Applecross Heritage Centre keep putting up great photos of characters of a time gone by. That and a realisation from a conversation at the Inn last night that there are few people who are living in Applecross now who were here when the Coast road was opened in 1976. Back to the photo. The “Saighdear” was a character from the past who I have not knowingly met. He spent his last days in Toscaig being looked after by Grace Anne, one of those Highland ladies, like my mum, who seemed to have their purpose in life looking after other people. What I did not know was that he apparently got his nickname for nipping off to the Crowlins to avoid taking part in the Great War, a man of great wisdom it would seem and possibly going against the general flow of opinion. I wonder when a haddock that size has last been caught in the Bay.
Seeing the photo reminded me of a wee story that Ally Mackenzie told me many years ago. During the summer and not long after the Campsite had opened, the Saighdear was sitting outside his cottage minding his own business having a quiet smoke of his pipe. A camper chappie pulled up, towing a boat, having missed the turn off into the Campsite. He rapidly established that it was 50 metres back down the track and then paused to spend the time of day with the Saighdear. Being a little full of himself the conversation quickly came round to how good his car was , how quick and speedy it was coming up the motorway etc. This went on for a while with the Saighdear not saying anything. Eventually he took the pipe out of his mouth he said to the guy that he thought the boat must be really fast, to which came the puzzled response asking why he thought that and then came the gentle Saighdear put down, “Well it would have to be to keep up with a car as quick and smart as that”. The chap headed off to the Campsite experiencing his first dose of west coast wit.