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TITLE
Echoes of the Glen (1)
EXTERNAL ID
AB_LL_COLIN_MACDONALD_01
DATE OF RECORDING
2009
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Margaret Newton
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
40970
KEYWORDS
audios
crofting
crofters
crofter
croft
crofts

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This audio extract is from 'Echoes of the Glen or Mac-Talla Nan Gleann' by Colin MacDonald, first published in 1936. It is read by Colin's daughter, Margaret MacDonald Newton.

'Twice this autumn did I climb to the top of the Ben. She is the only thing that is changeless; even her mists are the same. On the way to the Fuaran Mòr we startled coveys of grouse. There was a water-ouzel fishing in the pool at the Falls and we saw the brown trout like dark shadows flitting in the pools of the burn; while on its banks we had a rare feast of Oighreagan (cloud-berries).

The mountain was in frowning mood both days. From the Big Well to the summit there was a rolling mist that made the sheep as big as deer and hares as big as sheep. The few ptarmigan we saw, too, were magnified to the size of geese. Not one blink of distant view did the fickle jade vouchsafe. But once - just a matter of moments - there was a rift in the rolling canopy, and (like part of a film projected on a gigantic screen) we got a perfect view of the Corrie with the sun blazing down from above and a herd of deer streaking up the eastern slope.'

Colin MacDonald spent his childhood on the family croft at the Heights of Inchvannie, Strathpeffer, Ross-shire. He left school at thirteen to work the croft and at the age of twenty-six, matriculated at Marischal College, Aberdeen. He later became a member of staff of the Aberdeen and North of Scotland College of Agriculture. He also worked for the Board of Agriculture for Scotland and finally became Gaelic-speaking member of the Scottish Land Court.

In 1914 he married Margaret Stewart Young and spent the following six years in Thurso, where three of the couple's children - Colin, Bill and Margaret - were born. A third son, Lewis, was born after his father's transfer to Board of Agriculture's head office in Edinburgh. Links to the family croft remained, however, and the children were regularly de-camped to Inchvannie for the summer holidays. The author died at the croft in 1957.

According to his daughter, Margaret, Colin MacDonald was a tolerant man who could be nevertheless roused to anger over issues of hypocrisy and inhumanity. He was also a wonderful storyteller with an insatiable thirst for knowledge. His first book, 'Echoes of the Glen', was published in 1936, a vivid and faithful portrayal of daily life in the Highlands. Thereafter, publications included 'Highland Journey' (1949), 'Croft and Ceilidh' (1947), 'Highland Memories' (1949), and 'Crofts and Crofters' (1955). 'Life in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland', a combination of 'Echoes' and 'Highland Journey', was published in 1991.

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Echoes of the Glen (1)

2000s

audios; crofting; crofters; crofter; croft; crofts;

Am Baile

Literary Landscapes: Colin MacDonald

This audio extract is from 'Echoes of the Glen or Mac-Talla Nan Gleann' by Colin MacDonald, first published in 1936. It is read by Colin's daughter, Margaret MacDonald Newton.<br /> <br /> 'Twice this autumn did I climb to the top of the Ben. She is the only thing that is changeless; even her mists are the same. On the way to the Fuaran Mòr we startled coveys of grouse. There was a water-ouzel fishing in the pool at the Falls and we saw the brown trout like dark shadows flitting in the pools of the burn; while on its banks we had a rare feast of Oighreagan (cloud-berries). <br /> <br /> The mountain was in frowning mood both days. From the Big Well to the summit there was a rolling mist that made the sheep as big as deer and hares as big as sheep. The few ptarmigan we saw, too, were magnified to the size of geese. Not one blink of distant view did the fickle jade vouchsafe. But once - just a matter of moments - there was a rift in the rolling canopy, and (like part of a film projected on a gigantic screen) we got a perfect view of the Corrie with the sun blazing down from above and a herd of deer streaking up the eastern slope.'<br /> <br /> Colin MacDonald spent his childhood on the family croft at the Heights of Inchvannie, Strathpeffer, Ross-shire. He left school at thirteen to work the croft and at the age of twenty-six, matriculated at Marischal College, Aberdeen. He later became a member of staff of the Aberdeen and North of Scotland College of Agriculture. He also worked for the Board of Agriculture for Scotland and finally became Gaelic-speaking member of the Scottish Land Court. <br /> <br /> In 1914 he married Margaret Stewart Young and spent the following six years in Thurso, where three of the couple's children - Colin, Bill and Margaret - were born. A third son, Lewis, was born after his father's transfer to Board of Agriculture's head office in Edinburgh. Links to the family croft remained, however, and the children were regularly de-camped to Inchvannie for the summer holidays. The author died at the croft in 1957.<br /> <br /> According to his daughter, Margaret, Colin MacDonald was a tolerant man who could be nevertheless roused to anger over issues of hypocrisy and inhumanity. He was also a wonderful storyteller with an insatiable thirst for knowledge. His first book, 'Echoes of the Glen', was published in 1936, a vivid and faithful portrayal of daily life in the Highlands. Thereafter, publications included 'Highland Journey' (1949), 'Croft and Ceilidh' (1947), 'Highland Memories' (1949), and 'Crofts and Crofters' (1955). 'Life in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland', a combination of 'Echoes' and 'Highland Journey', was published in 1991.