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

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December 2013 Issue

Contents of the online version:

Top stories
Monthly news from Knoydart, Muck, Canna, Rum, Eigg
Lifeboat, railway and crofting news
Local Genealogy

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Storm damage
The forecasters got it right when a gale hit us on Thursday December 5th. Winds of up to 140 mph were recorded on Aonach Mor in Fort William.
The electric power was off when most of us woke up until 10pm at night with power cables damaged by fallen trees. Vodafone coverage also went off and was still off ten days later.
Boats in the harbour received some damage, as did cars in the West Bay car park, as they got shunted into each other.

photo photo

Incised Neolithic Stone at Rubha, Arisaig
The district of Àrasaig is steeped in history; the most widely remembered being that of the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, the Clearing of the indigenous population of the 18th and 19th centuries and more recently, S.O.E. However, inevitably, Àrasaig has a much more ancient history, most of it unexplored.
It was with this history in mind that, in November 2013, a group of local people set out to carry out an archaeological survey of Rubha, Arasaig. Over the years we had all walked the peninsula often, noting the many ruined settlements and accompanying feannagain ('lazybeds' which is a derogatory term applied by detractors of the Highland people) scattered from Druim an Daraich to Rhu Point. We wondered about the long departed people of old and what the terrain could tell us about them and their lifestyles.
Evidence of pre-historical habitation on Rubha is plainly visible in the cup-marked stone at Gaoithe Dail, described by W. Jolly in 1882 and the bait holes, found on the shoreline near Gaoithe Dail c1880, by James Fraser, head gamekeeper, Arisaig Estate. So, too, are the vitrified forts on Rubh' Àird Ghamhsgail, Eilean a' Ghaill and across in Loch Ailort, on Eilean a' Gobhar and the crannog in Loch nan Eala.
Our aim, with the assistance of maps, geophysical instruments (GPS), written notes and camera, was to record ruins and unusual features which we found. We hoped that, apart from the pleasure of walking with like-minded people, if we could find interesting archaeological features, we might persuade the experts to come and have a look and thereby arrive at a better understanding of our local history.
We started out at Gaoithe Dail on November 2012. In all, we were a party of ten people, some of whom were unable to come every week (after all, pensioners lead busy lives) but at the end of the winter, all were still 'on board'. We were fortunate to be accompanied by Ken and Jean Bowker of An Comann Eachdraidh Mùideart, both of whom have extensive experience and knowledge of local archaeology and who gave us 'on the spot' training, enabling us to record features accurately.
Through the winter, we covered the south side of the peninsula which is approximately four miles in length.
The best days for our project were sunny days or days of light snow covering. On these days we could see every contour of the land which, along with the ruined houses and feanagainn, told their own story. We observed many things, some of which saddened us when we recalled the history, and some of which made us angry when we thought of the people who were forced to leave even the meagre dwellings on the land they loved. This silent, beautiful area which is now largely the domain of birds and animals used to be populous and once echoed with the sound of men and women going about their daily business and the laughter of children.
Although we saw many interesting features which we feel are worthy of further examination, it was only in April, near the end of our stint that we discovered something that we were pretty certain was significant. On the outer surface of a stone in the wall of a ruined house, we noticed shallow incisions which appeared in a diamond pattern. It was a dry, sunny day, the sun fortuitously shining directly on the stone, enabling us to see the inscriptions. Had it been a wet and dull day or even merely a dull day, we would never have noticed them. Although very excited by our discovery we resolved to keep it to ourselves until it was viewed and verified by experts in this field.
Expert examination was duly obtained and has now confirmed that these incisions are genuine and were carved on this stone in the Neolithic Age, some 4,000 to 2,500 years B.C. Wow! (See the more technical description from Ken Bowker on the right) It is thought that the stone came from an ancient cairn nearby, which is, most probably, no longer extant.
'Our' stone has now 'come off the hill' and is safely housed in the Land Sea and Islands Centre where it will be displayed when a suitable display case is installed.
Our thanks go to Mr and Mrs Neil MacEachin and Mr and Mrs Jeremy Benfield, Rhue Farm, for kindly allowing the stone to be removed and placed in the Land, Sea and Islands Centre.

Jean Bowker is working on a detailed map of the numerous features which we have recorded on Rhu, with more to be added as the survey progresses. We hope at the end of the project, to be able calculate the dimensions of the small farms by means of rentals and the Norse measures of land such as pennylands etc. When completed, this information will be displayed at the Land Sea and Islands Centre in Arisaig.

Photo left to right: Lillian MacDonald, Alison Stewart, Judy Budge, Rosemary Bridge, Jean Bowker, Elizabeth MacDonald, Ken Bowker, Susan Carstairs, Claire Walters, Allan MacDonald.


It was an informative and rewarding experience and one which we all enjoyed immensely. Now, the group is preparing to start again on the North side of the peninsula, bracken and weather permitting!
Elizabeth MacDonald
An Commun Eachdraidh Arasaig.


In April 2013, during a walkover survey of the Rhu Peninsula, by Arisaig, a group of very faint markings were spotted on a stone forming part of the east-facing wall of a ruined stone building. The markings could only be seen in exactly the right lighting conditions. The stone is of basalt and the markings, incised diamond shapes and cross-patterns less than 2mm in depth, have been interpreted as Neolithic (4000 - 2500 BC). In plan the stone measures 290mm x 180mm x 200mm (W x H x D).
The ruined building is of post-medieval origin and appears to be a rebuild of an earlier one. Many other stones are scattered close to the building but without further investigation there is nothing which can definitely be construed as a Neolithic feature. The incised stone appears to have been used simply as a building stone.
Following discussions with Trove officers and the landowner, the stone, which was not in any original context but was in a vulnerable location, has been presented to the Land, Sea and Islands Centre in Arisaig on loan by the landowner, Mr Neil MacEachin, Rhue, Arisaig.
Ken Bowker,
An Comann Eachdraidh Mùideart

The house at Rhue, Arisaig
The stone was found incorporated into the walls of an old blackhouse on Rhue Farm. The farm is owned by Neil MacEachin and he knows something of the history of the blackhouse from stories passed on by his mother Eliza MacEachin (nee MacVarish) who was born at Rhue in 1887 and whose father, Donald MacVarish had taken on the farm tenancy in 1881. Eliza recalled that when she was a young girl, the blackhouse was occupied by Duncan Moffat and his wife Flora and that Duncan was occupied as a fencer and ditcher.
Eliza MacEachin's recollections are borne out by the census records. The first detailed census of 1841 shows 21 families living at Rhue. These were subtenants or cottars on land leased by Gregor MacDonald, who lived at Rhue House. Gregor, and his father and grandfather before him, had lived on Rhue originally under a tack from Clanranald. Their association ended in 1842 when Lord Cranstoun demanded an excessive rent increase. The MacDonald's gave up their lease and when they left, their subtenants and cottars were also forced to leave. Lord Cranstoun had his way and advertised the land for let as a sheep farm. By 1841 the number of households had reduced to just 10 and the population had fallen from 134 to 53. At that time, Duncan's future wife, Flora (nee MacKinnon) was living with her father, Angus, and brother, Donald (who was a boat porter - Rhue being the landing place for Arisaig at that time) in another blackhouse located near the farm steadings. Duncan Moffat does not appear in the census return until 1861. It is not possible to identify which of the entries in the earlier census returns of 1841 and 1851 related to the blackhouse subsequently occupied by him.
In 1861 Duncan appears in the census. He is noted as born in Fort Augustus and was lodging in what is now Rhue Farm House. It seems, from that census, that the MacKinnon's household and Rhue Farm House were the only two occupied dwellings on what is now Rhue Farm.
By 1871, the MacKinnon family had moved from their old blackhouse to a new, purpose built, Porters Lodge and Flora is living in the blackhouse where the stone was found. It seems likely that Flora and Duncan must have moved into the house, which was uninhabited at the time of the 1861 census, sometime between 1861 and 1871. We know from the later census records that Duncan and Flora continued to live in the two roomed blackhouse. In 1896, both are listed in the parish roll of paupers and were in receipt of relief. Flora died first and Duncan finally left the house in 1900; the parish records showings a payment for his removal expense.
The stone is located near the top course of the stonework wall. There is a rock face behind the house which would have provided building material. With a ready supply available it seems unlikely that material would have been transported any distance to build the house. The stone may have been at the site and incorporated into the blackhouse when it was originally built - probably in the 18th century; or Duncan himself might have had to rebuild the top course and re-roof the house in the 1860s. In this event he may have transported suitable stones some distance - perhaps from other ruinous blackhouses nearby. The question of where the stone came from can only be a matter of conjecture until some further evidence is uncovered.
Jeremy Benfield

Where did November go?! It seems like it's been a very fast month indeed, a blur of bonfires, parties and trips away (me). Bonfire night was a huge success, and a great night all round, with even the weather turning out perfect, despite the completely dreich start to the day which made it seem doubtful there would even BE a bonfire. It should be noted though, that it probably wouldn't have happened had it not been for people like Grant and his troop of volunteers who worked hard all morning in the pouring rain to get it all together! I have to admit, I watched from the window, thinking they were all utterly mad. The next big party of the month was Tommy's birthday T party, which of course, was a dress up event. There was certainly a lot of imagination put in, with people turning up as everything from Tunnocks Teacakes, Tigers, Turkish belly dancers, tree-huggers (and planters!) to the birthday boy himself who took the biscuit as a Toilet. 10 out of 10 for that costume I think! The Christmas Bizarre was a huge success, with over 15 stalls this year (although I missed it, being in Glasgow at the time). The school raised £200.80 for school funds alone and another £211 was given to the Philippines appeal after it was struck down by the Typhoon so thanks to everyone who helped contribute to this, by buying some mulled wine or soup. Speaking of School, the preparations for the Christmas play have begun and for the first time, I get to be in on the secret! The perks of working in the school… It will take place on the 19th of December in the hall so not long to go really. The pub has two new staff members, so welcome to Jennifer and Declan, hopefully you'll like it here, it's a nice time to arrive I think, with it being quiet. The Foundation and Forest Trust have collaborated to start a new venture, a natural harvest area. This is being funded by the SNH as part of the Natural Scotland events which will take place over the course of the year. There was two volunteer days to prep the ground and do some planting and there was a great turnout so thanks everyone who came along. They have planted a top fruit orchard, a path full of soft fruit and edible native tree/shrub species and have inoculated mushroom logs. Hopefully it will turn out to be a fantastic resource in the future. And, on that note, I think its time to go. I hope everyone has a really good Christmas and New year!
Heather Gilmour

At last and after a considerable delay from October's meeting, action on the ground with the fish farm project.
On 25th a large tracked digger arrived on Spanish John to clear the site of the land base next to the ferry terminal which will in the short term be used to store building materials. Two islanders are among those who have applied to work for Marine Harvest and have travelled to Fort William for interview. Hopefully they will be successful.
Also, on the site of the fish cages, marker buoys have appeared. Nearby is planned an experimental wave powered generator which will be tested for its reaction to the challenging sea conditions to be found even on the most sheltered side of the island.
Christmas is coming and we are all looking forward to the school play on Wednesday 18th December. It is a musical 'Silent Night' and will be followed by the school party. End of term looms and we sadly say goodbye to Elizabeth Boden who has so ably filled the gap caused by having no permanent teacher. Liz will be rejoining the teaching team on Eigg. That is about all this month and may I take the opportunity to wish West Word readers the very best for Christmas and to keep reading the Muck report in 2014.
Lawrence MacEwen

Good to see the CalMac ferry Lord of the Isles passing the north side of Canna en route to Lochboisdale. This looks like an interesting sailing to make and several locals are planning a visit to Uist to test it out.
The weather once again disrupted cattle sales and the November sale in fort William was missed once again. The cattle will now be over wintered and sold in the spring. Gathering ewes in from the hill for tupping has also be a challenge with the weather but they are now all in and the tups old and new have been put with them.
Good luck to Caroline MacKinnon and the Mallaig High School Young Enterprise team selling their 'Anchor Me' products in Inverness on the 7th December. Canna Community Development Trust were delighted to contribute funding to this project.
Kathryn MacKinnon from Canna has gone off to New Zealand for an eight month working and travelling experience, we hope you have a great time but don't forget to come home!
Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year to all our friends, neighbouring islanders and West Word readers.
Geraldine MacKinnon

Rum got a battering from the recent storms along with everyone else with some sheds losing their roofing felt, a few large branches down and a bit of damage on the Crofts but no injury to man or beasts which is the main thing. We had our usual Bonfire Night celebration with Rum venison barbecue, fireworks and a towering bonfire. In the aftermath of the invasion of twitchers to see our brief resident Mourning Dove we had a movie event at the village hall to watch The Big Year with popcorn. The Community Bunkhouse is on track for work to begin on schedule with site clearing hopefully before Christmas. We are conducting interviews this week for a Project Manager to start in January. We received further funding for our Development Officer post but our current DO Vikki will be leaving the role at the end of this year. Thanks for all your hard work Vikki, you have been a major part of some amazing progress and projects here on Rum. Our new playpark has arrived and will be going up in the coming weeks - island children are looking forward to swinging, sliding and clambering on all the shiny new equipment.
The return of a familiar face as Sarge is back on the island for a while. Lots of winter birthdays on Rum - young Joss and Visitor Services Manager Mel in November, Scarlett, Norman and Jinty in December. It might be dark before 4pm but there are plenty of torchlights bobbing about after dark to attend various celebration.
We're in full on festive mood on Rum with Christmas Fair, Rum Primary Nativity and Christmas party for the island children all happening over the next few weeks. Folk have been out getting their Christmas trees and Rum Shop has a full on Christmas produce display. Merry Christmas and Happy Hogmanay to all West Word readers from the Isle of Rum.
Nic Goddard

This year, November which started with the arrival of gorgeous baby Isla, ended with a fine double celebration: the island's Christmas market and Joanne Kirk's 30th birthday! Gaily decorated by Tasha Lancaster, the hall looked at its best, with the bright polka dots of Eiggy Bread tables soon covered in scrumptious festive fare. Hmm that spicy Muck pheasant and gravad laxed local sea-trout! Practically the whole island turned up to lunch and to buy the goods on offer on the craft tables, from knitted and felted wool, lacy scarves and mittens to cards, jewellery, candles, herbal skincare, mustard and chutneys, all island made. Eigg Primary and Nursery also collected a sizeable amount for the MacMillan nurses with their baking and card stall. As to Joanne, she was delighted to be back with her large extended family, now numbering nearly half the island population, and to greet its newest member, as us older ones reminisced about her own arrival! It was an especially joyous occasion as Joanne's brother David is now back on Eigg after a year working in Australia!
Other November highlights were Bonfire night and the annual pool tournament. Bonfire Night was unusually dry, and young Innes Kirk and Teaghan MacCarthy distinguished themselves by showing total lack of fear for fire or fireworks for such young chappies, their wee heads swivelling from fire to fireworks in total amazement… Indian tapaz courtesy of Hebridean Larder, spiced up this year's pool tournament, a welcome and very popular addition to the event which was won by Bean.
Islanders were fair gadding about this month: many of them were seen at Eilidh Shaw's great birthday bash in Mallaig, a few others made it to South Uist, taking advantage of the new ferry. A great time was had by all.
On the energy front, it has been disappointing to learn that initial trials have shown tidal flow at Galmisdale too low to consider a pilot tidal scheme. But getting involved in a Small Isles Sustainable Energy Action plan may identify other possible developments. Certainly hydrogen storage was much talked about at the latest Community Energy Scotland conference early in the month. On the plus side, satisfying prices were obtained for this year's cattle both for farmers and crofters. Wood is piling in the stores, and the social time of the festive season is now starting in earnest, with the first of regular 'ladies nights' starting with a monster lasagne at Kathleen's. The Eigg singers have now expanded their international repertoire to include singing in Italian and Feis Eige has been kicked back into life after a year's rest, introducing cello, bass and banjo as new additions to the list of instruments tutored. For further info, go to www.feiseige.wordpress.com.
However, despite the general festive humour, there are some nagging worries about the future of medical services for the island. The departure of Dr Schultz from the area is a cause of concern for the future of the well-intentioned West Lochaber Practice plans as is lack of prospective candidates. The First Responder scheme is progressing but as predicted, distance and time required to cover our isolated islands have conspired to slow things down. Would the Eigg patient who was helicoptered to Inverness for cardiac problems at the beginning of the month have fared as well in the absence of a doctor on the island? We fear not. There seems to be a mounting consensus in favour of going back to the option of resident health professionals devoting their time to the Small Isles only. Discussion as to whether or not this can be modelled on the new Nuka scheme which seems to have successfully introduced to Fife from Alaska, appears to be on the cards for a way out of this apparent dead-end. Support might be dependant on whether it includes a nurse practitioner for the Small Isles, which is what many of us have argued would suit the islands best, as is seen operating very well in Shetland.
Camille Dressler

Local residents filled the Mallaig Community Centre on 2nd December to voice their support for Sir Cameron Mackintosh's plans to develop the marina area of the village.
Controversy arose over the plans, which were shown in detail in the July issue of West Word, when a number of local businesses objected to the hot food outlet and subsequent loss of trade. There were also complaints about the loss of parking spaces and views of the harbour. Social media then swung into force as local residents feared Sir Cameron would cancel his plans. Facebook pages in support of him gained hundreds of followers. Mallaig Community Council organised an open meeting to gauge local opinion: the minutes are printed in full below.

Minutes of the Public Meeting re the Proposed Village Hall
Re-development held by Mallaig Community Council in Mallaig High School on Monday 2nd December 2013 @ 7.30pm

(To Be Approved)

Present: M. Sullivan, Chairman; J. Young, Vice-Chairman; A. McKay, Secretary; J. MacDonald, Treasurer: D. Eddie; A. Mathieson; A. MacKenzie Hay; A. Rogers.
Over 100 members of the public.

Chairman: Chairman welcomed all and explained that tonight's meeting had been called due to the level of feeling in the Village regarding the proposed Village Hall Re-development and the Community Council were looking to inform the public more about the development and would also like a public show of appreciation towards Sir Cameron Mackintosh. The articles in the press at present makes Mallaig look ungrateful - biting the hand that fed it. The petition, currently in the shops and the facebook page 'Support for Sir Cameron's Generosity' had been brilliant and well supported.
Chair then asked the public to list some of the things Sir Cameron has done for the Village over the years.
To start ex. Councillor Charles King spoke of the £100,000 towards the Swimming Pool, another £100,000 towards the Health Centre and the land that the School Hostel sits on; Ex RNLI Coxswain Michael Currie - £50,000 towards the cost of the current lifeboat; Sonia Cameron - Millennium Party; Musical Instruments; Martin Sullivan - £1,000 every school London Trip along with tickets for West End Shows; Theatre equipment for the school; Courses paid for pupils; Karen Grant - Connie Grant sponsored to go to Malawi; Pat MacKenzie - Cubs & Scouts have benefited.
Chair - Is anyone prepared to say they are not grateful?
To be formally minuted that everyone at the meeting is grateful to Sir Cameron. Round of applause.
Chair then invited Charles King, who is a Member of the Board at Mallaig Harbour Authority, who will be leasing part of the proposed new development, to explain the background to the proposal and how it fitted in to the Harbour Authority's plans. Mr King spoke of the Marina Development Project the Harbour Authority had started five years ago which depended on Sir Cameron providing the shoreside development, toilets, showers etc., as he is the landowner. Mallaig Harbour Authority had advised against a restaurant in the 'Crannog' section of the building and informed Nevis Estate this at the beginning and when local restaurant owners were quizzed neither did they.
Mr King went on to say that Mallaig Harbour Authority will have a further planning application lodged and will be making further improvements round the bay and also sorting the tight corners between the old hall and the marina. The slipway will be closed off as it is not up to standard and the slipway at Lovat Beach will be improved.
Sir Cameron agreed to do the shoreside and Mallaig Harbour Authority have had his goodwill from day one to do this.

Chair then asked if anyone had any questions:
Q. Way Out West - Are the toilets for use by the general public.
A. C. King - The public toilets are being moved to the community hall paid for by Sir Cameron. However it could be that it would be at the discretion of the person employed at the new Marina toilets if the public were allowed access.
Way Out West - complaint was made about the toilets being at the hall as they already have people coming into their shop looking for the toilets and feel they would lose business by directing people to the toilets in the hall - Chair stated this had been discussed by the Community Council and that we agreed the toilets should be in the community hall, since there had been long-standing requests to accommodate the bus parties which decanted in West Bay, and toilets in the Community Hall would also be well placed for visitors coming off the Steam Train.
Claire Gunner, Hall Administrator - Hall toilets are already used by a lot of people and thinks the hall is the right place but adequate signage is needed.
Councillor Henderson - The Highland Council have no statutory remit to provide public toilets and the present toilets are in a terrible state and the Council will not be providing new toilets. This is an opportunity to address this need. Agreed better signage is needed.
Pat MacKenzie - does not want that old hall left as a legacy for her grandchildren. Round of applause.
Dawn MacPhie - applaud the young people of the village for being so active towards this.
Martin Carty - Stated that he is in favour of the development but against the loss of parking - his main concern is for the small businesses in the area losing business if people can't park - they will just move on to Skye or Fort William rather than walk from further round the bay. Mr Carty suggested that 10 parking spaces in total will be lost (including the established Marina area). What is being done about the parking?
Charlie King - Two disabled and one short stay parking space will be lost but two disabled bays will be provided in the centre of the village and plans are being looked at to see if more spaces can be squeezed in during the Harbour Authority section of the development.
Ian Muir - does not think visitors will just move on if they can't find a space there.
Marty Carty - reiterated that he does not have a problem with the development only the parking and wants to know what provision is being made to replace the 10 to 15 parking spaces lost.
Tony Kenning - thinks the village businesses will benefit more from the new development.
Charles King - Parking is a problem in Mallaig anyway.
Councillor Henderson - Mallaig has more parking than a lot of other places and Mallaig Harbour Authority has this year created long term parking on the pier which may alleviate some of the parking problems.
Michelle Milligan - the rest of the businesses did not have a problem with the parking only the restaurant.
Michael Iain Currie - the development can only be a good thing for the village.
Peter Coull - The new building will look much better.
Michael Currie - The old hall will eventually fall down - needs new development.
Martin Carty - Fully in favour as long as more car parking is made available.
Chair then asked for a show of hands in support of the development - unanimous show of hands in support.
Tonight's meeting established that the people of Mallaig support Sir Cameron Mackintosh and also the development.

Seagull City - Photo Moe Mathieson

News in Brief

Dave Thompson MSP returns to work after surgery
As many folk will be aware Dave Thompson MSP for Skye Lochaber and Badenoch has been off work recently recuperating at home following surgery.
Dave had a chronic bilateral subdural haematoma and underwent successful surgery to correct the problem at the end of August. This condition is often due to a head injury but it can also occur spontaneously and this appears to be what has happened in his case.
This is, without question, a serious condition and, while Dave has made an excellent recovery, he has been advised by his doctors to return to work gradually.
Since August, his staff have been dealing with constituency work and Mike MacKenzie MSP has also been assisting with constituency business.
Following a recent MRI scan and subsequent advice from his Neurosurgeons, Dave has now returned to work part-time with Mike MacKenzie MSP continuing to assist him with constituency business until his recovery is complete.
Mr Thompson said. 'Thank you to all the kind folk that have treated me and cared for me while I have been recuperating. I am pleased to be returning to work at this historic time.' Mike Mackenzie MSP said. 'I am delighted that Dave is returning to work as he has been greatly missed by all of us in Parliament and very pleased to assist and share the workload as he gets back to full strength.

Mallaig Lifeboat Log
Mallaig Lifeboat, the Severn Class Henry Alston Hewat, was called into operation on two occasions during November.
Wednesday 6th November: At the behest of Stornoway Coastguard, the Mallaig Lifeboat was launched at 14.35 hrs to go to the aid of a vessel called Catch 22 in trouble at the entrance to Loch nan Uamh. The 6 metre velvet crabber Catch 22 had a fouled propeller and was being held off the rocks in amongst the Borrodale islands by its anchor.
Two Irish pelagic trawlers, Carmona and Loran on passage south, diverted towards the casualty, as did the potter Jacqualine.
With the Lifeboat making good time towards the casualty, the trawlers were released to continue on their passage south and it was reported that Jaqualine was now on scene and awaiting the Lifeboat's arrival.
On scene at 15.15 hrs, the Lifeboat quickly secured a tow rope to Catch 22 and commenced towing the vessel to Glenuig Bay. Once in the bay, Jacqualine took over the tow for the final few yards to the mooring. With Catch 22 now safely on its mooring, the Lifeboat returned to port, was refuelled and ready for service at 16.40 hrs.
Thursday 21st November: Lifeboat was launched at 17.20 hrs to transport local Fire Brigade personnel to a remote location on Knoydart peninsula to deal with a chimney fire at a residential property there.
Lifeboat was back on its pontoon and ready for service at 1900 hrs.

2013 has come and gone and with it the Hall's 120th anniversary year. I didn't manage to write any pieces on the history of the hall but hopefully will do some next year as a 'look back' over 120 years….
We've achieved a couple of major - and expensive - things to celebrate the year. The car park was completed and has proved its worth when the Hall is busy. We also had the outside cleaned and painted, and it looks very smart now.
We also planted half barrels with berberis and salvia - the latter to be replaced by lavender next year - on the verge alongside the car park, which has met with much approval. It has improved visibility for those drivers coming out of Strath View and has actually slowed traffic on the road.
We would like to thank the Arisaig Fund for their contributions to both the painting of the Hall and the car park, to the Gower Trust for ongoing support and help with the car park, and to the Councillors' Fund for money for the tubs and plants.
Once again the Produce Fairs which run from April to September and the annual Christmas Fair have proved immensely popular with locals, visitors, stall holders and groups doing refreshments. I'm now taking bookings for the kitchen hire for Soup & Sandwiches in 2015!! We also had three Car Boot Sales which were supposed to be in the new car park, but the weather decided otherwise - and in fact stall holders had so much to sell it probably wouldn't have worked so well. The Sales were great fun and a profitable way of de-cluttering and recycling! Money raised by groups for their causes through providing lunches this year amount to well over £5,000 which is wonderful.
The Astley Hall Trustees, in accordance with our Charter, are always the current Priest, Minister and Doctor. As the year ends we would like to give our grateful thanks to Fr Andrew Barrett and Dr Sabine Schultz for their time and support and wish them both health and happiness in their new postings. We welcome on board as new trustees Fr Tony Wood and Rev Edgar Ogston.
I'll take this opportunity to thank Una MacLean for doing a splendid job cleaning of the Hall over the last number of years, helped ably by daughters Colleen and Jenna. Welcome aboard Saskia, who takes up the mop and broom! Hall users - especially those in the kitchen - can help by making sure they take away equipment they've brought in and keeping the fridge clear of out of date foodstuff!
Whilst thanking people, I rarely get the chance to publicly thank Tommy for cutting the grass during the season! And I would like to acknowledge the huge help given by Anne Baillie and Joanna MacEachen at concerts, serving the refreshments.
Recently we were delighted to take possession of a number of booklets containing plays, some overwritten with notes and cast names - by Gray Thompson! They were used by the famous Arisaig Dramatic Society and will take their place in the display cabinet. They were discovered in Kenny's second hand book shop in the Morrison Building and donated by him to the Hall. Anyone fancy starting a drama group and redoing one of the plays?
We will start 2014, hopefully, on a high note, with an interesting announcement, long awaited, in time for the start of the commemorations of World War I. Watch this space...
Ann Martin


Competition to win Rails Across Rannoch book - result
A good selection of postcard entries for the chance to win a copy of the above titled book. All were correct, and when one postcard dropped into my postbox with the Buckingham Palace coat of arms on it, and a stunning picture of the State Rooms therein, I quickly scanned it for the signature! Sorry to say, Mairi, that yours was not the winning one - but a good try! The lucky winner this month is John Wallbridge from Blackfield, Southampton. Congratulations John, your book should be with you by now. Another competition follows at the end of this column.

Caledonian Sleeper Franchise - update
The final invitation to tender to Transport Scotland for the Caledonian Sleeper Franchise was published on October 28th 2013 - and the three bidders are:
Arriva Trains Ltd, who are owned by German State Railway Deutsche Ban Schenker (DBS), Head Office Berlin, who are responsible for the growth and development of all DBS regional transport outside Germany.
First Group, UK owned, the current ScotRail franchise operators.
Serco, which is an international company registered in London. As a private company they run London Docklands Light Railway for Transport London. Also, jointly with Abellio, they hold the franchise and run Merseyrail and Northern Rail.
They now all have to tender by December 12th, 2013. The successful bidder will be announced in August 2014, and the new 15 year contract starts on April 1st 2015.

ScotRail Franchise - update
Five rail companies have been invited to bid by Transport Scotland.
Arriva: responsible for the growth and development of all Deutsche Bahn's regional passenger transport outside of Germany.
Abellio: delivers rail and bus services to more than one million passengers in the UK, Germany and the Czech Republic every day.
First Group: current ScotRail operator.
MTR: jointly operates the London Overground system with Arriva UK. In Hong Kong they operate the Airport Express, nine rapid transport lines and a light rail network.
National Express: operates bus, coach and rail services in the UK, North America, Germany, Spain and Morocco and is the previous operator of the ScotRail franchise.
The draft invitation to tender, which sets out the specification for the ScotRail franchise, was published on November 19th 2013.
The final invitation to tender is expected to be issued in January 2014, with a response expected to be submitted by April 2014. The successful bidder of the 10 year franchise will be announced in October 2014 and, as with the Caledonian Sleeper franchise, the new franchise starts on April 1st 2015.
There are, naturally, many concerns as to whether the two franchises will be awarded to one company or to two different companies. Network Rail will have to work with and alongside one or both companies, as will the respective Unions. It is a time of contemplation, huge interest and consideration for us all. I will try my best to keep you informed.
No decisions have been made and I would encourage the people of Lochaber to read the consultation document, consider the issues which are important to you and give the Scottish Parliament, which awards the franchises, your views, particularly if you are a travelling rail passenger. It must be fit for purpose.
The person to write to is Keith Brown MSP, Minister for Transport, St Andrew's House, Regent Road, Edinburgh EH1 3DG, email transportminister@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

Model Rail Scotland 2014
This annual event is one of the United Kingdom's biggest and most prestigious model railway events. Presented by The Association of Model Railway Societies in Scotland (of which there are many) and held (again) in 2014 at the Scottish Exhibition Centre (SECC), Glasgow, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the 21st, 22nd and 23rd February 2014.
To date, approximately 50 commercial exhibitors, 40 working layouts, plus 30 societies and demonstration stands have been booked to appear.
Advance tickets can now be purchased which allow you to access the SECC more easily and 30 minutes ahead of purchasing tickets on the day. The prices are £9 adult, £5 child, or £23 for a one-day family ticket for two adults and two children. Tickets can be obtained by sending a cheque or postal order made out to AMRSS, stating the day you wish to attend, with an s.a.e. to AMRSS, PO Box 9117, Shotts, ML7 9AF.
More information can be obtained as it becomes available on www.modelrailscotland.co.uk I hope to announce a competition for entry tickets and ScotRail tickets to travel to the event in the January West Word's On and Off the Rails.

Weather Monitoring Stations
I wonder how many of you have looked out of your train's window and noticed some strange looking apparatus in and around station limits on the West Highland Line and the Mallaig Extension.
Over the past month, Network Rail have been installing remote Weather Monitoring Stations at most stations between Glasgow and Mallaig. They gather information on rainfall, temperature, humidity and wind speed, and relay the data back to Network Rail's HQ in Cowlairs. Hopefully it will give a good indication as to local weather conditions on an hourly basis. For instance, a report of high winds could mean a chance of fallen trees, and heavy rainfall could cause track ballast to be dislodged making voids of under the track bed. Leaves on the line can cause severe slipping, and a reduction of braking capacity, ending in 'flats' on the train's wheelsets. Monitoring of the weather can assist Network Rail and ScotRail in their endeavour to run trains safely and on time.

Tree Clearance at Glenfinnan
Recently a team of Network Rail contractors have been busy cutting down trees either side of Glenfinnan Viaduct. Last year, Estate Manager Alistair Gibson started to clear trees at the south end of the 21 arch viaduct and now both ends have been cleared, giving a much better view of the viaduct from the train.
Part of the funding was given by The Friends of the West Highland Line, a big thank you to them and to Network Rail for the excellent job they have done. Also a big thank you to Estate Manager Alistair Gibson for allowing free access to the estate, making the task much easier. Hopefully, the 'new' view will be appreciated by all who travel the line, especially The Jacobite steam train, which starts again on Monday May 12th 2014.

Christmas and New Year Train Times 2013-2014
Christmas Eve, Tuesday December 24th: Normal daily service except the 16.05 Mallaig to Glasgow Queen Street will terminate at Dalmuir (connects into the 21.16 Dalmuir to Glasgow Queen Street Low Level).
Christmas Day, Wednesday December 25th, and Boxing Day, Thursday December 26th: all services are cancelled.
Normal service resumes on Friday, December 27th, until Hogmanay, Tuesday, December 31st, except on that day the 16.05 Mallaig to Glasgow Queen Street will terminate at Dalmuir (connects into the 21.16 Dalmuir to Glasgow Queen Street Low Level).
New Year's Day, Wednesday January 1st 2014: all services are cancelled.
A Sunday service will operate on Thursday January 2nd 2014.
Normal service will resume on Friday, January 3rd.
Pocket rain timetables for the Christmas and New Year train times are available at manned Railway Station Booking Offices now, or check on www.scotrail.co.uk

Competition: open to all ages!
To be in with a chance of winning a red children's Virgin Trains back-pack, complete with an activity book, cardboard track dice game, colour-in small jigsaw, pack of crayons, puzzle, magic slate and mini notepad, or a copy of Friends of the West Highland Line Winter Issue Magazine, send an s.a.e. to Sonia Cameron, Fasgadh, Marine Place, Mallaig, Inverness-shire PH41 4RD with the answer to the following question: What date does Model Rail Scotland 2014 take place? Good luck.

To end 2013, may I thank all who follow my column, enter the competitions, write me interesting letters, even send me seeds, bulbs, plants by post to assist my ScotRail Station adoption of Mallaig, Morar and Arisaig Railway Station platforms and gardens. It is a pleasure to know you all. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, from Steve and myself. Enjoy the Christmas lights that Steve and I put up at Arisaig Station and that ScotRail staff put up at Mallaig and Fort William Booking Offices/RailwayStations. Nollaig Chridheil agus Bliadhna Mhath Ur.
See you on the train.
Sonia Cameron

CROFTING ROUNDUP by Joyce Wilkinson, Crofters Commission Area Assessor and Scottish Crofting Federation Area Representative

Crofting Register
Compulsory registration is now required when a regulatory application activates any triggering factor. These range from a change of ownership, decrofting, division, letting and apportionments.
There are very few actions that do not trigger compulsory registration although application for crofters grants do not as they are not managed by the Commission. If you are planning to do any of the above in the next few years it is advisable to register your croft and apportionments as the process will take nine months or longer and your application will not go through until the croft has been registered. Common grazings also go through the same registration process and all apportionments remain with the common grazings until they are registered by the crofter.
Registration applies to owner occupiers and tenants whether you hold title or not.

Complications will occur with those who have purchased croft land and hold title to it, as in a house site, but that land has not been decrofted. Where there are several owners of that land they then become joint landlords of a vacant croft and are required to put in a tenant. These and many other anomalies as a result of the 2010 Act are to be collated and sent to the Scottish Government to sort out, as it is likely that they will cause problems with no solutions.
If you wish to register your croft I have forms and can provide guidance

Duty To Report
Grazing committees will have to submit a report every five years on the condition of the township and the grazings. Questions on the report will range from a description of how many crofts are grazed or cropped, how many apportionments are being used for the stated purpose they were taken out for and the number of grazing shares being used. Committees will have to answer truthfully and objectively and to the best of their knowledge. There are concerns that committees may find this difficult in a small community and it is hoped these concerns will be addressed by the Commission when they receive the consultation response form sent out to all grazing committees and area assessors.

West Word is well travelled this month - right around the world...

We start off in Northern Ireland. Alan and Dennis Eddie took their West Word to the British Isles Bowls championships at Coleraine.

Thence to France. The Hepburn family read their West Word this summer at the top station of the Aiguille De Midi, with the summit of Mont Blanc in the background. Pictured in the middle is James Hepburn (Jnr), son of Jessie and James Hepburn in Mallaig, with his children Hamish and Ailsa.

Amy Kane took her copy from Arisaig to Cyprus where she enjoyed reading it with Elvis! Mum Miya says 'Massive thanks again to Malcolm Ross - yet another fabulous holiday in his villa!'

Julie Cunnell, Mallaig, took her West Word to Japan where she showed it to Sanso and friends at Mount Hotakadake

We're delighted that Arisaig's Thomas MacKinnon still has his copy with him on his trip around the world! Last month Tom he had been shark diving in Thailand; this month, wearing his kilt, he's in Australia. He says 'This is me having spent a month harvesting wheat on my 'header' new Holland TX36, in 'no mans land', Euabalong NSW.'

Hans and Irene Fentz, subscribers from Denmark, write 'We are presently in Oban on Stewart Island, New Zealand, and brought our copy of West Word with us to read. You see Irene reading it on the attached photo - almost as far as we can get from home.' So that West Word travelled from Scotland to Denmark to NZ - not bad!

Gayle McGeever took her copy from Arisaig via Dundee and Aberdeen to the Blue Dog Café in Lafayette, Louisiana!

Back home again. After Ben MacDonald, Morar, finished his sponsored cycle ride on 9th November, he took the time to read his copy at Glenfinnan.

Birdwatch by Stephen MacDonald
A few birds still on the move during the month, with several large flocks of Fieldfares and Redwings roaming the area early in the month.
Several groups of Whooper Swans seen heading south, including a flock of 7 resting briefly on the Morar Estuary early in the 1st. By the month end there were only 3 Whoopers on Loch nan Eala, 2 adults and a juvenile.
A flock of 9 Great Northern Divers were seen flying south between Eigg and Arisaig on the 10th. On the 24th in nice, calm conditions, at least 15 Great Northern Divers were seen feeding in the sea off Camusdarach, and another 20 were counted at the mouth of Loch nan Ceall.
A juvenile Glaucous Gull was seen around Mallaig Harbour early in the month, and also an Iceland Gull with plumage markings that suggested it was a Kumlien's Gull which hails from West Greenland/Baffin Island area.
Another trans-Atlantic vagrant in Mallaig was a Ring-billed Gull, which was seen on several occasions during the month.

Ring-billed Gull

Three Canada Geese were seen several times around Traigh Farm and Back of Keppoch, along with the usual Greylags. A single Pink-footed Goose was also with them at Traigh on the 11th.
Goosanders and Goldeneye were reported from the west end of Loch Morar. A Little Grebe was on Loch nan Eala and one was also seen in Mallaig Harbour at East Bay several times mid-month.
A single Greenshank was still on the Morar Estuary throughout the month. 15 Lapwing were in a field at Achnaskia, Back of Keppoch on the 8th. Several reports of Curlews during the month, including a group of 9 feeding at Traigh golf course on the 11th.
A female Blackcap was seen in a Morar garden on a couple of occasions early in the month. Also seen in the same garden was a female Bullfinch and a Yellowhammer. On the 8th at least 8 Yellowhammer were seen by Loch nan Eala, Arisaig, near to where cattle were being fed. Several flocks of Siskins and Lesser Redpolls seen around Arisaig and Morar, mostly feeding on alder and birch, but several reports of both species at garden feeders.
Sparrowhawks were reported from throughout the area, including a pair that seemed to be acting as a team as they hunted birds in a Mallaig garden.
Sea Eagles were again widely reported from throughout the area. One particular pair were seen on several occasions causing havoc with the wildfowl and Herons on Loch nan Eala.

Kin Connections by Marlene (Màiri Éilidh) MacDonald Cheng (mcmcheng@shaw.ca)
From the mid to late 1700s and on into the middle of the 1800s, landowners in Moidart, Scotland, were determined to drive the local people off the land. Most of the landowners weren't locals; they didn't care about the people whose ancestors had been working the land for 150 years and more. Their only mission was to grow deer forests and to raise sheep, both of which brought them wealth and recreation. The situation of the poor people of Moidart took a nasty downward turn from about 1825 onward. Landowners began to put huge pressure on the locals to leave their homeland and go elsewhere. The people were being starved out or harassed so much that they felt they must either emigrate or move somewhere else in Scotland in order to survive. Many chose emigration as their last resort, in the hope that their children could have a better life.
Several MacIsaac families had already left Moidart in the early 1800s and settled in Antigonish County, Nova Scotia, as well as in the Gaeltacht areas of Cape Breton (such as Inverness County). The ones left behind began planning, from about 1825 onward, to either move to the industrialized areas of Scotland (Glasgow mostly), or to join their relations in the New World.
One Donald MacDonald (called "An Fuamhair" - "the Giant"), a native of Moidart, Scotland, decided to go to Nova Scotia in search of land for his people. He arrived there in the summer of 1840 and visited his MacIsaac and McDonald relations in the St. Andrew's area of Antigonish County, the ones I spoke about in the last column. On the advice of his kinsfolk, he decided to explore the countryside east of St. Andrew's in Guysborough County. Donald found deeply forested land, full of lakes and rivers. One lake in particular drew his attention because of its beauty and size. There would be plenty of room for his family and relations to make a good life for themselves around this lake. In a few short years the lake would be called "Giant's Lake" after him. Donald sent word of his find to his relations and neighbours in Scotland and they began making plans for emigrating. In the spring of 1843, six families from Smirisary, Moidart, set sail for Nova Scotia. The heads of these families were Duncan MacIsaac, Ranald MacIsaac, Donald Mór MacIsaac, Angus Bàn MacIsaac, Angus MacDonald and John MacNeil. These families were all related, either directly or through marriage. The passage was relatively smooth and before long they were at Giant's Lake, cutting trees and building shelters and homes for their families. Of course their relations at St. Andrew's helped them settle in.
Two of the MacIsaac family heads that emigrated to Giant's Lake in 1843 were Donald Mór and Angus Bàn. Judging by the 1841 census of Smirisary, these two were close in age (about 52 years old when they left Scotland). Donald Mór was born about 1791 in Smirisary. He had been a farmer in his homeland and continued this occupation at Giant's Lake. The soil was quite fertile and he prospered. He was married in Scotland about 1819 to Catherine Kennedy who was born there about 1795. They had nine children, all born in Scotland (note that ages given are their approximate ages in 1843): Angus (b. 26 August 1820; age 23), Margaret (b. 1826; age 17), Mary (b. 9 March 1827; age 16), Sarah (Sally, b. 1830; age 13), Alexander (b. 1831; age 12), Catherine (b. 1832; age 11), John (Iain Donn, b. 15 March 1834; age 9), Ann (12 August 1837; age 6); and Archy (b. 28 October 1840; age 2). Donald Mór died at Giant's Lake in June of 1871; Catherine, his wife, died at Giant's Lake about 1882 at the age of 87. Angus Bàn MacIsaac was born in Smirisary, Scotland, about 1791. He married Margaret MacLean about 1815 in Scotland. They had the following seven children when they left Scotland in 1843: John (age 27), Charles (age 23), Duncan (age 15), Donald (age 13), Angus (age 12), Alexander (Alasdair Bàn, age 10), and Catherine (age 8). Both Angus Bàn and his wife Margaret died sometime between 1881 and 1891.
The younger MacIsaac heads of family who left Smirisary in 1843 were Duncan and Ranald. Duncan, son of Donald and Mary MacIsaac, was about age 32 when he left with his family for Giant's Lake in 1843. He was married to Mary MacIsaac about 1837 in Scotland. They had three children when they left Scotland in 1843: Sarah (b. 11 May 1838, age 5), Catherine (age 3), and John (age 1). They had the following children in Giant's Lake, Nova Scotia: Mary (b.c. 1844), Donald (b.c. 1846), Margaret (b.c. 1848), Angus (b.c. 1850), and Nancy (b.c. 1852).
Ranald MacIsaac was born about 1806 in Smirisary, Scotland. He married Catherine "Kitty" MacDonald of Glenuig, Moidart, on 22 June 1831. Catherine was born about 1811 in Glenuig. They had the following five children before they left Scotland in 1843: John (b. 22 March 1832, age 11), Ann (b. 12 January 1835, age 8), Sarah (Sally, b.c.1836, age 7), Mary (b. 1838, age 5), and Ewen (aka Hugh, b. 24 June 1840, age 3). They had two other children at Giant's Lake: Margaret (b. 5 March 1843; d. 5 May 1936 at Giant's' Lake, age 93), and Jane (b. 1844 at Giant's Lake; nfi).
Over the years the MacIsaacs, MacDonalds and MacNeils spread around the Lake; the number of families grew from six in 1843 to thirty-seven in 1877. Other families came later from Scotland to the Giant's Lake area - MacLeans, Chisholms, MacIntoshes, Kennedys, MacInnises, MacColls, MacPhersons, etc. In later years the MacIsaac families spread to other locations such as Antigonish, Halifax, Boston (Massachusetts), and so on.
From what I can see on the old land grants for the Giant's Lake area, it appears that Donald MacDonald "An Fuamhair" (The Giant) also lived in the Giant's Lake area but I have no further information on him. In the next Kin Connections I shall finish with the rest of the people of Smirisary and surrounding areas of Scotland who went to the Giant's Lake area of Guysborough County, Nova Scotia.
Please feel free to contact me if you have information on MacIsaac families or if you would like further information.

MacNeils of Giant's Lake
The Editor says: In one of those very odd coincidences which occur from time to time, I received this email at the very same time as the one from Marlene containing her Kin Connections article opposite. Both are about Giant's Lake in Nova Scotia, which I had never heard of before!

Vincent MacNeil of Bedford, Nova Scotia, writes:
I just discovered an article entitled A Little Genealogy by Allan and Elizabeth MacDonald on your website. I believe a branch of this MacNeil family settled at Giant's Lake, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia.
Family Group Sheet for John MacNeil and Catherine MacDonald
Husb John 'Ian' MacNeil, b. abt 1795 Moidart, Scotland, d. 3 Apr 1871 Giant's Lake, Guysborough, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Father Michael MacNeil ( - ) Mother Mary MacGillvray ( - )
Marriage Abt 1822, wife Catherine MacDonald b. abt 1804 Inverness, Scotlandm d. 13 Feb 1884 Giant's Lake, Guysborough, Nova Scotia, Canada
Children: 1. M Peter MacNeil, d. bef 1841 Scotland; 2. M John MacNeil, b. 1 Dec 1823 Moidart, Scotland, d. 29 May 1911 Giant's Lake, Guysborough, Nova Scotia, Canada, Spouse Ann MacIsaac (1835-1902) abt 1860; 3. M Alexander MacNeil, b. 19 Jan 1827 Moidart, Scotland, d. 4 Feb 1919 Harbour Centre, Nova Scotia, Spouse Mary MacDonald (1832-1916) Marr. Date 15 Feb 1857 - St. Andrews, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada; 4. M Donald 'Daniel' MacNeil, b. 1 Jan 1829 Moidart, Scotland, d. 1 Dec 1912 Giant's Lake, Guysborough, Nova Scotia, Canada, Spouse Mary MacPherson (1842-1933), Marr. Date 26 Feb 1865 - St. Andrews, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada; 5. M Angus MacNeil, b. 1834, d. 29 Jun 1894; 6. M Michael 'Piper' MacNeil, b. abt 1837 Moidart, Scotland, d. 13 Jun 1910 West Lakevale, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada, Spouse Margaret MacDonald (Abt 1847-1911), marr.28 Jan 1868 - St. Andrews, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada;7 M Allan MacNeil, b. Abt 1840 Moidart, Scotland, d. 24 Jan 1925 Antigonish, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada, buried 25 Jan 1925 South River, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada, spouse Mary MacDonald (Abt 1846-1932), marr. 26 Jan 1869 - St. Andrews, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Genealogical queries

My name is Angus Ronald Mac Donald in Nova Scotia, Canada, I'm looking for an e-mail address for Mary Anne Mac Donald-Lovett Taylor, Michigan, U.S.A She wrote in to your paper on January 3, 2010.
She mentioned that her great, great, great, great grandfather John Borrodale MacDonald came over on the Ship Nora in 1801. He was also my g.g.g.g. grandfather and I now reside on the family farm in Pinevale, Antigonish Co., NS.
John Mac Donald [ Borrodale ] g.g,g.g. grandfather; Angus - g.g.g. grandfather; John - g.g. grandfather; Alex - grandfather; Angus - father.
The ship Nora sailed from Fort William in 1801. John Mac Donald came from a small village called BORRADLE
To this day we are called the Borrodales Mac Donalds.
Thanks and any help would be great,
Angus Ronald Mac Donald

Mrs Pat Murray (nee MacLellan) is keen to get in touch with Alex Gillis of Pictou, Nova Scotia, who had a message printed in last month's West Word. He had seen an article in the West Word of August 2011 which referred to MacLellans in Canada and wondered if he were related.
Mrs Murray wrote the article in question and has information for him. However we at West Word can't find Alex's address.
If Alex Gillis reads this, will he please get in touch with West Word at editor@westword.org.uk and we can put him into contact with Mrs Murray, who may be related to him.

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