Ùrachadh mu Dheireadh 21/03/2017
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TIOTAL
Deuchainnean an neach-taisteil air an rathad sa gheamhradh
EXTERNAL ID
AB_ESSIE_STEWART_08
DEIT
2008
LINN
2000an
CRUTHADAIR
Essie Stewart
NEACH-FIOSRACHAIDH
Am Baile
AITHNEACHADH MAOINE
1183
KEYWORDS
luchd-siubhail
dòighean-beatha
dubh-shiùbhlaich
claistinneach

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'S e seanchaidh traidiseanta à Cataibh a th' ann an Essie Stiùbhairt agus 's i tè na daoine mu dheireadh a bha an sàs sa 'Choiseachd Shamhraidh' a bhiodh aig an luchd-taisteil. 'S e ban-ogha aig Ailidh Dall Stiùbhart (1882-1968) a th' innte, agus bha e-fhèin am measg nan seanchaidhean Gàidhlig a b' fheàrr a bh' ann. Tha Essie ag innse a sgeulachdan san dà chuid, Beurla is Gàidhlig.

San earrainn claistneachd seo, air a chlàradh aig Fèis Leabhraichean Ulapuil ann an 2008, tha Essie a' bruidhinn air na deuchainnean an cois a bhith nad neach-taisteil air an rathad sa gheamhradh.

'There's one wee story that I - just to demonstrate how difficult things could be - there's one story that I would like to tell you of just, the kind of conditions that we used to travel in. It was the spring of 1950 and I was just a wee lass, and we left home in April, and we only went about seven miles. The first night on the road, we didn't travel a - you know, a big distance, because normally we travelled maybe fifteen miles, maybe twenty miles a day. But first night it was just seven miles; we went to Shinness, to West Shinness, and we were stormbound for five days but we couldn't move. And on the sixth day, my mother said to my grandfather, 'We will have to try and move.' The weather had cleared; well, it was a lot better than it had been. So everything was packed and off we went, and we only went maybe, four miles, and it started to snow.

Now, from Fiag Bridge - and that's where it started to snow - to Overscaig Hotel there's probably five miles. And the snow was driving into our faces, and driving into the faces of the horses. And we're not talking snow, we are talking blizzard conditions. And, do you know, every time I travel that road from Fiag Bridge to Overscaig Hotel, I can see my grandfather, who was blind, holding on to the back of that cart and tripping in the snow that was that deep. And when we got to Overscaig Hotel, it was someplace that we never had an overnight stop, there's a wee burn just beyond the hotel, and a little birch wood. It's now - the road has been widened, there's a new bridge. And my mother said, 'We have to try and, and just build a shelter of some kind.' We couldn't, we couldn't carry on. And she took the lid of the stove, and she cleared probably the circumference of where I am sitting here, and built a shelter. And it wasn't a tent, it was just a shelter.

There's several houses at Overscaig now; then there was only the hotel. And the hotel at that time was owned by a man called Frank Skinner; in fact, his boys went to school with me because our home was Lairg. And Frank Skinner's boys went to school with me. And you know, after - in fact, I think he made up his own hours anyway; the hotel was closed. And my mother walked - when she got this shelter up and she lit the fire - how she lit the fire, I don't know, but she did - and we went back to the hotel and I - she had me by the hand - and it was to get feed for the horses, and the old man said to her, 'Get a dram.'

Now, Ladies and Gentlemen, my people did not drink; the only time I saw a bottle of whisky was at New Year time. And she went to the kitchen door and she knocked on it and it was Skinner himself that came out. Now, to say this man was mean is an understatement. [Laughter] And she told him what she wanted and she said, 'Mr Skinner, I'm not begging, I am paying.' She said, 'I want hay for the horses and I want a gill of whisky' - a gill being the equivalent of a quarter bottle. And he trotted back in, never even asked us in, kept us standing on the doorstep, and he came out and it wasn't a quarter bottle he had, it was a little lemonade bottle, this small lemonade - that he had filled. And he said, 'How much hay do you want, and she said a stone, a stone of hay' (just to feed the horses, we had two). So he gave her the hay and she got the whisky. And, Ladies and Gentlemen, I can't remember - because we're talking fifty, och, fifty-two years ago, I think. Was it seven and six for the hay, and five shillings for the whisky, or was it five shillings for the whisky, and seven and six for the hay? I can't remember, but that was the money that changed hands.

Anyway, when we got back to the tent, or the little tent that my mother had built, the kettle had boiled. And you know, there was no niceties. You know? It was tea leaves. You know, we didn't have, there was no tea bags in those days. And a handful of tea was fired into the kettle, and a handful of sugar was fired into the kettle, and the milk, whether you took milk and sugar or not, made no difference, not a blind bit of a difference; everything was fired into the kettle and the whole lot was stirred. And she put a tot of whisky in each cup. And, d'ye know, I can feel the glow [laughter] that went through the whole body; it was, it was such a, a strange sensation, because my hands were frozen, and frost, you know, [?] like the frost. And, and you know, I can still feel that glow that went through the body when, you know, I drank the tea with the, with the tot of whisky in it.

Following day, the weather had cleared and we packed up and we went down to Achvarrie and Achvarrie was owned, and still is owned, by the Duke of Westminster, it's Westminster Estates. Not the present Duke - I have never had the pleasure of meeting the present Duke - but the old Duke and Lady Anne, we knew them so well. And we built the tent and got the, everything settled, and in the evening - they happened to be in residence - and in that evening the chauffeur was summoned - who we also knew very well - pulled up at the tent and he said, 'Mary,' he said to my mother, 'There's a box there that the Duchess has sent along for you; she heard that you were having your trauchles. And this was a cardboard box filled with everything; clothes of all kinds and descriptions, and on the top of that box, just on top of the clothes, there was a bag, a carrier bag, you know before the plastic era, a paper carrier bag, with tea, sugar, butter, cheese, jam, scones, put on top of that.

And a couple of days later we were there - of course we were there to get things dried out - a couple of days later, the Duke - I wasn't - I probably was on the wander with my mother somewhere - and the Duke himself came in his Landrover, and he stopped at the tent and he said to my grandfather, 'Sandy,' he said, 'There's a fish for you.' And he left a salmon on the roadside.

So, you see that's the kind of, that's the kind of regard that my family was held in, and that's the kind - but, I mean, not only to the Stewart family, but the Duchess, if she saw tents at Achvarrie, she would go to the kitchen and she would say to the chef, 'Now any of those people come to the door, do not send them away empty handed.' And they were lovely, lovely, lovely people. But that's the kind of - both sides of the story that, that you know, we had the good times but we also had the bad times.

We had to earn our living by our wits, you know, by the tinsmithing, by the stuff that my mother sold, by the horse dealing. There was no giros at the end of the week, and even had there been, they wouldn't - money, state money would not have been accepted; that was regarded as charity. My grandfather had a pension from the blind, the princely sum of five shillings, and that was the only money that went into our home except what was earned by, well, to coin a phrase, by the sweat of their brow.'

Airson stiùireadh mu bhith a’ cleachdadh ìomhaighean agus susbaint eile, faicibh duilleag ‘Na Cumhaichean air Fad.’
’S e companaidh cuibhrichte fo bharantas clàraichte ann an Alba Àir. SC407011 agus carthannas clàraichte Albannach Àir. SC042593 a th’ ann an High Life na Gàidhealtachd.
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Deuchainnean an neach-taisteil air an rathad sa gheamhradh

2000an

luchd-siubhail; dòighean-beatha; dubh-shiùbhlaich; claistinneach;

Am Baile

Am Baile: Essie Stewart

'S e seanchaidh traidiseanta à Cataibh a th' ann an Essie Stiùbhairt agus 's i tè na daoine mu dheireadh a bha an sàs sa 'Choiseachd Shamhraidh' a bhiodh aig an luchd-taisteil. 'S e ban-ogha aig Ailidh Dall Stiùbhart (1882-1968) a th' innte, agus bha e-fhèin am measg nan seanchaidhean Gàidhlig a b' fheàrr a bh' ann. Tha Essie ag innse a sgeulachdan san dà chuid, Beurla is Gàidhlig.<br /> <br /> San earrainn claistneachd seo, air a chlàradh aig Fèis Leabhraichean Ulapuil ann an 2008, tha Essie a' bruidhinn air na deuchainnean an cois a bhith nad neach-taisteil air an rathad sa gheamhradh.<br /> <br /> 'There's one wee story that I - just to demonstrate how difficult things could be - there's one story that I would like to tell you of just, the kind of conditions that we used to travel in. It was the spring of 1950 and I was just a wee lass, and we left home in April, and we only went about seven miles. The first night on the road, we didn't travel a - you know, a big distance, because normally we travelled maybe fifteen miles, maybe twenty miles a day. But first night it was just seven miles; we went to Shinness, to West Shinness, and we were stormbound for five days but we couldn't move. And on the sixth day, my mother said to my grandfather, 'We will have to try and move.' The weather had cleared; well, it was a lot better than it had been. So everything was packed and off we went, and we only went maybe, four miles, and it started to snow. <br /> <br /> Now, from Fiag Bridge - and that's where it started to snow - to Overscaig Hotel there's probably five miles. And the snow was driving into our faces, and driving into the faces of the horses. And we're not talking snow, we are talking blizzard conditions. And, do you know, every time I travel that road from Fiag Bridge to Overscaig Hotel, I can see my grandfather, who was blind, holding on to the back of that cart and tripping in the snow that was that deep. And when we got to Overscaig Hotel, it was someplace that we never had an overnight stop, there's a wee burn just beyond the hotel, and a little birch wood. It's now - the road has been widened, there's a new bridge. And my mother said, 'We have to try and, and just build a shelter of some kind.' We couldn't, we couldn't carry on. And she took the lid of the stove, and she cleared probably the circumference of where I am sitting here, and built a shelter. And it wasn't a tent, it was just a shelter. <br /> <br /> There's several houses at Overscaig now; then there was only the hotel. And the hotel at that time was owned by a man called Frank Skinner; in fact, his boys went to school with me because our home was Lairg. And Frank Skinner's boys went to school with me. And you know, after - in fact, I think he made up his own hours anyway; the hotel was closed. And my mother walked - when she got this shelter up and she lit the fire - how she lit the fire, I don't know, but she did - and we went back to the hotel and I - she had me by the hand - and it was to get feed for the horses, and the old man said to her, 'Get a dram.'<br /> <br /> Now, Ladies and Gentlemen, my people did not drink; the only time I saw a bottle of whisky was at New Year time. And she went to the kitchen door and she knocked on it and it was Skinner himself that came out. Now, to say this man was mean is an understatement. [Laughter] And she told him what she wanted and she said, 'Mr Skinner, I'm not begging, I am paying.' She said, 'I want hay for the horses and I want a gill of whisky' - a gill being the equivalent of a quarter bottle. And he trotted back in, never even asked us in, kept us standing on the doorstep, and he came out and it wasn't a quarter bottle he had, it was a little lemonade bottle, this small lemonade - that he had filled. And he said, 'How much hay do you want, and she said a stone, a stone of hay' (just to feed the horses, we had two). So he gave her the hay and she got the whisky. And, Ladies and Gentlemen, I can't remember - because we're talking fifty, och, fifty-two years ago, I think. Was it seven and six for the hay, and five shillings for the whisky, or was it five shillings for the whisky, and seven and six for the hay? I can't remember, but that was the money that changed hands. <br /> <br /> Anyway, when we got back to the tent, or the little tent that my mother had built, the kettle had boiled. And you know, there was no niceties. You know? It was tea leaves. You know, we didn't have, there was no tea bags in those days. And a handful of tea was fired into the kettle, and a handful of sugar was fired into the kettle, and the milk, whether you took milk and sugar or not, made no difference, not a blind bit of a difference; everything was fired into the kettle and the whole lot was stirred. And she put a tot of whisky in each cup. And, d'ye know, I can feel the glow [laughter] that went through the whole body; it was, it was such a, a strange sensation, because my hands were frozen, and frost, you know, [?] like the frost. And, and you know, I can still feel that glow that went through the body when, you know, I drank the tea with the, with the tot of whisky in it.<br /> <br /> Following day, the weather had cleared and we packed up and we went down to Achvarrie and Achvarrie was owned, and still is owned, by the Duke of Westminster, it's Westminster Estates. Not the present Duke - I have never had the pleasure of meeting the present Duke - but the old Duke and Lady Anne, we knew them so well. And we built the tent and got the, everything settled, and in the evening - they happened to be in residence - and in that evening the chauffeur was summoned - who we also knew very well - pulled up at the tent and he said, 'Mary,' he said to my mother, 'There's a box there that the Duchess has sent along for you; she heard that you were having your trauchles. And this was a cardboard box filled with everything; clothes of all kinds and descriptions, and on the top of that box, just on top of the clothes, there was a bag, a carrier bag, you know before the plastic era, a paper carrier bag, with tea, sugar, butter, cheese, jam, scones, put on top of that. <br /> <br /> And a couple of days later we were there - of course we were there to get things dried out - a couple of days later, the Duke - I wasn't - I probably was on the wander with my mother somewhere - and the Duke himself came in his Landrover, and he stopped at the tent and he said to my grandfather, 'Sandy,' he said, 'There's a fish for you.' And he left a salmon on the roadside. <br /> <br /> So, you see that's the kind of, that's the kind of regard that my family was held in, and that's the kind - but, I mean, not only to the Stewart family, but the Duchess, if she saw tents at Achvarrie, she would go to the kitchen and she would say to the chef, 'Now any of those people come to the door, do not send them away empty handed.' And they were lovely, lovely, lovely people. But that's the kind of - both sides of the story that, that you know, we had the good times but we also had the bad times. <br /> <br /> We had to earn our living by our wits, you know, by the tinsmithing, by the stuff that my mother sold, by the horse dealing. There was no giros at the end of the week, and even had there been, they wouldn't - money, state money would not have been accepted; that was regarded as charity. My grandfather had a pension from the blind, the princely sum of five shillings, and that was the only money that went into our home except what was earned by, well, to coin a phrase, by the sweat of their brow.'