seaboardgàidhlig

bilingual blog dà-chànanach

Rionnagan na Nollaig – Christmas Stars 

Seo reasabaidh airson bhriosgaidean-Nollaig tradiseanta Gearmailteach: ‘Zimtsterne’ – rionnagan caneil. Guten Appetit!

Here’s a recipe for traditional German Christmas biscuits: ‘Zimtsterne’ – cinnamon stars.

 P1080740Rionnagan Caneil

4 gealagain-uighe

beagan sùgh-liomaid

300 gr. siùcair mhìn ‘icing’ (+ beagan airson a’ chlàir)

2 spàin-tì caneil

350 gr. chnòthan-almoin agus/no chnòthan-calltainn air am bleith (+ beagan airson a’ chlàir)

Buail na gealagain-uighe gu math gus am bi iad rag, gleansach agus aotrom. Ris an sin cuir 3 – 4 boinnean sùgh-liomaid, agus às dèidh sin an siùcar mìn tro shìoltag – measgaich gu socair e, beag air bheag. Thoir 4 – 5 spàinean-bùird a-mach às a’ mheasgachadh airson a’ chomhdaich-shiùcair, agus cuir gu aon taobh seo ann an àite fuar. A-nis cuir an caineal agus na cnòthan ri na tha air fhàgail den mheasgachadh, gu math faiceallach.

Crath an siùcair agus cnòthan a tha air fhàgail air a’ chlàr-obrach agus rollig an taois a-mach gu 1/4 òirlich de thiughad. (Ma bhios i ro steigeach, cuir pàipear-cèire no film claonach oirre mus rollig thu a-mach i.)

Dèan rionnagan beaga le gearradair-pastraidh agus cuir iad air sgàl-fuine air a chrèiseachadh. Slìob na chuir thu gu aon taobh de mheasgachadh gealagain-uighe orra agus fuin anns an àmhainn iad aig 150°C mu 15 – 20 mionaidean (Chan fhaod an uachdar fàs donn.)

 

Zimtsterne – Cinnamon Stars

 4 egg-whites

a little lemon juice

300 gr. icing sugar (+ a little for rolling out)

2 teaspoons cinnamon

350 gr. ground almonds and/or ground hazelnuts (+ a little for rolling out)

 Beat the egg-whites well till stiff, shiny and light. Add 3 – 4 drops of lemon juice, then add the icing sugar through a sieve, mixing in gently, little by little. Take out 4 – 5 tablespoonfuls for the icing and put aside in a cool place. Now carefully fold the cinnamon and the ground nuts into the remaining mixture. 

Sprinkle the remaining icing-sugar and ground nuts onto the work-surface and roll out the dough to about a quarter-inch thick. (If it’s too sticky, lay waxed paper or cling-film over it before you roll it out.) 

Cut out little stars with a pastry-cutter and put them on a greased baking tray. Brush with the egg-white mixture you put aside ealier. Bake in the oven at 150°C for about 15 – 20 minutes. (The icing should not get brown.) 

A’ Mhaighdeann-Mhara / the Mermaid

Seo òran tradiseanta gu math freagarrach do Mhachair Rois agus dhan t-sìde stoirmeil a bhios againn cho tric aig an àm seo den bhliadhna.

mermaid_stormyweather

 

Òran na Maighdinn-Mhara

A-mach air bhàrr nan stuadh ri gaillinn

Fuachd is feannadh fad’ o thìr

Bha mo ghaol dhut daonnan fallain

Ged is maighdeann-mhara mi

 

Sèist:

Hù-bha is na hoireann hù-bha

Hù-bha is na hoireann hì

Hù-bha is na hoireann hù-bha

’S ann le foill a mheall thu mi

 

Chan eil mo chadal-sa ach luaineach

Nuair bhios buaireas air an t-sìd’

Bha mi ’n raoir an Coire Bhreacain

Bidh mi nochd an Eilean Ì

 

Seall is faic an grunnd na fairge

Uamhan airgid ’s òir gun dìth

Lainnearachd ’s chan fhaca sùil e

Ann an cùirt no lùchairt rìgh.

 

Song of the Mermaid

 Here’s a traditional song that’s very appropriate for the Seaboard and the stormy weather we so often get at this time of year.

 

Out on the top of the waves in the storm,

The cold flaying my skin far from land,

My love for you is eternal and strong

Although it’s a mermaid I am.

 

Chorus:

Hù-bha is na hoireann hù-bha

Hù-bha is na hoireann hì

Hù-bha is na hoireann hù-bha

It’s with treachery that you deceived me.

 

My sleep is but restless

When the elements are turbulent.

Last night I was in Corryvreckan,

Tonight I’ll be in Iona.

 

Look and see at the bottom of the ocean

Silver and gold caves in abundance,

Glittering radiance no eye has ever seen

even at the court or palace of a king .

 

Seo Isbeal NicAsgail mhìorbhaileach nach maireann ga sheinn / here’s the late great Ishbel MacAskill singing it.

http://youtu.be/tBzd3HVE8Uo

 

P1170770

 

Dealbh den Mhaighdeann-Mhara: Seaboard Memorial Hall, le cead /Mermaid pictiure  with permission SMH            
Dealbh de chaladh Bail’ an Todhair leam fhìn /Balintore harbour: my picture.

Obair-ghrèis Mhòr na h-Alba (2) – eachraidh nan Albannach

Am mìos sa chaidh chuir sinn sùil air cuid de na pannalan a tha ceangailte ri taobh an ear na h-Alba: an turas seo bidh sinn a sealltainn air taghadh ìomhaighean à eachdraidh na h-Alba san fharsaingeachd. An rud a tha cho tarraingeach san obair-ghrèis, ‘s e am measgachadh de thachartasan agus cuspairean a tha ri fhaicinn innte – tha politigs, saidheans, creideamh, cultar, nuadh-innleachdan agus foghlam uile ann, ach tha uinneagan ann cuideachd air dòigh beatha daoine na h-Alba fhèin air feadh nan linntean, le mòran dealbhan beaga taitneach agus beò-ghlacmhor ri taobh nan prìomh-chuspairean.

Chì sinn na gaisgich mar am Brusach agus Uilleam Uallas, agus iomadh rìgh agus banrigh, ach iasgairean is croitearan is luchd-obrach ola cuideachd. Tha na h-Albannaich ann a fhuair an cliù thall-thairis – taisgealaichean mar Dr John Rae ann an Canada a Tuath no Livingstone ann an Afraga, saighdearan agus luchd-malairt anns na h-Innseachan agus miseanaraidhean ann an Sìona. Agus chì sinn mar a dh’fhuiling an sluagh fon Phlaigh Dhuibh (agus na deargannan a’ leumadaich air na radain), fo chogaidhean agus fo na Fuadaichean.

Bha an creideamh riamh cudromach ann an Alba – tha Naomh Calum Cille ri fhaicinn, agus John Knox, agus cuideachd na Cumhnantaich agus ìomhaighean an Dealachaidh. Tha ar cultar ioma-fhillte ann – Gàidhlig agus Scots, bàrdachd is ealain is feallsanachd, agus dealbhan luchd-ciùil agus ionnsramaidean ann air feadh na h-obrach-grèis.

Seo taghadh beag de na pannalan, agus chithear mòran ìomhaighean eile air làrach-linn na h-Obrach-grèis Mòire: http://www.scotlandstapestry.com/ agus anns an leabhar àlainn a tha ri cheannach an sin, ach ma bhios cothrom idir agaibh san àm ri teachd, feumaidh sibh an rud fhèin fhaicinn. Is fhiach e e. Tha plan ann togalach sònraichte a thogail dhi, sna Crìochan, agus anns an eadar-àm bidh taisbeanaidhean ann ann an àiteachean eadar-dhealaichte. (m.e. New Lanark 20.10 – 22.11.2014)

Great Tapestry of Scotland (2) – History of the Scots

Last month I had a look at some of the panels which had links to the North East; this time we’ll be looking at a selection of images from broader Scottish history. The thing that’s so fascinating about the Tapestry is the mixture of events and themes that can be seen in it – politics, science, religion, culture, inventions and education are all there, but there are also windows on the way of life of ordinary Scots themselves down through the centuries, with many delightful, captivating details alongside the main subjects.

We see the heroes like Bruce and Wallace, and plenty of kings and queens, but also fishermen, crofters and oil workers. There are the Scots who made their names abroad, explorers like Dr John Rae in Northern Canada or Livingstone in Africa, soldiers and merchants in India, and missionaries in China. And we see how the ordinary people suffered under the Black Death (and the fleas jumping on the rats), wars and the Clearances.

Faith has always been important in Scotland – St Columba can be seen, and John Knox, and also the Covenanters and scenes from the Disruption. Our rich and varied culture is also shown – Gaelic and Scots, poetry and art and philosophy, and pictures of musicians and instruments all over the Tapestry.

This is a tiny selection of the panels, and you’ll see a lot of other images on the Tapestry’s own website: http://www.scotlandstapestry.com/ and in the beautiful book you can buy there, but if you have a chance at all, you have to go and see the real thing. It’s really worth it. There is a plan to house it in a specially-built museum in the Borders, but until then it will be displayed in various locations (next in New Lanark, 20.10 – 22.11.14).

Cameron in Ross-shire
Meal do naidheachd, Cameron!

Taing dhan Ross-Shire Journal airson na naidheachd maithe seo!

Artaigil:
http://www.ross-shirejournal.co.uk/News/Easter-Ross-piper-bags-prestigious-prize-10092014.htm

 

Obair-ghrèis Mhòr na h-Alba (1) – Taobh an Ear-Thuath

Nuair a bha mi a’ tadhal air mo cho-ogha ann an Dùn Èideann seachdain no dhà air ais, chaidh sinn a dh’fhaicinn Obair-ghrèis Mhòr na h-Alba, a tha air ais ann an togalach Pàrlamaid na h-Alba, a’ comharrachadh 15 bliadhna den Phàrlamaid. Abair euchd! Tha i drùidhteach gu leòr mar obair-dhealain, le cho brèagha, cruthachail is mionaideach ‘s a tha i, ach rud fiù ‘s nas drùidhtiche, ‘s ann gur e fìor iomairt-choimhearsnachd a th’ innte. Dh’fhuaigheil mìle duine bho aois 4 gu 94 agus bho Shealltainn gus na Crìochan na 160 pannal, a’ glacadh eachdraidh fhada na h-Alba bho Linn na Deighe gu fosgladh na Pàrlamaid ann an 1999. Agus ged a bha gach pannal air a dhealbhadh (gu àlainn) le neach-ealain, Andew Crummy, bha beagan saorsa cruthachail aig an luchd-fuaigheil agus chì sinn seo, mar eisimpleir, anns na h-ìomhaighean beaga mionaideach air an oir no anns na h-oiseanan de na pannalan.

Ged a tha an Obair-ghrèis Mhòr (143 meatair) nas fhaide na am fear aig Bayeux – ‘s e an grèis-bhrat as fhaide air an t-saoghal a th’ innte – tha i cho tarraingeach ‘s gu bheil thu ag iarraidh coimhead air gach pannal gu mionaideach. Thog mi iomadh dealbh, agus tha mi airson cuid dhiubh a shealltainn dhuibh.

Bha ùidh shònraichte agam anns na pannalan le ceangal ris a’ phàirt againne den dùthaich, taobh an Ear-thuath na h-Alba, agus ‘s e an fheadhainn sin a tha ri fhaicinn san artaigil am mìos seo. Bheir mi sùil air taobhan inntinneach eile an ath thuras.

The Great Tapestry of Scotland (1) – the North East

When I was visiting my cousin in Edinburgh a couple of weeks ago we went to see the Great Tapestry of Scotland, which is back in the Scottish Parlament building commemorating the Parliament’s 15th year. What an achievement it is! It’s impressive enough as a work of art, beautiful, imaginative and detailed, but what’s more impressive is that it’s a real community effort. A thousand people from 4 to 94, from Shetland to the Borders, stitched the 160 panels, capturing Scotland’s history from the Ice Age to the opening of our Parliament in 1999. And although each panel had been designed by artist Andrew Crummy, the sewers had a bit of creative freedom, which we can see, for example, in the details of the wee images at the edge or in the corners of the panels.

Although the Great Tapestry (143 metres) is longer than the Bayeux one (it’s the longest tapestry in the world), it’s so fascinating that you want to look at every panel in detail. I took a lot of photos and would like to show you some of them.

I was particularly interested in in the panels with a connection to our part of the country, the North East of Scotland, and these are the ones seen in this article. I’ll have a look at other interesting aspects in the next one.

A’ Ghàidhlig ann an Eachdraidh Machair Rois Pàirt 4:

An Darna Cogadh gu ruige seo: Ginealaich na Beurla

P1030172Aig àm an Dàrna Cogaidh thàinig Feachdan na Dùthcha dhan sgìre, gu h-àraidh leis na raointean-adhair a chaidh a thogail anns a’ Mhanachainn agus Tairbeart (‘the dromes’). Cuide riutha thàinig mòran bhall-seirbheise agus luchd-obrach à pàirtean eile den Rìoghhachd Aonaichte, agus bhiodh daoine na sgìre ag obair còmhla riutha, m.e. air làraich-thogail no anns na h-ionadan-bìdh (bha fear ann faisg air far a bheil an Seaboard Hall an-diugh).  Dh’fhàg mòran daoine òga an sgìre leis na Feachdan cuideachd, na h-iasgairean na b’ òige nam measg. Cha robh a’ Ghàidhlig feumail no freagarrach idir anns a‘ chonaltradh an-sin – agus ‘s ann sean-fhasanta a bha i mar-thà.

Le còmhdhail na b’ fheàrr (m.e. rathaidean leasaichte san sgìre, bus-sgoile gu Acadamaidh Bhaile Dhubhthaich, agus seirbheis-trèana math air feadh na h-Alba), agus barrachd ùidh ann am foghlam agus ann an trèanadh (agus rè ùine tabhartais-chuideachaidh cuideachd), ghabh barrachd daoine òga cothrom falbh dhan oilthigh no dhan cholaiste ann an Obar-Dheathain no Dùn Èideann. ‘S e saoghal gu tur eadar-dhealaichte a bha anns na bailtean-iasgaich a-nis, gun mòran chothroman aig luchd-labhairt na Gàidhlig an cànan a bhruidhinn, agus iad gu tric gun chomas litrichean Gàidhig a sgrìobhadh gu càirdean sna Feachdan no aig a’ cholaiste; bha na sgoiltean gu h-oifigeil an aghaidh na Gàidhlig, mar a chunnaic sinn.

Ann an cruinneachadh Scottish Gaelic Dialects Survey, leughaidh sinn aiste à 1958 mu tè ann an Seannduig: “Aged 70, born Shandwick, brought up Shandwick, parents Shandwick. A very good informant, fluent in Gaelic, though with a somewhat limited vocabulary. No knowledge of written Gaelic. Used to speak the language regularly with an uncle until he died fairly recently. ”  Bho na 50an agus na 60ean a-mach bha cothroman-cleachdaidh na Gàidhlig a’ lùghdachadh, fiù ‘s am measg luchd-labhairt fileanta.

Anns an darna leth den fhicheadamh linn, mar sin, cha robh Gàidhlig anns na sgoiltean tuilleadh, cha robh mòran mhinistearan ann leis a’ Ghàidhlig, agus bha an luchd-labhairt fileanta a bha air fhàgail gu math aosta, gun a bhith air mòran Gàidhlig a thoirt seachad chun na cloinne. Ach anns na bailtean-iasgaich tha daoine ann fhathast an-diùgh aig an robh na pàrantan a’ bruidhinn Gàidhlig mar chiad chànan, ri chèile agus am measg charaidean den aon aois, a-nuas chun nan trì-ficheadan co-dhiù, agus feadhainn eile chun nan seachdadan, mar Isbeil Anna bean MhicAonghais, màthair Dolaidh againn fhìn. Rinn Seòsamh Watson, na ollamh ann an Baile Àth Cliath, cruinneachadh beòil-aithris Ghàidhlig ann an Baile a’ Chnuic agus Seannduaig aig an àm sin (ri leughadh ann an Saoghal Bana-mharaiche). Tha co-dhiù cuid bheag de Ghàidhlig fhathast aig “clann” a’ ghinealaich sin (is iad fhèin nan naochadan an-diugh).  A rèir cunntas-sluaigh 1971 bha Gàidhlig fhathast aig 4.8% ann am Paraiste na Manachainn, ach mar a tha fios againn bha a’ Ghàidhlig riamh na bu treasa sna bailtean-iasgaich agus mar sin tha e coltach gun robh ìre na ceud na b’ àirde ann an sin fhathast.

P1040580Leis a’ ghnìomhachas ùr agus na cothroman-obrach a thàinig gu Ros an Ear o chionn nan seachdadan (taigh-staile agus leaghadair alùmanuim ann an Inbhir Ghòrdain, gàrraidhean chruinn-ola ann an Neig) dh’fhàs an uimhir de cho-obraichean à ceann a deas na h-Alba, mar a thachair roimhe leis an luchd-obrach air na tuathanasan, agus lùghdaich a’ chuid de luchd na Gàidhlig anns a’ pharaiste gu 3.8% ann an 1991. Bhiodh sinn an dùil gum biodh lùghdachadh mòr eile ann an cunntas-sluaigh 2001, ach ‘s e 3.3% a bha ann fhathast, agus bha fiù ‘s meudachadh beag aig Baile an Droma agus Bhaile Dhubhthaich (Chan eil figearan mionaideach ionadail ri fhaighinn bho chunntas-sluaigh 2011 fhathast.)

Carson a bha meudachadh anns na pàirtean far an robh a’ Bheurla na bu treasa – baile ‘mòr’ Bhaile Dhubhthaich agus baile tuathanais Bhaile an Droma? Ann an coimhead air na sgilean-cànain Gàidhlig san sgìre anns na cunntasan-sluaigh 1971, 1991 agus 2001, chithear an fhreagairt: foghlam. Bha Gàidhlig anns na sgoiltean a-rithist. Eadar 1971 agus 2001 mheudaich àireamh dhaoine le comas-leughaidh agus comas sgrìobhaidh na Gàidhlig ann an Rois an Ear le barrachd air 50%. Tha fios againn cuideachd mu chomas Gàidhlig a rèir aois ann an 2001. Chithear gun robh barrachd Gàidhlig aig na sgoilearan à Baile Dhubhthaich (7.5%) na aig na pàrantan (4.1%), ach bha (beagan) barrachd Gàidhlig aig na pàrantan ann am paraiste na Manachainn (leis na bailtean-iasgach).

‘S ann anns na h-ochdadan a thòisich cròileagan ann an Ros an Ear agus ann an 1987 dh’fhosgail a’ chiad Aonad Gàidhlig ann am Baile Dhubhthaich. An uairsin fhuair am baile sgoil-àraich Ghàidhlig agus foghlam tro mheadhan na Gàidhlig ann am bun-sgoil Craighill, agus foghlam Gàidhlig anns an Acadamaidh cuideachd. Nuair a dh’fhaighnich mi ann an 2012, bha a’ mhòr-chuid de na sgoilearan Gàidhlig à Baile Dhubhthaich, Baile an Droma agus Port Mo Cholmaig – chan ann às na bailtean-iasgaich fhèin, ach san fharsaingeachd ‘s e comharra brosnachail dhan Ghàidhlig anns an sgìre a th’ ann. Uaireannan ‘s e daoine à taobh a-muigh a chuireas luach an toiseach air an dualchas againn fhèin.

P1040668Ann an dòigh tha e ìoranta  gu bheil an dòchas a tha againn airson Gàidhlig san àm ri teachd stèidhichte ann am Baile Dhubhthaich – a’ phàirt as “Beurlaichte” den sgìre fad linntean, agus anns na sgoiltean, far an robh Gàidhlig air a mùchadh cho fada. Chan e dualchainnt nam bailtean-iasgaich a bhios ga cluinntinn anns a’ pharaiste tuilleadh, ach Gàidhlig “mid-Minch” (measgachadh Gàidhlig nan Eileanan agus Gàidhlig na mhòr-thìr), a rèir coltais, mar a bhios ann an sgoil sam bith san latha an-diugh (rannsachadh le William Lamb 2012). Mar a thachras ann an Eurabol (rannsachadh Helen Dorian 1981), nuair a chaochlas daoine as aosta na paraiste le an cuid glè glè bheag de Ghàidhlig ionadail, cha bhi Gàidhlig Mhachair Rois ann tuilleadh ach ann an leabhraichean sgoilearach, mar Saoghal Bana-mharaiche le Seòsamh Watson.

Ach mu dheireadh thall tha Gàidhlig ann. Bidh soidhneachan ùra dà-chananach ann, tha an colbh dà-chànanach seo anns an Seaboard News, agus leis an ùidh a tha ann a-rithist ann an dualchas iasgaich agus eachdraidh Mhachair Rois (m.e. sreath thachartasan Dualchas anns an Seaboard Hall), tha e coltach gum bi àite ann don Ghàidhlig san àm ri teachd.  Mar a sgrìobh neach-rannsachaidh Karl Duwe ann an 2005: “Taobh Sear Rois is on the brink of language viability”. Ann an 2014 chan eil seo cinnteach fhathast, ach faodaidh sinn a bhith dòchasach.

Dealbhan bho àm a’ Chogaidh an seo: http://seaboardhistory.calicosites.com/gallery/war/

Dealbhan raon-adhair na Manachainn an seo: http://www.28dayslater.co.uk/forums/military-sites/26057-fearn-drome-accomodation-camp-easter-ross-16-01-08-a.html

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Gaelic in Seaboard History Part 4:

From World War 2 up to now: the English-speaking generations

P1030198During World War 2 the Armed Forces had a strong presence in the area, especially with the building of the airfields in Fearn and Tarbat parishes (the ‘dromes’). With them came numerous service and ancillary personnel from other parts of the UK, and locals would work alongside them, e.g. on the building sites or in canteens (there was one near where the Seaboard Hall is now), speaking English. Many young people also left the area to join the Forces, including the younger fishermen (who would still have been using at least some Gaelic with the older ones). Gaelic was no longer useful or relevant for communicating there, and it was already seen as old-fashioned.

With better transport (e.g. improved roads, school buses to Tain, and good rail connections throughout Scotland), more interest in education and training, and in due course the availability of grants for this too, more young people took advantage of the opportunity to go to college or university in Aberdeen or Edinburgh. The world of the Villages was quite changed now, with few opportunities to speak Gaelic, and often no Gaelic writing skills to correspond with relatives in the Forces or at college – the schools had long been against Gaelic, as we saw.

In the collection Scottish Gaelic Dialects Survey we can read a fieldworker’s report from 1958 about a typical elderly lady in Shandwick: “Aged 70, born Shandwick, brought up Shandwick, parents Shandwick. A very good informant, fluent in Gaelic, though with a somewhat limited vocabulary. No knowledge of written Gaelic. Used to speak the language regularly with an uncle until he died fairly recently.” From the 1950s and 1960s on, opportunities to actually use Gaelic were decreasing, even among fluent speakers.

P1040579In the second half of the 20th century in Easter Ross, then, there was no longer any Gaelic in the schools, fewer ministers spoke Gaelic, and the fluent speakers were growing old without having passed on much Gaelic to their children. But in the Villages there are still residents today whose parents spoke Gaelic as their first language, to each other and among friends of the same generation, up until the 1960s anyway, and some into the 1970s, notably such as Bell Ann MacAngus, our own Dolly’s mother. Professor Joseph Watson of Dublin University collected Gaelic oral traditions from her and others on the Seaboard at that time, which can be read in his book Saoghal Ban-mharaiche. Some of the ‘children’ of these speakers (in their 90’s themselves now) still have at least a bit of local Gaelic. According to the 1971 census 4.8% of the population of the parish of Fearn were Gaelic speakers, but given that Gaelic had always been much stronger on the Seaboard, figures there were likely to be higher.

With new industries and jobs coming to Easter Ross in the 1970s (the distillery and the smelter in Invergordon and the oil-related work at Nigg), the number of workers coming up from the south of Scotland grew again (as with the farmworkers in the 18th and 19th centuries), and the census of 1991 showed a decrease in Gaelic speakers in Fearn parish (3.8%). We would have expected a greater decrease again in 2001, but in fact it stayed fairly steady at 3.3%, with even a small increase in Tain and Hill of Fearn. (So far we don’t have a detailed analysis of local figures from the 2011 census.)

Why would there be an increase in traditionally the least Gaelic of communities in the area – the ‘big town’ of Tain and the inland farming settlement of Fearn? If we compare the census reports of Gaelic reading and writing skills between 1971 and 2001 (major increases in ability of over 50%), we see the reason – education; Gaelic was back in the schools again. Looking at the ages of Gaelic speakers in the 2001 census we see that children in Tain had more Gaelic (7.5%) than their parents (4.1%), although the parents in Fearn parish (i.e. including the Villages) still had a little more Gaelic than their children.

Gaelic playgroups started in Easter Ross in the 1980s and the first Gaelic unit in Tain opened in 1987. Over time the town got Gaelic preschool provision, Gaelic Medium Education in Craighill Primary School, and Gaelic education in the Academy too. Although when I enquired in 2012 it seemed that most of the pupils came from Tain, Fearn and Portmahomack, not from the Villages, i.e. not the traditional heartlands, it’s nevertheless an encouraging sign for Gaelic in the area. Sometimes it takes outsiders to appreciate what we take for granted.

P1040567In a way it’s ironic that the hope for Easter Ross Gaelic in the future is based in Tain – the most “anglicised” part of the area for centuries, and in the schools, which had suppressed Gaelic for so long. Neither will it be the old Seaboard dialect of Gaelic that future generations will hear, but probably ‘mid-Minch’ Gaelic, as researcher William Lamb has called it – the sort of standardised mixture of Islands and mainland Gaelic that is emerging from schools across the country. As happened in Embo (documented over decades by Helen Dorian), when the old folk with their remnant of the  local dialect die, there will only be records left in books and field recordings, like those by Joseph Watson.

But Gaelic is at last more visible on the Seaboard. There are the bilingual signs, this column in the Seaboard News, and with the renewed interest in local heritage and history, as demonstrated in the ongoing series of ‘Dualchas’ events in the Seaboard Hall, it looks as if there will be a place for Gaelic in the time to come. As researcher Karl Duwe wrote about Easter Ross in 2005: “Taobh Siar Rois is on the brink of (Gaelic) language viability.” In 2014 we can’t yet confirm that, but we have grounds for hope.

Wartime photos here: http://seaboardhistory.calicosites.com/gallery/war/

Photos of Fearn airfield here: http://www.28dayslater.co.uk/forums/military-sites/26057-fearn-drome-accomodation-camp-easter-ross-16-01-08-a.html

 

A’ Ghàidhlig ann an Eachdraidh Machair Rois Pàirt 3:

1850 – 1950 : “English for business, Gaelic for God”

P1270743 Fearn Free Ch (2)

Eaglais Shaor na Manachainn /Fearn Free Church

Bha an Eaglais Phròstanach an-còmhnaidh cudromach agus làidir ann an Ros an Ear, agus na daoine air an ainmeachadh “pious” anns na cunntasan uile  – aig amannan ro chràbhach (a rèir Ian Mowat ); chì sinn an uimhir de dh’eaglaisean Pròstanach eadar-dhealaichte a tha ann fhathast anns an sgìre. Ach ‘s ann leis an Dealachadh ann an 1843 a dh’fhàs an creideamh fìor chudromach don Ghàidhlig ann am Machair Rois, le factar ùr poiliteagach. Bha an Eaglais Shaor an aghaidh an ‘Establishment’ eaglaiseil, ach an aghaidh buaidh nan uachdaran agus na rianachd catharra cuideachd, agus airson cànan làitheil a’ choitheanail a chleachdadh sa chùbaid.

B’ e sin measgachadh tarraingeach, air beulaibh na h-uimhir de dh’in-imrichean Gallda a bha ann.  Dh’fhàs an Eaglais Shaor glè laidir sa pharaiste, gu h-àraidh anns na bailtean-iasgaich, rud a dhaingnich an cànan an sin, ged a bha i a’ crìonadh san fharsaingeachd. Ann an 1881 bha a’ Ghàidhlig ga cleachdhadh mar chànan creideimh fhathast air feadh na Gàidhealtachd (rannsachadh le Charles Withers), agus ann an 1944 fhathast ‘s e ministearan le Gàidhlig a bha ‘considered desirable’ ann am paraistean Machair Rois.

.Ann am bailtean-iasgaich na Manachainn (Baile an Todhair, Baile a’ Chnuic) agus Seannduaig bha “gabhal an Leabhair” ann gach latha sa Ghàidhlig, seirbheisean Gàidhlig gach Là na Sàbaid gus an dèidh an Dàrna Cogaidh, agus coinneamhan-ùrnaigh Gàidhlig (gu h-àraidh dha na h-iasgairean) dhà no trì tursan san t-seachdain – mar a tha cuimhne aig iomadh neach-còmhnaidh latha an diugh fhathast.  ‘S e an searmonaiche Gàidhlig ainmeil Seòras MacAoidh (sgrìobh Alastair Phillips leabhar mu dheidhinn, My Uncle George) a bha na mhinistear anns a’ pharaiste 1910 – 1944. Thuirt esan: ” I suppose the English is good enough for doing business. But for approaching God Almighty, you will be nearer to him in Gaelic than in any other language.”

Old Tarbat Church, site of Pictish monastery

Seann Eaglais Thairbeirt /Tarbat Old Church

Ach feumaidh sinn coimhead air cor na Gàidhlig nas fharsainge san sgìre, anns a’ bheatha shaoghalta cuideachd. Tha àireamhan inntinneach againn bho 1879 (Withers a-rithist) airson Siorrachd Rois air fad (a’ toirt a-steach Eilean Leòdhais): à 81,000 de shluaigh, bha trì-chairteil (62,000) a’ bruidhinn Gàidhlig, nam measg 11,350 gun Bheurla idir. Ann an Ros an Ear, cha robh ann am Baile Dhubhthaich ach 600 le Gàidhlig à 2,100; ann am paraiste Thairbeirt, ge-tà, ‘s e 2,000 à 2,182 a bh’ ann.

Mar ann an Tairbairt, chithear anns an rannsachadh tarraingeach agus na bu mhionaidiche mu Bhaile a’ Chnuic fhèin a rinn Karl C. Duwe ann a bhith a’ cleachdadh fiosrachadh à cunntas-sluaigh 1881 gun robh am baile “overwhelmingly Gaelic-speaking” ann an 1881, le Gàidhlig aig 97.5% den t-sluagh, cuibhreann na b’ àirde na anns a’ pharaist air fad. Bha Beurla aig cha mhòr na h-uile cuideachd gu ruige seo, air sgàth foghlaim, ‘s dòcha, ach gu sònraichte air sgàth ‘s gum b’ fheudar dhaibh Beurla a chleachdadh ann an àiteachan eile san sgìre fhèin, no airson iasg a reic, no gus siubhal mar chaileagan-sgadain gu puirt mar Yarmouth. Chithear gur e coimhearsneachd gu math seasmhach, gu ìre dùinte, a bha innte, agus a’ mhòr-chuid (308 à 318) air am breith anns a’ pharaiste. (Fios mionaideach agus grafaichean: http://www.linguae-celticae.org/dateien/Gaidhlig_Local_Studies_Vol_24_Taobh_Sear_Rois_Ed_II.pdf )

Cha robh a’ pharaiste air fad cho làidir sa Ghàidhlig ri Baile a’ Chnuic.Ann an 1881 bha an ìre à ceud de luchd-labhairt na Gàidhlig ann an Sgìre na Manachainn gu lèir mu 69.5% an coimeas ri 97.5% ann am Baile a’ Chnuic, a tha a ‘ ciallachadh gun robh àireamhan àrd de luchd-labhairt na Beurla ann am pàirtean eile den pharaiste, mar a bhiodh dùil leis an eachdraidh de Bheurlachadh anns na tuathanasan agus na h-ionadan rianachd – c.f. Baile Dhubhthaich ann an 1881: 33.8% le Gàidhlig. Ann an àireamhan chunntasan-sluaigh bho 1881 gu 2001, chithear nach do mhair a’ Ghàidhlig cho làidir glè fhada ann am paraiste na Manachainn: às dèidh fichead bliadha is gann gun robh leth-cheud às a’ cheud a’ bruidhinn na Ghàidhlig, agus às dèidh sin bha an lùghdachadh fiù ‘s na bu luaithe, gu 10.5% ann an 1951.

Conventicle for outdoor preaching (Edderton)

Cùbaid blàr-a-muigh/conventicle pulpit

Feumaidh sinn a bhith mothachail, ged-thà, gun do mhair a’ Ghàidhlig na bu treasa anns na bailtean-iasgaich na anns a’ pharaist air fad fiù ‘s am meadhan na ficheadamh linn, air a cleachdadh fhathast mar chiad chànan leis na h-iasgairean agus na daoine na b’ aosta eile, mar a tha fios againn à iomadh eachdraidh ionadail, m.e. ann an Down to the Sea, cunntasan pearsanta, m.e. My Uncle George,  agus agallamhan le luchd-còmhnaidh aig a bheil cuimhne air seo fhathast.

Ach às nan aon chunntasan tha e follaiseach gum b’ i Beurla  a’ chiad chànan aig a’ ghinealach a rugadh às dèidh a’ Chiad Chogaidh, air a cleachdadh anns an sgoil agus anns an raon-chluiche, agus gu ìre mhath aig an taigh, far am biodh na pàrantan a’ bruidhinn Gàidhlig ri chèile, ach Beurla ris a’ chloinn. A rèir na “cloinne” sin a-nis bha na pàrantan airson beagan prìobhaideachd a ghleidheadh ann an teaghlaichean mòra an ama sin (ged a bha a’ chlann a’ tuigsinn barrachd na bha iad a’ leigeil orra), ach cha robh ùidh mhòr aca a’ Ghàidhlig a chumail beò mar chànan làitheil – ghabh iad ris a’ bheachd gun robh an dòigh-beatha agus an cànan aca  a’ caochladh agus gum b’ i a’ Bheurla cànan an t-saoghail mhòir agus an ama ri teachd.

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Gaelic in the History of the Seaboard Part 3:

1850 – 1950 : “English for business, Gaelic for God”

Nigg Church

Eaglais Neig / Nigg Church

The Protestant church had always been important and strong in Easter Ross, and the local population referred to as ‘pious’ in all the reports – at times ‘too pious’ according to Ian Mowat – we can still see the wide variety of Protestant churches in the area today. But it was from the Disruption of 1843 onwards that this faith became really significant for the use of Gaelic in the area, with an added political factor. The Free Church was against the church ‘Establishment’ itself, but also against the influence of the landlords and the civic administration on church matters, and it was adamant about using of the congregation’s daily language (in this case Gaelic) in the pulpit.

This was a powerful and attractive mixture of the religious and the political, in view of the large numbers of Lowland incomers in the area. The Free Church grew strong in the local parishes, especially in the fishing villages, a situation which strengthened the status of Gaelic, which was declining more generally in Scotland. In 1881 (according to research by Charles Withers) Gaelic was was still being used as the primary language of worship across the Highlands, and as late as 1944 Gaelic was still officially ‘considered desirable’ in ministers called to the parishes of Easter Ross.

In Hilton, Balintore and Shandwick ‘the Books were taken’ (family Bible reading, prayer and usually a psalm) in Gaelic every day, there were Gaelic services every Sunday until after World War II, and prayer-meetings in Gaelic (especially for the fishermen themselves) two or three times a week, as remembered by residents still with us today. The famous preacher George Mackay (written about in the book My Uncle George, by Alastair Phillips) was the minister of Fearn Free Church 1910 – 1944. It was him who said: “I suppose English is good enough for doing business. But for approaching God Almighty, you will be nearer to him in Gaelic than in any other language.”

Old Nigg Church

Seann Eaglais Neig / Nigg Old Church

But we also need to look at the wider context, and the use of Gaelic in the secular life of the area too. There are interesting figures for the whole of Ross-shire (which included Lewis) in 1879. In a population of approx. 81,000, around three quarters (62,000) spoke Gaelic, and of these 11,350 spoke only Gaelic. In Easter Ross, Tain, with its 2,100 inhabitants, had only 600 Gaelic-speakers, however; while in the parish of Tarbat 2,000 out of 2,182 spoke Gaelic. (Withers again.)

As in Tarbat, we can see from fascinating research done by Karl C. Duwe using the 1881 census that Hilton was “overwhelming Gaelic-speaking” at that time – 97.5%, a higher proportion than in the parish as a whole. But most people also had at least some English by that time, partly possibly due to wider education, but particularly because they needed to use it in other parts of the area itself (like Tain), or for selling fish, or for travelling as a herring girl to ports like Yarmouth. The research gives us a picture of Hilton as a relatively stable, close community, with the majority being born in the parish (308 out of 318). (Have a look at the details and charts here:  http://www.linguae-celticae.org/dateien/Gaidhlig_Local_Studies_Vol_24_Taobh_Sear_Rois_Ed_II.pdf )

The parish of Fearn wasn’t all as strongly Gaelic as Hilton, with only 69.5% speakers in contrast to Hilton’s 97.5%, which indicates a higher number of English-only speakers in the rural areas, as we would expect given the history of English-speaking incomers on the farms as well as in the administrative centres (as in Tain – only 33.8% Gaelic speakers  in the 1881 census). In the census figures 1881 – 2001 we see that Gaelic didn’t stay strong much longer in the parish of Fearn. Twenty years later barely half the population spoke it, and by 1951 that figure had gone down to 10.5%.

Hilton mon J Ross 2We have to remember, though, that Gaelic remained stronger in the Seaboard villages than in the parish as a whole, even in the middle of the 20th century, when it was still used as their first language by the fishermen and other older folk. There is plenty of evidence of this from local history accounts, such as Down to the Sea, personal memoirs, e.g. My Uncle George, and as remembered by our oldest residents today.

But from these same accounts it’s evident that English was the first language of most of the generation born after Word War I, used in school and in the playground, and to a large extent in the home too, where the parents would speak Gaelic to each other and English to the children. According to these “children” who are still with us, the parents used Gaelic to keep a bit of privacy in the large familes of the time (although the children understood more than they let on), but there was no real interest in keeping Gaelic alive as a daily language. They accepted the view that their way of life and language was changing, and that the language of the wider world, and the future, was English.

(Part 4, finishing this series, to follow.)

All pictures my own

Pàirt 2: 1750 – 1850: linn leasachadh àiteachais agus sgaoileadh na Beurla 

Nigg farmlandChunnaic sinn mìos sa chaidh gum b’ i a’ Ghàidhlig an cànan a bu làidire ann am Machair Rois fad linntean, bho na Meadhan Aoisean tràth a-mach, ach gun do mheudaich cleachdadh na Beurla beag air bheag ann an suidheachaidhean formeil, gu h-àraidh am measg nan clasaichean poiliteagach agus foghlaimte, mòran dhiubh nan in-imrichean à ceann a deas na h-Alba.  

‘S ann rè an ama 1750 – 1850, eadar Ar-a-mach nan Seumasach agus an Dealachadh, a thàinig sreath atharrachaidhean a thug buaidh làidir air cor na Gàidhlig san sgìre. Cha do gabh an sgìre pàirt mhòr san Ar-a-mach fhèin ach chaidh buaidh “Ghallda” nan uachdaran a dhaigneachadh. Beag air bheag rug spiorad “leasachaidh” na linn orra, an toiseach air an fheadhainn le ceanglaichean ri Dùn Èideann no Lunnainn, far an robh na beachdan nuadh mun àiteachas gan sgoileadh, an uairsin air na nàbaidhean aca.

Fiù ‘s anns an Old Statistical Account (OSA), air a sgrìobhadh ann an 1791-99, tha iomradh air “monopoly of farms… individuals farming what was originally possessed by 4, 6, 8 and 10 tenants” , ach aig an aon àm bha “the old Scots plough” ga chleachdadh fhathast, cha robh am fearann “inclosed” (le feansaichean), agus bha cus “multures” (molltairean) air na daoine. A rèir ùghdair OSA bha Gàidhlig ga cleachdadh leis a’ mhòr-chuid de na daoine cumanta, ach “many of them now understand the English” – rud nach robh, gu follaiseach, cho àbhaisteach gu ruige sin. (Ref. OSA p.294,298)

anchor at salmon bothy, HiltonA thaobh foghlaim san sgìre, bha na sgoiltean-paraiste (air an ruith leis an Eaglais Stèidhichte) agus an acadamaidh ann am Baile Dhubhthaich a’ teagasg (gu h-oifigeil, co-dhiù) sa Bheurla, ged nach robh Beurla aig a’ mhòr-chuid de na sgoilearan, a rèir neach-eachdraidh Charles Withers (Gaelic in Scotland p.137) Aig an àm seo, bha Gàidhlig ga cleachdadh ann an sgoiltean SSPCK (Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge) mar mheadhan-ionnsachaidh na Beurla, ach cha do nochd sgoil SSPCK anns an sgìre ro 1825 (ann am Baile an Todhair, le 11 sgoilearan, a rèir mapa Withers p.134)  Bha cultar foghlaim an aghaidh na Gàidhlig, nach robh ceadaichte ach airson taic a thoirt do chleachdadh a’ Bhìobaill Bheurla, gus Gàidhlig fhèin fhàgail neo-riatanach ri ùine.

Ann an cunntas OSA chithear gun robh an t-iasgach gu math cudromach cuideachd agus na bailtean-iasgaich gu ìre mhath neo-eisimeileach, le comas luchd nan tuathanas a chuideachadh nuair a bhiodh gainnead ann (ged nach robh sin ro thric). Bho chunntas OSA tha dealbh againn de sgìre thorrach air tìr agus air muir, le uimhir de Bheurla ann mar-thà, dìreach a’ feitheamh ri a leasachadh.

Anns an New Statistical Account (1834-45)  leughaidh sinn mu “very great improvements…within the last 30 years” ann an àiteachas (m.e. 1840, Fearn, NSA p.362), le mìneachadh nas soilleire anns na cunntasan mu pharaiste Thairbeirt, far an deach liosta a thoirt seachad de dh’uachdarain a chuir “modern husbandry” air dòigh anns an sgìre. Bha a` mhòr-chuid dhiubh à Lodainn an Ear bho thùs no dh’ionnsaich iad “the approved system of agriculture” an sin, agus – puing chudromach – nach tug “horses and  implements…of the very best description from the south” a-mhàin leotha, ach “also farm-servants of his own training” / ” his own farmservants” /”a Lowlands grieve” amsaa (a’ sgrìobhadh mu Thairbeirt ann an 1840, NSA p.464).  Ann am paraiste Neig, “the principal occupiers of the soil at present are, generally speaking, recent immigrants, and most of their numerous farmservants are entire strangers”/ ” a great many strangers have taken up their abode here”/”the system of farming has been quite changed” (1836, Nigg NSA 37). Cuide ris na Goill thàinig a’ Bheurla Ghallda, an turas seo am measg nan daoine cumanta cuideachd. Ann am paraiste Bhaile Dhubhthaich, “Gaelic has of late rapidly lost ground…in the country the change has not been quite so marked” (1836, Tain, NSA p.293)

P1230387 (2)BalintoreFeumar comharradh nach robh, a rèir coltais, an aon ùidh ann an leasachadh an iasgaich, m.e. cha robh fìor chalaidhean ann fhathast anns na ‘trì port’. Chan eil guth sam bith anns na cunntasan-paraiste NSA mun leithid – an sin ‘s e ‘business as usual’ a bha ann, agus dh’fhaodadh seo ciallachadh gun do mhàir a’ Ghàidhlig na bu treasa na b’ fhaide mar chànan làitheil anns na bailtean-iasgaich. Ged a bha sgoil SSPCK am Baile an Todhair (gu ìre dà-chananach), bha feadhainn eile “a dhìth” fhathast ann am Baile a’ Chnuic agus Gàthan (a rèir an NSA  ann an 1840, mu Paraiste na Manachainn, p.363)

Gu ruige meadhan na naoidheamh linn deug, mar sin, bha sgìrean tuathanach Ros an Ear a’ fàs na bu ‘Bheurlaichte’, agus na bu choltaiche ris na siorramachdan Gallda, fad ‘s a bha na bailtean-iasgaich na bu Ghàidhealach agus na bu Ghàidhlige fhathast.

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Part 2: 1750 – 1850 – the century of ‘Improvement’ and the spread of English

Shandwick sheepWe have seen that Gaelic was the strongest language in Easter Ross over centuries, from the early Middle Ages onwards, but that the use of English gradually increased in formal situations, especially among the political and learned classes, many of whom were incomers from the south of Scotland.

It’s during the period 1750 – 1850, between the 1745 Jacobite Rising and the Disruption in 1843, that a series of changes occurred which had a great influence on the state of Gaelic in this area. Easter Ross didn’t play a major part in the Rising itself, but the anti-Gael measures taken after Culloden served to strengthen the ‘lowland’ tendencies of the landlords. Gradually the spirit of (agricultural) ‘Improvement’ which had gripped the century began to take hold locally, first among those lairds with links to Edinburgh or London, where the new ideas about farming were being spread, then among their admiring neighbours.

Even in the Old Statistical Account of Scotland (OSA) compiled 1791-1799 (a sort of parish-by-parish overview of the country drawn up by local ministers, teachers etc – fascinating reading), there is already mention of a “monopoly of farms…. individuals farming what was originally possessed by 4, 6, 8 and 10 tenants”, although at the same time, “the old Scots plough” was still in use, the land had not yet been “inclosed” with fences, and there were allegedly too many “multures” (mill dues) imposed on the locals. A time of transition, then. According to the author of the OSA for this area, Gaelic was the everyday language of  ordinary folk, but “many of them now understand the English” – something that clearly had not been the norm up to then. (Ref. OSA p. 294, 298)

Rarichie (2)As regards education in the area, the parish schools (run by the Established Church) and the academy in Tain were (at least officially) by now teaching in English, although in fact the majority of the students couldn’t speak English, according to the historian Charles Withers (Gaelic in Scotland p.137), so it’s unlikely that policy was actually followed through. At that time Gaelic was used in the SSPCK-run schools (Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge) but officially only as as a medium through which English could be taught, for Bible-reading purposes.  (Children learned huge quantities of the Bible in English by heart, without understanding a word of it.)  However there were no SSPCK schools in Easter Ross until 1825 (Balintore, with 11 pupils). The whole educational culture was against Gaelic, permitting it only as a means of learning English (especially for reading the English Bible), with the explicit aim of making Gaelic obsolete over time.

In the OSA accounts for Easter Ross we see that the fishing was also very important at the time, and the fishing villages were to a large extent self-sufficient communities, able even to help out the inland farming community in times of need (though these were rare). From the OSA at the end of the 18th century we have a picture of an area fertile on land and at sea, with a basic quantity of English already in place, just waiting to be “improved”.

40 to 50 years later, in the New Statistical Account (NSA) of 1834 – 1845, we read about  “very great improvements…within the last 30 years” in agriculture (1840, Fearn, NSA p.362), with particular detail in the account of the parish of Tarbat, listing the landlords or farm managers who introduced “modern husbandry” to the area. Most of these had moved up from East Lothian, or had at least studied ” the approved system of agriculture” there, and – importantly – had not only brought “horses and  implements…of the very best description from the south” with them, but “also farm-servants of his own training” / ” his own farmservants” /”a Lowlands grieve” etc (written about Tarbat in 1840, NSA p.464).  In the parish of Nigg “the principal occupiers of the soil at present are, generally speaking, recent immigrants, and most of their numerous farmservants are entire strangers”/ ” a great many strangers have taken up their abode here”/”the system of farming has been quite changed” (1836, Nigg, NSA p.37).  Along with the Lowlanders the Scots tongue came into the area, this time increasingly amongst the ordinary people too, not just the administrative classes as in earlier times. In the parish of Tain, “Gaelic has of late rapidly lost ground…in the country the change has not been quite so marked” (1836, Tain, NSA p.293).

Hilton weatherwaneIt should be noted that there was apparently not at all the same interest in ‘improvement’ as regards the fishing, e.g. no real harbours yet in the Villages. There’s no mention whatsoever of such a thing in the otherwise enthusiastically pro-improvement parish accounts of the NSA, the main impression being that it was ‘business as usual’ in that area, and this would have meant that Gaelic remained stronger for a longer period as the everyday language of the villages. Although as we saw there was a small SSPCK  school in Balintore (to some extent officially bilingual), others “were still lacking”  in Hilton and Geanies, according to the NSA for Fearn in 1840 (p.363).

Up to the middle of the 19th century, then, the farming areas of Easter Ross were becoming more Anglicised, more similar to the Lowland counties, while the fishing villages were still more Highland and more Gaelic.

Nuair a chaidh a’ phàirt ìosal den leac (a tha san Talla a-nis) a lorg ann an 2001, aig tobhta a’ chaibeil faisg air an làrach far a bheil an leac ath-chruthaichte latha an-diugh, bha mòran mòran mhìrean bìodach den phannal-chùil thùsail ri lorg cuideachd.  Tha iad cho beag agus tha an uiread dhiubh ann ‘s gu bheil e gu math doirbh na patranan nas motha fhaighinn a-mach……

When the lower part of the stone (now in the Hall) was found in 2001, at the chapel ruins near the location of the recreated stone today, many many tiny pieces of the orginal back panel were to be found too. They are so small and there so many of them that it’s extremely difficult to find the bigger patterns…..

Enter the techies. A Scottish company called Relicarte has transformed the fragments into 3-D virtual objects and made them available to the public in a special application. Starting in late October 2013, gamers could use their spatial reasoning skills to reassemble the slab. “The ability to manipulate 3-D images easily and interact over social media is key,” says Mhairi Maxwell, an NMS curator. “Archaeology has always had to draw upon a diverse range of skill sets for understanding the past—it is both an art and a science.” The researchers don’t know how long the process will take, but it will certainly be faster than the old-fashioned way.

http://archaeology.org/issues/125-1403/trenches/1802-scotland-pict-stone-gamers-assemble

Nach cuidich sibh?  Won’t you help?

PICTISH PUZZLE.co.uk

(Le brabhsairean Chrome no Firefox .)

http://pictishpuzzle.co.uk/

 

A’ Ghàidhlig ann an Eachdraidh Machair Rois

Pàirt 1: bho na Meadhan Aoisean gu 1750

An-uiridh sgrìobh mi sreath mu ainmean-àite ionadail, a fhuair sinn bho Lochlannais, Cruithnis, Gàidhlig agus Beurla no Beurla Gallda. (Tha seo ri fhaotainn air an làrach-lìn ùr againn cuideachd: http://seaboardhistory.com/gallery/gaelic-in-the-villages/Bha e gu math soillier gur ann bhon Ghàidhlig a thàinig a’ chuid a bu mhotha de na h-ainmean anns an sgìre seo. Seo Pàirt 1 de sreath eile, ceangailte ris am fear ud, mun a’ Gàidhlig ann an eachdraidh Rois an Ear, gu h-àraidh a thaobh a’ phàirt againne dhith. Le eachdraidh a’ chànain chì sinn dealbh eachdraidh phoiliteagach agus shòisealta na sgìre cuideachd.

P1000654‘S e Machair Rois an t-ainm tradaiseanta air Sgìre na Manachainn agus na paraistean air gach taobh dhith, Tairbeart agus Neig, pàirt de Ros an Ear air a bheil san latha an-diugh ‘the Fearn Peninsula’ sa Bheurla. ‘S e sin an oirthir chreagach eadar Rubha Thairbeirt agus Beinn Neig, leis na “trì port mor”, na bailtean-iasgaich Baile a’ Chnuic, Baile an Todhair agus Seannduaig, agus am fearann torrach nas fhaide a-staigh san tìr. Bha an dà thaobh seo den sgìre – àiteachas agus iasgach – glè chudromach ann an eachdraidh na Gàidhlig.  

Mar a chunnaic sinn, ‘s ann bhon t-sluagh Ghàidhealach a thàinig a’ mhòr-chuid de na h-ainmean ann am Machair Rois. Anns na Meadhan Aoisean tràth chaidh an smachd poiliteagach is eaconamach beag air bheag thairis bho na Cruithnich chun nan Gàidheal, agus mar sin dh’fhàs buaidh na Gàidhlig anns an sgìre, agus b’ i a’ Ghàidhlig prìomh chànan muinntir na sgìre as dèidh sin, a-nuas chun na 19mh linne co-dhiù, mar a b’ i air feadh na Gàidhealtachd. Gu ìre, ‘s e sin a thachair – ach mòran na bu shlaodaiche – le Gàidhlig agus Beurla tro na linntean. Bha buaidh na Beurla, no na Beurla Gallda, na bu tràithe agus na bu treasa ann an Ros an Ear na bha i ann am pàirtean eile den Ghàidhealtachd.

BalloneBha an-còmhnaidh ùidh mhòr aig luchd-riaghlaidh na h-eaglaise agus na stàite anns an dùthaich thorraich fhasgaich aig ceann Linne Mhoireibh. Bha cudromachd ro-innleachdail aig an làrach seo agus thàinig “na h-urracha mòra” seo, no na riochdairean no basaillean aca, gu tric à ceann a deas na h-Alba, agus ri ùine thàinig Beurla Gallda no Beurla còmhla riutha, cuide ri na structaran sòisealta agus siostaman gabhaltais aca.

Ann an Sgìre na Manachainn fhèin bha an abaid Mhanachainn Rois ann bho c.1238, a chaidh a stèidheachadh le manaich à Taigh Mhàrtainn (Whithorn), Gall-Ghàidhealaibh, agus caistealan agus taighean mòra mar Chathabul agus Gàthan. Bha Baile Dhubhthaich na shuidhe aig riaghaltas ionadail agus na ionad-malairt, le ceanglaichean rìoghail làidir agus cliù air feadh na h-Alba mar àite-taistealachd, air sgàth cnàmhan Neamh Dubhthaich anns a’ chaibeal an sin. Cha bhiodh na h-in-imrichean Gallda ag ionnsachadh a’ chànain “bhoirb” a bhiodh aig muinntir an àite  – mar a bha aig a sgrìobhadair John of Fordun ann an 1380 agus fiù ‘s aig Seumas VI/I fhèin ann an 1616 air a’ chànan Ghàidhlig, agus is beag an t-iongnadh gur e Beurla a-mhàin, no Beurla ri taobh na Gàidhlig, a bha ga cleachdadh ri ùine leis na daoine foghlaimte agus na h-uachdarain, ged as i a’ Ghàidhlig an cànan a bu treasa fhathast meadhan san 18mh linn – “the dominant language” air an dùthaich agus anns na bailtean-iasgaich, a rèir luchd-eachdraidh leithid Ian R.M.Mowat (Easter Ross 1750-1850: The Double Frontier).

P1280949Anns na mapaichean as sìne den sgìre, m.e. fear le Joan Blau (c. 1684), chithear mar-thà cuid de dh’ainmean-àite ann an cruth Beurla seach Gàidhlig, m.e. Fern (Manachainn Rois), Sandwick (Seannduaig), Abetsheavn (Port an Ab / Baile an Todhair), ainmean air an cleachdadh leis a’ chlas fhoghlaimte, no riaghlaidh, chan ann le muinntir an àite fhèin – deagh eisimpleir de bhuaidh thràth na Beurla an seo. Mar a thuirt Ian R.M. Mowat mu Ros an Ear, “Although it is geographically located in the North of Scotland, the area was not typically Highland.”

 Ann am Pàirt 2, bidh mi a’ coimhead air an linn 1750 -1850 agus leasachadh àiteachais san sgìre.

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Gaelic in the History of the Seaboard

Part 1: the Middle Ages to 1750

Last year I wrote a series about local place-names, which we got from Scandinavian, Pictish, Gaelic, and English or Scots . (You can get this on our new website now: http://seaboardhistory.com/gallery/gaelic-in-the-villages/ ) It was very clear that the majority of names in this area came from Gaelic. This is Part 1 in another series, related to the last one, about Gaelic’s role in the history of Easter Ross, especially in our part of it. The language’s story is very much a reflection of the social and political history of our area.

P1280904‘Machair Rois’ – the coastal strip of (East) Ross-shire, is the traditional name given to the parish of Fearn and its neighbouring parishes, Tarbat and Nigg, broadly equivalent to the modern ‘Fearn Peninsula’. It includes the craggy coastline between Tarbat Ness and Nigg, with the ‘trì port mor’ – the three fishing villages of Hilton, Balintore and Shandwick – and the fertile farming country further inland. These two sides of the area – farming and fishing – were both significant in the history of Gaelic.

As we saw, it’s from the Gaels that we got the majority of our place-names. In the early Middle Ages political and economic power in the North East gradually shifted from the Picts to the Gaels, and with them the influence of Gaelic in the area increased. From then on up till the 19th cenutry Gaelic was the main language in this area, as it was across the Highlands. To some extent, that’s the same process that happened with Gaelic and English over the centuries – though much more slowly. The influence of English, and Scots, was present much earlier and more strongly in Easter Ross than in other parts of the Highlands.

P1300205The rulers of state and church had always taken a great deal of interest in this fertile sheltered site at the end of the Moray Firth. It had great strategic importance to them, and the ‘high heid yins’ or their representatives or vassals who came to administer the area were usually from the south of Scotland. In the course of time the Scots or English languages came north with them, along with ‘southern’ social structures and tenancy systems.

In the parish of Fearn itself there has been an abbey since c. 1238,  founded by monks from Whithorn in Galloway, and castles like Cadboll and Geanies. Tain was the seat of local government and a centre of commerce, with strong royal links and Scotland-wide fame as a place of pilgrimage, because of the bones of St Duthus in the chapel there. The Lowland incomers would not usually have learned the “barbaric” local language, as Gaelic was described by the writer John of Fordun in 1380, and even by King James VI/I himself in 1616. It’s hardly surprising that it was English, or English alongside Gaelic, that came to be used increasingly over time by the educated people and the landlords, although Gaelic was clearly still  “the dominant language” in both the countryside and the fishing villages in the mid-18th century, according to historians such as Ian R.M. Mowat (Easter Ross 1750 – 1850: The Double Frontier)  

DSCN9646In the oldest maps of the area, e.g. by Joan Blaeu c.1684, we can already see that some of the names are given in their English versions instead of the original Gaelic, e.g. Fern (Manachainn Rois), Sandwick (Seannduaig), Abetsheavn (Port an Ab / Baile an Todhair). These would be the forms used by the learned or governing classes who commissioned the maps, not by the locals themselves, and are a good example of the early influence of English here. As historian Ian Mowat said of Easter Ross:  “Although it is geographically located in the North of Scotland, the area was not typically Highland.”

 In Part 2 I’ll be looking at the period 1750 – 1850 and the agricultural developments in the area.