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TITLE
Echoes of the Glen (2)
EXTERNAL ID
AB_LL_COLIN_MACDONALD_02
PLACENAME
Beauly
DISTRICT
Aird
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Kilmorack
DATE OF RECORDING
2009
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Margaret Newton
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
40971
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.

'The village of Beauly itself, with its quaint wide square, its shops and trim villas, and its ruins of the Old Priory, makes a pleasant and restful picture. It is true that nowadays many buses pass through the village - indeed they stop there for a few minutes - but, as they are smoothly designed and tastefully coloured buses, and as their passengers are usually quiet and reflective people, even these modern transport vehicles do not seem out of place in this charming Highland township.

Still another mile farther north and the road for some two hundred yards winds gracefully up a brae. At the top of the brae a new picture is, as it were, thrown on the screen. You are now on an old raised beach as flat as a table for two miles in front and for half a mile on either side. The soil is light and shingly and there is a profusion of whin and broom which - if it happens to be June or July - looks like a carpet of gold.

There is plenty of variety dimly discernible in the far distance, and I should like to carry you with me to the farther north where there is breath-catching beauty round every bend of the road. But for the present at least we can go no farther, for we have arrived at our Trysting Place - the Muir-of-Ord.'

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 (2)

INVERNESS: Kilmorack

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 /> 'The village of Beauly itself, with its quaint wide square, its shops and trim villas, and its ruins of the Old Priory, makes a pleasant and restful picture. It is true that nowadays many buses pass through the village - indeed they stop there for a few minutes - but, as they are smoothly designed and tastefully coloured buses, and as their passengers are usually quiet and reflective people, even these modern transport vehicles do not seem out of place in this charming Highland township. <br /> <br /> Still another mile farther north and the road for some two hundred yards winds gracefully up a brae. At the top of the brae a new picture is, as it were, thrown on the screen. You are now on an old raised beach as flat as a table for two miles in front and for half a mile on either side. The soil is light and shingly and there is a profusion of whin and broom which - if it happens to be June or July - looks like a carpet of gold. <br /> <br /> There is plenty of variety dimly discernible in the far distance, and I should like to carry you with me to the farther north where there is breath-catching beauty round every bend of the road. But for the present at least we can go no farther, for we have arrived at our Trysting Place - the Muir-of-Ord.'<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.