Showing posts with label Myths. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Myths. Show all posts

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Exploring Hebridean Isles: on the Edge

chapel Saint Barr on Barra
boat Oban to Barra
beach on south Uist

We took the Oban ferry to Castlebay on the isle of Barra. On the edge of exploring the whipped dark blue seas held time aloft and the tides carries us across. The bright westward skies shone brightly as we sailed oe’r swells and past looming mountains….
To the edge of Scotia’s Western Isles, to their stunning and varied landscapes, beaches, rocky outcrops, purple mountains, and a haven for wildlife, the roar of the Atlantic surrounds all here.  
This is a place of strong contradictions – from rugged coastlines, to the largest stretches of clear white sands and turquoise waters; and in the late light the bluest softest hues. 

I read of the great Bards and Myth makers. I read of the crofters forced to leave their homelands for unknown fates in far away lands – to Canada, to Indian reservations and not to the farms that had been promised and of how they missed the Atlantic seas.  At the  Castlebay museum I read of Father John MacMillan.  North Uist and south Uist are Protestant and Catholic – and they get along! 
Caisteal Chiosmull castle Barra
And the great war devastated these islands. Before the war Barra was the centre for the herring industry. The war meant all the young men left to fight in the navy. Then in 1921, 22, 23 there was UK government sponsorship to leave the islands. (to populate the colonies with white people)  The population went from 3,700 to 1,800.  Some managed to return, and some died on the journey. I read of the clan chief Macdonald in Edinburgh and his deciding on the fate of those living on the island. I read of Colonel Gordon of Cluny who bought the islands and ordered the clearances to make way for sheep over people.
Vatersay beach
Barra airport
Barra has a 17th century castle Caisteal Chiosmull castleat the entrance to its bay at Castelbay, owned by the McNeills. Similar to other islands, the drive on the west coast has picture perfect sandy beaches, and the drive on the east coast is rocky and more mountainous. To the north lies the only beach with scheduled flights and we had lunch at the café here.

Out on the peninsula we found the small chapel of Saint Barr.  South of Barra, lies the quiet island of Vatersay connected by a small bridge. We took photos at what could have been a tropical island, although there was cool there. Another photographer told us of the shrine to Eilidh MacLeod, who lost her life a year ago at the Manchester bombing. So sad she left this beautiful place to die at the Arianna Grande concert.

Vatersay


We then took the small ferry over the often difficult crossing to Eriskay and  Uist. Uist has large mountains on it east. We found the bonny location for the Polochar Inn and the drive over the causeways., funded by the EU We visited the interesting Uist museum which told the stories of the forced evictions to Canada. There was the nature reserve  to protect endangered birds such as corncrakes. This is part of an important European Conservation Machair environment, conservation, project to save endangered spices. I wondered, will the UK fund and set up a UK Conservation Machair project, after Brexit?

Uist beach

waves at nature reserve Uist

Early on the Friday we headed across on the carefully manoeuvred crossing to the more prosperous isle of Harris. Harris is the most developed Western isles. I had expected it to be more isolated and remote than Lewis. The Harris beaches on the west coast look out over the welcoming Atlantic and are well worth photographing. Tarbert is nestled in its northern mountains – a ferry port with Harris Gin and Harris Tweed shopsThen we took the treacherous Gold Road over the rocky eastern side and stayed at the beautifully renovated old school house.


On Lewis its worth visiting its historic sites – the Callanais stones, the blackhouse village, the Carloway Broche.  Then we headed for the port of Stornaway - it was a Sunday and all was closed except for the church and one hotel - and took the modern Caledonian McBrae ferry, which was like a floating cafeteria, back to the picturesque highland town of Ullapool.

the Callanais stones on Lewis

Ullapool
Carloway Broche

Friday, 11 August 2017

Myths and Lies of Unionism


James IV of Scotland and Margaret Tudor

It is not only that Scottish culture has been suppressed, it has also been distorted by those career unionists, those Anglized Scots who view themselves as English first, Scots second and see their careers as a seat in the House of Lords. 

I attended a Lecture by the respected Scottish historian Tom Devine.
Where he spoke of a mass deluded country, and of (Caledonia’ by Breton) – he said that there were moves to put out the delusion that Scotland is a ‘small, poor, inadequate country’.

When in fact, before union, Scotland was a flourishing and trading nation, with a population a third of the UKs! After the Jacobites '45 challenge – the Highland dress was forbidden (the punished was imprisonment or deportation). Then in 1822 George IV visited Edinburgh in a short kilt and pink stockings! – and the Scots were ‘allowed’ to wear kilts.


He spoke of ‘The Unionist Myth” that was put about –

that says “Scotland is a land of darkness, faction, poverty and religious rigidity.”
The writer Prebble, put forward our ‘victimhood’ – with stories of Glencoe, Clearances, Darien Project and more.

After the failed Darien project, early 17th century, there was distortion of the facts and Myths were put forward by Unionists. The Darien financial disaster was over stated – it was common at that time for ventures such as these not to succeed. England refused to do trade with the Scots.

Our history becomes myths – what we want to believe – and the stories we pass on.

One interesting fact here is that the city of Glasgow voted against the Treaty of Union - that is those who were allowed to vote then.
 
Bonnie Dundee 
Prince James Francis Edward
The Scottish enlightenment
It also comes to light that Bonnie Prince Charlie was a reformer, that he wanted to bring more parliamentary scrutiny and that he was no fool either. The Hanoverian regime was corrupt. The Jacobites were defeated though by George I’s son, Duke of Cumberland who had been fighting in France.


 In our recent times we had a mountain of unionist lies - we were told in 2014 that voting for the union would mean "Devolution Max" (not happened), "Staying in Europe" (Brexit vote means leaving), "Better pensions" (??), improved funding (??)

We must now excavate below the Myths and falsehoods



In June 1385, the Parliament of Scotland decreed that Scottish soldiers serving in France

would wear a white Saint Andrew's Cross, both in front and behind, for identification.