Summary – Visits Danny Whiskey – School board call in some parents – visits John Plan and collects artefact – death of Mrs Ross Blairmore and Mrs D Sutherland Milton – Eppie Baker shows him historic photo of Rhemusaig people – Visits Achnahuagh underground chambers – Digs into stone circle in Cnoc an tsian – Miss Mckenzie died – Visit to Kinauld Broch and more tales from John the Plan – army tales re Sgt Mckenzie Blairmore.
Sabbath 1/5/1910. Much warmer today. Bella and Eckie at sermon at Culdrain at 12.30.
In the evening myself and Eckie called on Dannie Sutherland. He said his nephew W Sutherland went off with his Will against his desire, and challenged him to the effect that he had the Will now, and that he did not care, etc. Dannie mentioned that he was of the intention to break his contract with him, and would write Mr McCaulay about it, and if got warm he would go to Brora for the will.
Monday 2/5/1910. A good dry day. Cutting potatoes for seed at night. Box of lamps (Roman) on approval came from London, not at my request. Working at Soup Kitchen affairs.
Got Mackay Rhilochan`s statement and Soup Kitchen money per Miss Campbell £2/5/3. Said that all not got in and if not got before end of week, would be added on to next year`s Soup money.
Wrote Mr McCrone re W McIntosh. Mr Sangster:
Cow in Park. (His cow put into Local Summer Pasture.)
Tuesday 3/5/1910. Cold and showery. Attendance poor. Usual work. Had a cold in my head today, with catarrh. Cutting potatoes at night. (Crofters usually split the potatoes prior to planting to make more plants.)
Sent off box lamps per J Campbell. With 2/6 enclosed. Kept Egyptian Lamp, black. Hebrew lamp.
Wednesday 4/5/1910. A dry coolish day, attendance fairly good, usual school work. G Fraser planted our potatoes. After 4pm had K Sutherland, Ina Sutherland, (60 Culdrain) Minnie and Madge Mackay. Tina Ross and J Murray Little Rogart.
Sent 3/6 per J McAngus to Mr Matheson Northern Times, for 120 sheets and 120 envelopes.
Letter to Powell, accept fossils. To Miss Morris, if take a place in Western Isles, would perhaps get and oil lamp for me. Letter to Eric.
Note to M W McCaulay of School Board Meeting on Saturday first.
Thursday 5/5/1910. Still cold with a few snow showers. Attendance 60, usual work. Sent Post Cards for Soup kitchen meeting on Saturday first.
Gaelic class after 4pm for three quarters of an hour. Well attended. Playing fiddle at night.
Friday 6/5/1910. Very cold, snow showers, attendance good, usual work. At 4pm had Gaelic Class, 13 at it. Wrote Bazaar re note insert my advert. W McIntosh called on way from Dornoch where he was seeing Mr McCrone, re estate of his late wife.
Saturday 7/5/1910. Cold with showers of snow. Went to Pittentrail to a soup Kitchen meeting after the School Board meeting. Several parents before the School Board, viz, Mrs McGarry. (Pittentrail) Warbeck, (Dalreavoch keeper.) J Mckay Tannachy. Zeckie Murray. (Garvault)
Paid H Sutherland for 12 records. 1 bushel rye. 4 pounds clover. Half lb turnip seed.
Gave Mr Paris the money to pay Urquhart and James Gunn.
Soup Kitchen meeting- W McCaulay. W Grant. W Paris. D Campbell. A Murray. Angus Mackay. W Campbell.
Spoke James Murray Rhemusaig re oil lamp, but he said he had not any.
Called on John Macdonald Rhemusaig. He was searching for the Sgian Chail, (cabbage knife) for long in the old barn and while assisting at the rummaging I found an old powder horn. Then he got one of the cabbage knives in the garden. It is shaped in an S shape, as 6 ins long, handle 7 ins long and S shape blade 2 and a half ins across. He said that he had two of these and promised me one if he the other. Made a search for the “Gille Dubh” (a dark lad.) For holding fir and ordinary candles and he had only the part for candle, (of copper,) and the forked part for fir and three pieces lead from bottom of square stand. (He gives a drawing of what the lamp dimensions and parts.) John affirmed he had the three parts but could not find them. Showed a quern stone built into the wall of byre. Has also a stone mortar. Has brass candlesticks which he showed me. Also said he had a copper telescopic one, that came from Dunrobin.
Sabbath 8/5/1910. A coldish day with some snow. Rev Mr McLennan preached at Culdrain, to a good audience. Myself and Russell at the sermon, which was very earnest and evangelical. It was Kings 1, XII, about Jeroboam asking the people not to go to Jerusalem, but to worship the 2 golden calves set up, i e, to make religious easy.
Mr Grant called and had tea with us. Donald Ross`s wife (Culdrain) died on Saturday morning, and the wife of Donald Sutherland Milton died this morning.
Monday 9/5/1910. Milder day with showers of rain. Attendance fairly good, usual school work. Funeral of Mrs Donald Ross Culdrain today. At night myself and Russell up at Eppie Sutherlands with some milk. Went in and had a crac with her for some time. Eppie went into the “Room” and brought out an oak (narrow) framed photographic bromide enlargement of a spinning group of Rogart women, taken at Rhemusaig. Grant`s house in the distance. Bell Sutherland, Mrs (Sandy) Murray (miller) Rhemusaig, and one like the woman who died up where F Macdonald now stays, and another old woman, Maggie Sutherland, aunt of John Macdonald Rhemusaig. Eppie said that this frame picture was put by, and at her death, I was to get it. ( tha so air chuir dhuibna d`ur thurig`s mise.) This is given to you to remember me. Annabella at Mr Mclennan`s service at Culdrain.
Letter from Miss Conlan, oil lamp was sent for my approval. Eckie’s eye swollen by a bee sting and so not at school today.
Post Card to A Murray Bardachan, that giving out sewing and not rest with me. Sent paper to Mary.
Tuesday 10/5/1910. A nice day, attendance 60. Usual school work. Mr Sangster came with his two boys to school. Was glad to see Pat back again after having had operation for appendicitis.
Funeral of Mrs Sutherland Milton 1pm. William McIntosh came back with me. Annabella and Miss MacKay collecting for presentation to Mr McMillan.
Got a note from Miss Munro (my late assistant.) Also letter from J Hendry re celts etc.
Wednesday 11/5/1910. Attendance good, usual work.
Wrote J Hendry, not to buy the lot, if sell otherwise, would be glad to hear prices. Letter to Miss Munro. Letter to McDonalds re Crown Reader 1. No Less Book 1. Combined reader1. Post card to Clerk of School Board for coal.
Got oil lamp from Miss Conlan South Uist.
Miss McKay (Big Andrew) (Highcroft) called. Correct Composition exercise.
Thursday 12/5/1910. Attendance good. day dull and showery. Saw 2 boys barefoot in school today although it was cold. (D MacAngus Manse Glebe and W Mackenzie.) usual school work.
At night, reading Herald and Pictorials, and Diary of Miss Campbell`s brothers trip to Victoria Falls, also looked over hundreds of photos of the ruins of temples. Victoria Falls etc.
Wrote H Sutherland re curio sale, re Snuff Mull 4/. Quaich 3/. Bronze Celt 10/. Tinder Box.
Friday 13/5/1910. Day dull, attendance good, usual work.
Got a box on approval- not asked-with an antique bottle handcuffs (drawing.) steel for flint, roman coins, small tartan painting, broken Roman lamps, carved wood, cork screw.
Sent, Pictorial to Headmaster Balshan North Uist. Post Card to Bristol re curios. Letter to Miller Ex 0 for Chocolate Box. Letter for boomerang etc. Had a gramophone concert at night.
Saturday 14/5/1910. A lovely day, very warm. Myself and Eckie walked across the moor to Achnahuagh to see the prehistoric remains. There is a large circular foundation of large stones. One entrance, which was above ground, faces the East, another underground entrance from West side. This passage was built on both sides, and was about 3ft high and roofed over with large heavy flat stones of granite. This entrance was partly dug up by Alex Bannerman Junior and one Mackay from East Langwell. They merely turned over the stones, and there was no search for relics on the original floor of the passage. Examined also circular foundations of dwellings, and noticed a mound, or cairn, of stones and moss, and from it towards the East, was a straight line of a low raised ground, probably an underground passage to this cairn, which was evidently a burial cairn. All around were tumuli of various sizes. The roadmen have evidently been breaking up these tumuli in order to get the stones for making metal for the roads. The lad Charles Macdonald was with us and I desired him to test the strength raised mound, to ascertain if it is a passage, and to inform me of the result. ( He draws a plan of fort.)
Saw Jeanie Mackay Morness on way to Langwell. Had dinner then up on a walk past Eppie’s, gave her some potatoes. Speaking to Marion. Jane Grant called.
Sabbath 15/5/1910. A nice dry mild day, Bella and Hamie and Russell at service Culdrain 12.30. Mr McQueen preached in this school.
Monday 16/5/1910. A fine warm day, attendance good. Usual school work. After tea we all went to Cnoc-an-tsian, and I took a spade and delved inside a large stone circle. Found a good deal of charcoal and several pieces of urns or other earthenware. The inner side of these were quite black, and the outside of a greyish colour. They were three-eights of an inch in thickness, and one of the pieces showed parallel lines, evidently scratched on. Judging from the curvature of the pieces got, the original vessel was about 6 inches diameter on the outside.
Sent 7/6 to Lindsay for Blarich Soup Kitchen account per J McAngus. £1/2 to Mrs Mackay Inchomney, to Rhilochan Soup Kitchen. 4/ to G Fraser for cartage. (Lindsay, Ironmonger Golspie. Mrs Mackay had a shop at 89 Inchomney.)
Tuesday 17/5/1910. A nice day with East breeze, attendance very good, usual school work. Corrected Composition exercises at night.
Wrote Aunt Mary. Got a number of photos and curios from Bristol.
Wednesday 19/5/1910. Day was fine, warm and hazy. A pour of rain in the early morning, and misty after 5pm and heavy rain at 10pm.
Today the earth is thought to be passing through the tail of Haley`s Comet, and it is said great concern was manifest by Negros in America.
Sent “ Fortunes of Nigel” to M Campbell. Returned photo of Maori and boomerang to Payne, Bath. Sent salary receipts to Clerk of School Board. 3 letters to Mary from boys. Sent a note to Smith that his parcel sent off on Monday last.
Friday 20/5/1910. A nice warm day sowed turnips in garden and put support to peas. Put in last of haystack.
Myself and the three boys at the United Memorial Service in the Parish Church by Rev Mr Mcdonald and Rev Mr Macmillan United Free Church. There was a nice and impressive service, and the singing was good. There was a good attendance.
At night, up at Eppie Sutherland`s with milk. Called at Marion`s. Her aunt in Little Rogart (no 149) is very weak.
Got a Post Card from Powell that a box of fossils etc were sent off to me.
Saturday 21/5/1910. A nice warm day, but no sunshine, there being a dull kind of haze. Working in the garden, at walk and the border to South. Heard that Willie Mackenzie`s sister died last night about 4pm.
In the afternoon between 3 and 4 went to Rhemusaig. Called on Farquhar. (Macdonald watchmaker.) He was after putting a lid on an old snuff mull for some man in the strath. He gave me permission to take the two jars at his house, as I would like them for drawing models for scholars.
Called at john Matheson`s, he was making the coffin for Willie Mackenzie`s sister. Spoke to J Macdonald`s aunt. I knew her from seeing her in photo of spinners (at Glasgow Exhibition.) She has plenty to say and is a fluent Gaelic speaker.
Called on J Macdonald. (John the Plan, no 340.) Got the Skian Chail from him. (Sketch of it given in entry 7th May.) He got the other one but I got my choice and took the better one, viz, the one I saw the first time.
Along at the Broch at East Kinauld. Saw 2 hut circles and place where lightening ploughed up the ground. Deep gorge. Broch up on a steep hill, with a burn in the gorge below. The walls are double, with passage right round, good building. Doorway to South. 2 guard chambers, one on each side, and are circular. Is still 9 or 10 feet high. Floor covered with fallen stones and also fallen stones on outside of wall. Dr Joass Golspie, (Golspie minister and amateur archaeologist,) is said to have done a little exploration- probably the guard chambers were cleared by his efforts. From this spot could see a long stretch of the strath below, and on a knoll below us, we could see the circular remains of another tower, with what appear to be 3 trenches on the North side. (The Iron Age Fort above the quarry.)
On coming back, J Macdonald pointed to a spot where a witch was pursued and stoned to death. Spot marked by nettles. Spot above his house where whiskey was once made. He believed in cures for colic and toothache by certain incantations, the words which he quoted. The words in the case of toothache are if spoken by Jesus to Peter,- these to be written on paper and sewn to corset. His Aunt near him, had done so. (Henny MacIntosh, in walled enclosure, built by the estate for her.) His reason in believing it being that if the party had “faith,” it would benefit, and also the name of Jesus being mentioned.
J Macdonald told that Sergt Joseph Sutherland, son of John Sutherland road surveyor, once in Smoo House, Durness, died. He was married. The last time I saw him was coming from Inveraray by steamer.
Bella along at W Mackenzie’s.
[Note. The original diary contains a pen and ink sketch of the Broch, its entrance and surrounding hills.]
Sabbath 22/5/1910. A nice mild day, with much rain last night. Myself and Eckie at service at Culdrain at 5pm. Mr Macalpine Dornoch to preach next Sabbath at 12.30, as Mr McMillan at the Assembly.
Monday 23/5/1910. A good day for growth, grass looking very well. Attendance good. At funeral of W MacKenzie’s sister. Spoke to Alex Grant at funeral re spindle whorl which he said I would be very welcome to if he found it. J Macdonald told me.
Got box of flint implements and fossils from Mr Powell London.
Got price list from Messrs Barbe & Co Goldamine.
Sent back Gaelic book and note to J Macdonald Rhemusaig.
Mr Munro Elgin re Tinder Box. Steel. Snuff Mull. Sword Dirks. Crusie. Gillie Dubh. Stone and bronze.
Bella down and paid Grants Account. Saw Territorials drilling in the Park, over 20 there. Band passed at night.
Tuesday 24/5/1910. A very fine and warm day, attendance good, usual school work. Got code and schemes from Lady Albert and County Committee Schemes from Clerk of the School Board.
Wrote Barbe and Co re Axe head and knife blade, iron rush light holder, tinderbox and steel, Australian weapons. (B) Sketches of flail, crook, hook, pot, if exchange to what extent.
Wrote to Wells Middlesex, not want Palaeolithic- but horn and bone javelin ear engraver.
Sent Bond to W McIntosh to get signed by two witnesses and Justice of the Peace.
At night reading “Herald” and all of us on a walk to Farquhar’s and got the 2 jars, which he gave me permission to take.
Dr Simpson seeing Mrs McIntosh “Carn House.” Two of the scholars clung to motor, and the driver reported to me, and I had to make an example of these two. Viz, Robert Macdonald, (Rhemusaig) and Alex Reid (Skaig.)
Wednesday 25/5/1910. A very warm day, attendance fairly good, usual school work. No fires since 2 days in School. Alex Murray (Davoch,) Member of School Board called.
Ina MacIntosh down with Bond, signed by J Murray and Alex Innes.
Wrote Hooker Bristol re Ring money. Icon. Pewter measure. Snuff mull. Wrote Chapman re tinder Box.
Thursday 26/5/1910. A good growing day, attendance good, usual work.
Sent Bond W McIntosh to Mr McCrone.
Note from Miss Macdonald North Uist, no lamp to be got.
Got fossil fish from A Sutherland, Teacher, Watten.
Bella at sale of Philip Campbell (Blairmore,) – bought half a dozen hair bottomed chairs in mahogany @ 5/each.
Cleared weeds in garden beds. Jeannie Mackay Morness called.
Friday 27/5/1910. A dull warm day with intermittent sunshine. Attendance fairly good. Usual work.
Wrote to Wightman – hat-iron. Miss Conlan – thanks for fossils.
Munro Elgin- sent on box of articles on approval.
At night, over in the Park on a walk. Got 2 Pictorials. Saw in the “Journal” death of Donald Campbell Keoldale. Widow Matheson Sango. George Mackay Laide.
Saturday 28/5/1910. Saw in yesterday`s “Journal” that Donald Murray, Ness, Lewis, found 4 axe heads, 2 spearheads, whetstones, beads etc, while cutting peat at a depth of 10 feet. Wrote D Murray re these.
Went to Achnagarrin to take photos of Mr and Mrs Mackay, but they preferred to put it off till next Saturday or so.
Called at Eppie with a bottle of milk. She agreed to get her photo taken spinning sometime, and to give me the picture of the Rogart Spinners soon.
Got the old stick of a crubag (wooden frame) at Achnagarrin. These were used on a horse`s back, to carry baskets on each side, -are still used in Shetland for taking home peats.
Mr Mackay said he would make inquiries at house of Maggie Ross (cook Rhilochan School,) for a “gillie dubh,”(dark lad) which he used to see her father using when working at making boots.
Had dinner and went up with the 3 boys past Blairmore. Called on Donald Ross, (Culrain.) Sergt Mackenzie in, stayed in about half an hour. Sergt Mackenzie was 22 years in the Horse Artillery. He went to America in 1861, at the time of the war between the Northern and Southern States. He said that two British prisoners were taken by the States and they refused to liberate them. Then 36,000 British Troops sent, but the 2 prisoners liberated before the arrival of the British Troops. He landed at St John`s New Brunswick, went by sledge to Quebec, then to Montreal, then to Kingston, without much rest and at times, with little food.
Showed me a nice small silver snuff box presented to his father John Mackenzie in 1851. He said he gave the snuff mull his father had to his sister, Mrs McIntosh Rhemusaig. Said it was a silver- mounted one, of the usual curved type. He said that he would look into it, as I said I should like very much to get one of the kind.
A box of curios came on approval from Mr Munro, antiquarian and auctioneer Elgin. Had much pleasure looking over these. The box contained the following.-
Bronze Buddha, 17/6. – 1 Flint loch pistol Arabic 10/, Moorish 10/.- 1 Bronze vase with painted birds, 12/6.- 2 pair Shoe buckles, silver.- 20/ the pair.- 1 Egyptian god, green, 2/6.- 1 pair buckles (yellow,) 10/.- 1 Roman pottery lamp with boar, 3/6.- 1 Brass tobacco box, oval, 5/- 1 Clay figure, 7/6- 1 Horn drinking vessel, 3/6- 1 Medal of copper from Nelson`s flagship, the “Foudroyant,” 5/. 1 Brass figure of dragon, 4/6- 1 Copper tobacco box, 2/- Khedive medal, 1882 3/6, – Indian medal (Chitral,) 1895, 6/,- 1 Clay figure, 4/,- 1 Roman clay lamp, 3/6,- 1 Circular ivory and mother of pearl inlaid powder horn made of wood and inlaid,(Moorish,)17/6, – 1 Highland dirk. 10/, do brooch, 10/ do Quaich, 12/6,- Flint strikers, 1/6 each,- 1 Powder horn, 10/6,- Skian Dubh (black knife,) 7/,-Tortoise shell snuff box,12/6,- Bronze lamp, 2 burners, 8/, – 1 Fir candle holder, 6/6.
Sabbath 29/5/1910. A very wet and stormy day. All of us went to hear Rev Mr McAlpin Dornoch preaching in Culrain. We greatly enjoyed the most refreshing sermon. Attendance poor.
Monday 30/5/1910. A showery coldish day, attendance very good, usual school work. 3 new scholars, – the Davidson’s, cattleman, Rovie.
Wrote J Grant for van to call. (butcher).
“ R Munro, offered 40/for certain things for which price marked is £2/16.
“ Mr Mackay Hotel re Soup Kitchen subscription. Dr Simpson ditto.
Got parcel from Hooker, 15 Sefton Park Bristol, with, Icon, Ring, bronze, Gill pewter measure, Small snuff mull.
Note from Miss Conlan that Mr Alex Innes will be very pleased to accept 3/ for lamp sent to me.
Tuesday 31/5/1910. A good day, attendance good, 71 at present. 2 new scholars. Paid J Mclean Soup Kitchen money.
Note from Barbe re stone club.
Sent 3/6 plus postage to Miss Conlan
Journal to J M Campbell.
Letter to Jimmy Campbell Gualin. (Durness)
Post card re prize to L Ross.
Returned parcel to Hooker- icon-measure- horn.
Bella down seeing Dr Simpson, who afterwards called at the schoolhouse, as he was seeing Mrs McIntosh Carn House. Ma`s thuig- gun robh: troin chuir so troimbh cheili mi. (This visit was to confuse me.)
All of us along at the falls. Heard that James Sutherland Morness died last night.
End May 1910. Spc extracted
[Notes 14th – The Bannerman family were in 140 East Langwell, they moved to farm in Brora and then to Tain, where the family still remain in business. Jane Grant had the small croft on Culdrain hill across from the Culdrain school, where a sheep dipper was built in later days. Marion Murray was in Balchlaggan street, a neighbour to Eppie.]
[Note for 21st – John Sutherland was off the Craigton Sutherland`s. He had built the house in Pittentrail, now called Invercorry and ran a shop there. He later became county roads surveyor and lived in Strath Naver. In the Great War he lost 3 sons.] end