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TITLE
Echoes of the Glen (4)
EXTERNAL ID
AB_LL_COLIN_MACDONALD_04
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
40973
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.

'And what a confusion of sheep and cattle and dogs and shepherds and shouting! To the uninitiated it seemed that never could order come out of that chaos. But order did come eventually; each lot was stanced and the battle of buying and selling began. It was a hard school and it was intensely interesting to watch and listen to the experts at work. With what withering scorn Alastair Breac could point out the defects in a lot of beasts he wanted to buy! And then the convincing manner in which he revealed to prospective purchasers the admirable qualities of that same lot later in the day when he wanted to sell them! A day at the Muir was a liberal lesson in tact, diplomacy, guile, and a hundred other arts useful to existence in this hard world! There every man had better have a shrewd idea of the value of what he wanted to sell or buy, and he required to have the courage of his convictions; for indeed the Market was no place for fools. One wonders how the rising generation of farmers would fare in a battle of wits with Alastair Breac and his kind. Badly, I fear; for open, competitive bidding and the weigh-bridge of the auction mart have deprived them of the opportunity of exercising their personal skill and judgement.'

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 (4)

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 /> 'And what a confusion of sheep and cattle and dogs and shepherds and shouting! To the uninitiated it seemed that never could order come out of that chaos. But order did come eventually; each lot was stanced and the battle of buying and selling began. It was a hard school and it was intensely interesting to watch and listen to the experts at work. With what withering scorn Alastair Breac could point out the defects in a lot of beasts he wanted to buy! And then the convincing manner in which he revealed to prospective purchasers the admirable qualities of that same lot later in the day when he wanted to sell them! A day at the Muir was a liberal lesson in tact, diplomacy, guile, and a hundred other arts useful to existence in this hard world! There every man had better have a shrewd idea of the value of what he wanted to sell or buy, and he required to have the courage of his convictions; for indeed the Market was no place for fools. One wonders how the rising generation of farmers would fare in a battle of wits with Alastair Breac and his kind. Badly, I fear; for open, competitive bidding and the weigh-bridge of the auction mart have deprived them of the opportunity of exercising their personal skill and judgement.'<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.