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

List of Issues online

October 2005 Issue

Contents of the online version:

Top stories
Monthly news from Knoydart, Muck, Rum, Eigg
West Word ten years ago
Local Genealogy

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Contact Details & How to Subscribe
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All photos are copyright either of the individual photographers or West Word.
Not to be reproduced without permission.

BOUNDARY CHANGES WILL SPLIT COMMUNITIES
The Local Government Boundary Commission is set to make big changes to our electoral Ward system - but there's still time for you to make your views heard.
The intention is to create new multi-member Wards in time for the next Council elections in May 2007. There will still be 80 Councillors in the Highland region, but they will represent three- and four-member Wards. This is to introduce proportional representation by the single transferable vote method, and to give a parity (average number of electors per Ward). At present, one member represents one Ward, like Cllr Charlie King for Mallaig & the Small Isles; but under the new proposal our Ward would be part of a larger Ward of three or four members.
The Boundary Commission's recommendation is to split Lochaber into two Wards, instead of the eight at present. Their intention is to use the A830 as a boundary, which would split Lochaber north and south and place Mallaig & the Small Isles in the same Ward as Corpach, Caol, Invergarry, Roy Bridge and Spean Bridge. It would also include Lochalsh and would consist of three Lochaber members and one from Lochalsh. Morvern and Ardnamurchan would become part of a four-member Ward which would include Fort William and Kinlochleven.
The Lochaber Area Committee, supported by Highland Council, have made strong representations to have an east/west split, following the line of the Great Glen, which would place Mallaig & the Small Isles, with Lochalsh, in the same Ward as Ardnamurchan and Morvern. The suggestion would make this Ward above parity and the other Ward below parity.
The Area Committee's suggestion would keep the rural, coastal area in one Ward and maintain the historical connection between Ardnamurchan, Moidart, Arisaig, Morar and the Small Isles. If the Ward is split in the way the Boundary Commission suggests, Mallaig & the Small Isles will be separated from Adnamurchan and Morvern, which will be lumped in with Fort William and Kinlochleven.
The Area Committee is preparing the Council's case to support their proposal of a split along the Great Glen. John Hutchison, Area Manager, said, 'I would appreciate an indication of your views, together with any supporting arguments or information as soon as possible. I am sorry about the short notice but we must lodge objections by the deadline of Thursday 13th October.' If you prefer to write direct to the Local Government Boundary Commission the address is 3 Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh EH3 7QJ, e-mail secretariat@lgbc-scotland.gov.uk. If you do this Mr Hutchison would appreciate a copy of any representations you make. Whatever the outcome, the process will mean major changes in the way the Council functions, with issues in terms of Planning and services. The Wards will become more political, and will lose that vital direct link to their elected member. It could be, with the bigger population in the east part of the wards, that in future all our members may come from Caol, with no rural representation. It is not intended that the members will have different roles and responsibilities within the Ward.
Cllr Charlie King told West Word: 'There will be a loss of public accountability. At present a Councillor is elected because of his local connections and knowledge, but that will go.' On the split proposed by the Boundary Commission he said 'It doesn't make sense to put us in with Kyle, an area we have nothing in common with, and divide us from our historical neighbours Ardnamurchan and Morvern. The ward sizes are too big, and proportional representation always favours the urban areas.'
Make your opinion count by contacting Mr John Hutchison, Lochaber House, High Street, Fort William PH33 6EL, or by e-mail to lochaber.area@highland.gov.uk

RHODDY BASHING ON THE A830
The trunk road between Arisaig and Loch nan Uamh is the subject of a temporary speed restriction order which prohibits overtaking and restricts speed on the stretch of road between the sawmill at Borrodale House and the Beasdale Railway Bridge, while rhododendrons are cut down. The restrictions will be in operation from 3rd October until midnight on 23rd December 2005, and the length of road affected will have traffic signs. Cllr King said, 'I'm glad to see progress on preparation for the next section of the A830. The contractors have assured us they'll be careful when burning so the smoke doesn't cause a problem!'

MORAR LAND BUY OUT
West Word last month repeated an article that had been in local papers. We reported that the Morar crofters were in negotiation with Sir Cameron Mackintosh to buy their crofts from him, and that an agreement had been reached and a visit to the Land Court averted. We repeated a statement issued on behalf of Sir Cameron to the effect that as rents hadn't been reviewed for at least ten years, to avoid time delay and expense a notional rent of 75 pence per acre had been proposed for the land in question.
However, a spokesman for the Morar Crofters has told us this is not the case. No agreement to buy and sell has been reached, and it is very likely that the Land Court will be involved. For one thing, only the Land Court can set the rents. The spokesman said that Nevis Estate does not want to sell to the individual crofters, but instead wants a company set up to buy the land, and the crofters to buy it from the company.

THE SCOTTISH COMMUNITY LAND NETWORK
The SCLN aims to encourage community land initiatives (CLIs) throughout Scotland by the promotion, sharing of experience and networking of Scottish CLI groups.
If you would like to join the Scottish Community Land Network, receive a monthly e-newsletter, be informed and participate in the dynamic community land sector, then email: join@communityland.org.uk
Make this your network; send your news, your events or your rants to: steve@communityland.org.uk
For further links, up-to-date info, a CLI directory and archived newsletters visit the SCLN website at www.communityland.org.uk
The most recent SCLN newsletter contains an article on the Morar crofters attempt to buy their crofts from Sir Cameron Mackintosh.


KNOYDART
This month got off to a good start with Bob's 50th birthday bash (last word not to be taken literally) on 3rd September in Inverie Village Hall. Morag had organised the surprise event and relations and friends came from far and wide to sample the spread and enjoy the craic. The musicians were superb - box player Gary Innes, guitar and fiddle Anna Massie (BBC Radio 2 Young Traditional Musician of the year 2003) guitar and pipes Ewan Robertson from Carrbridge. Stephanie played clarsach and Drew sang. Someone made the comment that it was more like ceilidhs used to be in Knoydart. Bob's surprise present, acquired with contributions from the community, was an accordion, which arrived in the nick of time, the first having travelled to Northern Ireland by mistake. We are looking forward to the concert Bob!
Following the party by a few days, Jazz was enjoyed in the Hall courtesy of "jazz-in-scotland" highland tour, played by Ian Millar (tenor saxophone) and Dominic Spencer (piano) straight from the fringe.
Last week the Knoydart Forest Trust organised a Scoping Meeting attended by a large number of representatives from various 'bodies' with an interest in the way ahead regarding felling, extraction and re-stocking of Knoydart woodlands. Many locals also attended and most were able to add individual points of view to these preliminary discussions. There are many aspects of the operations to be addressed and many and varied are the reactions to the proposed long-term forest plan.
Toby, Kath and boys have finally moved into their brand new A-frame house, with much relief I am sure. We hope they will be very happy and that Finn, Lachie and Coll will enjoy all that living in the wild wood has to offer, right on their doorstep.
Dave (Marriott) also celebrated a birthday this month (15th) and Dave and Jan a wedding anniversary. Dave is doing a grand job keeping the pier workers well fed which helps to keep the building momentum going.
Anne Trussell

ISLE OF MUCK
As in 2004, September was a poor month weather-wise. The Craft Shop came to an abrupt end on the 16th with the final call of Sheerwater. Muck's small part in the Mull Food Festival with a special lunch and a farm tour was also cancelled. So it was very lucky that the Camas sponsored Circus School did take place, causing much hilarity to young and older alike as they practiced various circus acts.
On the farm almost all the lambs are sold at prices well below last year's; in some cases £10 per head less. Which should leave the buyers with a chance of making money. The Lleyn cross lambs grew very well but all the females have been kept for breeding. I have also bought tups, this year from Ewen MacGillivray at Barcaldine, who is one of the few Suffolk breeders on the West Coast and has strong, natural sheep.
Lawrence MacEwen

ISLE OF RUM
Another double instalment I'm afraid, sorry for no article last month, I'm trying to collar someone else into writing now and again, save me forgetting!!
September saw us wave goodbye to Stuart Shaw. Stuart lived on Rum for about eight years but after his lengthy antipodean adventures earlier this year decided to broaden his horizons. He's gone to do a masters degree in environmental management at Stirling University, so good luck Stuart!!
Rum Primary's new teacher, also called Stuart (Poole), has settled in and begun the new school year, the school role is now five, being Sorcha and Nell McEoin, Eilidh and Iain Talbot and Cara Kilpatrick and despite being just in the job, and the building (after the lengthy repairs to the school) Stuart has endured a school inspection already!
Other new additions, though temporary are John Alex, Shuggy, Karl and Portia, who along with Marcel make up this years' stalking team. They have a higher than usual number to shoot this year as, in line with SNH's habitat restoration proposals, the deer numbers are to be reduced significantly to reduce grazing pressure on the yet-to-be planted trees. Derek Thomson, whose new stalking business started last year, has begun with this season's guests. So far so good, all Derek's guests have been very happy with their experience, Derek's only concern now is that there will still be some deer left to shoot in the years to come.
Back to the habitat restoration proposals, Rodney Shearer from Alba Trees came over and did a very informative presentation about seed collection, ground preparation and nursery techniques, in order to inform the community about possible work which will be generated by the tree planning scheme, he was especially interested in folk collecting seed native to Rum as there hasn't been any collected for a few years now, particularly as it would be most appropriate for the trees to be planted to come from Rum seed. Some folk still have reservations about the practicalities of planting large areas without the use of any fences and the long term effects of substantially lower deer numbers, not just on the population viability, but also for tourists and local enterprise. These issues have been presented to SNH who plan to invite a community representative onto their steering group in order that some of these issues get addressed in more detail.
More nature news… Sean and Chris were out at the weekend and counted 10 seal pups down at Papadil. Sean has also reported that a chick has successfully fledged from a pair of Golden Eagles and that a pair of Hen Harriers have bred successfully for the first time on Rum and had three chicks.
This weekend Rum will host the Small Isles Community Council AGM. Items on the agenda include the Small Isles Archaeology Project, for which John Wood will be doing a presentation; the trial freight system on the ferry, unbelievable still not finalised, and the pierhand jobs, which, for Rum, is still vacant due to lack of interest and lack of adequate information from Calmac. Also the 'Small Isles Brand' proposals, Lucy Conway from Eigg's brainchild.
Last week during that flashflood we had 6.5 cm of rain in 12 hours, none of us had seen the river so high!! and in the following 24 hours 7.5 cm.
And finally, welcome home to Lesley. Who's been away for ages writing up her PhD on Rum's feral goat population .
Fliss Hough

ISLE OF EIGG
Wetter and stormier than anyone can remember, this September is bringing winter weather closer than most of us would like. Even though temperature still remains mild, it has been difficult to get on with farming and crofting as wet fields turn into lochans, and one wonders if it affected market prices as well, as lamb sales have not been great so far. Let's hope cattle sales make up for this! Meanwhile in Cleadale, Neil is wondering how he is going to dry his oat harvest. "Well, I am experimenting with using the fence, it may not be traditional but it seems to work…" Neil, in whose croft garden drifts of calendula make a cheerful sight against the grey skies. is happier with the way egg and veg production has turned out: "throughout the year, we've had about 30 WOOFERS from all over the place, they've made a huge difference: we have a German girl and a guy from Japan at the moment, they don't seem to mind the weather too much!!" As to Nora and Bob Wallace, they have also benefited from the help of a sizeable number of voluntary workers in their work to do up the lodge: about 50 altogether, including a group from Russia and recently some young people from Denmark, America and Nigeria!. "We have been able to tackle the problems in the building whilst getting the garden going, and we are now looking forward to start on the roof insulation using sheep wool, which should make a quite a difference."
Tourists have persevered in their attempts to explore the island under the rain, but in the end the weather proved too stormy and the SheErwater's daily runs finished well before the end of the month. Luckily our two September gigs were not jeopardised and there was a good turn out to see Anna Massie and her girl band, who performed brilliantly as part of the Blas festival, and a cool jazz duo from Edinburgh who ended up being part of Lizzie Boden's 50th birthday celebrations. Many happy returns Lizzie! Counting this summer's concerts and ceilidhs, and the island children who are using the premises for sport, we've been able to report a huge numbers of users (700) for our new community hall! Not bad for the first six months…
The hall was also the location for the first round of discussions on building plot policy for the island. The Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust has the power to impose burdens on land to the effect that land sold and bought on Eigg will be subject to conditions discouraging the type of land speculation which is rife in many areas in the highlands, pushing prices up well above what local people can afford. This would lower the price of land and property on the island by about 30% but it would keep the land market on the island free of speculation and affordable for the younger people and the families which we hope will want to settle here in due course. The problem is still how much is the land going to be discounted by and which criteria will be used. Once we solved the problem to our satisfaction, this ought to provide a good working model for other communities, but plenty more discussion is anticipated! This initial meeting was the first to be chaired by John Booth, our new ERA chairman and IEHT director, and he managed very well on what proved to be quite a controversial subject! Well done, John.
But it is with much sadness for all on the island that this month draws to a close, as one of our most colourful "new islanders" passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday 27. Joy Williams, 75, had been terribly upset to hear about her son's grave illness. As she prepared to go and see him, she complained to her friend Peggy of feeling unwell, but collapsed and died before Dr Weldon was able to intervene. Joy's lively personality lead her to take an active interest in the island affairs when she and her husband Barry moved to Eigg 16 years ago and she rarely missed a meeting or a social occasion, lending a hand whenever she could. She well deserved her name, as she loved to cook and entertain, believing the good things in life were there to be enjoyed! She was very fond of her garden and bird life and often helped John Chester with anything to do with birds or moths. She thoroughly enjoyed writing about Eigg for West Word and was pleased to have been last month's Eigg guest columnist. She will be missed by young and old and our feelings do go to Barry, Joy's son and daughter and their families.
Camille Dressler.

Coastguard visit to Eigg
Phil Wren, Sector Manager of the Coastguard, visited Eigg on the 13th and 14th September, for the first time being able to take the Coastguard vehicle to the Island. Whilst there he gave a sea safety talk to the Nursery School (4 pupils) and the Primary School (also 4 pupils). A short video was watched called "999 Coastguard" followed by a practical demonstration on how children can help when someone is in trouble in the water. They also had the chance to talk on the Coastguard radios.

NEW HEAD TEACHERS FOR SMALL ISLES' SCHOOLS
The Highland Council has appointed new primary school head teachers on the Small Isles of Canna and Eigg. Mrs Eilidh Soe Paing has been appointed Head Teacher of the two-pupil Canna Primary School. Mrs Soe Paing, who currently teaches in Fort William RC Primary, takes up her appointment on Monday, 23 October. Mrs Hilda Ibrahim has been appointed Head Teacher of the four-pupil Eigg Primary School. Currently teaching in Moulsham Junior School in Essex, Mrs Ibrahim takes up her appointment on Monday, 8 January 2006.

GLENFINNAN
Autumn arrived and the central heating went on this month. As they say, "the nights are fair drawing in." Chanterelle gatherers have been busy but I haven't tried it myself for fear of poisoning my household.
The month started with an evening of fantastic entertainment in Glenfinnan House Hotel by the young 'Ceilidh Trailers' performing as part of the Blas festival. They had boxes, fiddle, clarsach, piano and beautiful song. There was a good crowd in the bar and feet were tapping.
There was great excitement over the Camanachd Cup Final and a good number of the village turned out to support Kilmallie and our very own Euan Stoddart as Vice Captain. Euan was sporting a black eye from an injury in training for the match. His eye was, in fact, in the team colours and even his stitches were blue. Euan wishes to thank everyone who came along. Sadly, they were defeated 3 - 2 by Fort William but it was a tough contest and the young Kilmallie side will surely be back to claim the cup. Some of us stayed in Fort William for a night on the town to commiserate. Some Mallaig ladies had the same idea and the party was so good that I believe they didn't make it home until Monday!
The Community Council has changed. Sharon Coffey, Ramsay Dewar and Duncan MacFarlane decided to stand down. The new council are Duncan Gibson, chair; Eric McKenna, vice-chair; Eileen O'Rua, secretary, Joan Robertson and Grahaeme Young, treasurer. We will meet in October and there will be an AGM in November.
The last fly fishing competition of the season took place. 1st was Douglas Fairbairn, Morar with a 3lb 12oz fish, 2nd Stevie Docherty, Corpach and 3rd Jimmy Graham.
Happy 1st birthday to Josephine MacFarlane on 11th September.
Farewell to those of you heading to university to start or continue your studies. Ailsa Powell is off to Edinburgh to study Chinese, Alistair Coleman returns to Stirling to continue with Sports Studies and Martin Whyte is flying off to Australia to study sound engineering. Lucky Martin misses winter completely! Good luck to those of you I haven't mentioned.
Finally, Cupid's arrow has struck in Torr an Eas…..!
Eileen O'Rua

ARISAIG
A wonderful, sell-out Blas concert on 9th September as part of the new pan-Highland festival - great to see so many of our favourite performers all in one place. And what a good thing the Hall had got lights and more sound equipment recently as it was needed-the sound & light team didn't turn up! A brilliant concert enjoyed by all.
This was followed by a modest audience enjoying the jazz playing of Ian Millar and Dominic Spencer. Ian and Dominic have written to the Astley Hall (and no doubt Eigg and Knoydart too) to thank everyone for being such a great audience, and have written to West Word too!
By the time you read this I hope the new external noticeboard for the Hall will finally be up. Any group who uses the hall and wishes to put something into the noticeboard, please contact me.
The next event we have is Mull Theatre's 'Katie Morag' and this is also going to be a sell-out. Eden Court even phoned me to ask if they could sell tickets!! Eigg Primary School are coming over en masse and Acharacle Primary School have advertised it in their newsletter. So all I can say is - please book for this one, buy tickets at the Post Office or ring me. Seating will be more limited because the set will take up some of the hall floor and we'll have to put seats on the stage. It really will be a case of first come, first served and we don't want to turn anyone away!
Enough from me though - I'm handing over the rest of this piece to Fiona MacDonald, who sang Ave Maria so beautifully at Alec MacEachen's funeral.
Ann Martin

Opera Gala and 'Music in Arisaig'
On Friday December 2nd the Astley Hall along with 'Music in Arisaig' present Soprano Karen Murray, Mezzo Fiona MacDonald, Tenor Graham Russel, Baritone Nigel Boarer and Pianist Kevin Thraves, who will be giving a concert of mainly opera, and one or two Scottish songs.
We've worked together for more than ten years, from student days at the Royal Academy of Music in London, to working at Scottish Opera, singing in concerts and with opera companies in Scotland, England, Germany, Tunisia, Zimbabwe and across the USA. We are putting the programme together soon, and as this is our first concert in Arisaig we wanted to know whether there were any songs or arias that anyone would particularly like.
I have always wanted to sing in Arisaig, and bring with me friends who play and sing, I wanted to bring classically trained musicians, for people in Arisaig to enjoy, and I wanted to bring my colleagues, to let them see how beautiful Arisaig is. I also wanted an opportunity to meet and work with local traditional musicians.
To do this we needed a piano, and so I set up Music in Arisaig and made a successful application to Awards for All for £5,000. Our grant has enabled us to purchase a Clavinova, which is an electric piano that we can take to the Astley Hall and other venues locally, as well as other venues in Scotland. We hope to make contact with local musicians to give several joint concerts next year and build a relationship with the Astley Hall and the school.
Fiona MacDonald


The Falcon
In the June issue, you published a request for information about the Meoble motor launches. Mrs Molly Buchanan recently donated a copy of this photograph of the steam launch Falcon to the Heritage Centre. This photograph was probably taken soon after the Falcon was built in 1901. At this time she had a steam engine, but later a Kelvin petrol/paraffin engine was fitted and a later picture of her can be seen in Paul Galbraith's "Blessed Morar" (page 68). Unfortunately she developed dry-rot while in storage during World War II and was scuttled in the middle of the loch.
photo

At this time Meoble was owned by a Mr Jones. Mrs Buchanan's mother, Bella McDonell, and her sister Sarah, from Bracara, were employed for many years by the Crossfields family who used to stay at Meoble House during the summer. When the Crossfields returned to England at the end of the summer the two girls accompanied them and spent the winters working for the family as ladies' maids in Gloucestershire and Somerset.
Their brother William later became chauffeur for the family, married, and remained in England. Another brother, Duncan, became the Meoble boatman and spent the rest of his life at Rifern, near Meoble.
Malcolm Poole

LIFEBOAT NEWS
A dramatic rescue involving the Lifeboat, HM Coastguard, Rescue Helicopter and a local GP was vividly recalled earlier this week when Sheila Scott, Aberfeldy, visited Mallaig to present the RNLI with a cheque for £350 (the proceeds of a sponsored walk at Loch Ordie, Dunkeld) in memory of that fateful day in 1998 when, suffering from a heart attack, she was rescued by the combined might of the Rescue Services, a Landrover and a Fish Van!
As part of a walking group, Sheila was staying at Sourlie's Bothy at the head of Loch Nevis when she became unwell. The Mallaig Lifeboat and a Doctor were soon on the scene and because of her poor condition a helicopter was requested to get her to hospital. But when the helicopter arrived on scene, poor weather conditions prevented a landing, so Sheila, accompanied by her long-time walking companion, Anna Morrison, was placed in the back of a Landrover for transportation to the loch-side. Then it was onto the Lifeboat (via the Y-boat), heading for Mallaig Pier. With no Ambulance available at Mallaig, one of the Lifeboat crew, Jeffrey Lawrie, jumped ashore and commissioned his company fish van to get Sheila up to the helipad site where the helicopter was waiting to fly Sheila (and Anna) to hospital for life-saving treatment.
Sheila, now 75, has never forgotten the heroic efforts of the Mallaig Lifeboat crew and on her 70th birthday in the year 2000 she invited friends to accompany her on an 11 mile trek, seeking donations to the RNLI. On that occasion she raised £250, but this year a similar venture raised £350, due in part to some donations from the members of the Business & Professional Women UK Ltd of which Sheila is a member.
RMM


photo

West Word - ten years ago
50p was the cost of the 32 page West Word of October 1995 and the main cover story was headlined 'Lochailort Hotel To Rise From the Ashes'. The text below the headline told of owner Stuart Carmichael's plans to rebuild the Hotel after the disastrous fire that had destroyed it 18 months earlier.
Mr Raymond Robertson, Scottish Office Minister for Fishing/Housing/Education was featured on pages 3 & 4. On page 3, aided and abetted by Mgr T. Wynne, Chairman of Lochaber Hosuing Association, he cut the first sod for Arisaig's new houses. Mr Robertson didn't use a spade however but a treisgein - a peat cutting tool!
Page 4 was given over to an in-depth interview with the Minister on the current state of the Scottish Fishing Industry.
Local Fish Merchant Andy Race was off to Olympia to star at the International Festival of Fine Wine and Food, while Councillor Dr. Michael Foxley had placed a Wanted Ad for an 'Old Grey Fergie' for working his croft (I wonder if a certain box player from Acharacle applied?).
Staying in the entertainment game, there was an advance advert for the Edinburgh Playhouse April 1996 performances of Cameron Mackintosh's 'Phantom of the Opera'. Meanwhile local film stars like Lucia MacKinnon, Susan Carstairs, Ewen Nicholson, Margaret Mary Coull and Keith Eddie (who even sacrificed his moustache) were all lined up by Director Lars von Trier for the film 'Breaking the Waves'. An epidsode of the more strait-laced TV series Hamish Macbeth was also being filmed locally at Camusdarach Beach.
The ongoing feature of the names of the Rough Bounds, explained by Paul Galbraith, occupied 1½ pages, while a page was devoted to Reserve Manager Martin Curry's 'A Month on Rum'.
A two-page spread on the restoration of the Church at Tarbet was illustrated by photos of the church and one of Donald MacDonald, Fr Michael Hutson and Cameron Mackintosh together inside the 'Church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea'.
Via Personal Angle we find out that yon musical chiel Robbie Shepherd was up visiting ol freens Alan Johnston and James & Jessie Hepburn while the snippets ask the question '...did Morabel in the Mission find her knickers?...'
The School page featured drawings and a biscuit recipe from the pupils at Canna Primary while 'hidden away' on page 28 was the competition to design a logo for West Word. The prize? A £10 Book Token.
Athletics was the main sport featured with Morar's Douglas Runcieman's 8th place in the Grampian TV-covered Coast to Coast Triathlon certainly worthy of note.
The Small Isles Development Plan was revealed; and one of the Planning Applications listed was from Morrison Construction Ltd for the extraction of 100,000 cu. metres of rock, followed by site refurbishment at Glasnacardoch Point. This was the precursor to Mallaig Harbour's Outer Breakwater Development.
Robert MacMillan


FISHING NEWS by John Hermse, MNWFA
Fisheries Growth Sectors! Who says that the fishing sector is in decline?
It is apparent hat the twin growth sectors of Enforcement and Marine Environmentalism are now growing in direct contrast to the decline of the fleet. It will not be long before there is at least one Fishery Officer for each vessel and no doubt SFPA will expand to provide one Fishery Officer for each fisherman. With such a dearth of fishermen, perhaps the Fishery Officers could crew vessels and get really close to the action! In competition with the SFPA, and with massive expansionist plans of their own, are the marine environmentalist lobby who are going for projects, initiatives, reports, research etc, to match every letter of the alphabet. Their modus operandi will be to use emotive indoctrination to usurp money from the gullible public and thus perpetrate their own selfish single agendas. I hasten to add that not all Environmentalists use ambiguous statements and some are in favour of balanced sustainability options.
Closed Static Gear Areas
It appears that the "in subject" of the month is for Static Gear fishermen in some areas of the West Coast and the Western Isles to promote closed areas and call themselves Sustainability Groups. The growth of prawn creeling has been phenomenal in recent years and the fishery has been allowed to expand without restriction. There are now reckoned to be in the region of 800,000 to 1,000,000 prawn creels from Cape Wrath to Crinan including the Western Isles. Given that each one fishes approx 8 square feet, it doesn't take an Einstein to work out the blanket coverage of the ground. Because of the coverage, new or productive ground to shoot creels is at a premium with creel fishermen leaving more creels than they could ever hope to work, on the ground to "claim it" and deter other fishermen.
The great solution to some of the groups is to call themselves "sustainable", use deceptive misrepresentation to con environmentalists, SEERAD etc, and call every other method of fishing unsustainable. They then ask for closed static gear areas to create their own back garden fishery with everyone else excluded. One such group who have had a closed area for some years, have recently called for an increase in their area. Forgive me for saying, but if the closed area scheme with the so called "escape hatches" in creels was deemed to be sustainable - why do they need to increase their area? Fuel
After much huffing and puffing the Westminster/Holyrood Governments have come up with several good reasons why they cannot help the industry in any way to ameliorate the affects of high fuel prices. I suppose it was too much to hope that something to actually help the fishing sector would be forthcoming. We often berate other EU Countries such as the French and the Spanish for their fishing policy but one thing is certain - their governments - no matter what the EU diktats say, help their fishermen catch fish, rather than subscribe to the dubious science of those that would have fishing everywhere banned.


TRAIGH GOLFERS UP IN COUNTY DOWN!
In the week beginning 3rd.Sept. a galaxy of golfing superstars traveled to Northern Ireland to challenge some 450 golfers from all over the world. Yes, I do mean all over, as there were representatives from countries as far flung as New Zealand and America! Facing three competitions in the week, the boys decided to treat the first as a "warm-up" and were correct in doing so, as the 18 "tiger tees" and the unbelievably slick greens were a giant stride from our own little patch! Nevertheless, all walked off the last green with heads held high and an urge to get into the next tournament which was held over three days on different courses. This, the "Heart of Down" tournament, superbly organized by "Posnett Golf", was the main objective, and boy, didn't the guys do well! Day one on "Downpatrick" showed two Traigh names gracing the leader board in the top three! Admittedly, this was probably the easiest of the three courses to score on, but what a performance! Day two at "Spa" was no stroll, with the greens here more like the best "axminster" but they seemed to suit our boys as they continued to shoot good scores. Final day, with the pressure really on, the challenge was "Ardglass" with its "billiard table" greens and wickedly placed bunkers, but the boys held on! In the end it all came down to the last putt on the final green, with Johnny MacMillan just losing out to a giant from America. But hey! Second overall from a field like that! To really put the icing on the cake, the steady play of Fraser Weirman earned him seventh place and all the remaining Traigh men were able to wallow in the reflected glory! What a performance!
But there was more to come! The Friday competition was for overseas visitors only (we qualify!) on the world famous "Royal County Down" course. Unfortunately the day dawned with heavy rain and strong wind and the threat of cancellation, but the organizers bowed to pressure and allowed the tournament to go ahead. As the 320 odd competitors battled their way round this prince of courses, it was obvious that scores would suffer, and even the completion of the round would be something to be proud of! As clubs began to slip from hands in the soaking conditions, skill and course management became priorities, but the lads held firm! After 18 punishing holes and the best that the world could throw at them, Robert Summers and Johnny MacMillan unbelievably tied for first place! What better advert could Jack Shaw Stewart ask for? Traigh Golf now World Famous!


A Little Genealogy
The MacDougalls of Sloch, Ardnish, Arisaig.
by Burgess and Fiona Hay

Burgess and Fiona Hay have been researching the family tree and would welcome any information about the MacDougalls or any other families living at Sloch, Ardnish, until it was abandoned. If you have any comments or information please contact them on slochmacdougall@aol.com

I have followed the direct male line though time and the first person I have found is John McDougald (1). I think he would have been born in the late 1770's early 1780's. He married a Margaret Fraser, she was born in 1781 and may have come from the Strathglass area. They had at least two sons. Angus below and Archie.
Angus McDougald is the direct descendent. He was born in 1804 and died in 1861 aged 57. Angus married Anne McNeil in 1830 and they had 8 children. In the 1841 census he is listed as being a Farmer/Fisherman and his mother Margaret Fraser was living with him at Sloch. The 1861 census lists Angus's place of birth as Strathglass. His death certificate states that he had been ill for 9 years and the cause was unknown.
Anne McNeil was born in 1799 she died at Sloch on the 26th of April 1887 age 88. Her mother's maiden was McEachan and her father's occupation was given as a crofter. She died of old age, there was no medical attendant and she was living with her son Lachlan. Angus and Anne's children were John below, Mary 1, Peggy, Margaret, Donald, Mary 2 and Lachlan (who married Isabella Smith; they had at least two children Dougald and Sally.)
Other Families living at Sloch in 1841 are McEachan & MacGillivary.
John McDougall (2) is the next direct descendent born at Sloch in 1835 and died in 1903 age 68 years. John(2) married Bell Gillies at Bracara on the 17th October 1860; they had 10 children. They started their married life living with his parents. His occupation was given as crofter and fisherman. He died at Sloch on the 18th of January 1903 from Pleurisy after being ill for 10 days.
Isobella "Bell" Gillies was born on 1840; not sure when she died but she was still alive in 1906 when one of her sons got married. Her father was John Gillies a fisherman from Ardnamurach, North Morar. Her mother Mary's maiden name was also Gillies. I note from the marriage certificate that she signed her own name "Bell Gillies" where as her husband just made his mark X. Their children were Alexander, Angus, Mary (she married a Dougald Smith ploughman at Arisaig RC church in June 1895, Mary's occupation is domestic servant) John, Cathrine, Isabella, Archibald and Marjory (she married Eunas Gillies at Plonish in August 1909, Marjory's occupation is given as dressmaker. They had at least two children Morag and Johnnie Gillies who lived together in Morar/Mallaig until the late 1980s. Morag had a son also Eunas who died young in the mid 1970's).
Other Families living at Sloch in 1861 are MacDonald's & the MacGillivary's.
I note that there is a Archibald MacLellan from Glenelg living/working with the MacDougall's, his occupation is given as cattle herd.
I also note that daughter Margaret MacDougall's occupation is given as cattle dairymaid so they must have raised a good number of cows.
Alexander McDougall (see photo below) is the next direct descendent, born at Sloch in 1878 - again not sure yet when he died. He married Jessie Ann Morrice on the 25th of April 1906 at St. Margaret's RC church, Aboyne. They had 4 children. His occupation is given as gamekeeper and we know that he was a keeper on the Glen Tanner Estate in 1906. He was still in the Ardnish area in 1901, in the census of that year he was at Glenshean House, occupation gillie, and he spoke both English and Gaelic.
Jessie Ann Morrice was born in 1888 again not sure when she died. Her father was William Morrice, his occupation was gardener at the big house on Glen Tanner Estate. Her mother was Helen Thoursou and that's all I know about them just now. Their children were John below, Angus, Dorothy and Billy.
Other Families living at Sloch in 1881 are MacDonalds.
John McDougall (3) is the next direct descendent born at Glen Tanner in 1906 and died at Bucksburn in 1988 aged 82 yrs. He married Amy McRae and they had 2 children. John below and Rhoda now in Edinburgh.
John McDougall (4) is the next direct descendent born in Aberdeen in 1936. He married Vanora Grant and they had 2 daughters Fiona and Mairi. The male line will die out with John McDougall, Kincraig, a world champion piper and is still active as a piping judge.

photo
John Senior & Junior MacDougall of Kincraig about 1954 piping for Bucksburn Pipe Band


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