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TITLE
The Kelpie at Brin, Strathnairn
EXTERNAL ID
AB_LL_I_F_GRANT_02
PLACENAME
Strathnairn
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Daviot and Dunlichity
DATE OF RECORDING
1969
PERIOD
1960s
CREATOR
Isabel F. Grant
SOURCE
The School of Scottish Studies Archives
ASSET ID
1351
KEYWORDS
audio
literary landscapes

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In this audio extract, Dr. I. F. Grant tells the story of a kelpie near Brin House, Strathnairn. She is being interviewed by Eric Cregeen, Glasgow University Extra-mural department's first Resident Tutor in Argyll (1954-66).

Audio extract by kind permission of the School of Scottish Studies Archives, University of Edinburgh.

'I don't know if you know a house - Brin? It's in Strathnairn, which is rather - I always think - rather a grim place, and it used to belong to some people called Stewart; it doesn't now, they've died out. And he said that there was little piece of water - he pointed it out. As a matter of fact we tried to fish, it was a tiny lochan, it was supposed to be inhabited by a kelpie.

And there was story that a woman was coming back late at night with her little child and a lovely horse appeared and the child wanted to hop onto it and of course, she knew the evil ways of kelpie and tried to stop it from doing so, but the child just touched the kelpie. And the woman had a knife and she cut off the child's hand - the child's finger that had touched the kelpie - and of course it gave a horrible screech and disappeared into the waters of the loch.

Well, Mr Stewart told me this story and he said one day he'd been duck shooting and had a spaniel he was very fond of, and he wounded a duck and it fell into the loch and the spaniel went to retrieve it, and though it was quite a good water dog it suddenly got into great difficulties. So he tore off his coat to rush into the water to rescue the spaniel and the keeper said, 'Don't, don't please don't, sir.' And finally, even by force, try to prevent him from getting into the loch because it was supposed to be the kelpie loch, and he forced his way in and had the very greatest difficulty in rescuing the spaniel. And he said, 'There is one kind of waterweed that sort of clings and is very dangerous' and there was that waterweed in the loch.

Interviewer: I see, yes, yes.

It's a queer tale, isn't it?

Interviewer: Yes.'

Although born in Edinburgh and brought up in London, Isabel Frances Grant was 'first and foremost a Highlander, with a strong sense of belonging in the north country and in particular to the Grant country of Strathspey. She was justifiably proud of her family and their long domicile in the Highlands as the Grants of Tullochgorm' (Hugh Cheape, 2007).

Her interest in Highland life and culture shaped her writing and the museum she founded. Originally known as Am Fasgadh, (the Shelter), her collection and vision form the basis of what exists as the Highland Folk Museum today.

Well versed in Scottish history and Highland folk culture, Isabel Grant wrote her first book 'Everyday Life of an Old Highland Farm' in 1924, based upon the eighteenth-century account books of a distant ancestor, William Mackintosh of Balnespick, near Kingussie. Travelling through Europe, she was profoundly influenced by the open air museum movement and in 1934 she determined to follow by establishing a Highland folk museum. She resolved to record as much as she could of the quickly disappearing ways of Highland life as well as preserve many of its associated objects.

In parallel to her collecting activities, Isabel Grant continued writing and publishing. Her seminal work, 'Highland Folk Ways' (1961) detailed the material and non-material culture of the Highlands, primarily illustrating the former using the collections she had established herself. She was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1948 by The University of Edinburgh and an MBE in 1959 for her contributions to scholarship.

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The Kelpie at Brin, Strathnairn

INVERNESS: Daviot and Dunlichity

1960s

audio; literary landscapes

The School of Scottish Studies Archives

Literary Landscapes: Isabel Grant

In this audio extract, Dr. I. F. Grant tells the story of a kelpie near Brin House, Strathnairn. She is being interviewed by Eric Cregeen, Glasgow University Extra-mural department's first Resident Tutor in Argyll (1954-66).<br /> <br /> Audio extract by kind permission of the School of Scottish Studies Archives, University of Edinburgh.<br /> <br /> 'I don't know if you know a house - Brin? It's in Strathnairn, which is rather - I always think - rather a grim place, and it used to belong to some people called Stewart; it doesn't now, they've died out. And he said that there was little piece of water - he pointed it out. As a matter of fact we tried to fish, it was a tiny lochan, it was supposed to be inhabited by a kelpie. <br /> <br /> And there was story that a woman was coming back late at night with her little child and a lovely horse appeared and the child wanted to hop onto it and of course, she knew the evil ways of kelpie and tried to stop it from doing so, but the child just touched the kelpie. And the woman had a knife and she cut off the child's hand - the child's finger that had touched the kelpie - and of course it gave a horrible screech and disappeared into the waters of the loch. <br /> <br /> Well, Mr Stewart told me this story and he said one day he'd been duck shooting and had a spaniel he was very fond of, and he wounded a duck and it fell into the loch and the spaniel went to retrieve it, and though it was quite a good water dog it suddenly got into great difficulties. So he tore off his coat to rush into the water to rescue the spaniel and the keeper said, 'Don't, don't please don't, sir.' And finally, even by force, try to prevent him from getting into the loch because it was supposed to be the kelpie loch, and he forced his way in and had the very greatest difficulty in rescuing the spaniel. And he said, 'There is one kind of waterweed that sort of clings and is very dangerous' and there was that waterweed in the loch. <br /> <br /> Interviewer: I see, yes, yes. <br /> <br /> It's a queer tale, isn't it?<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Yes.'<br /> <br /> Although born in Edinburgh and brought up in London, Isabel Frances Grant was 'first and foremost a Highlander, with a strong sense of belonging in the north country and in particular to the Grant country of Strathspey. She was justifiably proud of her family and their long domicile in the Highlands as the Grants of Tullochgorm' (Hugh Cheape, 2007). <br /> <br /> Her interest in Highland life and culture shaped her writing and the museum she founded. Originally known as Am Fasgadh, (the Shelter), her collection and vision form the basis of what exists as the Highland Folk Museum today. <br /> <br /> Well versed in Scottish history and Highland folk culture, Isabel Grant wrote her first book 'Everyday Life of an Old Highland Farm' in 1924, based upon the eighteenth-century account books of a distant ancestor, William Mackintosh of Balnespick, near Kingussie. Travelling through Europe, she was profoundly influenced by the open air museum movement and in 1934 she determined to follow by establishing a Highland folk museum. She resolved to record as much as she could of the quickly disappearing ways of Highland life as well as preserve many of its associated objects.<br /> <br /> In parallel to her collecting activities, Isabel Grant continued writing and publishing. Her seminal work, 'Highland Folk Ways' (1961) detailed the material and non-material culture of the Highlands, primarily illustrating the former using the collections she had established herself. She was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1948 by The University of Edinburgh and an MBE in 1959 for her contributions to scholarship.