seaboardgàidhlig

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South Georgia

1. Grytviken at South Georgia, whaling station 1989

Bha mi riamh uabhasach measail air  ’S truagh nach do dh’fhuirich mi tioram air tìr,  òran a sgrìobh Gàidheal a bha air fhasgadh air bàta-muc, ag obair a-mach à South Georgia. Bha an t-airgead math, ach bha a’ bheatha cruaidh, fada air falbh bho chàirdean, bhon Ghàidhealtachd agus bho shìobhaltachd fad mòran mhìosan.  Bidh mi chaoidh a’ smaoineachadh air an luchd-obrach ola san linn againn fhìn nuair a chluinneas mi an t-òran sin, agus iomadh Gàidheal san aon suidheachadh.

Bha mi riamh airson South Georgia a lorg air a’ mhapa agus chaidh agam air mu dheireadh thall.  ‘S e eilean gu math iomallach, iarghalta a th’ ann, eadar na Falklands agus Antarctica, gun shluagh bunaidh idir. Thug Captain Cook an t-ainm air, airson Rìgh Sheòrais, ann an 1775, agus thagair esan an t-eilean, agus na South Sandwich Islands faisg air, airson an Rìoghachd Aonaichte – rud a bha na fhactar ann an Cogadh nam Falklands.  Thòisich sealg nan ròn an sin beagan às dèidh sin, agus bho thoiseach na ficheadamh linn deug a-mach b’ e na mucan-mara a bha na bu chudromaiche. Cha do mhair seo fada nas motha, dìreach gus na ficheadan, agus tha aithrisean uabhasach ann mun deidhinn:  The whaling stations’ tryworks were unpleasant and dangerous places to work. One was called “a charnel house boiling wholesale in vaseline” by an early 20th-century visitor. Its “putrid vapors [resembled] the pong of bad fish, manure, and a tanning works mixed together .“(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Georgia_and_the_South_Sandwich_Islands )

 Is beag an t- iongnadh nach do chord a’ bheatha sin ris a’ bhalach anns an òran.

Tha stèiseanan sealg nam mucan-mara anns an eilean dùinte a-nis, agus na prìomh stèiseanan (Stromness agus Grytviken) nan taighean-tasgaidh san latha an-diugh, ach tha buidhnean-rannsachaidh agus luchd-tèarainteachd ann fhathast. Chaochail Shackleton an-sin ann an 1922 agus chaidh adhlacadh ann an Grytviken.

  • Tha an t-òran fhèin ri leughadh nas ìsle, agus ri chluinntinn tro cheangal ri clàradh YouTube (Artair Cormaig).
  • Tha ceangal ann cuideachd ri cruinneachadh dhealban tarraingeach.

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2. Whaling and Sealing Ships at Grytviken, South Georgia

I always liked the song ‘S truagh nach do dh’fhuirich mi tioram air tìr – It’s pity I didn’t stay on dry land – a song written by a Highlander who hired on a whaling ship working out of South Georgia. The money was good but the life was hard, far away from friends, the Highlands and civilisation for months on end.  I’m always reminded of the oil workers in our own times when I hear that song, with many a Highlander in the same situation.

I always meant to look for South Georgia on a map, and have finally got round to it. It’s a pretty isolated, inhospitable island between the Falklands and Antarctica, without any native inhabitants. Captain Cook named it after King George in 1775 and claimed it, along with the nearby South Sandwich islands, for the UK, which later was a factor in the Falklands War. Seal-hunting began shortly afterwards, then whaling became more important from the beginning of the 20th century. This didn’t last long either, just into the twenties, and there are horrific reports about it: The whaling stations’ tryworks were unpleasant and dangerous places to work. One was called “a charnel house boiling wholesale in vaseline” by an early 20th-century visitor. Its “putrid vapors [resembled] the pong of bad fish, manure, and a tanning works mixed together (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Georgia_and_the_South_Sandwich_Islands )

Small wonder the lad in the song wasn’t too enamoured of the life there.

The whaling stations on the island are closed now, and the main stations (Stromness and Grytviken) are now museums, but there are research groups and security staff there still. Shackleton died there in 1922 and was buried in Grytviken.

  • Here’s the song, followed by a link to the recording by Arthur Cormack, and another link to impressive pictures of the whaling station at Grytviken:

 

 ‘S truagh na do dh’fhuirich mi tioram air tìr

‘S truagh nach do dh’fhuirich mi tioram air tìr,
‘N fhìrinn a th’ agam nach maraiche mi,
‘S truagh nach do dh’fhuirich mi tioram air tìr,
Rim mhaireann cha till mise sheòladh.

Ruith na muic-mhara ri gailleann sa chuan,
Mo mheòirean air reothadh a dh’aindeoin a bhith cruaidh,
B’ fheàrr a bhith ‘n-ceartuair air acair air Chluaidh,
Na bhith dìreadh nan crann an South Georgia.

Dìle bhon t-sneachd ‘s tu gun fhasgadh on fhuachd,
D’ aodann ga sgailceadh le fras bho gach stuagh,
‘N t-airgead am pailteas ‘s gun dòigh a chur bhuat,
‘S e sìor losgadh toll ann ad phòca.

Nuair gheibh sinn fòrladh ‘s nuair ruigeas sinn tràigh,
Falbhaidh an òinseach-sa còmhla ri càch,
Chosg mi de dh’airgead air cunntair a’ bhàr,
A cheannaicheadh trì taighean-òsta.

(Le Dòmhnall Iain Mac A’ Mhaoilein)

It’s a pity I didn’t stay on dry land

It’s the truth that I’m no sailor

It’s a pity I didn’t stay on dry land

As long as I live I won’t return to sailing.

 

Chasing the whales in a storm at sea

My fingers frozen despite their toughness

It would be better now to be at anchor in the Clyde

Than climbing the masts in South Georgia.

 

Heavy snow showers and you’re without a shelter from the cold

Your face slapped with a shower from every wave

Plenty of money with nowhere to spend it

And it forever burning a hole in your pocket.

 

When we get leave and we reach the shore

This idiot will go along with the rest

I’ve spent enough money at the bar

To buy three hotels.

 

Agus seo an t-òran air a sheinn le Artair Cormaig / the song sung by Arthur Cormack.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0A_LvyCgWxI

 

Seo dealbhan drùidhteach den stèisean / Impressive images of the abandoned whaling station at Grytviken:

http://www.urbanghostsmedia.com/2010/01/abandoned-antarctica-south-georgia-island/

 

Agus dealbh no dhà eile / and a couple of further pictures.

Photo credits, all Creative Commons:

  1. Hannes Grobe, Alfred Wegener Institute, Creative Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1989_Grytvikken_hg.jpg
  2. By Liam Quinn from Canada [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0 )], via Wikimedia Commons
  3. By Liam Quinn from Canada (Replica of Shackleton’s “James Caird” in Grytviken) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
  4. By Geoff3Cae, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26612635

 

An Giblean

Cha b’ àbhaist dha na Gàidheil ainmean nam mìosan a chleachdadh dìreach mar a bhios sinne gan cleachdadh san latha an-diugh. Chunnaic iad na mìosan gu ìre mar ràithean, gun fhad suidhichte. Bruidhnidh sinn fhìn mu “a long winter” no “a short summer” – ‘s ann caran mar sin a bha e leis na mìosan.  B’ fheudar dhan mhìosachan a bhith sùbailte, freagarrach do chearcall beatha nam beathaichean agus do dh’obraichean caochlach àiteachaidh no iasgaich.

Ge b’ e dè cho fada no goirid ‘s a bha e, ‘s e mìos mu dheireadh na leth-bhliadhna dorcha a bha anns a’ Ghiblean, a’ coimhead air adhart mu dheireadh thall gus an dàrna leth den bhliadhna,  gus na mìosan soilleir. Chan eil freumhan an ainm ro chinnteach, ach ‘s dòcha gu bheil e ceangailte ri “giblean”, neach luideach –dèanadh sin tuigse, às dèidh geamhraidh fhada chruaidh.

Tha abairt no dhà ann ceangailte ris a’ mhìos seo. Tha “rot na Càisge” air gèiltean a thuath a thig gu h-àbhaisteach fad trì làithean aig toiseach a’ Ghiblein, agus bha “Cailleach” air an t-seachdain ann am meadhan a’ mhìosa. ‘S e “càileach” no “cailleach” a bha air sguab mu dheireadh na buana, a chaidh a sgeadachadh agus a chumail na crochadh air cnag gu treabhadh an earraich, agus an uair sin a bheathachadh dha na h-eich.

Bha Là na Gocaireachd aig na Gàidheil cuideachd, agus bha ainm a bharrachd air: Là Ruith na Cuthaige. Sin latha nuair a chuireas tu neach air gnothaich gun fheum, mar gus nead na cuthaige a lorg (nach eil aice idir). Caran mar “wild goose chase”. Agus gu tric, mar am bliadhna, tachraidh a’ Chàisg anns a’ Ghiblean, adhbhar eile subhachhas a dhèanamh, le buaidh an solais air an dorchadas.

Tha mi ‘n dòchas nach bi sibhse a’ ruith às dèidh na cuthaige a’ chiad latha den Ghiblean am bliadhna, agus gum bi a’ Chàisg shona agaibh uile!

 

April

The Gaels didn’t use the names of the months quite as we do today. Thy saw the months rather like seasons, without a fixed length. We ourselves speak of “a long winter” or “a short summer” – it was a bit like that with the months. The calendar had to be flexible, to adapt to the life-cycle of the animals and the seasonal activities of agriculture and fishing.

However long or short it was, April was the last month in the first half of the Celtic year, the dark half, looking forwards at last to the second half, to the bright months. The roots of the name are unclear, but may be linked to the word ‘giblean’, a ragged person, which would make sense after a long hard winter.

There are one or two expressions connected to this month. The “rot na Càisge” – Easter gale, is the name given to the three-day northerlies that tend to come at the beginning of April, and the middle week of the month was called ‘Cailleach’ – old woman. “Càileach” or “cailleach” was the name given to the last sheaf of the harvest, which was decorated and kept hanging on a peg till the spring ploughing and then fed to the horses.

The Gaels had April Fools’ Day too, and it also had another name, Là Ruith na Chuthaige, Day of the Cuckoo Run. That’s when you send someone on a fool’s errand, like going to find the cuckoo’s nest (which it doesn’t have). A bit like a wild goose chase. And of course Easter often falls in April, another reason for celebrating the triumph of light over darkness.

I hope none of you will be running after the cuckoo on April 1st this year, and that you will all have a happy Easter!

Tyneham, Baile Fàs

An seo air a‘ Ghàidhealtachd tha clachain agus bailtean-fearainn fàs gu leòr againn, a’ mhòrchuid ri linn nam Fuaidaichean, is iad gu tric nan tobhtaichean a-nis. O chionn ghoirid bha mi beagan làithean ann an Dorset air cèilidh air caraid dhomh, agus chaidh sinn do bhaile beag a tha fàs air adhbhar eile.  

Tha baile Tyneham na laighe ann an sgìre Purbeck faisg air oirthir Caolais na Frainge, ann an srath fada torrach. ‘S e baile le eachdraidh fhada a th’ ann, air ainmeachadh anns an Leabhar Domesday, le seann taighean chloiche-aoil, agus Eaglais Ban-naomh Moire, air a steidheachadh ann an 13mh linn. Bha taigh-maineir àlainn bho 1580 agus taigh-reachdaire toirteil clasaigeach ann,  lòn-thunnag, sgoil aon-seòmar agus oifis a’ phuist. Aig àm an Darna Chogaidh bha a’ mhòrchuid ag obair air an fhearann no airson teaghlach Bond anns an taigh-mhaineir, agus beagan dhiubh mar iasgairean bho bhàgh beag eadar na creagan, uile gu lèir dòigh-beatha thradiseanta Shasannach air an dùthaich, dìreach mar a chì sinn i anns na nobhailean aig Agatha Christie.

Dh’atharraich sin uile anns an t-Samhain 1943. Gu h-òbann, gun ghuth air roimhe air sgàth Achd Dìomhaireachd Oifigeil, fhuair gach teaghlach san t-srath litir bhon riaghaltas ag ràdh gun robh aca ri an taighean agus an tuathanasan fhàgail ro cheann ceithir seachdainean, dìreach ron Nollaig. Bha feum aig Oifis a’ Chogaidh air an t-srath. Thuirt iad gum faodadh na teaghlaichean tilleadh às dèidh a’ chogaidh. Anns an eadar-àm bu choir dhaibh àite-fuirich a lorg còmhla ri càirdean, air neo lorgadh an Riaghaltas aiteigin dhaibh.

“The Government appreciate that this is no small sacrifice which you are asked to make, but they are sure that you will give this further help towards winning the war with a good heart.”

Chumadh an dubhar air a’ chùis – bha dad ri leughadh sna paipearan (a-mach air barrachd shanasan-reic innealan-tuathanais), agus chan fhaodadh muinntir Tyneham cus innse mu a dheidhinn fiù ‘s do chàirdean. Thathar ri ràdh, leis gun robh a’ mhòrchuid dhiubh nan gabhaltaichean, nach d’fhuair iad airgead-dìolaidh idir ach luach toradh nan gàrraidhean. Co-dhiù, thug iad leotha na b’ urrainn dhaibh agus dh’fhàg an 225 dhiubh an dachaighean fo bhròn ach (a rèir coltais) aontach ris. Sgrìobh aon tè teachdaireachd mu dheireadh a chuir i air doras na h-eaglaise:

“Please treat the church and houses with care; we have given up our homes where many of us lived for generations to help win the war to keep men free. We shall return one day and thank you for treating the village kindly.

Bha Oifis a’ Chogaidh ag iarraidh an srath a chleachdadh mar raon gunnaireachd agus gus na D-Day Landings ullachadh. Mar a thachair, bha an sgìre cho freagarrach airson treanadh an airm ‘s nach robh iad airson a thoirt air ais às dèidh a’ Chogaidh. Ann an 1948 chuir an t-Arm òrdugh ceannachd èigneachail air, agus mar sin chaill muinntir Tyneham an dachaighean agus am fearann gu bràth. Chan fhaodadh iad fiù ‘s tighinn a thadhal air no gus na bha air fhàgail de shealbhan pearsanta fhaighinn. Thug e deicheadan agus iomadh iomairt phoblach gus an robh cead aca am baile fhaicinn a-rithist, anns na 1970an, agus chunnaic iad an uairsin nach robh mòran air fhàgail dheth. An àite “treating the village kindly”, bha an t-arm air na taighean a chleachdadh airson targaid-losgaidh no bomaidh, no mar gharaidsean ‘s an leithid, agus bha a h-uile rud ann am fìor dhroch staid, gun mhullaich agus fo phreasan. Bha an taigh-maineir eachdraidheil air a leagail gu làr, an taigh-reachdaire air a threigsinn, agus na bha ann de dh’fheartan ailtireachd sònraichte air an creachadh no air an reic. Cha robh ach an eaglais agus an sgoil gu ìre ri shàbhaladh.

Sgoil

Ged a bha feadhainn an dòchas gum biodh cead aca tilleadh agus am baile ath-thogail, cha robh an t-arm no an riaghaltas deònach sin a dhèanamh – bha an raon ro fheumail dhaibh . Agus anns an eadar-àm bha a’ mhòrchuid de mhuinntir toilichte gu leòr ann an taighean-comhairle cofhurtail agus ag obair ann an oifisean an àite air an fhearann. Bha e foillaiseach gum biodh an dòigh-beatha air atharrachadh co-dhiù, cogadh ann no às.

Ach bha faireachdainn brathaidh agus searbhadas aig mòran san sgìre fhathast, agus – às dèidh iomairtean poblach sna meadhanan – san dùthaich san fharsaingeachd. Chaidh cudrom a leigeil air an riaghaltas agus bho 1975 a-mach ghabhadh tadhal air a’ bhaile bho àm gu àm, agus gus na 1990an chaidh lìonra chas-cheuman a stèidheachadh san t-srath, ri chleachdadh aig deireadh-seachdain nuair nach robh trèanadh a’ dol. Chaidh am baile fhèin a sgioblachadh agus na ballaichean-taighe a bha air fhàgail a chàradh. Ann an 2008 chaidh an eaglais agus an sgoil ath-fhosgladh mar thaigh-tasgaidh. Tha Tyneham agus na cas-cheuman fosgailte aig deireadh-seachdain agus gach Lùnasdal a-nis.

Rectory

‘S e àite ciùin, bòidheach a th’ anns a’ bhaile an-diugh, agus anns na taighean gun mhullach tha panailean-fiosrachaidh ann le eachdraidh nan teaghlaichean agus seann dealbhan, tarraingeach agus brònach aig an aon àm. Beanaidh e ri do chrìdhe an leughadh.  Ach tha a’ ghrian air cùlaibh gach sgòth – ged a tha tancaichean meirgeach air an sgaoileadh thairis air an dùthaich agus feansaichean agus soidhnaichean an airm, air sgàth ‘s nach robh daoine a’ fuireach air an fhearann, no dòighean-tuathanais ùra air toirt a-steach, ‘s e seòrsa tèarmainn-nàdair air tuiteamas a th’ anns an sgìre an-diugh, làn eun, bheathaichean agus lusan tearc.

Faodaidh mi Dorset gu lèir a mholadh airson turais, gu h-àiridh an oirthir – ‘s ma dh’fhaoidte gun sgrìobh mi barrachd mu a dhèidhinn uaireigin.

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Tyneham, Deserted Village

Here in the Highlands we have plenty of deserted villages and townships, most of them as a result of the Clearances, and often now just ruins. Recently I was visiting a friend in Dorset and we went to a village which was deserted for a different reason.

The village of Tyneham lies in the Purbeck area near the Channel coast, in a long fertile valley. It’s a place with a long history, mentioned in the Domesday Book, with old limestone cottages and St Mary’s Church, founded in the 13th century. There was a lovely old manor-house from 1580 and a substantial classical rectory, a duck-pond, a one-room school and a post office. At the time of World War II  most people were working on the land or for the Bond family in the manor-house, and a few as fishermen out of a little bay between the cliffs – all in all the traditional English country way of life, as we see it in Agatha Christie novels.

All this changed in November 1943. Suddenly, with no previous warning due to the Official Secrets Act, every family in the valley was given a letter from the government saying that they had to leave their homes and their farms within 4 weeks, just before Christmas. The War Office needed the valley. They said that the families could return after the war. In the meantime they should look for accommodation with relatives, otherwise the government would find somewhere for them.

“The Government appreciate that this is no small sacrifice which you are asked to make, but they are sure that you will give this further help towards winning the war with a good heart.”

It was all kept in the dark – there was nothing in the newspapers (apart from increased numbers of farm-equipment sales notices), and the Tyneham villages were not allowed to say much even to friends. It’s said that as most of them were only tenants they got no compensation except for the value of produce left in their gardens. In any case, they took with them what they could and the 225 of them left their homes, with a heavy heart but, apparently, resigned to it. One woman wrote a last message and posted it on the church door:

“Please treat the church and houses with care; we have given up our homes where many of us lived for generations to help win the war to keep men free. We shall return one day and thank you for treating the village kindly.”

The War Office wanted to use the valley as a gunnery range and to prepare for the D-Day landings. As it happened, the area was so suitable as army training terrain that they didn’t want to give it back after the war. In 1948 the Army took out a compulsory purchase order on it, and with that the people of Tyneham lost their homes and land for ever. They weren’t even allowed back to visit or to fetch what was left of their belongings. It took decades and many public campaigns to win permission for them to see their village again, in the 1970s, and they saw then that not much was left of it. Instead of “treating the village kindly”, the army had used the houses for target and bombing practice, or as garages and the like, and everything was in a dreadful state, without roofs and overgrown. The historic manor-house was razed to the ground, the rectory derelict, and the architectural features plundered or sold off. Only the church and the school were to some extent salvageable.

Although some hoped they would get permission to return and rebuild the village, neither the Army nor the government were willing to do this – the range was too useful to them. And in the meantime most of the inhabitants were contented enough in their comfortable council houses and working in offices instead of on the land. It was clear that their way of life would have changed in any case, war or no war.

But many in the area still had a sense of betrayal and of bitterness, as did – after public campaigns in the media – the country at large. Pressure was put on the government and from 1975 on the town could be visited from time to time, and by the 1990s a network of footpaths was established in the valley which could be used at weekends when there was no training in progress. The village itself was cleaned up and the walls of the remaining houses repaired. In 2008 the church and the school were opened as a museum. Tyneham and the footpaths are now open at weekends and in August.

The village is a peaceful, pretty place now, and in the roofless houses there are information panels with the history of the families and old photographs, fascinating and melancholy at the same time. It’s very moving to read them. But there’s a silver lining – although rusting tanks, fences and army signs litter the countryside, because there are no people living there and no modern intensive farming methods have been brought in, the valley has become a sort of accidental nature reserve today, full of birds, animals and rare plants.

I can recommend the whole of Dorset for a trip, especially the coastline – perhaps I’ll write more about it sometime.

 

 

 

Eaglais Chille Mhìcheil fo Chruth-Atharrachadh

An Giblean 2012

Cha mhòr còig bliadhna air ais, sa Ghiblean 2012, sgrìobh mi pìos an seo mu Eaglais Chille Mhìcheil san Eilean Dubh, an seann eaglais ud le cladh ri taobh Bhàgh Uadal. Leis nach deach càil a dhèanamh rithe thar nam bliadhnaichean,  bha i ann am fìor dhroch stàit.  Ann an 2012 bha planaichean aig Urras Chille Mhìcheil (buidheann shaor-thoilleach) an eaglais a shàbhaladh agus a h-ath-nuadhachadh mar ionad eachdraidheil agus mar ghoireas coimhearsnachd. Bha coltas gu math àrd-amasach aig na planaichean, nan dèanadh tu coimeas eadar an tobhta a bha anns an eaglais aig an àm sin (fiù ‘s na bu mhiosa às dèidh dhan mhullach tuiteam  a-steach fo shneachd trom san aon bhliadhna) agus dealbhan spaideil na làrach mar a bhiodh e às dèidh nan obraichean rùnaichte uile. An-diugh tha mi airson sùil a thoirt air na h-adhbharan air cudromachd na làraich, agus cuideachd air na thachair anns an eadar-àm.

Chaidh an eaglais a stèidheachadh sna Meadhan Aoisean le paraiste aice fhèin, bho 1662 a-mach còmhla ri Cùl a’ Chùdainn mar pharaiste ùr, Ruigh Solais.  San latha an-diugh ‘s e àite sàmhach, iomallach a th’ ann, ach cha robh e an-còmhnaidh mar sin. Feumaidh cuimhne a bhith againn gun robh Baile Dhubhthaich na àite-taistealachd cudromach cliùiteach sna Meadhan Aoisean, agus thar nan linntean thàinig iomadh taistealach bho cheann a deas na h-Alba, gu tric a’ leantainn na seann slighe bho sgrìn Naomh Fionan aig Taigh Mhàrtainn ann an Gall Ghàidhealaibh.  Ghabh an luchd-siubhail seo – is iad luchd-turais an linn, agus cuid dhiubh beartach gu leòr – an rathad bho Mhanachainn Mhic Shimidh tron Eilean Dubh thorrach fhuranach gu Crombadh gus am bàta-aiseig fhaighinn gu Neig agus an rathad gu Baile Dhubhthaich. Nam measg bha an Rìgh Seumas IV, a bha ann am Baile Dubhthaich ochd tursan deug mu 1500, is e a’ measgachadh taistealachd agus poilitigs.  ‘S e ‘Slighe an Rìgh’ a tha air an rathad seo an-diugh fhathast.

An t-Iuchair 2012

Mar sin chan eil ann an àite iomallach bochd a bha anns na paraistean seo, ach ann an sgìre thrang shoirbheachail, agus an luchd-fearainn gu tric beartach gu leòr airson eaglaisean a thogail agus leacan-uaighe mòr-sgeadaichte a phàigheadh, mar a chì sinn anns na h-eaglaisean aig Cille Mhìcheil agus Cùl a’ Chùdainn agus sna cladhan aca. Lean seo fad linntean, fada às dèidh àm nan taistealachan cuideachd, agus mar sin tha leacan agus carraighean-chuimhne gu math drùidhteach aig an dà chuid, Cille Mhìcheil agus Cùl a’ Chùdainn, bho na Meadhan Aoisean gus an 19mh linn. Ged a chaidh an dà thogalach o fheum mar eaglaisean-paraiste o chionn 200 bliadhna, agus chaidh Cùl a’ Chùdainn a dholaidh, chaidh Cille Mhìcheil a chleachdadh fhathast mar thrannsa-adhlacaidh do phrìomh theaghlaichean na sgìre. Bha e ro anmoch Cùl a’ Chùdainn a shàbhalachdh, ach bha an t-Urras agus mòran sa choimhearsnachd den bheachd gun robh Cille Mhìcheil, le a h-eachdraidh fhada inntinneach agus a leacan agus a carraighean brèagha, airidh air ath-nuadhachadh.

an t-Sultain 2016

Agus às dèidh dhaibh mothachadh a dhùsgadh agus maoin a thogail agus iarrtasan-tabhartais gun chrìoch a lìonadh fad fichead bliadhna, ach iad-fhèin an eidheann chronail a thoirt falbh agus na ballaichean a propadh suas, tha iad air a’ chùis a dhèanamh mu dheireadh thall. Le cuideachadh bho iomadh buidheann, nam measg bho Mhaoin-Dualchais a’ Chrannchuir, thòisich an obair mhòr air an togalach. Tha na bha ri fhaicinn sna planaichean còig bliadhna air ais ri aithneachadh beag air bheag ann an da-rìribh a-nis. Tha a’ chompanaidh Laing Traditional Masonry dèanadach leis na ballaichean agus a’ mhullach, anns a bhith a’ cleachcadh na seann chlachan agus sglèataichean cho fad ‘s a ghabhas, agus dòighean-obrach tradiseanta. Mar sin ‘s urrainn do luchd-obrach òg na sgilean seo ionnsachadh, agus bha bùthan-obrach de mhuinntir na sgìre cuideachd. Ghabh mi fhìn pàirt ann an tè airson obair-snaidhidh cloiche, agus chuidich mi mar shaor-thoileach na h-arc-eòlaichean a bha a’ cladhach an làir am broinn na h-eaglais.

arc-eòlas san làr

Anns an eadar-àm cha mhòr nach eil am mullach agus na ballaichean deiseil, tha leacan air an làr, tha iad a’ cur sìos càballan dealain, agus tha iad a glanadh agus a’ càradh nan carraighean-cuimhne, gu h-àiridh an ‘Regnard memorial’ bhrèagha chlasaigich. Nuair a bhios sin deiseil, bidh iad a thoirt a-steach agus a’ taisbeanadh cuid de na leacan snaidhte às na 14mh agus 15mh linntean bhon dà chladh. Tha a’ chuid ann an Cùl a’ Chùdainn gu sònraiche àlainn – tha iad gu ìre mhòr fon fhòid fhathast. Tha iad fìor phrìseil agus sònraichte, mòran le ìomhaigh claidheimh le seòrsa cuibhle mun dòrn-chur agus geugan a’ tighinn às an lann, ach tha iad an cunnart bho na siantan agus bho na lomairean-feòir làidir aig a’ Chomhairle.

Cùl a’ Chùdainn

Chan eil cho doirbh idir a-nis creidsinn gum bi an aisling a bha aig an Urras ga firinneachadh. Tha iad rim moladh airson am foighidinn agus an dìlseachd, agus airson na rinn iad dhuinn uile. ‘S e goireas mìorbhaileach dhan choimhearsnachd agus do dhualchas Rois an Ear a bhios ann,  ionad-tadhail a tharraingeas thaistealaich ùra air ais do Shlighe an Rìgh. Agus nuair a bhios bàta-aiseig Neig-Crombadh a’ ruith a-rithist as t-samhradh, cha bhi e fada idir bho Bhailtean Mhachair Rois….

BBC Naidheachdan: https://www.facebook.com/BBCNaidheachdan/videos/10154953034253735/

Radio nan Gàidheal, Aithris na Maidne 30.01.17 ,  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0894k3d Bho ca. 1.25.14    gu  1.29.40

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The transformation of Old Kirkmichael

Sep 2016

Almost 5 years ago, in April 2012, I wrote a piece about Kirkmichael Church in the Black Isle, that old church with a graveyard beside Udale Bay. As nothing had been done to it over the years, it was in truly desperate condition then. In 2012 the Kirkmichael Trust (a voluntary group) had plans to save and restore the church as a historic monument and a community resource. These plans looked pretty ambitious when you compared the ruinous church then (even worse after the roof fell in after heavy snow) with the attractive pictures of the site as it would look after all the desired works. Today I want to have a look at the reasons for the importance of the site, and at what has been happening there in the meantime.

Cullicudden churchyard

The church was founded in the Middle Ages with its own parish, from 1662 combined with Cullicudden as Resolis parish. Nowadays it’s a quiet spot off the beaten track, but that was not always so. We have to remember that Tain was a famous, important place of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages, and over the centuries many a pilgrim made his way there from the south of Scotland, often following the old pilgrims’ route from the shrine of St Ninian at Whithorn in in Galloway. These travellers – the ‘tourists’ of their day, many of them wealthy – took the road from Beauly’s priory through the fertile, hospitable Black Isle to Cromarty, to get the ferry over to Nigg and the road to Tain. Among them was James IV, who visited Tain 18 times around 1500, combining pilgrimage with politics. The route is called the King’s Way to this day.

Cullicudden mediaeval sword-slab

These parishes were therefore not poor, isolated places, but part of a bustling, prosperous area, where landowners were often rich each enough to finance churches and pay for ornate grave-slabs, as we see in the churches of Kirkmichael and Cullicudden and their graveyards. This continued down the centuries, long after the time of the pilgrims, and so we see impressive memorial stones in both Kirkmichael and Cullicudden, from the Middle Ages to the 19th century. Although both buildings went out of use as parish churches about 200 years ago, and Cullicudden Church became completely ruined, Kirkmichael was still used as a burial aisle for the leading families of the area. It was too late for Cullicudden to be saved, but the Trust and many in the community believed that Kirkmichael, with its long, interesting history and its fine memorial slabs, was well worth restoring.

And now, after 20 years of raising awareness, and funds, and filling in countless grant applications, and themselves removing damaging ivy and propping up the old walls, they have finally reached their goal. With help from many bodies, among them the Lottery Heritage Fund, work on the great project has begun. What we saw in the ambitious plans back then can gradually be recognised in reality. The firm Laing Traditional Masonry have been working industriously on the walls and roof, re-using the old stones and slates as far as possible, and using traditional methods. In this way young masons can learn these old skills too, and there have also been workshops for the community – I took part in a stone-carving one myself. I also volunteered on the dig run by archaeologists in the floor of the church.

Oct 2016

By now the walls and the roof are nearly finished, there are stone slabs on the floor, they are laying electricity cables , and they are cleaning and repairing the memorial plaques inside the church, especially the fine classical ‘Regnard memorial’. When that is all finished they will be bringing in and displaying some of the carved 14th and 15th century grave slabs from both graveyards. Those in Cullicudden are particularly beautiful – they are largely covered by turf nowadays. They are all precious and very special, many of them with a carved sword with a kind of wheel around the hilt and branches coming out of the blade, but they are in danger from the elements and the council’s hefty lawnmowers.

Jan 2017

It’s not so hard at all now to believe that the Trust’s dream will really come true. They are to be congratulated for their patience and their faith, and for what they have done on behalf of us all. It will be a marvellous resource for the community and for our Easter Ross heritage, a visitor-centre that will draw new pilgrims back to the King’s Way. And when the Nigg-Cromarty ferry starts up again for the summer, it won’t be far away at all from the Seaboard Villages…

Feb 2017 (Pic. Andrew Dowsett – mìle taing!)

Kirkmichael Trust: http://www.kirkmichael.info/  (videos and pictures, background)

Kirkmichael on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kirkmichaeltrust/

The King’s Way: http://walkingandwriting.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/blogger-has-unfortunately-become.html

BBC Naidheachdan: https://www.facebook.com/BBCNaidheachdan/videos/10154953034253735/

Radio nan Gàidheal, Aithris na Maidne 30.01.17 ,  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0894k3d Bho ca. 1.25.14    gu  1.29.40

 

 

Gràdh geal mo Chrìdh‘, the Eriskay Love Lilt, agus am Mòd

eriskay-princes-beach

Eriskay, Prince’s Beach

Tha mi a’ sgrìobhadh seo aig àm a’ Mhòid Nàiseanta, a tha ann an Steòrnabhagh an turas seo, tachartas mòr na bliadhna Gàidhlig. ‘S e gràinne-mullaich na bliadhna dha na ceudan a bhios a’ gabhail pàirt sna farpaisean aon-neach no còisire, agus dha na mìltean a bhios ag èisteachd ris beò no air an telebhisean no rèidio, agus tha e le cinnt math dha-rìribh do dh’eaconamaidh a’ bhaile far a bheil e ga chumail. Ach chan eil am Mòd gu tur gun chonnspaid. Ann am beachd iomadh Gàidheil chan eil an dòigh-sheinn agus gu h-àraidh an rèiteachadh-ciùil aig farpaisean nan còisirean “Gàidhealach” gu leòr – tha iad ro chlasaigeach. Chaidh am Mòd a steidheachadh ann an 1892 agus thathar ag ràdh gu bheil buaidh fàsanan-ciùil an linn sin agus blas romànsach Celtic Revival aige fhathast. ‘S ann aig farpais nam Bonn Òir san t-Seann Nòs a-mhàin a tha dòigh-sheinn nas tradiseanta, nas nàdarraiche ri lorg. Air an làimh eile, bidh lionrà nam mòdan ionadail agus farpaisean na cloinne is inbheach a‘ toirt daoine òga is eile gu bàrdachd agus gu seinn Ghàidhlig, agus tha craoladh nan cuairtean deireannach sna meadhanan na shanas mhath airson cànan agus ‘s dòcha cultar na Gàidhlig.

Tha connspaid coltach ri sin aig na leabhraichean Songs of the Hebrides a dh’fhoillsich Marjory Kennedy Fraser, ‘Marsaili nan Òran’, eadar 1909 agus 1925. Bha eagal aig Marsaili gun rachadh òrain thradiseanta nan Eileanan Siar bàs, agus shiubhail i mun cuairt gan cruinneachadh agus gan clàradh air siolandairean cèire – rud math gun teagamh.  Ach chan e sin a dh’fhoillsich e, ach rèiteachaidhean romànsach airson piano no clàrsaich agus guth clasaigeach, le faclan Beurla – eadar-theangachaidhean gu math saor agus litreachail ann am fàsan an linn leis an Urr. Coinneach MacLeòid. Dh’fhàs i gu math ainmeil leis na cuirmean-ciùil a ghabh i còmhla ri Patuffa, a nighean, san Roinn Eòrpa agus sna Stàitean, far an robh an luchd-èisteachd a’ creidsinn gur ann (gu ìre) mar sin a bhiodh na h-eileanaich gan gabhail.

Marjory Kennedy Fraser

Marjory Kennedy Fraser

The unaffectedness and evident sincerity of the artists is one of the chief charms of their work….. The subjects range from poetic rhapsodies founded on the natural features of the islands or its life to the homelier songs that are sung as an accompaniment to various forms of manual labor. They are prefaced generally with a short talk explaining their origin and the manner in which they were heard and written down.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marjory_Kennedy-Fraser

‘S e The Eriskay Love Lilt an t-òran as ainmeile aice san latha an-diugh (faclan gu h-ìseal), agus ‘s e òran brèagha a th’ ann gun teagamh sam bith. Chaidh a chlàradh le iomadh seinneadair gun cheangal idir ri Gàidhlig no ri Alba, tionndaidhean tlachdmhor le Judith Durham (the Seekers), Paul Robeson, agus Nana Mouskouri (uile air YouTube, ceanglaichean nas ìsle), agus feadhainn eile à Alba fhèin, mar The Corries agus Barbara Dickson.

Ach cha d’fhuair an t-òran tùsail, Gràdh Geal mo Chrìdh,’ bàs, as dèidh a h-uile càil. Mhàir e sin beò cuideachd. Tha clàraidhean-làraich aig tasglann Tobar an Dualchais, m.e  Nan NicFhionghain à Bhatarsaidh ann an 1952 http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/88482/1, agus bidh e ga sheinn fhathast.  Faodaidh mi an tionndadh air leth aig Iseabail NicAsgail a mholadh gu mòr, air Sìoda, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfDtTHC8BoY  no am fear aig Artair Cormaig, air an CD Ruith Na Gaoith. Nam bheachdsa tha an seann òran Gàidhlig seo fada nas brèagha agus – nas cudromaiche – fada nas drùidhtiche, nas cumhachdaiche, a thaobh nam faclan tarraingeach dà-sheaghach agus an fhuinn, na an tionndadh Beurla aig Marsaili chòir, brèagha ‘s gu bheil sin.  Dèanaibh sibh fhèin coimeas. Agus na h-òrain eile a chruinnich i? Nach math gun do dh’fhàg Marsaili mar dhìleab dhuinn ann an Sgoil Eòlais na h-Alba na siolandairean cèire aice cuideachd, còmhla ris na pàipearean agus na tionndaidhean Beurla.

 

 

mod-signinverness

Mòd sign, Inverness

I’m writing this at the time of the Mòd, held in Stornoway this time, a major event in the Gaelic year. It’s the highlight of the year for the hundreds taking part in the solo and choir competitions, and the thousands listening live or via TV and radio, and it’s certainly a great boost to the economy of the host community. But the Mòd is not entirely uncontroversial. For many Gaels the style of singing and especially the arrangements for the choir competitions are not ‘Gaelic‘ enough – they are too classical. The Mòd was founded in 1892 and it’s claimed that it’s still influenced by the musical fashions of the time and has a ‘Celtic Revival’ flavour to it. It’s only in the Traditional Gold Medal competition that you hear more a natural, traditional way of singing. On the other hand, the network of local mòds and the competitions for children and adults bring young people and others to Gaelic song, and the broadcasting of the final rounds in the media are a good advert for Gaelic language and (maybe) culture.

A similar controversy surrounds the volumes Songs of the Hebrides, published by Marjory Kennedy Fraser (‘Marjory of the Songs’) between 1909 and 1925. She feared that the traditional songs of the Hebrides would die out, and she travelled around collecting and recording them on wax cylinders – undoubtedly a very good thing. But these are not what she actually published, but romantic arrangements for piano or clarsach and classical voice, with English lyrics – extremely free and literary translations after the fashion of the day by the Rev. Kenneth MacLeod. She became quite famous for the concerts she gave with her daughter Patuffa in Europe and the States, where the listeners believed that that is (approximately) how the islanders would sing them.

The unaffectedness and evident sincerity of the artists is one of the chief charms of their work….. The subjects range from poetic rhapsodies founded on the natural features of the islands or its life to the homelier songs that are sung as an accompaniment to various forms of manual labor. They are prefaced generally with a short talk explaining their origin and the manner in which they were heard and written down.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marjory_Kennedy-Fraser

The Eriskay Love Lilt is the most famous of her songs today (lyrics below), and it’s a lovely song by any measure. It’s been recorded by many singers who have no connection to Gaelic or Scotland, with delightful versions by Australian Judith Durham (the Seekers), Paul Robeson, and Nana Mouskouri, and others from Scotland itself, e.g. the Corries, Barbara Dickson (all on YouTube, links below).

Eriskay Church

Eriskay Churchl

But the original song, Gràdh Geal mo Chrìdh’ (Fair Love of my Heart), didn’t die out after all. It lived on, and is still sung, and not just in archive recordings like the one by Nan Mackinnon from Vatersay in 1952, on the Tobar an Dualchas site: http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/88482/1 . I can’t recommend highly enough the gorgeous version by Ishbel MacAskill on the Sìoda CD: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfDtTHC8BoY , or Arthur Cormack’s on Ruith na Gaoith. To my mind the old Gaelic song is far more beautiful, and – more importantly – more moving, more powerful, as regards both the fascinatingly ambiguous lyrics (did she leave him or not?) and the tune, than Marjory’s sweeter version, lovely though that is. Make your own comparisons – listen to Ishbel. And what happened to the other songs Marjory collected? Well, we are very fortunate in that she actually left us her wax cylinders, in the School of Scottish Studies, as well as her papers and the English versions.

 

Faclan / Lyrics:

Eriskay Love Lilt

Chorus
Bheir me o, horo van o
Bheir me o, horo van ee
Bheir me o, o horo ho
Sad am I, without thee.

Thou’rt the music of my heart;
Harp of joy, o cruit mo chrìdh;
Moon of guidance by night;
Strength and light thou’rt to me.

In the morning, when I go
To the white and shining sea,
In the calling of the seals
Thy soft calling to me.

When I’m lonely, dear white heart,
Black the night and wild the sea,
By love’s light, my foot finds
The old pathway to thee.

Gràdh Geal mo Chridh’

‘N àm bhith cromadh ris a’ghleann On turning to the glen
Thàinig snaidhm air mo chridh’ My heart was enthralled
Bho nach d’thug thu dhomh do làmh Since you did not give me your hand
‘S mi’n dùil nach fhàgadh tu mi I hoped you would not leave me
Sèist: Chorus (after each verse):
Bheir mi ò hu ò hò Bheir mi ò hu ò hò
Bheir mi ò hu ò hì Bheir mi ò hu ò hì
Bheir mi ò hu ò hò Bheir mi ò hu ò hò
‘S mi fo bhròn ‘s tu gam dhìth I am sad and you are not with me
Dhèanainn treabhadh dhuit is buan I would plow for you and reap
Chumainn suas thu gun dìth I’d support you and you’d want for nothing
Bheirinn as a’ ghreabhal chruaidh I would take from the hard gravel
Do mo luaidh teachd an tìr A living for my love
Ged nach eil sinn fhathast pòsd’ Although we are not yet married
Tha mi’n dòchas gum bi I hope we will be
Fhad’ ‘s a mhaireas mo dhà dhòrn As long as there is strength in my two fists
Cha bhith lòn oirnn a dhìth We will want for nothing
Dh’fhàg thu sìlteach mo shùil You left my eye tearful
Dh’fhàg thu tùrsach mo chridh’ You left my heart broken
Dh’fhàg thu tana-glas mo shnuadh You left me with a sickly pallor
‘S thug thu ghruag bhàrr mo chìnn My hair is thinned

http://www.celticlyricscorner.net/macaskill/gradh.htm 

 

Ceanglaichean /Links:

  • Eriskay Love Lilt

Paul Robeson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BfpyPy2Cc8

Judith Durham: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N995tLcb2t4

Nana Mouskouri:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVAlha5a00U

  • Gràdh Geal mo Chrìdh’

Ishbel MacAskill:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfDtTHC8BoY

Nan Mackinnon (archive): http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/en/fullrecord/88482/1

Kathleen MacInnes + Blair Douglas (rocky version): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUAzWpTazIY

Eamonn Ó Fagáin – Bheir Mí Ó (Irish Gaelic version): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vIyP835GgE

 

Taing / Thanks: for Mòd sign photo to Colin Smith

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:An_Comunn_Gaidhealach_-_geograph.org.uk_-_885559.jpg

 

 

 

Cèic Fhlùr Coirce Milis Siotrais

citrus-cornmeal-cake-1

Mòran taing do mo charaidean Gàidhlig aig a’ Chomunn Ghàidhealach Ameireaganach, agus do Kerrie Cheanadach, airson an reasabaidh seo, a nochd ann an iris an t-Sultain 2016 na Naidheachd Againne, ràitheachan a’ Chomuinn. Tha a’ chèic ceart cho blasda ma bhios sibh nur luchd-vegan no nach bi. Mhol mo charaid Cam NicRadh, is i à teaghlach eòlaichean nan cèicean, a bhith a’ cleachdadh rùsg oraindsear agus sùgh liomaideige, agus cò mise a bhiodh ag argamaid!

Dh’atharraich mi cupannan gu gramaichean leis an inneal fheumail seo:

http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/recipes/531168/cups-to-grams-converter

(Tha flùr coirce milis buidhe ri fhaighinn bho Asda agus Tesco.)

Reasabaidh 

Tha a’ chèic bhlasta seo freagarrach do dhaoine leis an dòigh-ithe vegan. Leasaich Kerrie Kennedy bho Chomunn Luchd-Ionnsachaidh Thoronto an reasabaidh bho reasabaidh aig Martha Stewart. Nì i a’ chèic seo gu tric airson nan clasaichean ann an Toronto.

Grìtheidean tioram:

1 1/4 chupa min-fhlùir

1/2 chupa flùr coirce milis buidhe (min bhuidhe)

2 spàin-tì pùdar-fuine

1 spàin-tì salainn

1 spàin-bhùird rùsg seadaige, sgrìobte (no oraindsear)

Grìtheidean fliuch:

1/2 chupa ola-chroinn-ola (na cleachd “extra virgin”) (112 ml.)

1/2 chupa sabhs ubhail  (112 ml.)

1 chupa siùcair (200 gr.)

1/2 cupa sùgh-seadaige (no sùgh-oraindseir)  (112 ml.)

Tuilleadh siùcair gus a chrathadh air oir na cèice

Stiùireadh:

  1. Ro-theasaich an àmhainn gu 375 F (190°C).
  2. Lìnig tiona-fuine cearclach 8 òirlich le pàipear-fuine agus geir am pana.
  3. Buail na grìtheidean tioram agus an rùsg seadaige le chèile ann am bobhla meadhanach mòr.
  4. Ann am bobhla nas motha, measgaich na grìtheidean fliuch agus an siùcair le chèile gus an tèid am measgachadh mìn agus aotrom.
  5. Cuir na grìtheidean tioram còmhla ris na grìtheidean fliuch agus measgaich iad le chèile gu h-aotrom gus am bi am measgachadh mìn.
  6. Dòirt an taois dhan phana. Crath siùcar air oir na cèice.
  7. Bruich fad 35 gu 40 mionaid anns an àmhainn gus am bi oirean na cèice a’ tighinn air falbh bho thaobh a’ phana.
  8. Fuaraich i anns a’ phana mu 20 mionaid.
  9. Tionndaidh a’ chèic a-mach air racais-uèir agus leig leatha fuarachadh gu tur.

 

Vegan Citrus Cornmeal Cake

Thanks to my Gaelic buddies at the Comunn Gàidhealach Ameireaganach and to Kerrie Kennedy for this recipe, equally tasty for vegans and non-vegans. My friend Cam MacRae, from a family of cake connaisseurs, recommends the combination of orange zest and lime juice, and who am I to argue!

This recipe is from the September 2016 issue of An Naidheachd Againne, the bilingual quarterly newsletter of An Comunn Gàidhealach Ameireaganach.

I converted the US cups measurements to metric using this useful tool:

http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/recipes/531168/cups-to-grams-converter

(Asda and Tesco sell cornmeal, also used for polenta, medium to course-ground yellow  – maybe pre-order for collection, to be on safe side.)

Recipe

This delicious vegan adaptation of Martha Stewart’s recipe was created by Kerrie Kennedy, Comunn Luchd-Ionnsachaidh Thoronto. She often makes this moist cake as a treat for Toronto’s Gaelic group.

Dry ingredients:

1 1/4 cups flour (150 gr.)

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal (180 gr.)

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

grated zest of 1 grapefruit (or orange)

Wet ingredients:

1/2 cup olive oil (not extra virgin) (112 ml.)

1/2 cup applesauce (112 ml.)

1 cup sugar (200 gr.)

1/2 cup grapefruit juice (or orange juice) (112 ml.)

Extra sugar for edges of cake

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F (190°C).
  2. Line bottom of 8 inch round pan with parchment paper and grease the pan.
  3. Whisk together dry ingredients and zest.
  4. In a larger bowl whisk together wet ingredients and sugar until smooth.
  5. Add flour mix to wet and whisk gently until smooth.
  6. Pour batter in pan. Sprinkle edges of cake with sugar (so crust caramelizes).
  7. Bake 35 – 40 minutes until edges pull away from side of pan.
  8. Cool in pan 20 minutes.
  9. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack completely.

Blas Festival 2016, An t-Sultain 2 – 10 September

Air feadh na Gàidhealtachd – Highland-wide

Fèis Rois 2012

Fèis Rois (in 2012, Beinn Eighe)

Nuair a thig an t-Sultain dhan Gàidhealtachd, thig còmhla rithe aon de na fèisean Albannach as fheàrr– Blas.  Sgrìobh mi roimhe mu Fhèisean nan Gàidheal agus mun obair luachmhor a bhios iad a’ dèanamh airson ceòl agus cultar na Gàidhealtachd, gu h-àiridh am measg na h-oighridh. Tha sinn glè eòlach air Fèis Rois an seo, le cèilidhean agus cuirmean-ciùil anns an talla againn fhèin ann an iomadh samhradh. ‘S e “Fèis nam Fèisean” a th’ ann am Blas, le rionnagan Gàidhealach sean is òg agus tachartasan air feadh na Gàidhealtachd ann an tallaichean-baile, eaglaisean, taighean-seinnse, taighean-òsda is eile, agus cuideachd ann an Eden Court, Inbhir Nis.

Tha cothroman gu leòr againn ann an Ros an Ear an turas seo a dhol do chuirmean-ciùil no cèilidhean san sgìre seo, agus tachartas no dhà a tha cho inntinneach ‘s gum b’ fhiach e dràibheadh beagan na b’ fhaide.

Tha mi fhìn a‘ dèanamh fiughair, mar eisimpleir, ri consairt le rionnagan òga  ann am Port MoCholmaig Dihaoine 9 den t-Sultain. Cluichidh Kilda, còmhlan ùr aig Norrie MacIomhair (ex-Mànran, a-nis le Skipinnish), Tannara, còmhlan tradiseanta Albannach, agus luchd-ciùil à Fèis Rois fhèin. Tha iad uile a’ cluiche cuideachd ann an Ruigh Sholais, san Eilean Dubh, an oidhche ro sin, mura h-eil ùine agaibh Dihaoine.

Bidh mi a’ dol cuideachd do dà chuirm-chiùil ann an Inbhir Nis –  cuirm-ciùil a’ comharrachadh “Rona Lightfoot aig 80” – ban-phìobaire, seinneadair Gàidhlig agus ban-teagaisg air leth, còmhla ri luchd-ciùil ainmeal mar Mhàighread Stiùbhairt, Màiri NicAonghnais agus Ailean is Iain Domhnallach (2.09.16). Abair line-up!  Agus nach mi bha fòrtanach agus bhuannaich dà thiocaid dhan tachartas mu dheireadh den t-sreath, Blas Grand Finale, 10.09.16, le Sharon Shannon, cluicheadair bogsa à Èirinn, Nuallan, pìobairean à Alba Nuadh, agus Tide Lines, còmlan ùr aig rionnag òg Robert Robertson (ex-Skipinnish), ainmeil mar-thà leis an òran leantalach “On the far side of the world”. (https://youtu.be/uzbzMRyinyE )

Tha liosta gu lèir le barrachd fiosrachaidh air:  http://www.blas-festival.com/

(Tha tàille-bhucaidh aig Ticketline gu math daor – mholainnse na h-àitichean-cluiche fònadh. Seo bileag le àireamhan fòn airson gach tachartais: http://www.feisean.org/wp-content/uploads/Blas16Leaflet.pdf )

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Norrie MacIver with Mànran (Creative Commons*)

Norrie MacIver with Mànran (Creative Commons*)

When September comes to the Highlands, along with it comes one of the best of the Scottish festivals – Blas. I’ve written here before about the Fèisean movement, and its valuable work on behalf of Highland music and culture, especially among young people. We’re very familiar with Fèis Rois in this area, with summer ceilidhs and concerts in the Seaboard Hall too. Blas is the “Festival of the Feisean”, with stars of Highland music old and young, and events across the Highlands in village halls, churches, pubs, hotels etc, and also in Eden Court, Inverness.

There are plenty of opportunities for us in Easter Ross this time to get to concerts or ceilidhs in the area, and a few events that would be worth a longer drive.

I’m looking forward myself, for instance, to a concert with young stars in Portmahomack on Friday 9 September. The band Kilda will be playing, featuring Norrie MacIver (ex-Mànran, now Skipinnish), as will Tannara, a Scottish traditional band, and Fèis Rois musicians. They’re also all playing in Resolis (Black Isle) the night before, if Friday doesn’t suit you.

I’m also going to two concerts in Inverness – a concert to celebrate “Rona Lightfoot at 80” – the legendary piper, Gaelic singer and teacher, together with famous Highland musicians such as singers Margaret Stewart and Mairi MacInnes, and top pipers Allan and Iain Macdonald (Glenuig), on 2 September – what a line-up! And I was lucky enough to win 2 tickets to the last concert in the series, the Blas Grand Finale, 10 September, with Sharon Shannon, box-player from Ireland, Nuallan, pipers from Nova Scotia, and the new band Tide Lines with Robert Robertson, the young singing star who was with Skipinnish, already famous with the catchy song “On the far side of the world” (listen here:  https://youtu.be/uzbzMRyinyE ).

Here’s a complete list of events with more information: http://www.blas-festival.com/

(The booking fees with Ticketline are quite steep, so I would recommend phoning the venues. Here’s the Blas leaflet with telephone numbers for all the events. http://www.feisean.org/wp-content/uploads/Blas16Leaflet.pdf )

 

Seo liosta beag leis na tachartasan a tha furasda ri ruigsinn bhon Seaboard:

Here’s a short list of events that are easy to get to from the Seaboard:

 

Dihaoine 2.09 Friday

Inverness St Andrew’s Cathedral 7.30pm, Rona at 80 (0844 888 9991)

Disathairne 3 Saturday

Tain Royal Hotel 2pm, family ceilidh with Liza Mulholland (tickets at door)

Là na Sàbaid 4 Sunday

Inverness St Andrew’s cathedral 8pm, Celtic Praise with Paul McCallum, Inverness Gaelic Choir etc

Diluain 5 Monday

Gairloch (worth the drive if tickets available!) Village Hall 7.30pm, Phil and Aly with Sgoil Chiùil na Gàidhealtachd (01445 712071)

Dimàirt 6 Tuesday

Drumnadrochit Craigmonie centre 7.30pm Blas Commission 2016 Beul na h-Oidhche gu Camhanaich with Mary Ann Kennedy etc (01456 459 224)

Diciadain 7 Wednesday

Ullapool Macphail Centre (same as Drumnadrochit 6 Sept) (01854 613336)

Diardaoin 8 Thursday

Dingwall, The Croft, 12.30pm Lunchtime Theatre ‘Hallaig’, incl. pie+drink (01349 862468)

Resolis Memorial Hall 7.30pm, Tannara, Kilda (with Norrie MacIver) etc (01381 610204)

Dihaoine 9 Friday

Portmahomack Carnegie hall 7.30pm, Tannara, Kilda, Fèis Rois (01862 871452)

Inverness Eden Court 7.30pm, Graham Mackenzie#s ‘Crossing Borders’ + Fuaran project musicians (Tel.01463 234234)

Disathairne 10 Saturday

Inverness Phoenix Ale House 12.30 Lunchtime Theatre ‘Hallaig’ incl. pie+drink (0844 888 9991)

Inverness Eden Court Empire Theatre 7.30pm, Blas Grand Finale, with Sharon Shannon, Nuallan, Tide Lines with Robert Robertson, Angus Peter Campbell. (01463 234234)

And not part of Blas, but also definitely worth going to:

Friday 23 Sept Eden Court: The Shee (with the Seaboard’s Olivia Ross) https://www.eden-court.co.uk/whats-on/shows/the-shee-1

Blas poster 2016

Mànran photo credit : 

By Rs-foto – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47367124

Seirbheis san t-Seann Eaglais gus 25 bliadhna an Urrais a chomharrachadh.

Nigg Old Trust was formed on the 22nd February 1991 to preserve the church building and the Nigg Pictish Monument.
On Sunday 3rd July at 6.30pm a special evening service conducted by parish minister Rev Robert Pickles will be held to celebrate the work of Nigg Old Trust. A new plaque has been commissioned by the trust to recognise the achievements of the founding members of Nigg Old Trust and it’s first Chairman Douglas Budge. The plaque will be unveiled by Mrs Elizabeth Budge who succeeded her late husband as chairman of the Trust. All welcome.

https://www.facebook.com/events/498824616973222/

Old Nigg Church

Nigg Stone

Nigg Stone

 

Am Brusach 700

Allt a' Bhonnaich, Obair-ghrèis Mhòr na h-Alba

Allt a’ Bhonnaich, Obair-ghrèis Mhòr na h-Alba

Anns an Ògmhios gach bliadhna thèid Blàr Allt a’ Bhonnaich a chomharrachadh, blàr le buil na bu bhuannachdaile do dh’Alba na Blàr Chùl Lodair a thachair 450 bliadhna as a dhèidh. Tha a‘ bhliadhna 1314 loisgte san DNA gach Albannaich, mar shamhla de shaorsa as dèidh nam bliadhnaichean fada de dh’ainneart fo na rìghrean Shasainn. Nach iomadh tilleadh, pearsanta agus poiliteagach, chaidh aig Raibeart Brus air an obair a thòisich Uilleam Uallas a chrìochnachadh. Fhuair e buaidh an aghaidh airm Shassanaich a bha mòran na bu mhotha, le cath-innleachd ghlic,  m.e. roghainn làraich, slochdan falaichte, schiltrons, le comas ceannardais, agus le saighdearan Albannach dìleas, a’ sabaid airson an saorsa.

‘S e ceann-bliadhna sònraichte a bha ann an 2014 agus chaidh a’ bhuaidh a chomharrachadh ann an dòighean eadar-dhealaichte air feadh na h-Alba.  Bha aon tachartas ann far an lùiginn a bhith ann, cuirm-ciùil air leth ann an Sruighlea, faisg air Allt a’ Bhonnaich, Am Brusach 700. ‘S ann aig Ailean Dòmhnullach, sàr-phìobaire às an teaghlach-pìobaire ainmeil à Gleann Uige, a bha am bun-smaoineas. Bha e airson na seann tradiseanan pìoba, ciùil is bàrdachd a chleachdadh gus dealbh bheothail den bhlàr agus de na làithean roimhe agus as a dhèidh a chruathachadh. Gus na pàirtean eadar-dhealaichte  (caismeachdean, brosnachadh, caoineadh amsaa) a cheangal agus crùth aonaichte is urramaichte a thoirt dhaibh, cho-obraich e còmhla ri Niall MacIain, sgrìobhaiche-ciùil Albannach aithnichte, a chleachd orcastra bheag ri taobh sheinneadairean agus luchd-ciùil tradiseanta le pìoban, fìdhlean, fideagan, clàrsaich, agus drumaichean. Agus thàinig obair air leth às, cuirm-chiùil chruinnte, tharraingeach.

Bruce (by Ad Meskens *)

Am Brusach (by Ad Meskens *)

Cha deach a chluich ach dà thuras, ann an Sruighlea san Ògmhios 2014 agus aig Celtic Connections ann an Glaschu ann an 2015 – iomairt uabhasach doirbh, leis na h-uiread de luchd-ciùil a bha air an ùrlar (nam measg còmhlan-pìoba òigridh à Sruighlea) agus na duilgheadasan a bh’ ann na sàr-sheinneadairean mar Ghriogair Labhraidh, Caitlin NicAonghais, Rod Paterson agus Ailean fhèin a thoirt còmhla. Chaidh a’ chuirm aig Celtic Connections a chlàradh, agus anns a’ Ghiblean am bliadhna nochd an CD, mu dheireadh thall. Ach rud a thug fìor thoileachas dhomh, air nach robh dùil agam idir, ‘s ann gun deach cuirm eile a chur air dòigh sa Ghearmailt, agus b’ urrainn dhomh a bhith ann!

‘S ann ann an Hofheim am Taunus, faisg air Frankfurt, a bha an tachartas, am baile far a bheil an aon Sgoil-Phìoba Albannach anns an Roinn Eòrpa mhòr-thìreach. ‘S e Thomas Zöller, ceannard den sgoil agus co-obraiche fad-ùineach  Ailein Dòmhullaich, a chuir a’ chuirm-chiùil air dòigh – pròiseact doirbh agus daor. Ach b’ fhiach e an t-saothair! Oidhche mhòr leis na h-aon sàr-sheinneadairean agus luchd-ciùil Albannach, fiù ‘s cuid den chòmlan-pìoba òigridh à Srùighlea, ach le orcastra ionadail à Hofheim, Thomas fhèin air a‘ phìob còmhla ri Ailean, agus sgoilearan-pìoba aigesan a‘ cluich cuideachd. Iomairt le fìor spioraid càirdeis, agus an talla loma-làn.

P1240553Bha a h-uile rud tarraingeach, a’ gluasad eadar innealan-ciùil agus guth, pìoban agus orcastra, pìosan luath agus slaodach, brònach agus aoibhneach. Gabh Caitlin NicAonghais an Caoineadh, agus Rod Paterson Scots Wha Hae, agus bha na pìoban uile gu lèir drùidhteach. Tha e doirbh na pàirtean as fheàrr leam ainmeachadh, ach tha dà phìos ann a tha nam cheann fhathast. An toiseach am Brosnachadh, air a sheinn le Griogair Labhraidh –  bàrdachd tradiseanta chumhachdach a’ brosnachadh nan saighdearan – “A chlanna Gàidheil na h-Albann air allaban ‘nis falbh leam gu buaidh no gu bàs gu bàs”. Agus an t-òran mu dheireadh, Saorsa, air a ghabhail le Ailean Dòmhnullach agus an sgioba-cluiche gu lèir – na bhrosnachadh agus na shubhachas aig an aon àm, laoidh shimplidh is làidir a thogas am meanmna. “O thèid mi fhìn le mo dheòin, Thèid agus gun tèid mi le mo dheòin. O thigibh le chèile le bhur deòin, Nì sinn ar dìcheall gu ceann.“

Faodaidh mi an CD a mholadh gu mòr ma bhios uibh agaibh ann an ciùil Albannach, no ann am Brus, no anns a’ Bhlàr.

http://www.musicinscotland.com/acatalog/The-Bruce-700.html

Tha pàirtean den chuirmean-ciùil rim faighinn air YouTube (lorg The Bruce 700) agus Facebook – ceanglaichean aig an deireadh.

Fiosrachadh sa Bheurla an seo: http://www.pipefest.com/event-news/the-bruce-700-composed-by-allan-macdonald/

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The Bruce 700

Bruce (by Ad Meskens*)

Bruce (by Ad Meskens*)

In June each year the battle of Bannockburn is celebrated, a battle with a more favourable outcome for Scotland than Culloden 450 years later. The year 1314 is etched into the DNA of every Scot, as a symbol of freedom after the long years of oppression under the English kings. After many setbacks, personal and political, Robert the Bruce managed to finish the work William Wallace has started. He was victorious against a much more numerous English army through clever military strategy, such as choice of battleground, hidden pits and the use of schiltrons, though his leadership skills, and with the loyal Scottish soldiers fighting for their freedom.

2014 was a special anniversary and it was marked by various events throughout Scotland. There was one event I would have loved to be at, a brilliant concert in Stirling, near Bannockburn, called The Bruce 700.  This was the brainchild of Allan Macdonald, master-piper from the famous piping family of Glenuig. He wanted to use the classical traditions of piping, music and poetry to create a vivid picture of the battle and the days before and after. To bind the different elements together (marches, calls to arms, laments etc) and to give the whole a unified, dignified frame, he collaborated with the renowned Scottish composer Neil Johnstone, who used a small orchestra alongside traditional singers and musicians on pipes, fiddles, whistles, harps and drums. And it turned into an outstanding piece of work, a rounded and gripping concert experience.

Bannockburn, Scotichronicon c.1440 **

Bannockburn, Scotichronicon c.1440 **

It was only performed twice, in Stirling in June 2014, and at Celtic Connections in Glasgow in 2015 – a challenging project, with so many people on stage (including a youth pipe band from Stirling) and the difficulties of coordinating the schedules of some of the best Scottish singers – Griogair Labhraidh, Kathleen MacInnes, Rod Paterson and Allan Macdonald himself. The Celtic Connections performance was recorded, and in April this year the CD came out, at long last. But the thing that really delighted me, that I hadn’t expected, is that it was to be performed live once again, in Germany, and that I could be there!

The event was in Hofheim am Taunus, near Frankfurt, home of the only Scottish Piping School in mainland Europe. It’s Thomas Zöller, head of the school and long-term collaborator of Allan Macdonald’s, who organised it – a tricky and expensive enterprise. But it was worth it. It was a great night, with the same stellar Scottish soloists and musicians, even some of the youg pipe band form Stirling, but with a local orchestra from Hofheim, Thomas himself on pipes alongside Allan, and some of his own students playing too. There was a real spirit of friendship on stage, and the hall was packed to bursting.

Bruce addressing the troops, E.B. Leighton 1909**

Bruce addressing the troops, E.B. Leighton 1909**

The whole thing was fascinating, moving between instrumentals and voice, fast and slow pieces, sad and joyful ones. Kathleen MacInnes sang the Caoineadh (Keening) and Lament, and Rod Paterson a moving Scots Wha Hae, and the pipes were impressive altogether. It’s hard to name favourites parts, but two pieces have stayed in my head ever since. First the Brosnachadh (Incitement to Battle), sung by Griogair Labhraidh – a powerful traditional poetic song to encourage the soldiers – “wandering children of the Gael, go with me now to victory or death!”  And the last song, Saorsa (Freedom), sung by Allan Macdonald and the whole cast – inspiration and celebration at the same time, a simple but powerful anthem that lifts the spirits. “Oh I will go, by my will…come together with your will, we will reach our goal by our own efforts.”

I can heartily recommend the CD if you are at all interested in Scottish music, the Bruce, or in the battle itself.

http://www.musicinscotland.com/acatalog/The-Bruce-700.html

You can hear parts of the concerts on YouTube (look for The Bruce 700) or Facebook – here are some links:

https://www.facebook.com/neil.johnstone.9/videos/1095905050468126/

https://www.facebook.com/neil.johnstone.9/videos/1065508630174435/

https://www.facebook.com/neil.johnstone.9/videos/1068480819877216/

https://youtu.be/tMq9SRKtun4

https://youtu.be/9vWWwWG-9Z4

https://youtu.be/UljaZyvo1C4

https://youtu.be/Hr9D86Ig4sg

And more details about the work here: http://www.pipefest.com/event-news/the-bruce-700-composed-by-allan-macdonald/

P1240554

*copyright Ad Meskens, Wikimedia Commons, with thanks. Mòran taing!

**  Public domain works of art (via Wikipedia)

5.09.2016:

Artaigil san National / article in The National:

http://www.thenational.scot/culture/the-bruce-700-has-brought-listeners-to-tears-now-its-going-global.21976

“The Bruce 700 has brought listeners to tears … now it’s going global”

Brot is Sailead an Earraich  / Spring Soup and Salad

Tha am biadh seo gu sònraichte math mar lòn no suipear air aon de na làithean earraich ud a tha  grianach ach fionnar, leis a’ bhrot bhlàth bharragach, agus an sailead fuar cruasbach. Tha an dà chuid am brot agus an sailead furasda rin ullachadh, agus tha iad a‘ cumail ceart gu leòr san fhuaradair, ma tha thu airson uimhirean nas mòtha a dhèanamh. Faodaidh tu am brot a reòthadh cuideachd.

Soup 1Brot currann-cnò-bhainne (mu 6 pòrsanan)

500 gr. curranan

1 uinnean

500 ml. sùgh-glàsraich no circe.

1 tiona cnò-bhainne (mu 400 ml.)

1 spàin-bhùird ola (ola chroinn-ola no cnòtha-còco)

Salann is piobar

Agus ma thogras tu:

dinnsear (ùr, ma tha e ri fhaighinn) agus pùdar coiridh, no piobar-tiolaidh teth dearg

cearc phraighigte no ròsta air a geàrradh ann an ciùban

Geàrr na curranan ann an sliseagan agus an t-uinnean ann am pìosan beaga. Bruich an t-uinnean air a shocair anns an ola ann am pana mòr trom air teas meadhanach gus am bi e glainneach soilleir. Cuir na curranan, salann agus piobar ris agus bruich iad le chèile fad còig mionaidean eile. Ma bhios tu a’ cleachdadh dinnsear, coiridh no tiolaidh, cuir iad ris aig an aon àm. Cuir mun cuairt e gu tric. Cuir an sùgh glasraich no circe ris, agus earr-bhruich e, leis a’ mhullach air a’ phana, air teas ìosal gus am bi na curranan bog – mu 20 – 30 mionaidean.

Thoir am pana air falbh bhon stòbha agus nuair nach bi am brot ro theth tuilleadh, pronn gu mìn e leis an inneal-cho-mheasgachaidh. Cuir an cnò-bhainne ris (cum cuid bheag gu aon taobh mar sgeadachadh) agus teasaich e a-rithist.

Ma bhios sibh airson cearc a bhith aige, cuir trì no ceithir ciùban anns gach bobhla agus doirt am brot a-steach. Sgeadaich le spàin-tì cnò-bhainne, agus crath beagan pùdair-thiolaidh air an uachdar ma thogras tu.

Salad 2Sailead soilire agus ubhail  (mu 6 pòrsanan)

2 ubhail

soilire:  mu 6 stocain, an aon chuideam ‘s a tha agad de dh’ubhail ullaichte

50 gr. muilagean seachte

50 gr. cnò-challtainn

100 gr. iogart lom

òla is fìon geur, salann is piobar

Geàrr na h-uabhail agus an soilire glè mhìn (air neo tha an sailead ro dhoirbh ri ithe), geàrr na cnòthan nan dà leth, agus measgaich na gritheidean uile gu math.

Ith e le aran cruasbach is ìm.

Taing do Chairistìona Moll airson nan reasabaidhean seo!  🙂

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This meal is particularly good as a lunch or supper on one of these sunny but cool spring days, with the warm, creamy soup and the cold, crunchy salad. Both the soup and the salad are easy to prepare, and they keep fine in the fridge if you want to make larger amounts. You can freeze the soup too.

Soup 2Carrot and coconut milk soup

500 gr. carrots

1 onion

500 gr. vegetable or chicken stock

1 tin coconut milk (about 400 ml.)

1 tbsp oil (olive or coconut)

Salt and pepper

Optional:

Ginger (pref. grated root ginger) and curry powder, or red chilli pepper

Cubes of fried or roast chicken

Cut the carrots in slices and chop the onion. Sweat the onion in the oil in a large heavy pan on a moderate heat until glassy. Add the carrots, salt and pepper and cook for another 5 minutes. If you’re using ginger, curry or chilli, add these at the same time. Stir frequently. Add the stock and simmer it on a low heat, with the lid on, till the carrots are soft, 20 – 30 minutes.

Take the pan off the heat, and when it’s cooled enough, puree it all thoroughly with a hand blender. Add the coconut milk (keep a little aside for garnishing) and reheat.

If you want to have chicken with it, put 3 or 4 cubes in each bowl and pour in the soup. Garnish with a teaspoon of coconut milk, and sprinkle with chilli powder if desired.

salad 1Apple and celery salad

2 apples

Celery: about 6 stalks, the same weight as the prepared apples

50 gr. dried cranberries

50 gr. hazelnuts

100 gr. plain yoghurt

Oil and vinegar, salt and pepper.

Chop the apples and the celery very finely (otherwise the salad is hard to eat), cut the hazelnuts in half, and combine all the ingredients thoroughly.

Eat with crusty bread and butter.

Thanks to Christine Moll for these recipes! 🙂