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

The “Saighdear”

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.

Comments on: "The “Saighdear”" (6)

  1. it is heaven there. i often think so, and you often prove me correct.

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Was out on the water today getting my season under way again and although an up and down day but I agree it is heaven, tiring but heaven.

  2. The characters who made our past were some intriguing people. Three years ago, as a winter project, I researched the first world war maritime losses off Wigtownshire, having come across a memorial in the Kirkmaiden cemetery there.
    I eventually posted the material in an ebooklet which is free to all at;

    Just yesterday I received an email from the great grandaughter of Robert Carlton Barnes who is mentioned on page 9 of my epic (actually just 20 pages). Transpires he was born in Barbados, ran away to USofA, got forged documents, enlisted in the US Navy at just 16 years and was only 17 years old and on his first trip when his ship, USS Lakemore, was sunk on 11 April 1918. He survived and I’m waiting to hear more about his subsequent life.

    I cast no criticism of The Saighdear for his actions in WW1. I just wonder how I would have reacted during 1914-18?

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Thanks for the link, had a wee read of it this morning. I also would have no idea how I would have reacted at the time. I know how I would like to but that is with the wonderful skill of hindsight. If I had that then I would have made it to my concert last Friday and not stayed in a queue at Drumochter for five hours. I always admire the people who resist peer pressure but for the right reasons of course.

  3. Sheila Capewell said:

    I think I remember The Saighdear or at least my Gran talking about him. I also remember the coast road being built when we were on holiday. We would be sat on the wall outside my Gran’s house and you could hear them dynamiting the rock. Previous to that I had only been to Sand on the footpath!

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      I don’t remember the coast road so much but got vivid memories of the road being built into Upper Toscaig, blasting the rock at the corner. I would have been around the Saighdear but too small or disinterested to know who he was.

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