Wednesday, 20 November 2013

A Letter to the Diary

From Bruce & Liz McDonald, Inverleigh, Australia:

Dear Diary

Inverleigh has a lovely Scottish ring to the name but it is a small rural town in south-east Australia on the Leigh River, a long way from Ormsaigbeg, West Ardnamurchan. Our recent visit to Kilchoan was part of a six week trip to Flanders, Scotland, England and North Wales.

The 1841 census lists Allan McDonald as a crofter at Ormsaigbeg, and in 1854 his widow and six adult children, a daughter-in-law and grandchild, left from Liverpool on the Highland Immigration ship ‘The Hornet’ bound for Geelong with a promissory note for £22-0-9. Also on board was the family of Archibald McIntyre of Ormsaigbeg (£9-17-6) and Allan, Anne, John and Margaret Stewart of Kilchoan who paid a deposit of £5 into the bank at Tobermory. A lot of the other passengers were from Skye and I have no idea how they were organized to reach Liverpool.

What a delight for us to visit in October and see for ourselves the landscape and characters we have come to know from your blog. Starting with the Corran ferry and the water sheeting off the hills to the white sands at Sanna, the lighthouse and views to Rum, Eigg & Muck, the volcanic ring, Tom Bryson’s chooks, the children’s playground, the ‘Sir Ernest Shackleton’ boat, Mingary castle clothed in superstructure like a child with braces on her teeth. (I can’t wait to see her emergence in restored beauty.) Our greatest delight was of course Bobby and Betsy: will the bacon raised from such a seaside location be pre salted?

Each morning we looked out from Pat MacPhail’s Croft Apartment to watch the ferry coming and going, and to check for any clear sky to plan our day. I noticed after we left a lot of blue sky photographs on the blog to promote your Mediterranean climate! Our excursions each day were filled with anticipation as to just how close the sheep would camp to the road oblivious to the passing cars, a prayer that we would always find a convenient Passing Place, and if we would ever get above third gear. 

Of course the main reason for the trip was to walk where our forebears had walked, understand their journey and be grateful we could return to visit. A wee dram at the end of the Ormsaigbeg Road and a toast to ‘absent friends and those gone before’ sealed the visit.

We sincerely hope that The Diary will continue his blog for many years to come keeping us informed and entertained.

Liz & Bruce.

Many thanks to Liz and Bruce for writing to the Diary.
We hope to see you both back here again soon.

1 comment:

  1. What a journey to have made! Such a touching tale, beautifully written.