A view on Fishing,Community and Life on the NW coast of Scotland

Oral History

It being the 28th of January the ever present tax man wants his books done for him. I’m not really sure why I am treasurer of the Pier, I know that I don’t want to so it is always by the skin of my teeth that I get them done. I was due in Inverness today so the plan was to get Donald to sign them and take them back through and put them through the letter box of the accountants. Means they are in with a whole day to spare. Turns out Donald was not the signature required but me. Only found out when I was at Donald’s but stayed for a wee ceilidh anyway.

Under the ALPS program he is collating all the information in the grave yard at Clachan church and mentioned that he was doing some of my family. The conversation came round to an old story I have heard before but it does not lose anything in the retelling and I actually did not realise that it involved a relative. Many years ago four men from Applecross including John Gollan, my grandfather’s brother, headed of to Plockton to buy a cask of whisky for one of the guy’s wedding. In those days they travelled by sea and the weather was not too clever but they went anyway. As they were buying the whisky the shopkeeper jokingly asked if it was for a funeral or a wedding and the groom, jesting, said it was for a funeral. Probably there were one or two drams taken before they decided to head back home to Applecross but the weather had worsened further. Three of the men decided to head back, including my great grand uncle and the groom. The other man, a Mackenzie, was taken back to the Applecross peninsula the next day.The other men never arrived and after a search their bodies were found on the shore at the back of Plockton and just along from the groom’s body was the cask of whisky. So although said in jest at the time the whisky was used for a funeral, the groom’s. the other man was a Livingstone and Donald did not know of any surviving relatives but the others all have descendants still living here. A very enjoyable hour as Donald is the nearest thing I know to a seannachie,a story teller from an oral tradition. I have to admit I am a bit lazy in my own family research but I only have to have a chat with Donald.

Inverness means racing round the town doing a month’s shop in an afternoon. Everything went well, dropped of prawns to The Loch Ness Inn, picked up boat gear from Gaelforce, HIS, Halfords,Highland Wholefoods and last but not least Dougal and family’s food for the next month. Back in time for a chicken taco tea and to settle down to watch the next instalment of Borgen on BBC 4, which was brilliant as usual.

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