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TITLE
Black Isle Heritage Memories - Mhairi Beaton (1 of 7)
EXTERNAL ID
ARCH_MHAIRI_BEATON_01_01
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS
DATE OF RECORDING
2010
PERIOD
2010s
CREATOR
Mhairi Beaton
SOURCE
ARCH (Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands)
ASSET ID
41108
KEYWORDS
audios
built environment
villages
dwellings
houses

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In this audio extract North Kessock resident, Mhairi Beaton, talks about her family background and her life as a Forestry Commission worker.

The audio recording was carried out as part of the Black Isle Heritage Memories Project, undertaken in 2009/2010 by ARCH (Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands). To find out more about the project, follow the link towards the foot of the page.

Transcription: (Interviewer: Cait McCullagh)

CM: So, Mhairi, thank you very much for agreeing to be recorded and I'm just going to ask you to introduce yourself and, and where you've come from, and when you were born and where, and you can tell us your name, as well.

MB: Mhairi Beaton, my maiden name was Chisholm, and I was born at Eilean Aigas in Strathglass and came to the Black Isle in 1934.

CM: And that's when your family moved to Kessock?

MB: Yes.

CM: To the place called ...?

MB: Culish, which is on the other side of Ord Hill from where we are.

CM: Close to Kilmuir?

MB: Yes, quite close to Kilmuir.

CM: And Mhairi you told me that, at that time you, when your family moved here, you went into domestic service.

MB: Yes. I worked in Inverness, oh Glengarry and Invermoriston, Inverness again and then down to Hampshire but we just there for a year when war broke out and that put paid to that lot.

CM: [laughs] So what happened then, Mhairi?

MB: I joined the Forestry, then - I think it must've been 1941, or '42 that I went to join the Forestry Commission.

CM: And you were telling me you were not a Lumber Jill?

MB: No, no, no, we were Forestry Girls. The Lumber Jills worked with the Lumber Jacks.

CM: So your main work, Mhairi ...?

MB: ... was the Forestry Commission. Clearing fire tracks, clearing out drains, brashing the trees, girthing trees, we did that, the girthing was with the timber supply at Knockbain.

CM: And that was to measure the girth of the trees?

MB: Yes, yes.

CM: So that they could ...?

MB: Probably just to see how the trees were growing how if they were as they should be.

CM: And can you tell me, Mhair,i the places that you worked on the Black Isle with the Forestry?

MB: Ord Hill, mainly Ord Hill but also Blackwood, Gallowhill.

CM: And Knockbain, you mentioned?

MB: And Knockbain. Knockbain, yes. And there were another place between Munlochy and Tore but I can't remember the name of that place

CM: Mmm-hmm.

MB: It's on the right-hand side of the road going from Munlochy to Tore, but I can't remember the name of it.

CM: And your work was, as you said, you were maintaining the, or clearing the firetracks?

MB: Yes.

CM: Can you tell me a bit about that ...

MB: Well ...

CM: ... and where that was?

MB: ... most, the firetracks were all on Ord Hill, and we'd just to keep them clear in case of fire because, and we burnt all the stuff that was taken, cut off the trees. There was nothing left lying around, and we had the bonfires in the middle of the firetracks.

CM: And the firetrack, what distance, what width would the firetrack be?

MB: I would say about six feet. And the length, well, depended on where they were. But, and there was, no, there was a lot of firetracks on Ord Hill.

CM: And you told me about the drains as well. Can you say a bit about the dimensions of the drains and how you cleared them?

MB: Well, we cleared them with spades. And they would be, oh I don't know what depth they'd be, about that [demonstrates]

CM: So, about half a metre?

MB: Uh-huh.

CM: Uh-huh. And how wide?

MB: About so wide [demonstrates]

CM: So just under half a metre wide.

MB: Yes, yes.

CM: And these weren't lined drains, or ...?

MB: No, no, no.

CM: Just, just cuttings?

MB: Just cuttings, through the forest.

CM: And how - was there any regularity to them, the distance?

MB: No, no, no, just where they were needed.

CM: And would you recognise a drain today?

MB: Oh yes. Yes, I would. In fact, I would know where to find them if they're still there; they could be overgrown by now. They probably are.

CM: And how about the firetracks, would you still find those?

MB: Oh yes, quite easily.

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Black Isle Heritage Memories - Mhairi Beaton (1 of 7)

ROSS

2010s

audios; built environment; villages; dwellings; houses;

ARCH (Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands)

ARCH: Black Isle Heritage Memories

In this audio extract North Kessock resident, Mhairi Beaton, talks about her family background and her life as a Forestry Commission worker.<br /> <br /> The audio recording was carried out as part of the Black Isle Heritage Memories Project, undertaken in 2009/2010 by ARCH (Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands). To find out more about the project, follow the link towards the foot of the page.<br /> <br /> Transcription: (Interviewer: Cait McCullagh)<br /> <br /> CM: So, Mhairi, thank you very much for agreeing to be recorded and I'm just going to ask you to introduce yourself and, and where you've come from, and when you were born and where, and you can tell us your name, as well.<br /> <br /> MB: Mhairi Beaton, my maiden name was Chisholm, and I was born at Eilean Aigas in Strathglass and came to the Black Isle in 1934.<br /> <br /> CM: And that's when your family moved to Kessock?<br /> <br /> MB: Yes.<br /> <br /> CM: To the place called ...?<br /> <br /> MB: Culish, which is on the other side of Ord Hill from where we are.<br /> <br /> CM: Close to Kilmuir?<br /> <br /> MB: Yes, quite close to Kilmuir.<br /> <br /> CM: And Mhairi you told me that, at that time you, when your family moved here, you went into domestic service.<br /> <br /> MB: Yes. I worked in Inverness, oh Glengarry and Invermoriston, Inverness again and then down to Hampshire but we just there for a year when war broke out and that put paid to that lot.<br /> <br /> CM: [laughs] So what happened then, Mhairi?<br /> <br /> MB: I joined the Forestry, then - I think it must've been 1941, or '42 that I went to join the Forestry Commission.<br /> <br /> CM: And you were telling me you were not a Lumber Jill?<br /> <br /> MB: No, no, no, we were Forestry Girls. The Lumber Jills worked with the Lumber Jacks.<br /> <br /> CM: So your main work, Mhairi ...?<br /> <br /> MB: ... was the Forestry Commission. Clearing fire tracks, clearing out drains, brashing the trees, girthing trees, we did that, the girthing was with the timber supply at Knockbain.<br /> <br /> CM: And that was to measure the girth of the trees?<br /> <br /> MB: Yes, yes.<br /> <br /> CM: So that they could ...?<br /> <br /> MB: Probably just to see how the trees were growing how if they were as they should be.<br /> <br /> CM: And can you tell me, Mhair,i the places that you worked on the Black Isle with the Forestry?<br /> <br /> MB: Ord Hill, mainly Ord Hill but also Blackwood, Gallowhill.<br /> <br /> CM: And Knockbain, you mentioned?<br /> <br /> MB: And Knockbain. Knockbain, yes. And there were another place between Munlochy and Tore but I can't remember the name of that place<br /> <br /> CM: Mmm-hmm.<br /> <br /> MB: It's on the right-hand side of the road going from Munlochy to Tore, but I can't remember the name of it.<br /> <br /> CM: And your work was, as you said, you were maintaining the, or clearing the firetracks?<br /> <br /> MB: Yes.<br /> <br /> CM: Can you tell me a bit about that ...<br /> <br /> MB: Well ...<br /> <br /> CM: ... and where that was?<br /> <br /> MB: ... most, the firetracks were all on Ord Hill, and we'd just to keep them clear in case of fire because, and we burnt all the stuff that was taken, cut off the trees. There was nothing left lying around, and we had the bonfires in the middle of the firetracks.<br /> <br /> CM: And the firetrack, what distance, what width would the firetrack be?<br /> <br /> MB: I would say about six feet. And the length, well, depended on where they were. But, and there was, no, there was a lot of firetracks on Ord Hill. <br /> <br /> CM: And you told me about the drains as well. Can you say a bit about the dimensions of the drains and how you cleared them?<br /> <br /> MB: Well, we cleared them with spades. And they would be, oh I don't know what depth they'd be, about that [demonstrates]<br /> <br /> CM: So, about half a metre?<br /> <br /> MB: Uh-huh.<br /> <br /> CM: Uh-huh. And how wide?<br /> <br /> MB: About so wide [demonstrates]<br /> <br /> CM: So just under half a metre wide.<br /> <br /> MB: Yes, yes.<br /> <br /> CM: And these weren't lined drains, or ...?<br /> <br /> MB: No, no, no. <br /> <br /> CM: Just, just cuttings?<br /> <br /> MB: Just cuttings, through the forest.<br /> <br /> CM: And how - was there any regularity to them, the distance?<br /> <br /> MB: No, no, no, just where they were needed.<br /> <br /> CM: And would you recognise a drain today?<br /> <br /> MB: Oh yes. Yes, I would. In fact, I would know where to find them if they're still there; they could be overgrown by now. They probably are.<br /> <br /> CM: And how about the firetracks, would you still find those?<br /> <br /> MB: Oh yes, quite easily.