Dalmore Daytime

Dalmore Daytime
Sandy Beach

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Cha n' aigh' husa Cheos.

My Uncle Shonnie was planning to build a new house(taigh gheal) on one of his four crofts in Dalmore. I suppose that by the standards of the time,Shonnie could have passed for a "wee" farmer in Dalmore,while the same might have been said of his friend and relative,Murdo Macarthur in Dalbeg (Murchaidh Dhale Beag). They were not men to let the grass grow under their feet,and had good business minds. Shonnie felt that the croft on No.9 was best suited for his new house,which,if you knew him,would have to be the biggest and best around. Shonnie had always admired a large bungalow which was located on the Stornoway-Tarbert road,opposite the Leurbost road end. How he acquired the plan of this house from the owner,I know not,but suffice to say that when Shonnie had his house plan drawn up,it was the same,except that 3 feet was added to all the "Leurbost dimesions". I don't think the man from "ceann rathad Luirbost" was very happy,and frankly,one couldn't blame him.
With the plans approved and the mason/clerk of works taken on(Coinneach Dhomhnull Dubh,Doune Carloway),fortune favoured Shonnie at this very time in the parish of Lochs. It so happened that the church in the village of Keose had outlived its usefulness,and tenders were invited for its demolition. I do not know if a new church had been built,or if its congregation was being amalgamated with another. Shonnie's tender was accepted,and gradually the demolition got underway. The main interest in acquiring the old Keose church,was the great quantity of Ballachulish slate on the roof,and the vast amount of prime timber in the roof,and in the body of the kirk. The slate and wood from the old church in Keose are to this day still in place in "Shonnie's bungalow" at No. 9 Dalmore. The church had been built at the head of a little creek, abundant in large brown fronded seaweed. Many years later,I visited Keose in my car to visit the site of the old church by the sea. There was no trace of the church,but there was a modern factory producing alginates from the seaweed. Well,some would say that this was progress!
Shonnie told everyone in the village how beautiful was the spot in Keose where the old church was built,so much so that everyone in Dalmore began to talk about Keose,how nice it would be to visit Keose,as they had never been over there "in their life". They had been in Lerwick,Lossiemouth,Great Yarmouth,Glasgow and London but,true to form,they had never been to Keose. So,the idea grew that maybe a trip to Keose was called for,and it was arranged that the whole village(and that meant everyone)would be transported there for the biggest ever picnic this side of Beinn Bhragair(Padruig Mor's bus - driver the Magaran,who else). Parents or friends would tease their children,in way of admonition,or simply for fun "Cha n'aigh 'husa Cheos".The children would repeat the mantra "Cha n'aigh mise Cheos" ( trans: "You will not get to Keose"). Of course,they knew the would get to Keose,because every man jack of them was going to Keose. Victuals were prepared for maybe 40 people in the biggest picnic that Keose ever witnessed. Excitement grew as preparations went ahead. Mothers chanted "Cha n'aigh'husa Cheos",the children just laughed.
When the day arrived,no one could believe it. Rain,as no one could ever remember,had fallen during the night and was still falling heavily at breakfast time. Every allt and abhuinn were now raging torrents,the allt at our house was over the bridge and large parts of the village were under water. It was the same along the west coast,we were told. A picnic - you must be joking, and the initial feeling was that it be called off. The Magaran arrived with the bus,with great difficulty,I'd imagine and left the decision to picnic with us. A lot had been invested in this day,and it was now a case of "Who Dares Wins",or something like that! With every soul aboard,and food and drink to feed a multitude,the bus climbed out of Dalmore,and despite the devastation around us,there were the first signs that we were going to enjoy this jaunt,whatever else might happen. When we got to Callanish(or thereabouts) we noticed that the rainfall there had not been anything like what we had in Dalmore.As we travelled further east we realised that here they had no rainfall at all. In fact,the sun was out now and it was hard to believe that the weather on either side of the island could be so different. Since then,I have noticed that this difference in Lewis weather(east v west) is not unusual.
When we reached Keose.it was warm and sunny and quite unbelievable. The tablecloths were laid and the spread thereon was sumptious.The Keose picnic was long remembered in Dalmore.
You will remember from a previous post about the old Dalmore Church, how the Reverend Finlayson would come over from Keose around 1850, to take a service in Dalmore(we think). Now the sad reality was,that 100 years on,a man from Dalmore had come over to Lochs to demolish the old church at Keose.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Peigi Glass. My Lovely,Loving Aunt.

When I was home in Lewis in the 1940s and 1950s,it was noticeable the number of houses(mainly "taigean dubh")that were occupied by unmarried people,the majority of whom were spinster sisters. This was the case in the Carloway district,where one or more of these ladies would be "looking after" a brother and/or an elderly parent. Why this was the case,may lie in the carnage of the World Wars,and the loss of so many fine young men in the trenches and on the cruel seas. The "Iolaire" disaster of 1919,when 205 Lewis boys died within sight of the lights of Stornoway,was more than isles folk could ever have expected,and swept away a whole generation of potential sweethearts and husbands. The nature of crofting law and inheritance was later to be the main reason for some young men leaving the island. I have heard it said that in these wars,and based on the island's population,Lewis lost more people than any other area of Britain.
At that time,in our family home at 5 Dalmore,my grandfather("Glass")was attended on by two of his unmarried daughters,my Aunt Peigi(Margaret)and her younger sister, my Aunt Dollag(Dolly/Dolina/Donaldina). My Uncle Shonnie(John) was, at that time,employed as an able seaman on the River Clyde with the Caledonia Steam Packet Company,but would sometimes get leave to return home for the peats or the harvest,while we were in Dalmore.
My Aunt Peigi was unmarried and in her 40s when I was a small boy. Before Shonnie returned to Lewis for good,Peigi was the engine room of Taigh Glass. She was strong for a lady,and was involved in everything relating to the croft. She was also in a small minority of women at that time who were full time weavers of Harris Tweed. The Hattersley loom,with Peigi in charge,would turn out at least three tweeds a week,all of top quality. The mills would entrust her with new or complicated patterns. She was recognised as a weaver "premier class",and there was nothing about that Yorkshire loom that she didn't know. She was often called upon to sort out the problems encountered by fellow weavers in the district.No,she couldn't fix motorbikes nor cars, but with the Hattersley loom ,she was weaver/mechanic "summa cum laude". My auntie Peigi was a lovely,and better still,a loving person,and she was fun to be with.Each Sunday,with Dollag remaining behind to prepare dinner,Peigi,my brother Donald and I would go "cross country" for the 12.00 o'clock service at the Church of Scotland in Carloway. My brother and I were dressed in kilts and balmorals,which we all wore( including our two younger brothers)every Sunday back in Renfrew. All of us were decked out in MACGREGOR tartan because my mother thought it so nice and bright and red, . Anyway,we looked like little Highland men,and that's what mattered. We each had a different Scottish regimental badge in our hat,mine being the Cabar Feidh of the Seaforths. Shoes and stockings were removed to be carried "air a`mointeach" until we hit the road in Carloway. Our route was the obvious one,out the beinn, past Beinn Iain Ruadh,Cnoc a'Charnan,up to the head of Loch Langavat,skirting Sheaval,and coming out at the doctor's house,where we adjusted our dress and marched proudly to church with Peigi. I always remember Peigi handing each of us a packet of Macintosh Rollo to ease our journey. It made the church service that bit more attractive for us,but I'm sure that was not Peigi's intention.
It must have been 1950,when I was nine,that a picnic was arranged by the "aunties" for Donald and me(the two younger brothers were still in Renfrew with my mother). I can tell you that a picnic, back then, was a very unusual thing on the west side of the island(on any side for that matter). A picnic in the Castle Grounds or the Grimersta Estate for " na daoine gallda",one could understand,but in Dalmore,with our hard working aunts,and straight out of the blue,well----- ?
And so it was that,on a fine warm day,we set out for the Gearraidh with Peigi and Dolly and picnic goodies that equalled the best of Lewis "soirees". On a sward of short green grass,protected from any wind by a massive rock face,my aunts laid the picnic in Cnoc a' Ghearraidh overlooking the allt and the golden sands of that tiny beach at Geodha na Muilne. I can still recall almost every minute of that wonderful day - sunshine,laughter and all blessed with the love of two Christian ladies. There was a slightly sad event when a young rabbit appeared near us,and Donald and I tried to catch it . It eventually ran up this crevice in the rock face,wedging itself well out of our reach,try as we might. The tiny skeleton of this poor creature was perfectly preserved there for years to come.
A bit more serious was what happened down on the tiny beach,when Donald and Peigi were there doing some innocent bathing( not swimming). The viciously strong current swept Donald off his feet and was pulling him away from the shore. Piegi rushed to his aid,holding him firmly by his shirt. No doubt - Piegi saved my brother from drowning on that summer's day. Later,as the picnic was ending,my Aunt Peigi said a very strange thing to Donald and me.She said "This is the last picnic you will have with the aunties". I didn't understand what she meant,because,firstly,we didn't have that many picnics.
Of course,we were not to know that Peigi had been feeling very tired for some time now,and had undertaken all sorts of tests at the hospital. Peigi was diagnosed with leukaemia,which in these days was an illness for which little could be done. Peigi came to the Western Infirmary in Glasgow when the only "treatment" possible was a series of blood transfusions. After each stay in hospital,Peigi would feel well,and during such times she stayed with my Aunt Kate,another of my mother's sisters,in Renfrew. These periods of remission began to shorten, and more and more transfusions were needed.The family employed the services of a "private" physician,a well known consultant,but there was little he could do to halt the progress of her leukaemia. Peigi died in the summer of 1951,her death a blow to all of us who held her dear.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Dalmore's "Gang of One".

From an early age in Renfrew,I and others were fortunate to have access to the wonderful grounds of Blythswood Estate,located on the right bank of the River Cart,where it meets the Clyde(opposite the site of John Brown's famous shipyard). We spent happy times there,more so since my school pal's grandfather,old Mr.Stewart was the estate gamekeeper(the last as it happened),who lived with his wife in a cottage straight out of a fairy tale. Amongst other things,we were practised builders of the "gang hut",which every boy aspires to,but in which he spends as little time as possible. A gang hut is good in theory,but damned cold and damp in practice. To be honest,even the theory doesn't stand scrutiny.
My skills in building were to prove invaluable when I decided to build the ultimate in gang huts in Dalmore,where I would be spoiled for location and building materials. I chose a site with a commanding view,near the Allt Garbh(remember the blue clay!)on an outcrop of large rocks high above the traigh,with a clear views of Beinn Dhalemor,An Ghearraidh,the graveyard(only one at that time)and over in the direction of Dail Beag. Lord of all I survey! That was the idea,at any rate.
The walls were already in place,and was the result of a large stone having been separated about 4 feet from two other rocks,probably thousands of years back in prehistory. Essentially, I had a ready-made bolthole of three massive rock walls,and these amongst the oldest rock in the world. But the sheep,God bless'em,were the other residents during my absence. Wood and rope from the traigh were used to construct the "load bearing beams" on which large turfs would be laid to complete the roof. A "triangular lattice" of wooden beams was used to support the turfs. I only mention this for the technically minded. A wooden stucture at the entrance was my door,with enough gaps to allow in some light,and to persuade the sheep to toilet elsewhere. Talking of which,and digressing a moment,this brings to mind a time when my wife, Buntie, came to Dalmore with me on holiday. It has to be said that she was not fan of Lewis,and used to say that she could well understand that the rocks here were among the oldest in all the world,and it seemed nothing much had changed in the interim. Ouch! One day I caught her staring out of the window looking out across croft no.6 towards the Beinn.I asked her what she was looking at,to which she answered."Well,Iain,I have to say that there's nothing here but sheep shit and boulders". My wife was from Fife, and harboured some reserve about Lewis,probably due to the rough justice meeted out to the "Fife Adventurers" in Stornoway around 1598.
Even with some odd pieces of "traigh furniture",the gang hut was cold,dark and cramped, and the builder might well have learned something from the Skara Brae people. Anyhow,my duties thankfully were mainly extramural - digging a well(the water was oily and foul) and obtaining rations from 5 Dalmore(usually lettuce and tomatoes - you don't eat salt herring,even in a Lewis gang hut). No hut worth its salt(sorry!) is complete without a flag pole,and this was soon rectified by purloining Shonnie's "slat" (long bamboo fishing rod) from the long grass beside the weaving shed. He wasn't too happy with this,but my mother persuaded him that it was better stuck in a rock,drying in the wind, than rotting away in the grass. I had more fun raising and lowering the white flag(a pillowcase)accompanied by the "Last Post" or the "Heilan' Laddie", than I ever got from sitting inside the hut. If I were to revisit the past,I'd just have a flag pole,and forget about the gang hut(a gang of one,at that).
I remember two occasions in particular,involving me and my gang hut. The first of these occurred on a hot summer's afternoon. Replete after a huge lunch of lettuce and tomato,I had fallen asleep on a little creagan above the hut. After a little while,I felt that I was not alone.Shielding my eyes from the sun,and still hazy from sleep,I became aware of a tall girl standing over me saying,"I am your cousin,Mary-Ann and your Mom told me where I'd find you". This was no ordinary girl - this was a real Yankee girl,who spoke like they do in the movies. Her father,Tormod Mor was home on holiday from Detroit,with his Lewis born wife,his daughter"Merry-Enn", and the biggest Ford automobile I'd ever seen! My mother fairly landed me in it,to entertain a girl at my gang hut.Girls don't do gang huts,but I quite liked her, and gave her what was left of the lettuce and tomatoes.Just as well it wasn't salt herring.
The second occasion that comes to mind was the day of Domhnull Chalum's funeral in the cemetery at Dalmore. He was a good pal of old Glass,my grandfather. During the funeral,someone looked up towards the brae and noticed that Iain Maclennan's white flag was at half mast,it being what one does as a mark of respect for the dear departed. There were smiles and just a few chuckles in the cemetery that day.

Shelley: A' thocht ye waur deid! Good to hear from you again!
Mary Ann settled in Scotland(her parents then living in retirement in Lewis),married a Lewisman and worked in Glasgow. She regularly visited my parents in Renfrew.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Mince and Palm Toffee. Stornoway's Delights.

I always looked forward to going over to Stornoway with Shonnie on the motorbike. Let me rephrase that. I loved arriving in the town, grateful that I had once more survived Shonnie's manic motorcycle manoeuvres. As hair raising as his driving could be, I don't think Shonnie ever had an accident,which was just as well,since he only ever drove on a provisional licence. He never ever passed a test for a bike (to my knowledge),and complied with the law (he thought !) by having a very small homemade letter "L" attached to the bottom of the rear mud guard.Painted a very dark red,you would not know it was there unless it was pointed out to you. Of course,that was the whole idea. (Shonnie's pride would not allow otherwise),but he felt that the wee cardboard "L" kept him this side of the law. I'm sure the police knew,and turned a blind eye to this little"peacadh"(peccadillo).After all, there were serious criminals about,poaching his lordship's salmon.
Shonnie would have some errands in town,perhaps at Newall's mill or buying goods at Charles Morrison's in Point Street.Lunch was invariably at the "Seamans' Mission" (or was it the Sailors Society?)in North Beach Street. Being fed in Dalmore on mainly fish, mince and potatoes dominated our thinking,and that's what we ordered.With a nice sweet pudding and a mug of tea,we were now fit for a stroll about the town,often going our separate way,to meet up later. I found the harbour area fascinating,as in these days,there were many fishing boats,not just local boats,but boats from Mallaig,Wick,Buckie,boats of all sorts and all sizes. The smell of fish and tar, the cry of the gulls,nets being repaired,children getting a free bucket of small herring and the lilt of the Gaelic playing along the quays are forever imprinted on my memory. Shonnie and I would meet up, and head for the Rendezvous Cafe in Cromwell Street,a beautifully appointed Italian shop. Shonnie had a sweet tooth,so he bought chocolates and "candies" to fill the sweet drawer in Dalmore. A large ice cream cone each, and the piece de resistance would now be ordered at the counter. Palm Toffee.Does anyone else recall this mouth watering delectation. These were large bars of toffee in a three layer sandwich,in flavours of banana and strawberry( two of which come to mind). Outwith this one cafe,I never came across this delicious toffee anywhere else. Palm Toffee - a Prince among toffees!
Returning home,we didn't talk much,as our jaws were sore masticating. The ride back seemed so much the better, with panniers full of goodies.

P.S. If you google "palm toffee",you will see that I'm not alone in wondering what happened to this wonderful toffee.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Only the Best Will Do - "Well,Fancy"

Shonnie Glass, my uncle, was often first,always had to have the biggest or best,an innovator and entrepreneur, it was acknowledged, and a big businessman in the making. Shonnie was early on the road with his 250 cc BSA motorbike.He was probably the first to own a tractor and tipping trailer in the Carloway district. It was a grey Massey-Ferguson 315 which came all the way from Hamilton Brothers (Agricultural Engineers) in Paisley. As we lived close-by in Renfrew,many's the time one of us would arrange for some spare part to be ordered and dispatched to Lewis. The grass cutter and plough attachments constituted a revolution in local crofting,just as the tractor/trailer changed "the peats" forever. Shonnie's right hand man in this venture was Aonghas Iain a` Mhinisteir from Carloway. Angus,as he was otherwise and unsurprisingly called,was a great worker and held in high esteem by Shonnie,and with all he came in contact. Examples of biggest or best? The petrol engine used to drive the "bobbins machine" and favoured by many weavers was a small JAP engine,completely adequate for the purpose. Shonnie also had a JAP engine,but this was a monster(more like a jet engine), mounted on a very substantial base of cement blocks. The exhaust noise might waken the dead,and in Dalmore, that was not a good idea. When "the electric" came in 1951,you will remember that Shonnie bought this huge 13- valve radio with which it might have been possible to listen in on the conversations of Marshal Bulganin and Nikita Khruschev in the Kremlin in Moscow!
Fancy,the sheepdog,was a regular pillion passenger on Shonnie's motorbike,and got very excited at the prospect of an outing. Years before,if Shonnie needed the bike to seek out a sheep or lamb some miles away,he would tie an orange box onto the pillion, and stick Fancy in it,to use her on the moor. In time the box was removed,and Fancy would manage the pillion seat,by hitching her front "spogs" over Shonnie's shoulders. Latterly, with four feet on the seat,she "scratched the leather" to stay aboard during acceleration and violent cornering,such was Shonnie's driving. She was a little beaut! Sometimes Shonnie would say aloud that he had to go down to Carloway on the motorbike,but Fancy wasn't needed.Her head would go down between her spogs and her face would come over all sad (a consummate actress) until she heard the engine starting and Shonnie shouting "Where is my Fancy?".In two ticks,she was right behind him,her face aglow,giving a little yelp of excitement.
Shonnie and Fancy will be featured more in the future.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Beachcombing in Dalmore..

Some might think that with all the various tasks entrusted to us,the cows,the peats,the harvest and some others(more of this later),we had little time of our own - not so! Like any child living next to the sea,I spent long periods on the beach at Dalmore("traigh") or down in the creeks and coves("geodha"),sometimes in the Ghearraidh,but more often on the bit of coast between Dalmore and Dalbeg.Here the surge of the waves was easier to deal with than in the Ghearraidh,which was/is a very dangerous place. On a calm day,nothing could be more exciting than seeing what might have been washed up along that golden strand.I was the sole beachcomber,and a strange shaped bottle,a dark dense wooden block or just a simple fish box would spark my imagination. I recall the time when, for no reasons that one could fathom, a great many dead puffins were washed up on our beach,with no obvious injuries and still looking very beautiful with their multicoloured beak,which conferred on them the acronym "sea parrot". For weeks they kept being washed up,and I can tell you it made me sad to think, that the first time I had seen this bird,it was dead. However,I was fortunate to see the puffins( Tammie Norrie ) at close quarters when in 1983 I spent 2 weeks on St.Kilda with the National Trust for Scotland in one of their work parties.Beautiful St.Kilda and its beautiful puffins!
What was of great interest to me at that time,and mammon too was involved,was the large number of metal floats coming ashore on the beach,or found bobbing about in some "geodha"(creek)nearby. These were the floats from the fishing nets,used by the boats out at sea. They were a dull silver in colour, perfectly spherical,diameter about 10 inches and made from anodised steel (I think). I could harvest maybe 60 of them within a couple of weeks, and the town tinker called to buy them from me at a shilling each.He sold them on to the Stornoway fishermen,at a profit,of course. This was a lucrative "sideline",as the floats kept coming ashore.
I have a large scale map of the Carloway area,surveyed in 1852 by two officers of the Royal Engineers.It is a great achievement in map making,very detailed and with every feature named in Gaelic. With the help of this map and Dwelly's Gaelic dictionary(what a man he was!),I noted that there were six named "geothan"from Dalmore round to Dalbeg,and strange and interesting are some of their names.Back then I didn't know what they were called,and I'm pretty damned sure that there is no one today who knows, or cares
"Geodha an Uillt" is the cove of the burn.
"Geodh'an t-Siliche" - the meagre(small)creek.
"Geodha Sporain" - the purse cove.
"Geodh'a' Gharaidh" - the garden cove.
"Geodha na Mna" - the wife's cove.
"Geodh'na Muic" - the seal's creek.
You must admit that a couple of these are interesting "coves",and one wonders how they came by their names. Just behind this short bit of coastline lies Cnoc na Moine (the little hill of the peats) My uncle Murchaidh Shoudie used to say to us (and later my daughter,Carolyn) that it was at Cnoc na Moine that the cattle could find shelter ("fasgath"). He would say,"Cnoc na Moine,Cnoc na Moine - far a`faigh a bho fasgath".
One day I was doing a patrol of the "geodhan",and thinking how finding a couple of metal floats would reward my efforts,when,as I looked down into this narrow cove,I glimpsed a large yellow object being battered about in the surf. There was a tube attached to the "thing ", with a red or orange light flashing away at its top. Closer inspection of this strange Quatermass inspired object revealed that this was some kind of inflatable craft,made of rubber or canvas.There was a "little igloo" on top which maybe a couple of people could crawl into. I was very excited at this my greatest find of jetsom. By reading the various writings on the craft,I came to realise that I had found something of national importance.It was an RAF survival dingy,big,yellow and lights a-flashing.I dragged it out of the "geodha" (a bloody heavy beast,if I remember rightly)and deposited it above the high water mark, There was a telephone number engraved on a brass plate on its side. Shonnie and I went down to the Carloway PO and Shonnie made the call. This was an RAF exercise that had gone a wee bit wrong, but no one was injured . A large RAF lorry came over from Uig to pick up their dingy(following my directions,I may say),and later on I received my £10 reward. Beachcombing was proving so good that I caught Shonnie at Geodha Sporain,but he said that he was just looking for a lamb.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Angie an Dhomhnullaich's Heifer.

It must have been 1954/1955 when the name Macleod,5 Dalmore was announced to the expectant throng in the playground of Carloway Primary School. This was not a prize giving for the "scholars" of the school,but was one for exhibitors at the Carloway Agricultural Show,everything from "6 matching first crop potatoes" to " a mare or gelding over 16 hands". "Cattle shows" were big in these days,important people officiated at their opening,and this must have been due to the fact that there existed real crofters in these days, with real cattle,real horses, crofters who grew their own potatoes in really long feannags(a ridge of ground).This was a bonanza year for us (quite unusual),and we picked up a number of 1st prizes including one for Daisy,our beautiful Ayrshire cow,and another for our superb Shorthorn heifer. The 1st prize for the best collection of wild flowers went to me!
The prize winning heifer was a perfect specimen ,who would have triumphed at any of the mainland shows. She had attracted the attention,some time previously of Mr. Angus Macdonald,farmer,auctioneer and butcher,a Stornoway "Big Wheel". Well before the cattle show,my uncle Shonnie Glass sold the heifer to Angie an Dhomhnullaich,as the big farmer was better known,for the princely sum of £96(that was a huge price in those days). Angie stipulated that, since he now owned the beast,any prize money won by the heifer at show,should fall to him. Shonnie said that he had promised "the boys"(me and my brother)that they would show the heifer,and collect any prize money it won.(1st prize,I think,was £7,and the wild flowers came in at 7/6d). "Angie,if that's not to your liking,you had better take the £96 back again." Mr. Macdonald did not push his argument,but suggested he would be around a few weeks after the "show" to collect his prize animal.
For the weeks that followed,the heifer grazed with our two cows over the beinn,on the Garenin side. That is not strictly accurate, because one evening the "buachaile" arrived home with the cows,but no heifer! That "buachaile"(cow-herd)was not me. That night,and many times during the ensuing days,various people scoured the hills,the moor and even the cliff tops,but there was no sign of the young shorthorn. The area involved was actually quite small,which made the animal's disappearance very strange indeed. My uncle had been very proud of his heifer,and pleased with his deal with Angie an Dhomhnullaich. But now he had all but given hope of seeing it again.
It was after lunch and I was stretched out on the being. I announced to my mother and Aunt Dolly that I was going up the beinn to find the heifer. "Well,go on a'ghraidh and tell Shonnie",said my mother with a wan smile. Shonnie was in the weaving shed and simply reminded me of how many had searched.and how long it had been missing(7 days)."But go ahead if you must". Now,it must be remembered that it was I who took the cows out most mornings,and consequently I had a fair idea of the cows favoured grazing "routes". I decided to search the ridge of the beinn, not so obvious to others.As I searched carefully,I came to a point on the edge of the beinn directly opposite Cnoc a' Choin,and there on a steep grassy slope were long wet marks,caused by an animal sliding. A few feet below,there was our heifer firmly wedged between two immense rocks,looking very thin and sorry for herself. I think she was glad to see me!
Entering the weaving shed,Shonnie said what I had expected."Well,Iain,did you find her?" "Yes,I did find her" and moved fast to tell the folk in the house,with my uncle in pursuit.
Men from Dalmore and Garenin carefully extracted the heifer, from what might have been its sarcophagus, with ropes,crowbars etc. She was very thin but uninjured. She immediately started eating the grass nearby,and in time filled out well,before Angie Macdonald came to collect her. Shonnie never said a word,and I never "let on."