Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Amidst Swirling Waters

I will be offline for a while visiting the isles of the Inner Hebrides. Two sights I hope to witness again down Scarba way are the swirling waters of Bealach a' Choin Ghlais (the Strait of the Grey Dog), and the Corryvreakan whirlpool. I should have some interesting stories and photos to share in a few weeks.

Bealach a' Choin Ghlais
Gulls and gannets fishing in Corryvreakan

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Atop Beinn Tangabhal

At just over 1,000 feet, Beinn Tangabhal is the second highest peak on Barra.  Being number two has its advantages. If you climb Number One (Heabhal) in the summer, you will probably have company. For instance, I was sitting atop Heabhal on a fine June day, eating my lunch, when a dog accompanying some hikers took a bite out of my sandwich. But if you make your way to the top of Beinn Tangabhal chances are you won't see another soul (or hungry dogs).

I apologize that the photos in this post are a bit dark, with poor colour, and out of focus. They are from my first visit to Barra way back in 1993, when I was using a cheap film camera. Here is a 25-year-old view of Castlebay as seen from the climb up Beinn Tangabhal during a stormy day. 

The views from the summit of Tangabhal south over the Barra Isles, and east over Castlebay, are as fine as you'll find on Heabhal. I especially liked the view looking north up the west coast of Barra.

Lying at the foot of the hill is Loch Tangasdail, and from the slopes of Beinn Tangabhal you can see the tower of Dùn Mhic Leòid on its tiny island in the loch, the holy well of St Columba, and the white sands of Halaman Beach.

So next time you find yourself on Blue Barra of the Waves, be sure to pay a visit to the top of Beinn Tangabhal. It is the beginning of a long loop walk that continues southwest to traverse the head of remote Glenn Bretadail, before returning to the road near the Vatersay causeway and the amazing wheelhouse remains at Allt Crisal. A walk not to be missed.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Author's Memorials - Part 2

In the April 27, 2018 post I described some of the author memorials I've visited over the years. And at the end I mentioned three graves I'd been unable to find. My wife, who is an avid genealogist, decided to surprise me and try to locate these graves. Here's an update on what she was able to find in less than an hour.

Seton Gordon: Though she was not able to find where he is buried, she did locate this memorial stone next to the Skye Museum of Island Life, only 200 metres from where Seton Gordon lived in Clachan.

Neil Munro: Munro is buried in Kilmalieu Cemetery, a kilometre northeast of Inverary. I had searched the cemetery several years ago. And it's no wonder I was unable to find the grave, because there is no headstone. But there is a memorial cairn to Neil Munro in Glen Ary, about 10 km north of Inverary at NN 0969 1901. 

DDC Pochin Mould: It turns out that one of my favorite authors, DDC Pochin Mould, has no grave. She donated her body to medical science. She left an amazing legacy of fascinating books, and to prepare for a cruise late next year (down the west of Ireland) I am currently re-reading her excellent book Irish Pilgrimage. If we're fortunate enough to land on Inishmurray, one of several small pilgrimage islands off the Irish coast, my visit will be all the more rewarding because of her work.