Monday, July 8, 2013

Journey to Ardveg

It was only nine days ago I was in the Ardveg. Now I'm home, 4279 miles away (or so my GPS tells me), and have finally readjusted to Pacific Time, eight hours behind AST (Ardveg Standard Time). On Saturday, June 29, I attended the book launch of An Trusadh - Memories of Crofting in Ardveg, by John MacDonald. I've read the book over the past few days and it is wonderful.  

After the launch, which was held in the Uig Community Centre, the plan was to visit the Ardveg by sea. But the boatman decided the sea was a bit rough and the boats were cancelled. So it was time for Plan B. A fleet of 4x4 vehicles was assembled and we set off along the Burma Road to Hamanavay. I have walked this hellish road three times now, so it was nice to be driven its nine miles of agonizing curves, bumps, and ups and downs. 

But more work still lay ahead of us, for Ardveg lies a trackless hard mile from Hamanavay. So a parade of some 40 souls set out to cross the wet, grassy hillside to Ardveg. It took a strenuous half hour hike to get there, but it was well worth the effort to reach this place; to see it knowing that its story was now captured for posterity in John's book. Another special part of the visit occured after we'd been there an hour. For it was then that John Macdonald's sister Ina showed up, having managed to make the walk to see the house where she was born. 

We had a marvelous time, and the place looked just as it had when I camped there in 2001 (see May 23rd post for some photos from that trip). After spending two hours exploring we hiked back to the cars. Just as we reached them the heavens opened up. But the rain did not dampen our spirits, for it had been a special day for all. What follows are a few photos of our day in Ardveg. If you want to see what Ardveg looks like from space you can find it on GoogleEarth at the following coordinates: 58.06487, -7.03338.

Main Fireplace in the original Black House
Roadway built by John's father that leads down to the jetty
Jetty - the whale rib-bones once used to roll the boats up are long gone

Beautiful stone Boathouse (left) built by Andrew Miller-Mundy, a resident of the new house long after the Macdonalds left
This ugly scar on the hillside is the Burma Road to Hamanavay (but we would not have been able to get to Ardveg that day without it)
Rowan tree and the walled garden - John writes of having a swing in the tree
The house built by John's father to replace their blackhouse (which can be seen in the centre distance)
John's sister Ina (in black coat) at the house she was born in
Original blackhouses. John's family lived in #1 (to the right)
Close up of the original #1 Ardveg
The nearby mill on Abhainn Grunavat
On the way back as a misty rain moves in - the foot bridge over the Hamanavay River - Hamanavay Lodge in the distance

1 comment:

  1. These photos are wonderful - my father (the said John MacDonald!) has been complaining that my Ardveg photos didn't include the loch views, so some of these fill the gap. I'm so glad you enjoyed the day - it was a wonderful experience for my father, myself and the extended family.

    (Not sure how this works - I don't mean to be Anonymous, but can't work out the other options!)