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TITLE
Echoes of the Glen (3)
EXTERNAL ID
AB_LL_COLIN_MACDONALD_03
PLACENAME
Muir of Ord
DISTRICT
Muir of Ord
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS: Urray
DATE OF RECORDING
2009
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Margaret Newton
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
40972
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 Muir-of-Ord is now a golf course - shade of Corry-choillie! (a noted worthy of the Market). It that was once the Falkirk Tryst of the north! Here in the old days, once every month, met farmers and flockmasters, crofters and shepherds, bringing with them thousands of sheep and hundreds of cattle for the purpose of selling to each other and to the farmers and dealers and drovers that came from the south.

As a small boy I attended the Market for the first time well over forty years ago. Even then it was past its best, for the auction mart had carried its invasion to the north some years previously. But there was still a great gathering of men and dogs and beasts, and that first day stands out a landmark in the memory.

There were fair-haired Scandinavians from the plains of Caithness with never a word of Gaelic in their heads; they and their beasts had been on the road for ten days. Then there were the big flockmasters from Ross-shire and Sutherland, of whom not a few were the descendants of Border men who had migrated north some decades previously, and, in conclave with impecunious proprietors, appropriated extensive grazings that had previously belonged to the native peasantry. And there were big, bearded, picturesque man from Skye and the Hebrides, with their equally picturesque Highland cattle whose horns spanned six feet and more. There were also hundreds of small farmers and crofters from far and near. Men from north and south of the Border were there in plenty, mostly with clean or partly shaven faces, coloured by a sun-cum-whisky admixture to various tints of red and brown.

No two men were dressed alike; each man seemed to have a distinctive garb of his own. One gentleman I particularly noticed wore elastic-sided boots, trousers of the shepherd-tartan pattern, a blue-green coat with tails, a flaming red gravat, and a tall, tapered, flat-topped hat; and all over, there was a picturesque display of colour and individuality in dress and character that is woefully lacking at the ringside of the modern auction mart.'

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 (3)

ROSS: Urray

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 Muir-of-Ord is now a golf course - shade of Corry-choillie! (a noted worthy of the Market). It that was once the Falkirk Tryst of the north! Here in the old days, once every month, met farmers and flockmasters, crofters and shepherds, bringing with them thousands of sheep and hundreds of cattle for the purpose of selling to each other and to the farmers and dealers and drovers that came from the south. <br /> <br /> As a small boy I attended the Market for the first time well over forty years ago. Even then it was past its best, for the auction mart had carried its invasion to the north some years previously. But there was still a great gathering of men and dogs and beasts, and that first day stands out a landmark in the memory. <br /> <br /> There were fair-haired Scandinavians from the plains of Caithness with never a word of Gaelic in their heads; they and their beasts had been on the road for ten days. Then there were the big flockmasters from Ross-shire and Sutherland, of whom not a few were the descendants of Border men who had migrated north some decades previously, and, in conclave with impecunious proprietors, appropriated extensive grazings that had previously belonged to the native peasantry. And there were big, bearded, picturesque man from Skye and the Hebrides, with their equally picturesque Highland cattle whose horns spanned six feet and more. There were also hundreds of small farmers and crofters from far and near. Men from north and south of the Border were there in plenty, mostly with clean or partly shaven faces, coloured by a sun-cum-whisky admixture to various tints of red and brown. <br /> <br /> No two men were dressed alike; each man seemed to have a distinctive garb of his own. One gentleman I particularly noticed wore elastic-sided boots, trousers of the shepherd-tartan pattern, a blue-green coat with tails, a flaming red gravat, and a tall, tapered, flat-topped hat; and all over, there was a picturesque display of colour and individuality in dress and character that is woefully lacking at the ringside of the modern auction mart.'<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.