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TITLE
Angus Grant, Countryside Warden (2 of 2)
EXTERNAL ID
GB232_MFR_ANGUSGRANT_15
PLACENAME
Glen Nevis
DISTRICT
Lochaber
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Kilmallie
PERIOD
1990s
CREATOR
Aonghas Grant
SOURCE
Moray Firth Radio
ASSET ID
1579
KEYWORDS
Angus Grant
fiddlers
traditional music
Countryside Rangers
Ben Nevis
audio

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Aonghas Grant, also known as the Left-handed Fiddler of Lochaber, has been playing fiddle since he was thirteen years old. His career spans over sixty years and he is still active as a teacher, soloist, composer and session participant, playing a wide range of fiddle music. Aonghas is a Gaelic speaker and particularly noted for his 'West Highland Style' of fiddling, influenced by both Gaelic and piping. In this audio extract, originally recorded for 'Moray Firth People' in the late 1990s, Aonghas talks to Andy Ross about his life as a Countryside Warden at Glen Nevis.

Interviewer: Was there wildlife there to attend to?

No, well, we just kept an eye on it, give it a check, and the like of foxes and pine martins - there was quite a lot of pine martins - and unfortunately a few mink in the river that was going for the fish, and the fox and keep an eye on the squirrels and the -

Interviewer: What squirrels do you have there?

Well, there was the odd red squirrel but they were getting rarer and rarer all the time. They were very - the last one I seen was about three years ago; they were getting pretty scarce. And there was kestrels - quite a lot of kestrels. They used to nest in the same place every year.

Interviewer: What about rubbish?

Eagles.

Interviewer: What about rubbish did the people lying around? That would be a big problem.

That was a tremendous problem. It's unbelievable. Characters would take have a dozen tins of beer with them to the summit and just drop them at their feet; drink them and drop them at their feet. We used to have lifts off practically every year and we'd get maybe the High School kids organized with litter bags and collect - One time we'd a lift off with the helicopter and I think we'd about seventy bags of rubbish picked off the top.

Interviewer: People are so inconsiderate, aren't they?

It was unbe- unbelievable. Unbelievable in this - in the beautiful wild wilderness there and they have to desecrate it by dropping litter.

Interviewer: Is there flowers and that on the Ben there? What is there in the way of plants?

Aye, there's some - aye there's some very wild form of kind of Edelweiss, I think, that you get very high up. Course, the higher up you go there's less, there's less and less vegetation and the top is predominantly rocks. They reckon at one time it was very, very high - thousands of feet above what it is, you know? It's only a stump that's left. But the cliffs are quite inspiring when you see them, when you're up close to them. Almost two thousand feet drops in the cliffs.

Interviewer: How many days per year do you think you really get beautiful weather on the Ben there?

Well, it's hard to say. I think it's in the lap of the Gods, you know? You can go up there, start off on a good day, and get on the top and the mist is down. It's been so high, the clouds come in very quick. But on a clear day in October - if you get a clear frosty day in October - you can see out to Knocklayde Point, near Rathlin, Northern Ireland, on the horizon, which is about 140 miles away. And I think it's to do with refraction; you're not really supposed to see that with the bend of the earth, but with the, you know, the way of refraction with the cold and light and that, you can see that. I was up with the Land Rover - some boys from Forfar took a Land Rover right to the top. We were a couple of days getting up; we'd to build a - put a road round a big boulder that came down. It's not actually steep, the path as well, it's one in fifteen. It's not as bad as going over Mam Ratagan.

Interviewer: No

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Angus Grant, Countryside Warden (2 of 2)

INVERNESS: Kilmallie

1990s

Angus Grant; fiddlers; traditional music; Countryside Rangers; Ben Nevis; audio

Moray Firth Radio

MFR: Angus Grant

Aonghas Grant, also known as the Left-handed Fiddler of Lochaber, has been playing fiddle since he was thirteen years old. His career spans over sixty years and he is still active as a teacher, soloist, composer and session participant, playing a wide range of fiddle music. Aonghas is a Gaelic speaker and particularly noted for his 'West Highland Style' of fiddling, influenced by both Gaelic and piping. In this audio extract, originally recorded for 'Moray Firth People' in the late 1990s, Aonghas talks to Andy Ross about his life as a Countryside Warden at Glen Nevis.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Was there wildlife there to attend to? <br /> <br /> No, well, we just kept an eye on it, give it a check, and the like of foxes and pine martins - there was quite a lot of pine martins - and unfortunately a few mink in the river that was going for the fish, and the fox and keep an eye on the squirrels and the -<br /> <br /> Interviewer: What squirrels do you have there?<br /> <br /> Well, there was the odd red squirrel but they were getting rarer and rarer all the time. They were very - the last one I seen was about three years ago; they were getting pretty scarce. And there was kestrels - quite a lot of kestrels. They used to nest in the same place every year. <br /> <br /> Interviewer: What about rubbish? <br /> <br /> Eagles.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: What about rubbish did the people lying around? That would be a big problem.<br /> <br /> That was a tremendous problem. It's unbelievable. Characters would take have a dozen tins of beer with them to the summit and just drop them at their feet; drink them and drop them at their feet. We used to have lifts off practically every year and we'd get maybe the High School kids organized with litter bags and collect - One time we'd a lift off with the helicopter and I think we'd about seventy bags of rubbish picked off the top.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: People are so inconsiderate, aren't they?<br /> <br /> It was unbe- unbelievable. Unbelievable in this - in the beautiful wild wilderness there and they have to desecrate it by dropping litter.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Is there flowers and that on the Ben there? What is there in the way of plants?<br /> <br /> Aye, there's some - aye there's some very wild form of kind of Edelweiss, I think, that you get very high up. Course, the higher up you go there's less, there's less and less vegetation and the top is predominantly rocks. They reckon at one time it was very, very high - thousands of feet above what it is, you know? It's only a stump that's left. But the cliffs are quite inspiring when you see them, when you're up close to them. Almost two thousand feet drops in the cliffs.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: How many days per year do you think you really get beautiful weather on the Ben there?<br /> <br /> Well, it's hard to say. I think it's in the lap of the Gods, you know? You can go up there, start off on a good day, and get on the top and the mist is down. It's been so high, the clouds come in very quick. But on a clear day in October - if you get a clear frosty day in October - you can see out to Knocklayde Point, near Rathlin, Northern Ireland, on the horizon, which is about 140 miles away. And I think it's to do with refraction; you're not really supposed to see that with the bend of the earth, but with the, you know, the way of refraction with the cold and light and that, you can see that. I was up with the Land Rover - some boys from Forfar took a Land Rover right to the top. We were a couple of days getting up; we'd to build a - put a road round a big boulder that came down. It's not actually steep, the path as well, it's one in fifteen. It's not as bad as going over Mam Ratagan.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: No