Dalmore Daytime

Dalmore Daytime
Sandy Beach

Monday, 31 December 2007

The tragic death of Murchadh a Sgiobair.

Dail Mor(anglecised as"Dalmore) means "the large dale(river valley floor)".Approaching the village along a fairly straight road,there in little to see except spent peat bogs,lots of heather and black faced sheep.The only sounds to be heard as we travel along this flat moorland is the haunting sound of a lapwing,and the muffled roar of the Atlantic Ocean which must lie beneath the blue sky up ahead.The "Mullach Mor"(the large top or ridge) is the beginning of a rapid descent towards the sea,only interrupted for a short distance along the road by the "Mullach Beag"(the wee ridge).The road has been built into the hillside and the banking which supports it on the other side is very steep and leaves no margin for error.
It was along this road in the late afternoon that Murdo was leading his horse which was pulling a cartload of peats.As I remember it(I'd be about 8/9),it had been a fine day,perfect for getting home some peats from the peat bogs where they were cut and dried in spring/early summer.Murdo,the horse and the cart full of peats negotiated the Mullach Mor safely,but on the Mullach Beag something went terribly wrong.No one is sure what occured at that moment,whether the horse was spooked and reared or the large cartwheel went beyond the road edge,the full load carrying all before it down the deep roadside.Suffice to say, that when the villagers were alerted,the scene which confronted them was horrific.The horse, upside down and still harnessed to the cart by its two shafts, lay across poor Murdo's body,as did the shafts.The horse was struggling to free itself.but mercifully Murdo's death would have come quickly.It took the men some time to retrieve Murdo's body as hands only were available in those days.The horse survived.
Murdo's wife had gone for the day to visit her people in Shawbost,from whence she hailed.Someone with a car(minister,doctor perhaps) conveyed a close friend to break the awful news to his wife.It is said that as she saw her friend approach,the poor woman started to cry.Murdo's wife was the sister of Bean Dhomhnull Chalum(the wife of Donald Macleod,No.8 Dalmore).I was sitting at the far end of that house when Murdo's widow met her sister in the kitchen at the other end of the house.To this day I can still hear the initial loud cry of pain and the wailing which followed.The lady eventually left Dalmore to live in Shawbost beside her own people.I'm sorry that I don't recall the names of some of the old people nor their ages, but remembering that Glass my grandfather(born 1861) died in 1952, it would make most of these villagers late 70s - mid 80s.
That was the first time I realised what death was,principally because it involved an old pal of mine,Murchadh a Sgiobair. God Bless Him.

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