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Community paper for Mallaig, Morar, Arisaig, Lochailort, Glenfinnan
Glenuig, Knoydart and the Small Isles
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September 2022 Issue
Contents of the online version:
All photos are copyright either of the individual photographers or West Word.
Games Chieftain Michelle McManus leads the Mallaig and Ardnamurchan Pipe Band into the Games Field in Morar
WELCOME TO OUR NEW GPs!
We are delighted to welcome our new salaried GPs, Dr Roberta Lindemann and Dr Sara Broom who started work on the 5th September.
For the past 33 months the area has been covered by GP Locums and Mallaig & Arisaig Medical Practice would like to thank in particular Andrew Gault, Advanced Practitioner, the Community Nursing Team, Practice Nursing staff and admin staff at the Health Centre and also Tina and her team at Mallaig Village Pharmacy for their help and support.
The Practice also thanks the local Community for their patience and understanding over what has been a challenging period.
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Well, I don't expect you thought I would be back in the Editor's chair, over four years after I retired. Don't worry, I'm just standing in for Kirsty who has had to go south for a while. I hope she'll be back next month.
We had our AGM last month and had to make the painful decision to raise prices. Paper has doubled, stamps have gone up ten times since the last time we upped the subscriptions. We suffered financially during and post Covid so we hope you'll see it as a way of supporting West Word. A big welcome to Claire Wortley to our Board!
I couldn't have finished this month's issue without Morag and Ewen doing all the printing and Mike distributing the paper to the outlets. Subscriptions will be late I'm afraid as Kirsty will have to work our new complicated posting system but thanks to Anne and Jane for labelling the envelopes.
Ann Martin for Kirsty Bloom
email@example.com 07310 857802
PRICE RISES FOR WEST WORD
We're afraid that inflation has caught up with us, like everyone else.
We are reluctantly having to increase the price of our subscriptions as from this issue. They have stayed the same since 2012! and the cost of stamps has risen at least ten times since then. We have been subsidising the overseas subs for quite a few years but can't continue to do so.
The new rates will be:
United Kingdom from £30 to £36
Europe and the Republic of Ireland from £50 to £55
Rest of the World from £70 to £75
It's worth us pointing out that, as we have a business account with Royal Mail which gives us a small discount, it is cheaper to buy a subscription than to buy a West Word every month and post it yourself to friends and family.
From November, which will be our 28th anniversary, the cover price will be going up from £1.50 to £2. There will be some groans of complaint that that is a rise of 33.3% but please bear in mind that we last raised the price in June 2018 and it will only be the fifth increase in all that time. This year the cost of paper has risen by nearly 100%, and other overheads such as electricity have increased too. We hope you'll consider it still vlue for money.
Ann Martin, Chair
The Community Hub and Shop!
The newly formed 'Steering Group' has had busy few months 'behind the scenes' and is very excited to announce the governance and registration process has now been finalised for The Community Hub and Shop. It will be governed as a SCIO (Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation) and is registered with OSCR (Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator).
The journey to this point really 'kicked off' when a feasibility study was completed in 2020. This study clearly highlighted what the community wants and aspires to in relation to services, amenities and 'community spirit'. The aims and objectives of the Hub and Shop were then drawn from the overall views and the feedback from this study.
At this point the 'old Spar building' will be rented with the prospect of a community buyout in the future which will then create a valuable asset for the generations to come. The building has had many different purposes and has been part of the village for a number of years; therefore, one of the aims is to continue its journey as a big part of the community.
The importance of keeping the Post Office open within the village was clearly highlighted in the feasibility study. The Steering Group can now guarantee the future of the Post Office; a space is secured for this valuable service within the premises while developing other services around it.
Responding further to the needs of the area, the Hub will offer space and support that helps build connections with our neighbours, the Small Isles, and surrounding communities. Recent years have further strengthened the sense that our community needs to grow and develop with changing times. The Hub and Shop will therefore aim to offer a place where sustainable development is strongly encouraged and promoted with equally strong emphasis on supporting regeneration. It's envisaged that creating a space where everyone feels encouraged and supported will not only help enhance our village for locals and visitors to the area, but furthermore, it will nurture our 'Community Spirit'.
There will be local employment and volunteer opportunities as the space develops.
The flats above the shop floor will be prioritised to locals who work within the area.
The shop will offer a 'refilling' station and more eco-friendly options, thus avoiding becoming a direct competition to any existing local businesses. This new exciting approach is the first small step towards greener living and helps support a variety of budgets.
'Local Market' can be run within the facility to help raise funds for the Hub and other community/charitable organisations or small businesses, and to create links between local producers and suppliers.
Aptly equipped, and certified kitchen will be developed to help provide endless opportunities open to the community and small start-up businesses. Ideas and opportunities range from cookery and practical skills classes to baking and fundraising meals that could also be sold at the 'Local Market' within the premises.
The Community Hub and Shop has now reached a significant milestone thanks to the collaborative effort from the 'Steering Group' which brings a range of skills 'to the table'. As the venture moves to its new governance structure the group will be officially formed as a committee. The current members are truly excited to be part of this opportunity and will ensure 'things don't go stale' and this valuable community space provides lots of opportunities in the coming years.
The Community Hub and Shop welcomes any feedback and comments, questions, and express of interest in volunteering, and donations; please email firstname.lastname@example.org
August has been really quite a good month, what with better weather than we've generally had for a while. The Montbretia seem to have bloomed early this year, so Inverie is fair glowing with the cheer of their delightful orange flowers everywhere. The month started with Games Day, the first post covid one and although the weather on that day wasn't the best, it didn't rain and the strong wind kept the midgies away so that was a plus! There was a cracking turnout, with locals and folk from over the water and the event started with a a pipe band procession from Local Pipe Band. There was face painting, tug of war, the hill race (well done Struan!), teabag tossing, a mobile bar and a fantastic bbq provided by Gwen and Iain with the traditional (and quite outstanding) hog roast rolls. The Glenfinnan Ceilidh band did the ceilidh at night, and I think it's safe to say it was a grand day altogether.
Another busy social event was held on the 20th August, with the Official ReLaunch Party for the Old Forge taking place. Locals, visitors, Shareholders, crowdfunders, and others who had been involved in the pub buying process all turned up to celebrate the reopening of the Old Forge. A delicious buffet of locally sourced food was provided by the Tearoom, and great tunes came in the form of Lachie, Terra, Mark, Archie, Robbie and Felix.
School went back on the 16th August, and this year the roll call is up to 11, the highest it's been in a while, with 8 children in P1 to 7, and 3 in nursery.
The second of three planting phases at Bens Wood, Croulin, has begun. 22,197 trees will be planted during September, but getting the trees round to Croulin in the first place is something of a challenge! The trees begin their journey in a nursery near Edinburgh, then this time were delivered to Mallaig by Iain Wright, before coming across to Inverie on the Spanish John. From there they make their way out the Glen in various vehicles and trailers, before being flown by helicopter over to Croulin, and then finally carried by the planters to their final growing place. It's quite the journey really!
Beannachdan bho Gleann Fhionnain!
It was great to see the return of the Glenfinnan Highland Gathering last month which, in spite of a few rain drops, was well attended. This year also saw the resurrection of the Games Dance which was led by the Glenfinnan Ceilidh Band and Valtos ended the evening with an energetic set. A brilliant night of dancing and socialising was had by all and a huge thanks to Martin Whyte and The Stage Group for all their work organising the refreshments throughout the day and the ceilidh at night, it really was a huge effort and one that was very appreciated! Thanks guys, cannot wait for next year.
With the busy summer season beginning to wind down a little and the traffic at Glenfinnan easing slightly, we can certainly say it has been another bumper year for visitors in the Glen. Thank you to the wider community for your patience while driving through the village. There will be continued discussions throughout the coming months with the Glenfinnan Community Council regarding solutions to deter antisocial parking.
Do not read too much into this but, "I like big books and I cannot lie………." Which is why I am so happy that the novel idea of a book exchange is coming soon to the new community hub along with lots of suggestions like Yoga, whist drives, craft and chat and much, much more. Watch this space for news of upcoming events!
And finally, after twenty years of managing the Glenfinnan House Hotel, Duncan and Manja Gibson and family are soon heading off to pastures new. We wish them all the very best in their exciting new venture and thank them for the last two decades in the Lodge
Here is to a slower pace and catching our breath after a busy few months!
Cho glic ri sagart 's eallach leabhraichean air.
(As wise as a Priest with a load of books)
ISLE OF MUCK
Hello Muck Calling.
Muck would like to express our deepest condolences to the Royal Family on the passing of HM Queen Elizabeth ll and welcome the new King Charles lll.
Well folks, that's the season pretty much done I'm guessing...been through Lambing, Shearing, lamb sales and now time for Calves to go... schools are back on both sides of the border and our primary pupils had their annual trip to Nethy Bridge and had an excellent time doing the various activities although for Hugh this will be his last time as next year he will be at High School. The kids were accompanied by Ruth, Phoebe, Vicky and Sarah...Well done.
Now the Island will be readying for the Shooting Season with Stalking already underway on Rum. With the Loch Nevis out of service now for two weeks we have extra time to chat at the harbour waiting on the slower but very dependable Bhrusda... supplemented by the Sheerwater, so no more day visitors I guess so early bath for us ????.
We had a visit from the Fire Brigade who presented both Judy Taylor and Ruth McEwen with Jubilee medals...Hugh and Tara collected on behalf of their Mum, and Judy was then presented with a Long Service Medal ...Well done Girls!
Judy MacEwen receiving the Jubilee Medal and Long Service Medal from the Fire Service
and to Ruth MacEwen for her Jubilee Medal, here being collected by her children Hugh and Tara
Well peeps that's all our chat for this episode, see you next month…
ISLE OF CANNA
The Isle of Canna was all a-buzz with wedding fever in the last week of July with teams of folk painting the stable, decorations going up, palettes being erected around farm machinery, beer deliveries increased, more and more folk started to arrive, good friends reuniting, new connections and new friendships being forged and lots and lots of Mackinnons!
At about 4pm on the day before the wedding, Caroline and Craig headed towards home in their car. They got as far as the farm square where they were stopped…..credit to Jane who literally stood in front of the car to stop it……and removed from their vehicle. They were tied together and then the blackening began. Eggs, flour, coconut milk, syrup, hot chocolate and marshmallows were flung at them in a big, sticky mess. To their credit, they took it graciously.
The wedding day started off damp, overcast and distinctly grey and it gave way to glorious sunshine as Caroline Mackinnon walked up the aisle towards Craig Martin to the refrain of "Here Comes the Sun" played by Pete Holden on guitar. The timing could not have been more perfect!
The minister reminded the gathered congregation of Canna being a "thin place" where the veil between heaven and earth is so thin that one can feel the presence of God in all things. Canna certainly is a thin place and there was a palpable sense of the community coming together to make the day so special for Craig and Caroline. Indi and her team created a sensational floral display. Of particular note were the floral collars for Fen and Tan who performed their flower dog duties perfectly. Gareth, his father and Indi's mother provided a veritable feast. Murdo drove Caroline to the church with his usual, understated chic. Norah made comment on everyone's behaviour. There was even a last minute dash between Sanday and Canna where a selection of ties was passed between two moving cars on the road.
Photo courtesy of Rosie at LoveSkyePhotography
There was an atmosphere of immense joy on the island. At the evening ceilidh, music was provided by Highland Fire Ceilidh Band who were so good that people started to dance when they were doing their sound check! The band played an absolute blinder that brought out everyone's dance moves with both formal ceilidh dancing and freestyle leaping and spinning. It turns out that it is entirely possible to make a Shearing Shed jump.
At one point, I was mid Strip the Willow and I had reached the end of a particularly violent set. I looked up and happened to see a group of yachties who had just arrived on the island, all dressed in bright red sailing attire. They stood at the door of the Shearing Shed with mouths agape and a look of utter disbelief on their faces. To us, it was Strip the Willow, to them it must have looked like a bar brawl!
The following day was a scorcher and everyone gathered on Sanday Beach in the afternoon for a post wedding beach party. Palettes were stacked high for a bonfire later on and the BBQ, driven by Dod, produced a steady stream of delicious food. The enormous basket of prawns provided by Alistair Mackinnon and cooked by Winnie and Gavin went down a treat.
It is with heartfelt joy and immense love that we all wish Craig and Caroline the very best for their future together.
Our Canna Coastguard Rescue Team recently had their training day and team members Geradine Mackinnon, Murdo Jack and Donald Mackenzie were presented with their Queen's Platinum Jubilee medals by Senior Coastal Operations Officer Martin Collins in recognition of the service the Canna Coastguard provide for the community and visitors to the Isle of Canna.
Bob Swann has reported another good year for birds on Canna. With bird flu decimating so many of Scotland's seabird population, we appear to have remained relatively unscathed which is something to be thankful for. Our Puffins are present in good numbers along with Kittiwake and Shag numbers at a record high. Fulmars have been less fortunate with numbers in decline. There was some concern about the Great Skua however indications are that most pairs produced a good number of young.
Criomagan (Crumbs) from Canna House
I have written previously about the tradition of the Michaelmas cake - Michaelmas is September 29th- but I thought it might be interesting to find out more about the traditions which surround the cake, the "Bonnach Strùthan" or just "Strùthan"- Layers. If you have never tried baking it before, the recipe is below.
Michaelmas signifies the end of the Harvest and there is a tradition that you must not harvest brambles after September 29th as this is the date that it is said that Lucifer was expelled from Heaven landing in a bramble bush! He could have spat upon them, so do not pull a bramble after the 29th! It is also traditional to pull up the last of your carrots on the 29th and if you find a two pronged one, that is extra lucky! A rhyme that accompanied the lifting of the carrots was as follows-
"Torcan torrach, torrach, torrach, Sonas curran còrr orm,
Michael mil a bhi dha m'chonuil, Bride gheal dha m'chonradh."
"Cleft fruitful, fruitful, fruitful, Joy of carrots surpassing upon me,
Michael the brave endowing me, Bride the fair be aiding me"
It was also a tradition that on Michaelmas Eve, it was legal to steal your neighbours horse, as long as it was returned by the next night and it was while the men were guarding the horses, that the women would make the Struthan. Perhaps don't try that one out today!
INGREDIENTS - BANNOCK
1 lb flour, 1tsp bicarb of soda, Sour milk - enough to make a dough (I didn't have sour milk the last time I made this, so just used fresh and it was fine)
1 tsp carraway seeds, Dried currants, sultanas/raisins, and/or candied peel (I don't use candied peel as I don't like it)
INGREDIENTS - DOUGH COATING
3 tbsp treacle, 2 tbsp milk, 1 tbsp sugar, Plain flour - enough to make a dough
Heat the oven to around 150C and prepare a baking sheet . Sift the flour and baking soda together and make a well in the middle of it. Gradually add in the milk, until you have a nice dough. As you do this, say this traditional rhyme:
"Progeny and prosperity of family,
Mystery of An Dagda, protection of Bride"
Add in the carraway and dried fruit (as much as you like - about a handful or two of dried fruit is enough).
Shape the dough into a struthan - a large round one, or smaller individual buns. Not too thick.
As you shape the struthan repeat: "Progeny and prosperity to ________ (whoever it's for - person or family name) Mystery of An Dagda, protection of Bride"
Bake at 150C, until it begins to go golden. Then mix together the ingredients for the coating and coat the Bannock with the dough before returning to the oven until it is cooked. Alternatively, you can also make a pancake coating, which is what I prefer - paint the pancake coating on with a brush or even a traditional feather! Then you end up with a lovely double pancake sandwich with scone in the middle! The pancake recipe is as follows:
6 oz self raising flour, ½ mug sugar, ½ mug milk, 1 oz butter, melted, 1 tbsp syrup, 2 eggs
Beat sugar, eggs and milk, add melted butter and treacle, mix in flour. Paint onto the Bannock and return it to the oven for a few minutes until it is cooked. You can repeat the pancake coating if you like- this helps with the 'struthan' or 'layer' effect of the bun.
And remember the blessing itself-
(from Folksongs & Folklore of South Uist) Meal e/Enjoy it!
ISLE OF RUM
A quieter month.
School is back and we have settled back into the usual routine of school boats and an ever busier school run in the mornings and afternoons. Lauren, Nick and family and Liz, the new teacher, are getting used to life on Rum and how everything works, though just when they've got their head around the ferry timetable (wondering if 'Calmac studies' should be offered as a degree course?), Loch Nevis goes off for its annual refit and they have another iteration to contend with. We've had a lot of yachts and some of the smaller cruise boats have been regular visitors this summer, along with the sailing ship Flying Dutchman which has been seen here a lot more than usual recently. Also it was nice to see Andy Tibbets from Doune, out on Mary Doune, possibly his last trip out to Rum skippering the boat - I worked for Andy and Liz for a season 26 years ago, doesn't feel as long as that for sure.
As reported last month, Avian Flu has been detected on Rum and Naturescot took the precaution of issuing guidance asking folk to avoid the Shearwater colony area in the mountaintops and a bird colony on part of Kilmory beach. This guidance is in place until October 14th.
Not much further on with the castle at the moment. It is still not sold. We have made our views crystal clear on the sale and we sincerely hope that we are listened to. For an issue as important as the future ability of our community to exist and thrive as it has, our views should most certainly be taken seriously.
Finally, our most sincere condolences go to the family of Andy Samuel who very sadly died whilst visiting Rum. Andy was a long time friend of Rum and had been visiting for as long as I've been here. Always a supporter of community development, Andy was helpful, kind and had a huge knowledge of Rum and its history. As a strong advocate for land reform, he came over every year to help us celebrate community ownership and was always a welcome extra set of hands, whether it be helping set up the hall for the ceilidh, doing the door, helping out with the Small Isles games. He came to Edinburgh back in 2004 to support us when we initially got the main board of SNH to release land on Rum, which was the starting point of our journey to community ownership and he was there at all three Rum music festivals offering valuable support wherever it was needed. A reliable friend, he and his little blue boat will be missed.
ISLE OF EIGG
August has been a month of Indian summer sunshine and awe-inspiring sunsets. We were delighted to host the Small Isle Games earlier this month, with as big a crowd as we can remember. The sun shone down on us and Team Eigg proved to be a force to be reckoned with winning the overall competition. The fun, sport and craic mattered more than the outcome and everyone there had a brilliant day. Congratulations to all who took part, and a huge thanks to the organisers and helpers on the day. Too many to name but a special mention must go to Sue Hollands and Neil Robertson for their efforts to ensure everything went without a hitch!
Building work is now complete at An Laimhrig, our beautiful new pier development and we bid a fond farewell to the Compass construction team. Our new bar had its opening night and it was lovely to have old friends and family back to help us christen it. A few sore heads the next day I'm sure! The Trust Office is now also opened and Maggie, Jonny and Becca are delighted to be in their new home.
Eigg Primary School is back for another academic year and we welcome Oran into Primary One. He has taken to his new class like a duck to water; well done Oran! Jess and Ross have newly joined Eigg Nursery and are having lots of fun with Angie and the rest of the Nursery gang. We wish all the children a fantastic year ahead.
Finally, we are all devastated by the loss of our good friend Andy Samuel. A regular visitor and long-time supporter of Eigg, he greeted us with a smile and a yarn each time he passed through. We treasure the memories we have of his visits, the last being just this month at the Small Isle Games. He will be sorely missed. We offer our love and heartfelt condolences to his family and to all who will miss his friendship and companionship. Rest in peace Andy.
Czech Minister of Defence visits Arisaig
On the 13th August, a group of dignitaries from the Czech Republic, including their Minister of Defence Jana Cernochovà, visited Arisaig for a wreath laying ceremony at the Czech and Slovak monument. Following the ceremony, the group visited the Land, Sea and Islands Centre to see the display devoted to the Special Operations Executive (SOE). Their interest focused on the artefacts relating to the Czech and Slovak agents who trained in the Arisaig area, prior to deployment to the Nazi occupied protectorates of Moravia and Bohemia. The LSIC was awarded a plaque, by the Defence Minister, in recognition of its unique assemblage of memorabilia relating to the Czech and Slovak agents. The Czech delegation also expressed their gratitude to local volunteers for their help in preserving the memory of those courageous men and women of the SOE.
The Czech party also visited Traigh House, the only house they were able to make contact with before they arrived. Karen Calder, who is house manager there, let them look around the house. They also laid a wreath outside and signed the visitors book. The entry reads: 'The Association of Czechosovak legionaries visited on the 80th anniversary of operation ANTHROPOID to commemorate Czechoslovak soldiers who were trained here by SOE. Lest we forget.'
A Write Highland Hoolie Mallaig Book Festival 11th - 13th November 2022
We've finalised the authors for this year's Festival and are delighted with the line up we have, with a great variety The Hoolets Junior Festival will kick it off on the Thursday afternoon with the Hoolie School of Music Sessions. The inaugural session last year was a huge success, culminating with a piece of music written by the High School's Music Department together with Duncan Chisholm and Hamish Napier so we can't wait to see what this year will bring forth with a workshop with Ross Ainslie and Tim Edey, two of the best musicians of their generation.
The Hoolets' events continue on Friday morning in the High School with a very welcome return to Jackie Kay.
Also in the High School will be Romain Pizzi, the world's leading expert in wildlife surgery, with tales from his book Exotic Vetting. Edinburgh. based literary agent Jenny Brown returns to give the High School pupils a workshop on careers in writing. The Primary pupils will be treated to Angela Proctor, who has been captivated by fairy stories since her childhood, and Chae Strathie, whose live events combine stories, music, puppets and drawing, on the Monday morning. This year the main festival's celebration opening event will be with Jackie Kay, together with musicians Ross Ainslie and Tim Edey. Prepare for something truly extraordinary! Ticket holders will receive a complementary dram.
On Saturday and Sunday the programme consists of:
Romain Pizzi, a Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Recognised Specialist in Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, who will leave you breathlessly astonished with his tales and relentless vision to make the world a better place for its beleaguered wildlife; Lin Anderson, a Scottish novelist best known for her bestselling series featuring forensic scientist Dr Rhona MacLeod of which there are currently sixteen novels. Chris Brookmyre & Marisa Haetzman - husband and wife team, partners in crime under the pseudonym Ambrose Parry; Polly Pullar, the Hoolie's co-founder, is a conservationist, naturalist, writer and photographer. Her latest book is a memoir - The Horizontal Oak - A Life in Nature;; Hannah Jackson - The remarkable story of how BBC Countryfile presenter, Hannah broke the stereotypes of her 'townie' upbringing, followed her heart and became a successful and admired hill shepherdess. Full of humour, and hard graft, her love of animals, and sheep and collies in particular, has also led to her becoming an important agricultural ambassador encouraging would-be stock farmers, into a job that is a vital way of life; John Goodlad is a Shetlander who advises several national and international seafood organisations and companies. He will be talking about his latest - The Salt Roads - How Fish Made a Culture; Emma Grae, an author and journalist from Glasgow has been writing in Scots since she was a student at the University of Strathclyde. Be Guid tae yer Mammy, was published to wide acclaim in August 2021. Her second novel, The Tongue She Speaks, is published this October; Graeme Hawley lit up the festival In 2019, with his show The Joy of Spines. We are delighted that he will return this year to consider new ways to perceive the National Library of Scotland's 30 million things. Classification and cataloguing as you have never seen it done before!
Tearlach MacFarlane: Since our conception, the wonderful Tearlach has delighted the nocturnal amongst us to his supreme recitation of the story of the S.S. Politician. To ensure no one misses this brilliant monologue, he will perform on stage for us all.
Saturday night's ceilidh will be with Iain MacFarlane and Ingrid Henderson, who delighted us last year. All can join in the ceilidh and usually there are some of the authors who bring instruments.
The Hoolie will close on Sunday with the usual extremely popular tea and prizegiving, when we're delighted to say that the hilarious Alan Windram, well known for his One Button Benny books, will again lead the fun and laughs.
Sadly poet Marjorie Lotfi, who has been judging our adult poetry competition and was going to announce the winner of that on the Sunday is now unable to attend. She is still judging the poetry, but the announcement of the winner has been postponed until around the 20th September. In her stead we will be welcoming Hugh McMillan, an award winning and prolific poet. He will entertain us just before the prize giving tea.
The Hoolets Junior Festival continues into Monday morning with award winning children's author Chae Strathie speaking to the primary school pupils.
There are complete details on our webpage, and we will be posting details of each author on Facebook. www.a-write-highland-hoolie.com and on Facebook awritehighlandhoolie.. Hopefully next month we will be able to reveal the children's competition winners as well as the winner of the Deirdre Roberts Poetry Competition.
The Hoolie Team
Official Opening of the Island View Play Park
Sunday 4th September saw the Official Opening of the Island View Play Park in Mallaig (at Loch Nevis Crescent). After a rainy start to the morning, the weather cleared away beautifully for the official 'cutting of the ribbon' at 12.30pm. Stuart Griffin, Chair of the Road to the Isles Facilities Group SCIO said a few words before the unveiling of the new Logo, which had been designed by Maiya MacDonald. Although the project was led by the SCIO, the driving force has really been Catherine Young and Vivienne MacDonald, and Stuart thanked them for their persistence in getting the playpark built. He also thanked Knoydart Construction, who pulled out all the stops to ensure the design of the playpark worked within the site. Maiya then cut the ribbon, before being escorted into the playpark by members of Mallaig, Ardnamurchan and District Pipe Band. It was lovely to see so many people enjoying the sunshine and the new facilities, including four generations of Maiya's family; her Great-Granny Chris MacDonald lives in a house overlooking the park and came to join the fun! Local businesses have been so supportive of the park, and many of them donated towards the purchase of the equipment. The list is long, and we do intend to have a plaque at the park with all the funders names and logos, but we want to say a special Thank you to The Steam Inn, Chlachainn Inn, The Tea Garden and our local Coop who very generously donated food for the day, which was supplemented by some lovely home baking.
Elena, Rachel, Maggie and Lucia did an amazing job on the day providing face painting, and Corra and Aiden helped with temporary tattoos and the Lucky Dip. Thanks also to Kris, Karen, Olga and Larysa for their help in setting up. Alan Cargill kindly came along on the day and took the cracking photos. We truly couldn't have achieved what we have without all the support locally and we hope the play park will be there to be enjoyed for many years to come. We're also grateful for all those who work away in the background, including Ross Mackay, Helen Webb and Kenny Merrilees, and those who set up and helped out on the day - you know who you are! Although Highland Council have agreed to assume responsibility for the maintenance of the park, Ross, Helen and Kenny have been ensuring that the grass is cut regularly and that the playpark can be enjoyed to its fullest.
Maiya with her winning logo
On the day we raised just over £500. We have kept some of this to contribute towards the costs of the playpark maintenance, and have made donations to MAaD Pipe Band, The Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen, and to the Local Cub Scouts, who have recently launched an appeal for neckies.
NEWS FROM MALLAIG HARBOUR
The weather has remained mixed through August, but as I write this at the end of the month, we're enjoying a good spell, and the Dolphins and Whales have been out in force - visible from the shore for the last few days.
We had an overnight visit from the Sailing Yacht Thalassa this week, thankfully while the Blue Clipper was at sea, as we don't have room for both of them! Both the Blue Clipper and the Eda Frandsen have now finished their trips from Mallaig for the season, which is a sure sign summer is over - just as we are finally having a week of good weather!
Thalassa coming into harbour
Another sure sign that summer is over is the annual refit for the Loch Nevis, which this year is from 5th September until 24th. During this time the Sheerwater will be operating a passenger service from Mallaig and the Loch Bhrusda will be carrying freight. We've also been made aware that urgent repairs are needed to the linkspan in Lochboisdale and these will take place from 24th September for two weeks, so this might result in disruption to the Lord of The Isles for the fortnight.
We've had another month of lots of visiting fishing vessels, with good landings, and so for the second month the value of landings in July has topped £1 million. This is really positive, but comes amongst ongoing challenges for the fleet, including the price of fuel and the availability of crew. Border Force hosted a meeting in Mallaig on Saturday 20th August and the enforcement of rules around foreign crew and the 12 mile limit for fisheries could have significant implications for vessels landing in Mallaig.
We had hoped to begin work on replacing the Marina building in September but the Marina has been so busy that we have decided to postpone this until the season is finished. Our intention now is to remove the existing portacabin at the end of October and lay the new foundations ready for the build in January/February.
Some of you will have seen Martin Carty's article in last month's West Word about the annual Shearwater migration and the risk of Avian Flu this year. The risk is relatively low, but it does mean that things have to be done a bit differently this year. We are asking the public not to touch the birds, but instead to phone Martin on 01687 462571. Martin has been fitted for an appropriate facemask and will have disposable suits and gloves to further minimise any risk. Martin is going to concentrate his efforts around the Harbour area, and will release the birds from the Harbour without being able to go through the normal process of taking some measurements and tagging the birds before boxing them and releasing them from the ferry. You may have seen the revised posters about the village, and while it maybe slightly disconcerting to see Martin about the Harbour in his white suit and facemask, please be reassured that any risk to the public is minimal. We have agreed a protocol with NatureScot, and hopefully the weather will be kind this year and there will not be too many strandings, but if there are, Martin will be able to guide a good number of the fledgling birds on their way again.
Jacqueline McDonell 01687 462154
Mallaig Lifeboat Log
Friday 6th August 2022
Requested to convey Paramedics to the Isle of Muck at 12:00hrs. A male resident was unwell and in need of Medical attention. On-scene at 13:10hrs the Medics were conveyed the short distance to the patient's location. Medics returned to lifeboat at 14:30 hrs. After administering treatment and undertaking some observations they were happy that the patient could remain on the island to recover. Lifeboat departed for the return passage to Mallaig at 14:35hrs and berthed at the ferry pontoon at 15:25hrs and disembarked the Paramedics. Lifeboat relocated to the fuel berth and refueled and returned to her own pontoon at 15:55hrs ready for service.
Saturday 8th August 2022
Launched to the assistance of a Clam dredging vessel with engine failure by Stornoway Coastguard at 13:25 hrs. The casualty was drifting off Camusdarach with its gear onboard. Lifeboat on-scene at 13:40hrs. The weather on-scene was slight and the tow quickly established back to Mallaig. Following the usual format the casualty was brought to off the harbour then taken alongside the Lifeboat for the short passage to the fish pier. Casualty berthed and Lifeboat back on the pontoon at 15:00hrs.
Monday 16th August 2022
Launched by Stornoway Coastguard to a PAN PAN broadcast from an aground yacht at 03:50hrs. The yacht had dragged her anchor and grounded on an adjacent reef in Camusdarach Bay on the end of Sleat Point, fortunately just before low water. On-scene at 04:10 the Y-Boat was launched and the two casualties and their dog were brought onboard the Lifeboat. The two Lifeboat crew returned to the casualty vessel to await the turn of the tide which was almost imminent. A rope was passed to the casualty from the Lifeboat and with just the slightest of pulls the yacht floated free. The Lifeboat berthed alongside the casualty and nudged her upwind so that the anchor could be retrieved. With the anchor recovered the occupants returned to the casualty and after a quick check for any water ingress, engine and steerage all was found to be in order. Once Y-Boat had been recovered the Lifeboat escorted the casualty vessel back to a mooring in Mallaig harbour. Lifeboat ready for service at 06:45hrs.
Tuesday 17th August 2022
Requested to launch by Stornoway Coastguard to investigate a PLB activation in the area of Loch Hourn at 20:00hrs. Rescue 151 also tasked from Inverness. Both Helicopter and Lifeboat on-scene at 20:40hrs. Lifeboat searched the initial location on the North shore given by the PLB whilst Rescue 151 searched the location on the South shore given on the second ping. Information from the registered owner was that the PLB was being carried by two canoeists that had departed from the Plockton area and paddling to Loch Hourn. The Helicopter quickly located the canoeists and landed to check that all was well. It transpired that the PLB had been accidentally activated. With the Coastguard satisfied that the incident was resolved the Mayday was cancelled and both Units returned to base. Lifeboat re berthed at pontoon at 21:40. Rescue 151 was re tasked to another incident whilst on its return to Inverness.
Michael Ian Currie
On and Off the Rails
Hello, it's me again!
Over the many years of writing this column I have occasionally indulged myself by looking back instead of usually looking forward. This is one such time.
I truly believe that sometimes you have to look back in order to see how far you have come. Travelling on trains I always sit 'facing forward', never 'facing back'. Other passengers will turn round in their seats to look back as they exit a bend or a tunnel, go round a loch, look at a waterfall, mountain top, etc. Me - I'm always the one looking for the next view. In fact, on trains like The Royal Scotsman, the observation coach balcony is always on the back so you can only watch the disappearing view! In some countries now carriages are being produced with seats that lock on a mini turntable, to face forwards or backwards. Imagine that, but I swear it is true.
Anyhow, all of this preamble is to prefix the following article that my partner Steve Roberts wrote in December 2009 for publication in the following month's Lochaber Life. At the time he was sorely missing slash/realising that his 'No. 2 Mate' Frank Santrian would not be returning for his next six month stint of duty on The Jacobite steam train due to having retired from a lifetime of 'On the Rails', and wanted to celebrate his many years on the West Highland Extension Line. Little did Steve know that by the end of 2010 his 'No. 1 Mate' driver Paul Kane was to pass away from a massive stroke, as he pulled into a station on a Christmas charter train that was being operated by WC Railway. Another huge shock for Steve, who himself lived on to pass away in 2019. Now, as I write this, Frank Santrian has just passed away. It truly has hit home, with great respect and fondness not just to remember these three pals together, but also to recall that after living here for 30 years, and being welcomed, just how many retired and deceased railway men and women there have been on the West Highland Extension serving us passengers who have passed on. To my reckoning it runs into double figures. All part of the railway family. I won't name them all for fear of missing out some names, but I've known them all.
Frank wearing the cleanest gloves and boiler suit he ever wore!
Frank Santrian was trained by Arnold Macbeth on the line and following his passing, I found out this article and - with West Word editor's permission, plus permission from Lochaber Life's editor, I think it deserves another airing. Remember to look back sometimes as well as looking forward. Thank you for allowing me to do that.
TOMMY MACKENZIE - ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS by Kenneth Macpherson
Tommy MacKenzie was born in Roshven at 08.45 on Wednesday 31st August 1909. His father, Duncan, was the Roshven Estate Manager for the Blackburn family and his mother Margaret was a MacDonald prior to marriage. Duncan and Margaret got married in Glenuig on Tuesday 23rd January 1894.
The Roshven estate, near Lochailort in the West Highlands of Scotland, was bought in 1854 by Jemima Blackburn (1823-1909), the famous Scottish artist and illustrator. Jemina was the youngest child of James Wedderburn, the Solicitor General for Scotland at the time. Jemima was inspired by the beauty of Roshven to study local birds and wildlife and was without doubt the leading wildlife artist of her generation.
Tommy's sister was Margaret (MacDonald), who was mother to Mae (MacDonald), Isa (Henderson) and Angus. His brothers were Allan, Charlie and Donald. Primary school was in nearby Lochailort which meant a daily walk over the Roshven hills to get to school. Secondary School was the massive culture shock of St Aloysius in Glasgow, a boarding school for Roman Catholic children run by Jesuit priests. Its Motto is "I am born for greater things." Former pupils include the author AJ Cronin (1896-1981), actor Ian Bannen (1928-1999), the legendary criminal defence Barrister Joe Beltrami (1932-2015) and the actor Tom Conti.
Music and the Gaidhealtachd was a big part of MacKenzie family life, Allan was believed to be one of the best pipers and fiddlers of his generation and is credited with introducing the legendary fiddler Farquhar Macrae (who also grew up in Roshven) to music. The friendship continued for the rest of their lives and Tommy's daughter Mairi recalls visiting the MacRae family home with Farquhuar and another famous musician, Angus Grant, the left handed fiddler.
Tommy was a fluent Gaelic speaker and a very capable fiddler and piper but was very modest and unassuming. You research these fine people and you get a feel for their personality, maybe an understanding of the journey they went on. The glamour and the mystery of the Second World War must have resonated with these heroes, not knowing the pain and suffering they would endure. Every one of them never talked about the pain of five years in POW camps which they stoically endured. A decade passed and the memory faded and by the swinging 60s it was gone; everything that these brave young men endured and suffered was forgotten.
After Tommy left school he worked for Prudential Insurance in his adopted City of Glasgow and at the outbreak of the Second World War he enlisted as a Corporal with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps and was allocated military number 7603884. The Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC) was a corps of the British Army. It dealt only with the supply and maintenance of weaponry, munitions and other military equipment. The RAOC was organised into companies. Although they were not formally organised into a battalion, the RAOC units of a division were collected under a headquarters and a commander known as the Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Services (DADOS). Officers with the designations of Assistant Director of Ordnance Services (ADOS) and Deputy Director of Ordnance Services (DDOS) served at corps level and above.
Ironically, in 1940 the War Office requisitioned Inverailort Castle, on the shore of Loch Ailort, near to where he was born and brought up in Roshven, for the training of the newly formed Special Operations Executive (SOE). The founder of the SAS, David Stirling, originally an officer in the Scots Guards, was also from the area and is buried in the graveyard at Beoraid in Morar.
It's hard to map out historically where the RAOC were at a given time. The Seaforths or the Cameron Highlanders in 1940 are easy to establish especially if you know the Battalion, and you can follow them on a daily basis if you know the Company they were in. What we do know is that in the Dunkirk evacuations Tommy MacKenzie was in Northern France and was one of the 338,226 soldiers who escaped back across the English Channel to fight another day. Thankfully we have a treasure trove of photographs relating to Tommy MacKenzie and after returning to England in 1940 he was sent to Egypt. On the 13th September 1940 five divisions of the Italian Army invaded Egypt but halted in front of the main defences at Mersa Matruh. The Italians suffered heavy casualties and were pushed back 500 miles before Allied troops took the Libyan strategic town of Torbruk on 22nd January 1941. Tommy was promoted to Acting Sergeant in Egypt on 25th February 1941.
Prior to this, Germany had been imperious in battle during the Second World War. Its vastly superior weaponry and machinery had swept through Holland, Belgium and France and in April 1941 it had forced Greece and Yugoslavia into a swift capitulation. During the last week of April 1941 more than 50,000 Allied troops were evacuated from the Greek mainland. Attention now turned to Crete and by the end of April there were more than 42,000 British, Commonwealth and Greek soldiers on the island. This force included the bulk of the New Zealand Division (7,700 men).
The following few paragraphs are mainly the words and stories from New Zealander soldiers captured in Crete:
"The German High Command debated whether to seize the island or focus efforts on the planned invasion of the Soviet Union. Capturing Crete would have its advantages. It would both give the Germans a good base in the eastern Mediterranean and prevent the British using it to mount operations in the Balkans. A seaborne invasion ran the risk of disruption by British naval forces, but the Germans could also call on highly trained airborne forces. After being assured that it would not seriously disrupt his plans in Eastern Europe, Adolf Hitler reluctantly agreed to the invasion of Crete - Operation Merkur (Mercury).
"Geography also made the job of defending Crete tough. The key points on the island were the airfields at Maleme, Retimo and Heraklion, and the port at Suda Bay. All were located on the northern coast and faced German-occupied Greece - at its nearest point little more than 100 km away. The loss of any of these positions would make the defence of the island virtually impossible, given the Germans' ability to quickly deliver men and supplies from bases on the mainland. Yet the British were unwilling to destroy them - the port at Suda Bay was essential to the supply of Creforce, and it was still hoped that the RAF could operate from the island in the future.
"Despite these problems, the British had one major advantage - they were fully aware of German plans for an invasion of Crete. This information was derived from deciphered German codes, dubbed ULTRA intelligence by the Allies. The only details that the British were not aware of were the invasion date and the comparative strengths of German sea and airborne forces. Armed with this knowledge, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was convinced that the defenders of Crete stood a good chance of repelling the invasion and achieving a morale-boosting victory over the Germans. "The British expected the Germans to launch their attack on the island in mid-May 1941. The Germans planned to begin the invasion on the 15th, but supply problems in Greece delayed the assault by a week. Informed by ULTRA sources of these changes, Freyberg was confident that he had done all that was possible to meet it with the limited resources and time available.
"The invasion began on the morning of 20 May. Shortly after 0800 hrs, the men of Operation Creforce saw gliders in the sky overhead, quickly followed by the rumbling of an approaching air armada. Hundreds of planes lumbered through the sky, dropping German paratroopers into the area around Maleme and the township of Canea. Later in the day, paratroops dropped into the area around the airfields at Retimo and Heraklion.
"German casualties mounted quickly. Many paratroops died before they could reach the ground; others were mown down after landing as they struggled to release themselves from their parachutes. Despite heavy losses, enough troops landed safely to secure tenuous footholds west of Maleme (an area mistakenly left unguarded by Freyberg) and in the Prison Valley, south-west of Canea.
"By the end of the day German forces around Maleme, Retimo and Heraklion had failed to secure any of their objectives. Their commanders in Athens feared the operation was a failure and the prospect of a humiliating defeat loomed. It was decided to throw all available resources into an attack on Maleme the next day. Securing the airfield was the key to the success of the invasion; without it, reinforcements could not be sent in.
"The decision to concentrate on Maleme paid off for the Germans. After six days of hard fighting the order from Allied Forces was to evacuate and 10.500 troops escaped via Sfakia and 6,000 escaped via Heraklion." (Thanks to nzhistory.gov.nz for Crete military assessment.)
On the morning of the 1st June 1941 around 6,500 Allied Forces, including Tommy MacKenzie, surrendered to the Germans on the Island of Crete. Tommy buried a bottle of brandy in Crete before leaving, promising to return for it some day. He never did return.
The next few months would prove to be the most inhumane, degrading and punishing of the detainees' lives. Of the 6,500 captured, 2,100 were Kiwis, the largest number of New Zealanders taken during a single battle during the Second World War. Tommy recalled his comradeship and brotherhood with these fine soldiers. He also for the rest of his life talked about the kindness of the Crete people.
Peter Cosgrove, a Kiwi Signalman recalled in 2001, "We reached some caves at Sfakia and hid in these caves. Then one of the officers told us to pile up our weapons and wait for the Germans - we were aghast, and cursed all and sundry. Then the Germans arrived and started marching us back over the mountains. There was no food or drink and the Germans robbed us of watches and rings on the march to the POW camp. It was a bloody shambles."
The next few months were spent in filthy, dirty and inhumane transit camps. The first was a Dulag in Crete called Galatas, where prisoners were detained prior to four years imprisonment in Stalags. Conditions were awful: food was rationed, overcrowding was normal, there were no medical supplies and sanitation was primitive, resulting in dysentery and food poisoning.
The next stop was the Greek mainland and POW transit camps at Corinth via Salonika (now called Thessaloniki), and then they were joined in their march to the Stalags of Austria and Germany by POWs captured on the Greek mainland. The distance from Corinth in the South of mainland Greece to Salonika is approximately 400 miles, and the POWs walked this route stopping at temporary camps on the way.
Sapper Fred Carne maintained a diary throughout his journey and praised the bravery of the Greek people for giving them food. Citizens got shot and killed for offering food to POWs. Fred describes how they had to eat a donkey to survive. Tommy was then transported by train in cattle trucks, each with 50 men huddled together. There followed days of hunger, thirst and lack of sleep as the train made its slow way up through Yugoslavia to southern Austria and the final destination of Stalag 18A at Wolfsberg in Austria, near Linz. The vast majority of POWs arrived on 29th July 1941. A prisoner did not usually stay long in Stalag 18A, as it was a clearing camp for scores of working camps throughout Austria. Within a few days he would be assigned to a Work Party (Arbeitskommando), normally of 15 to 20 men, and sent on. The 'lucky' ones would be assigned to farm work, where there was at least a chance of adequate food. The less fortunate might be sent to an iron mine, a quarry or a timber mill, where the hours were long and the work hard. There is a picture of Tommy with a pipe band and all their instruments but this may have been a ploy by the Germans to portray well being in the camp. There are numerous accounts of musical instruments and uniforms being taken straight off POWs after photographs were taken.
Tommy was then sent to Stalag 18B, at camp at Oberdrauburg. Oberdrauburg is a market town in the district of Spittal an der Drau at the western edge of the Austrian state of Carinthia. He was given POW number 6208.
Stalag 18B, as well as being a POW camp, was also a hospital for Allied troops. Tommy had contracted tuberculosis on route to the camp and was gravely ill. POWs at this camp were issued with a double rectangular identity tag which they had to wear around their necks. Upon death one portion would be sent to the Red Cross to prove they had died and the other part buried with the body.
By September 1942 Tommy MacKenzie was transferred to Stalag 383 Hohenfels along with 4,000 other NCO's; this move may have saved his life. Hohenfels was in Bavaria, Germany. The camp had 400 detached huts, each measuring 30x14 feet and typically housed 14 men, although overcrowding was rife.
The camp Kommandant was described as a very fair man who allowed the men more freedom than perhaps any other Stalag of the thousand controlled by the Nazis. It is said he "Exercised his harsh duty with compassion and whatever sympathy he dared", making this camp probably the most humane of all the camps under the German authorities. Amateur dramatics, sport and growing of vegetables was permitted. Tommy was given green tomatoes by a kind prison guard and ripened them under his bed. Tommy was popular with other POWs; he was made Master of Confidence by colleagues and had caricatures drawn. He was also the Stalag CQMS, Camp Quarter Master Sergeant, a promotion obtained whilst a POW.
In 1943 the POWs organised an Empire Games to incorporate athletics and heavyweight events. In 1944 there was a football match between Scotland and England which Scotland won 4-2. Another Scottish POW, Charles Bootland, scored two goals; post-war, he starred for Clyde in the Scottish League.
The Kommandant encouraged amateur dramatics and Tommy took a pivotal part in the activities. Theatre production pamphlets were professionally produced and the Camp Guards watched the shows. Various photographs of various shows were retained by Tommy, and his daughter Mairi has them to this day. Shows including The Mikado and HMS Pinafore were re-enacted by the POWs.
There are also several photographs of Tommy with Father Kenneth Grant, the Cameron Highlanders padre, and Duncan Henderson of Mallaig (previously documented in West Word) who were both now at Hohenfels around 1943. You can especially see the bond between Tommy and Duncan, and they remained friends upon their release.
Father Grant was later appointed Bishop of Argyll and the Isles on 15th December 1945. He died in office on 7th September 1959, aged 59 years.
By 1944 Germany was in the grip of a major food shortage, and this affected the previously well-nourished and looked-after Hohenfels POWs, and neglect and starvation crept into the camp. On 17th April 1945, with the war coming to a conclusion, the POWs were force-marched south from Hohenfels via Regensburg to Frontenhausen in Bavaria. Tommy was repatriated to the UK on 14th May 1945 and returned to Druimdhu in Arisaig where he was nursed back to health by his sister Margaret.
Whilst recuperating, Tommy met the school teacher for Arisaig and Eigg, Morag Winifred MacLean. Morag was originally from 17 Eliogarry on Barra, an address very close to where Donald Buchanan lived as a youth (Donald's POW incarceration as a Merchant Seaman was recently chronicled in West Word).
Tommy and Morag had one child, Mairi. The family lived in Spean Bridge, near Fort William. Tommy worked for the Ministry of Pensions and Insurance, immersed himself in village life and was on the committee of the Shinty club, amongst other voluntary roles. He died of bowel cancer in 1977, aged 67 years old. His wife Morag died in 2014. His daughter Mairi is married to Roger Wannop, and the couple live on the Solent, Hampshire and have two children: Claire who lives in Luxembourg and Simon who lives in Devon.
Tommy MacKenzie escaped from Dunkirk, fought in Egypt and was captured in 1941 in Crete. He walked from southern Greece to Thessaloniki, spent four years in various POW camps, contracted tuberculosis and trench mouth. He came home severely malnourished and a different person to the one who had optimistically joined the war effort in 1939.
Let us never forget.
BIRDWATCH August 2022 by Stephen MacDonald
Many birds on the move as the breeding season is over almost and birds start to migrate to their wintering grounds. Wader passage was the most evident with many species reported. Both Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwit were seen at Traigh, Silver Sands and the Morar Estuary on various dates. The first Black-tailed Godwit were seen on a field at Traigh on the 1st when eleven were present. The following day there were at least 19 on the shore at Silver Sands.
Smaller numbers were seen again at Traigh golf course until the month end. The first Bar-tailed Godwits were seen on the 17th, with four at Traigh Boatshed and a single on the Morar Estuary. On the 21st there were four at Silver Sands and three at Traigh Boatshed. Small numbers of Sanderling, Dunlin, Golden and Ringed Plover were reported from Traigh and Camusdarach. Redshank were widely reported, with groups of up to 30 seen at Traigh.
Greenshanks were seen at Traigh and on the Morar Estuary. Curlew and Oystercatchers were also widely reported, with a flock of over 100 Oystercatchers seen over Arisaig on the 4th. Turnstones were seen at Traigh and West Bay, Mallaig. Offshore, plenty of seabirds to be seen, with large groups of Manx Shearwaters feeding in the Sound of Sleat. Good numbers of Common Guillemots and Razorbills, many with chicks, also seen in the Sound of Sleat. Stormy Petrels were also seen regularly. Further out in the Minch but still in Highland Region, there were several reports of Sooty Shearwaters mostly seen from the Mallaig to Lochboisdale Ferry.
Large flocks of Goldfinches and Linnets were reported from Traigh and Back of Keppoch.
Tawny Owls were again reported from Morar and Arisaig. Two reports of Ospreys during the month. On the first, one was seen catching a fish near Morroch, Arisaig, then it was mobbed by gulls and flew high and headed inland with the fish. On the 22nd an Osprey was seen flying over the Rhue peninsular then across Loch nan Uamh towards Glen Uig.
Junior Sparrowhawks were reported from several gardens in the Morar area, attempting to catch prey.
A single Moorhen was seen on Loch nan Eala on the first.
WORLD WIDE WEST WORD
Iwona and Andy found a copy on Muck and write:
Hello from table 5 in Chock-ness cafe on Isle of Muck. Having amazing hot chocolate and orange brownies!
It's been quite a rainy morning and West Word newspaper provided some entertainment and boosted our morale!
Loved the story about Black Prince the bull!! Great, informative and entertaining local newspaper, well done!!
Thank you both - glad you found us!
(The story of Black Prince was in the Canna column, July 2022.)
Watch this space for extracts from next month's issue!
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