautions at the site including three sets of speed-bumps.
Jackie and Ian Robertson have returned from hospital with baby boy Struan, further swelling our population. Ian has eschewed the offer of a wheelchair after the events of the previous month, and seems even more mobile than before.
A casino night was held in the village hall, raising some much needed funds for the new one. Nick proved to be the most competent card shark, with more tokens at the end of the night than the rest of us put together.
Hallowe'en proved even more popular than previous years, with most of the pub dressed up. Who says this occasion is for the kids? Olivia won scariest costume as a wizened crone, with me a runner-up as Bernie the (old) Post. Davey the Piler from the new pier won best costume as Elvis - he's still in character now (uh-huh). Other notable costumes included Sandy's, which bore a remarkable resemblance to Victor from the Marine, Rick as the Green Man, and Kate and Sarah's innovative use of a packet of bin-bags.
Tommy McManmon

ISLE OF MUCK
October is the month of the autumn school holidays when those on the island with families depart and for a time the island is almost deserted. This year was no exception but not before Muck's social event of the year, Charlie and Mhairi Anna's wedding party. Early plans were for it to take place in the small isles marquee at Port Mor House. Marquees can be bad news in October so there was a late change to the barn at Gallanach and a major reorganisation therein to lay the floor and decorate the walls. Hardly had this been done when a remarkable change in the weather and the best weekend of the autumn followed. Finally Cal-Mac kindly agreed to send the Loch Nevis on Sunday morning to take away the 80 or so guests after a great night dancing to live music.
On the farm the constant wet weather (apart from party week) has made outdoor work difficult. The 27 calves for sale had spent the month on silage and cake but their turn to depart came on the 28th when the Spanish John arrived at Port Mor. There is not space here to catalogue all the problems associated with their transfer to the market at Fort William together with nearly as many from Eigg but suffice it to say that it was an epic of inter island cooperation and the telephone never stopped. Even at the market there were problems. There was no water in the pens and we had to resort to fire hoses. Because of all the changes to the subsidy system prices for bullocks were well below last year's but some of my calves (465 kilos at 11 months) were the heaviest I have ever sold.
Lastly, congratulations West Word on achieving the 10th anniversary of what is excellent local paper. Well done Jill, well done Ann.
Lawrence MacEwen

ISLE OF RUM
Having managed to miss the last two deadlines, I'll try to fill you in on what's been happening on Rum.
Back in September, the Lochaber Area planning committee came over for a visit, primarily to have a tour around the village in order to discuss the Village Development Plan, they were also shown around the Castle. Afterwards, they held their meeting in the hall, which resulted in the Village Development Plan being enthusiastically endorsed by all and it should also be included in the next Lochaber Local Plan. Their visit generated some press coverage about future developments on Rum, all of which was positive and illustrated SNH's commitment to positive community development, about time too. Now that Village Plan is complete, we can begin to address our housing shortage. The first step will be to get the derelict 'tattie house' converted into two bed roomed units. You may be aware that we tried to do this a few years ago without success, but the problems we encountered then don't exist now, so we can expect a better outcome.
Ferry Cottage, which was unfortunately damaged beyond repair by a fire in April, was finally demolished this week. SNH have said that they intend to rebuild on the site, possibly two smaller houses, when they are built this will help alleviate their own staff housing problem.
At the end of the school term we had a visit from Alison Devey, from Lochaber Environment group. She brought over a worms for a school wormery and also for a wormery for Big Hanna (the in vessel composter). Big Hanna is working well, this time and we are feeding the compost produced to the worms to produce an even higher quality mixture, I think they operate a similar system at Sabhal Mor Ostaig in Skye.
In September we had a harvest lunch in the hall to sponsor Rhys, who is off to India to cycle vast distances for a charity who help sufferers of leprosy. Rhys, who is an expert at 'extreme fund raising' climbed upto Everest base camp last year for charity as well. After lengthy negotiations with Scottish Water, we are getting our septic tanks emptied. They will have to visit four times to do the whole village, but will need a really big lorry just for the castle, as it's produces so much cr..waste. Septic Sandy, our local drain expert has been showing the boys around.
We had our last ceilidh of the year (apart from hogmanay) a couple of weeks ago. John and Barry from Croft No.5 were over, along with Kevin ( don't know his last name) who played to an unusually large crowd for this time of year. A couple of weeks before that 'Skirler' from Skye played. This year we've had more ceilidhs than before, all of the musicians have enjoyed themselves and most will be coming back to play at the festival next May.
This weekend the kids are having a hallowe'en party, sponsored by fliss' bumper pumpkins, grown in the polytunnel and the nine bar blues band. Everyone gets pumpkin pie and soup for a week. And finally, the Post Office will be reopening this week, with Fiona Talbot as the new Postmistress.
Everyone on Rum would like to wish the West Word all the best on its 10th birthday. Our monthly West Word article is one of the best channels we have for keeping folk updated with what's happening here, especially as it can be accessed on-line and it's just about the only way we find out what's going on locally. You provide us with an invaluable service. Cheers!!
Fliss Hough

ISLE OF EIGG
Happy 10th birthday, West Word, and a big thank you to its editors Jill who started it off and Ann who is keeping the flame burning, well done you! Here's to the next 10 years!
With Halloween one of the highlights of the year for the island children, it would have been utterly miserable if our witches, cat, skeleton, spider and vampire had gone guising in the pouring rain! But the weather stayed dry, thankfully. As for the adults who joined in the fun, Kay and Amber were definitely the best looking witches, Davie the funniest one and Aidan the most Gaelic looking warlock.
Wildlife wise, the bad weather earlier on in the month may have been responsible for the huge influx of waxwings all down the west coast: our bird warden tells us that Eigg got off the mark with an early sighting on the 21st of October and two small flocks on the 30th which finished off what rowan berries were left. Apart from the usual trickle of migrants - a few Whooper swans, Pink Footed Geese, small numbers of Winter Thrushes, the odd Black Cap and Brambling - sighting 4 Jack Snipes on the 16th and a Red Kite on the 15th was a good record for this year.
From the farming angle, it's been a good month, with Sandavore farm getting altogether satisfactory prices for sheep. A record number of cattle was sent away from the Small Isles this year, about 100, with 27 from Eigg alone. This occasioned a good bit of banter and good humoured rivalry at the Fort William sales which were dealt with the usual spirit of cooperation between island farms. Although there was some uncertainty about the effect of the CAP reform on prices, prices were generally good for cattle this year, Sandavore farm getting best top line prices on the day, it has to be said!
On the trust front, we have now received the report from Econnect on a proposal to bring mains-type electricity to all the island households through a central grid. With 98% power coming from wind, hydro and solar sources and only 2% from diesel, this renewable energy project will cost about £1.300 000, which at present compares favourably with the cost of bringing a cable from the mainland. Encouraging news, but a lot of work required to get the funding package organised!
When that's finalised, the islanders can look forward to a lot of digging to lay all the required cables, which will bring welcome employment now that forestry work is coming to a close. However, there is a lot of interest on the island to get going with a new community woodland project to make the most of our tree resources: ideas range from log cabins for visitors to fast growing crops for biomass.
In the meantime, work is nearing completion on stonewalling in Cleadale and path making at the Singing Sands: good news for visitors who until now have had to plough their way through bogs and mud to reach this beautiful beach, where the rare October sunshine made the sand appear white as snow this autumn. Next project: Laig road, which will be an equally welcome improvement!
Our congratulations go to our headteacher, Sarah Watson, on the birth of her baby boy Gregory George, and to Dr Jim Hunter, on his appointment as the new IEHT chairman. His expertise on crofting and economic matters will no doubt be put to good use here, as well as his vast knowledge of Highland history. The community is very much looking forward to meeting him on his first visit to Eigg next month.
Camille Dressler.

ISLE OF CANNA
Happy 10th Birthday to West Word, who would believe it's ten years already. Don't know if I can remember everything that has happened on Canna in that time but the things that stick in my mind are:
The Open days held to firstly raise money to renovate the St Columba's Chapel, then another one to open it, with great turn outs both times;
24 hour power to the island and a new water supply which was out in place by the National Trust for Scotland;
Opening of St Columba's Church as a field study centre by Princess Anne;
Canna Primary School's good fortune in winning not 1 but 2 trips to Disneyland, one in Florida and one in Paris;
Mrs Campbell's celebrations on reaching 100 years of age;
The first wedding on Canna, of Eilidh and Geoff, in about twenty years;
The opening of harbour View tearoom which has kept me so busy that I'm finding it hard to remember all my other duties like writing my piece for West Word every month.
Anyway, here's to the next ten years, West Word!
The farm has been doing well again this year at the sales, with Geraldine getting top prices at some of the sales, with a little help from Kathryn!
I must also write a special Birthday message to Mrs Campbell who will be 101 on the 9th November.
Renovation work is continuing on both St Edwards and Jane's Cottage. Jane's Cottage is being renovated into a holiday cottage which is expected to be available from next year.
Wendy MacKinnon

A decade in Morar
Ten years ago, a long time in a lifetime, many matters were considered as to how to improve the village and its amenities, but only some have materialised. New homes were a big talking-point then by the Council. Where are they? None as yet have appeared. The village hall was discussed, and has been replaced by a community centre in Mallaig, leaving Morar with an unsightly building crumbling to pieces.
However, on the plus side, there is a new playing field which, with possibly a few added facilities, should be in use by next summer. How wonderful to have a play area for the children of Morar. They certainly need some space after being crowded into porta-cabins during school-time. Is it too much to hope for a new school?
The new road by-passing the village is perhaps a boon for traffic but has deprived Morar of business.
To return to the topic of accommodation, there is now a beautiful and peaceful site overlooking Loch Morar and the surrounding hills for our dear departed relatives and friends.
And what of the next decade? Any suggestions for the improvement of Morar are welcome. Please contact West Word.
A Morar resident


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Birdwatch by Stephen MacDonald
October was a fairly mild and unsettled month, with migrants slowly appearing as the month progressed. The first Whooper Swans noted were a flock of 9 flying over Mallaig on the 4th. 22 were seen resting on Loch an Nosterie on the 19th, and a further 12 on Loch Morar on the 26th. 2 adults and 3 juveniles were on Loch an Eala, Arisaig, on the 27th. The first Goldeneyes were on Loch Morar on the 6th, when 3 were seen. A further 11 were seen there on the 26th, with small numbers seen on the Morar Estuary and Loch nan Ceall by the end of the month.
The first Redwings were seen on the 10th and the first Fieldfares (5) on the 12th, both in Morar. Numbers of both species built up by the end of the month, but nothing like the huge flocks of last October.
Waxwings were first reported on the 20th, when 11 were seen near the Health Centre, Mallaig. Another 8 were seen at Rhubana View, Morar on the 26th. A flock of 35 were seen in Arisaig in the 29th, with over 60 seen near St. Mary's Church, Arisaig, on the 31st, feeding on rowan and hawthorn berries. These beautiful birds probably originate in North East Scandinavia or Western Siberia and can be very approachable when they are busy devouring berries.
A Leach's Petrel was seen from the MV Loch Nevis, along with numerous storm petrels, just off Mallaig on the 2nd. A single Manx Shearwater was found ashore at Rhubana, Morar, on the 4th. Great Northern Divers and Red Throated Divers were seen off Traigh and Glasnacardoch throughout the month.
25 Widgeon were seen on Loch nan Eala on the 14th, with smaller numbers at Silver Sands and the Morar Estuary. Up to 36 Greylag geese were seen at Traigh during the month. Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Redshank, Curlew and a single Lapwing were seen regularly at Traigh and a Greenshank was seen on the Morar Estuary from the 25th onwards. Small numbers of Turnstones were still on the rocks off West Bay Carpark, Mallaig. Goldfinches were seen on several occasions with a flock of 7 at Silver Sands on the 25th the highest count. Small numbers of Twites, linnets and Yellowhammers were seen about Traigh and Arisaig, and Reed Buntings and Redpolls were seen in Morar. Although most of our Pied Wagtails have gone, a single Grey Wagtail was seen regularly at Arisaig Marine, with another seen near Main's Farm, Arisaig.
Sparrowhawks were seen often in Morar and Arisaig, a Sea-Eagle was reported flying over the golf course at Traigh mid-month and a Kestrel was seen perched on a rail aboard the MV Coruisk in Mallaig Harbour one wet and windy night. Much to the surprise of the night watchman!

Cetacean sightings report - September 2004 by Marion Affleck, Marine Mammal Medic
Local Cetacean strandings: 01687 462664
For the winter months when cetacean sightings are few and far between in our waters, I will endeavour to provide information on the species most likely to be seen during the summer months. As nature is so unpredictable, many others, not so common species, could, on occasions, choose to visit our coastline -remember our summer visitor, the humpback whale? As many people know, cetaceans are mammals and therefore they give birth to live young, are warm-blooded and breathe air, just like ourselves. The word cetacean is the collective name for all whales, dolphins and porpoises. Their sizes range from the smallest Fransiscana dolphin, which is only known to live in temperate coastal waters off South America, to the truly mighty Blue Whale, whose distribution is world-wide. Closer to home, and more easily and frequently seen, is the Minke whale, which is the smallest of the Rorqual family. The name Rorqual refers to the many folds of skin underneath the lower jaw (80-100) which expand whilst feeding as they take in tonnes of food laden water, which is consequently filtered out through baleen plates, filtering and trapping the food in the process - much the same way a concertina works.
At present, their world-wide status is 'common' with an approximate population of 500,000 - 1 million. Although the Minke Whale is the smallest of the Rorqual family, its statistics are nevertheless pretty impressive. A new-born Minke can measure between 8 - 91/2 feet, with an average weight of 350 kg (770 lbs). When reaching adulthood, they can measure between 23 -33 ft, and have a body weight of between 5 -15 tonnes, all form a diet of small schooling fish and krill…#compared tot heir overall body size, the dorsal fin is relatively small and positioned well back on the body. It is a fairly fast swimmer and can stay underwater for as long as 20 minutes, though it usually takes shorter dives of between 3 and 8 minutes. It is also quite difficult to approach, though some individuals can become inquisitive and may follow a boat for a fair distance before disappearing completely, leaving those watching dumb-founded as to its whereabouts!
Minke Whales do breach but not as often and spectacularly as some of their larger relatives and rarely more than 2 or 3 times in succession. They also spy-hop, which is when they poke their heads above the surface of the water to have a good look around. A good way to make a positive identification of a Minke Whale is the head which, when seen from above, has a single sharp ridge extending from the tip of its upper jaw to its double blow-hole (the double blow-hole is a feature typical of baleen whales) and a triangular shaped head. Colouring is black, dark-grey or brown on its upper-side, to white, pale grey or pale brown on its underside, and the Minke Whale in the Northern Hemispheres invariable possesses a white band on its front flippers, which is absent on their Southern Hemisphere cousins. The Minke Whale's small size saved it in the bygone days of the great whale hunts, when profits were far greater from the larger whales, however today it is the only baleen whale that is still hunted commercially.


Canoe Club news Round Up
Following a busy summer of canoeing activities Mallaig and District Canoe Club are now settling back into the routine of winter pool sessions.
Some of you may already have heard about the junior sections activities over the past few months or seen cars leaden with canoes leaving Mallaig heading for Fort William and beyond and wondered where they were going and what they were doing! Well there's been lots happening in addition to the Mull trip you will already have read about.
All three junior groups had a weekend away this summer and it is with pleasure that we can say that all the junior paddlers were a credit to the club and their communities and took in part in activates with enthusiasm, good will and a sense of humour. The behaviour of the beginners group who went to Fairburn Activity Centre in May was exemplary and two full nights sleep meant they were able to enjoy mountain biking, tree climbing and Canadian canoeing to the full.
The intermediate group enjoyed being based at Glenmore Lodge for a full weekend of kayaking and everyone seemed to thrive on the opportunity to put their skills into practice on white water as they tackled the grade 2 + rapids of the middle Findhorn. Even those who capsized a few time came up smiling and climbed back in their boats ready for more action.
The more advance group were also based at Glenmore Lodge for their weekend and were able to practice white water rescue and safety techniques that they will need if they are going to become 4 Star paddlers over the next year. Earlier in the summer they had been challenged by grade 3-4 rapids on the big white water of the river Garry where despite numerous swims and rescues they impressed their instructor and the other adult paddlers around them. A special mention must go at this point to Christopher for being the only one to get down the river in one go, to Ronan for his impressive bow rescues {holding on upside down in his boat waiting to be rescued by some one else} and to Jeff who passed his Canoe Safety Test on a very wild night on Loch Eil {and surprised everyone with his hand roll}. Geoff now has all the prerequisites to under take his Level 2 Coach Training but first needs to turn 16!
Congratulations must also go to all the adults who passed their Canoe Safety Test and went on to attend a Level Two Coach Training course on Skye in August. This group of Sue, Suzanne, Mike, Sheila and Nancy will now go on to clock up the 20 hours coaching time needed to sit their Level Two Coaching assessment.
In order to thank our many supporters and funders this year and showcase the work of the club and its junior activities {as well as raising funds for yet more equipment and further junior river trips} the club will be providing soup and sandwich in Mallaig and Morar Community Centre on Saturday 13th November. There will also be club equipment, boats and photographs - old and new on display in the hall to enable the whole community to see what the club gets up to! In addition and indeed the highlight of the event will be the film premier of the Canoe Club Junior Sections summer activities featuring Monkey Business at Fairburn, Fun on the Findhorn and White Water on the Garry. The 20 minute film will be shown at 12.30 and 2.30pm and we would like to encourage as many of you as possible to come along and support the club and its 25 junior members. Admission to the hall will be £3.50 or £2.50 concessions including soup, sandwiches, homemaking and tea/ coffee and juice.


A Little Genealogy by Allan MacDonald (email: ealasaid6@btopenworld.com)
The Coiteachen MacLellans

In last month's West Word guest book there was a query from Peter & Jill Hegarty in Brisbane, Australia. They were wondering if there were still any descendants in the Mallaig area, of Jill's ancestors, Angus and Rachael MacLellan. Well, the answer is yes, and here is a slointearachd which, hopefully, will help them in their search.
Angus MacLellan, b. ca. 1815, was the son of Iain MacLellan and Mary MacDonell. They lived in Coiteachan, Mallaig, in the home still occupied by a descendant, John MacKenzie. The name, Coiteachen, is an Anglicisation of the Gaelic, Croit Eachainn - Hector's Croft.
Rachael MacDonell was the daughter of Mark MacDonell b. 1776 and Mary Gillies b. 1778 d. 1852. Mary's father was a lawyer and her family lived at Camusdarrach in South Morar.
Angus and Rachael were married in Glasnacardoch on the 22nd of January 1840 by Rev. Coll MacColl, who eventually emigrated to Australia in 1852. The witnesses to the marriage were, Daniel Galbraith, Beoraid Beag, and Angus MacLean, Brinacory. There were at least, 10 children from the marriage. I don't have the ages in the proper order because at some time, 20 years of records were removed from the records of St Cumin's in Morar. The records which are available show: (1) Catherine, b. 31st Dec. 1840. (2) John, b. 1843, (3) Clementina, b. 1844, (4) Daniel, b. 1845, (5) Mark, b. ca. 1845, (6) Mary, b. 1848, (7) Alexander b. 1850, (8) Flora, (9) Donald and (10) Anne.
Catherine MacLellan m. Angus Cameron in 1872. I don't have details of the line of succession of their family other than, the present day relatives are the Cameron family of "Riverview", Morar. Dan Cameron and his wife lived in East Bay, Mallaig and I think that Dan was a grandson of Catherine. Dan had at least one son, John, who married.
John MacLellan m. Catherine MacLellan and they are featured in the October edition of W.W. in Jill's e-mail. I don't have the line of descent so perhaps Jill could send it to me.
Clementina MacLellan m. Ronald MacLellan, son of 'Illeasbuig (Gillesbuig) Brinarory and Margaret MacDonald, (my g.g. grandparents) moved from Mallaig to "Seaview" in Morar where a descendant, Ronnie MacLellan, still occupies the croft. When in Mallaig, they crofted the strip of land which is now occupied by the Harbour, the Point, the Station, The Marine Hotel, the Royal Bank and the Boatyard. They moved to Morar to make way for the railway and pier-head. Ronald and Clementina had 7 children. (A) Angus m. Isabella MacLellan from Brinacory with no issue. (B) Allan m. ? with no children surviving for more than a year although, there were 6 or 7 births. (C) Archie, "The Captain" m. Isabella MacDonell from Bracara. Archie was a Trinity House pilot and he an Isabella had 2 children, Ronnie, who married Mary Nicholson from Skye and they have 2 children. Molly Clementina married Donald Buchanan and has 4 children. (D) Donald m. Elsie Tait from Hawick. Their children were, Olive and Muriel. Neither daughter married so that line died out. (E) Mary m. John Clark and emigrated to Canada. They had three children of their own, Clementina, (Clemmy) Jack and Mary. They also adopted 3 children, Jean, Margaret and one other. N.F.I. although, I think Clemmy was a nun. (F) Jean m. Edward Brennan. They lived in Riddrie, Glasgow and had 3 children, Julia, Margery and Patrick. Julia d. unmarried, Margery m. Charles Pickersgill and emigrated to Canada. The Pickersgills had 4 sons, Charles, Allan, Ronald and James. N.F.I. Patrick m. Margaret Davis and had 2 children, Patricia and Garry. (G) Marjory m. Sandy MacDonald from Tigh na Mara, Arisaig and had 6 children. (1) Ronald m. Alice o'Rourke with no issue. (2) Donald m. Margaret "Daisy" Duncan and had Alistair, Fiona, d. aged 12 years, Andrew, Colin and David. (3) John m. Mary MacLeod of Harlosh, Skye (my parents) and their children are, Neil, m. Margaret MacDonald, South Uist with 2 children, Donnie and Margaret. Alexander "Baich" m. Christine MacPherson, Polnish and had 5 children Iain, Fiona, Sandra, Simon and Andrew. Alex. was widowed and later married Mary Morrison, from West Kilbride, South Uist, widow of Noel O'Donnell
Donnie and Allan - twins. Donnie married Moira Campbell Morar & Barra and had 3 children Heather, Sandy and Bobby. Allan m. Elizabeth Macnaughton, Glenmamie Farm, and our children are Charlie and Wendy. Marjorie Anne m. Hugh Harkins, Bracara and had Hazel and Norman (4) Clementine m. Dan MacLeod and had Donald, twins Alexander and Kenny and Clement. Clementine died in childbirth. (5) Mary Jane m. Alex. MacLeod, brother of Dan and they had no issue. (6) Katie m. Walter Docherty and had 3 children. Walter, Tony and Christine.
Daniel MacLellan - presumed to have died young. The name re-appears in Dan Cameron, East Bay, Mallaig. Mark MacLellan b. 1845 was brought up by his grandparents Mark MacDonell and Mary Gillies and changed his name to MacDonell. He became a lawyer and married ? he had two children, Donald and Mary both of whom died unmarried so the line died out.
Mary MacLellan m. Angus MacDonald, son of Roderick MacDonald and Penelope ? who lived in Caolas (Kyles) Knoydart. ( See W.W. P.23, September 2004- Agnes Clark) Mary and Angus had 5 children, Mary, Catherine, Margaret and Penelope, also known as Hetty. (1) Mary m. Eddie Kessock - their daughter Marie m. Leon Swicozyk, their daughter, Agnes, m. Ian Clark and their daughter Eilidh accompanied them on the trip to Knoydart in Aug. 2004. (2&3) Catherine and Margaret who, as far as I am aware, were unmarried. (4) Angus who was married and who emigrated to Canada. His son Roddy m. Cecille ? and had a son, John and 2 daughters. I would be glad of any further info. on the Canadian families. (5) Penelope, known as Hetty, was married to James MacDonald, (Seumus I'n (Iain) Ailean), of Arisaig. This family is still known locally as "The Hetties". James and Hetty had 3 children. (1) Allan m. Helen Pringle, Achnahully, Arisaig, and had Bill and Elaine. (2) Katie m. Bill Black. They lived in Alnwick, Northumberland and had 3 children, David, Allan and Anne. 3) Angus m. Chrissie MacDonald, dau. of Donald MacDonald and Chrissie Grant, Bunnacaimbe. Angus and Chrissie had 5 children. (1) Gerad, u.m. (2) Mary Frances or, Merac, m. Roger Balfour and has 4 children, Christopher, Mairi Jo, Frances and Michael. (3) Jane m. Keith Verrall and has Patricia and Samantha. (4) Penny m. David Buick and has Lindsay, David and Kirsty. (5) Angela m. John MacDonald, nephew of the late Dr. Angus MacLeod, Raasay and has James, Chrissie and Katie.
To be continued next month.

West Word is now receiving a number of emails and letters each month from people researching their family tree. So we thought we'd start a new column and hope that 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 my ancestors. My forefather Donald MacLellan came from Morar, Scotland in 1819 to S.W. Margaree, Nova Scotia. If any one has any information on him or his clan, I would like to know.
K. K., kan2312@earthlink.net.

Found this site about a year or so ago when looking up Morar as I knew my Gt grandmother on my dad's side (MacLellan) had come from there. I love to come back to visit through the site. I have been to Morar, Mallaig and Arisaig to touch the ground my ancestors walked. Now I find my mother's paternal side came from Morar as well. Allan 'Beag' (Little Allan) MacDonald born 1794. He married Mary MacDonald from a family called the 'Stanley' MacDonalds. Left with two daughters for New Brunswick possibly 1837 from Glenuig, also some of the wife's bothers may have been with them. Daughters died on board ship, but my gt. Grandfather was born soon after arriving in New Brunswick. Family moved from New Brunswick to Antigonish, Nova Scotia, after a few years. I am looking for anyone who might know where the 'Stanley' MacDonalds originated, or who may know what ships left Scotland around 1837 for New Brunswick. Also, anyone who may know the family Little Allan MacDonald came from. If he was in touch with the homeland, he lived to be 103 and died in 1898. Hope to come back in person in the next year or so. It's a beautiful place. Thanks.
Jo-Anne MacEachern, Vancouver pandjathome@telus.net

Hi. While researching my family tree, I discovered that I have ancestors from Bracara.
My 3rd gt grandfather was Ronald MacLellan who was a crofter. He was born about 1780 and died in 1855. he was married twice, first to Catherine Smith (died around 1825) and then to Margaret MacDonald from Knoydart (born around 1801). He had 7 children to Catherine. Alexander b. 1806, Catherine b. 1809, Mary b. 1813, Donald b. 1815, Flora b. 1815, Jane (my 2nd gt grandmother) b. 1819 and Anne b. 1820.
With Margaret he had 8 children. John b. 1829, Mary b. 1830, Donald b. 1833, Margaret b. 1834, Annie b. 1836, Flora b. 1840, Janet b. 1840 and Alexander b. 1842. Busy man or what?
In 1841, Ronald lived at 9 Bracara and in 1861 his wife Margaret was living at 4 Bracara. Jane went on to marry Angus MacIsaac of Smirisary and had ten children of her own. I would be very grateful for any information on my ancestors. Who knows, perhaps I may still have distant relatives still living in the area.
Ewan Cameron, Glasgow ewansee@aol.com


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