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23 July 2014
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Arnish Lighthouse

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Faclan - Hebridean Book Festival / 30 August

Went to An Lanntair where I bought the book Calum's Road, and had it signed by the author, who was standing right behind me. A large collection of books was there for the buying, and it was just as well I only had 14 on me, or else I would have bought the lot. Faclan was opened by former Isles MP Calum MacDonald, who expressed hopes it might approximate the Edinburgh Book Festival. Islands Book Trust chairman John Randall proceeded to introduce Roger Hutchinson. Roger, himself a resident of the island of Raasay, just east of Skye, went on to tell the story of Calum MacLeod who was so fed up with submitted unsuccesful pleas to Inverness County Council for a road to his village of South Arnish, that he built it himself. Two hard miles. His aim, to prevent the depopulation of northern Raasay, was not achieved. Northern Raasay, ironically, was the precise area that previous owners of the island had cleared residents of the southern half to. Nowadays, everybody, bar one family, now lives in southern Raasay.

Mairi Hedderwick is best known for Katie Morag stories, although I think Mairi is a wee bit fed up with her. She told of her 6 months in a campervan, visiting 40 islands including a 6 week stint in Hiort [St Kilda]. The Katie Morag story of the Tiresome Ted stems from Mairi's own experience with a teddybear. Hers was thrown out with the rubbish - over a clifftop into the sea. The teddy promptly turned up on a beach a mile along the coast six months later. She took it back, but threw it back out again on moving house. Two years later, Mairi returned to a beach on the island of Coll, where all this was taking place - to find her teddybear on the beach. In a dreadful state - I saw it in her exhibition elsewherein An Lanntair. Mrs Hedderwick has drawn her own illustrations for Eye on the Hebrides and pocket diaries for 2006 and 2007.
Posted on Arnish Lighthouse at 12:16


Have you also seen 'Highland Journey' by the same author - a sketching tour of Scotland, retracing the footsteps of Victorian artist John Reid? Pub. 1992, the chapters are eight 'rambles' including Ramble 6 on Lewis.

Flying Cat from a Bookshelf of Islands

FC, I guess you mean the one by Hedderwick? Worth buying at a discounted 20 dollars, you think? I'll part readily with my money if the book is good, but don't have time for mediocre outpourings. Calum McDonald has one, partly identical title with some Gaelic (1945). How is that one (and is it in English or a Gaelic variant?)?

mjc from NM,USA

I also bought 'Callum's Road' - not got it read yet. it sounds good - story of determination against all odds. the teddy bear - awww - poor Ted. to be thrown out once is bad, twice is misery. both stories are about strong characters I think...

scallowawife from shetland

Mairi Hedderwick does NOT do 'mediocre outpourings'.

Flying Cat from lurking among the gunnies and mairis

Mairi need never tired of Katie Morag as far as I am concerned. The stories are good but the detailed pictures entranced my three year old granddaughter.

hrossey from Mainland Orkney

Flying Cat: good. Off I go back to and I'll order, expedited delivery.

mjc from NM,USA

Oymigod mjc, the responsibility! What if you decide that you have spent your hard-earned $s on 'mediocre outpourings'? I'd never live it down! Although, just at the moment I don't much feel like living it up either. Mrrrrrrrp.

Flying Cat from under doctor's orders

i haven't read any of the books you lot are on about i'm more interestead in the katie morag books considering i am doing a school project on mairi hedderwick and katie morag stories, it isn't as hard as i thought it would be but i can't quite see me managing to pass with the minimum number of pages being 8, yes it doesn't seem very hard but my english teacher is expecting amazingly good work from me and the dead line is this friday coming i think and i'm only half way through, if you have any advice i'd be really grateful to have a comment left back

i hate P.E.!!! from scotland

Got Callum's Road and read it as well as other books on the island.Fantastic story not just about determination but also foresight knowing that although the North End was emptying before the road could be built he could just maybe help bring people back and it worked. If you go back there now people are there again , albeit in much smaller levels but they have not completely deserted the area. The other lovely thing is to remember that he and his brother also built the road/track down to Fladda

Andy Bleaden from Glossop, UK

Read the book and admired Callum for his determination and hard work in getting the road built. Only through walking the whole road can you appreciate the effort that was put into it.

Donald Forrest from Newtonmore

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