Some places we've been and some places we're going.

Archive for May 15, 2013

Tracking the Ancestors.

I’m writing this log at 9:00, there are sunny patches and a gentle wind, pretty much the same as at 8:00 this morning, what came between was quite different, not so gentle winds and rain. Alex was chauffeur today and because the day seemed promising weather-wise we decided to go to places where ancestors had lived.

There are only piles of stones left in many places but a lot of research been done and Lena was able to match up croft numbers so sometimes we were able to see the particular walls or piles of stones where the family homes once stood. There seem to be relatives everywhere which isn’t surprising when several generations had many children. Reading about the Clearances doesn’t give you an appreciation of the impact on the “little people” but when you see the ruins of so many houses and know it’s like that because the families were forced out of their homes you get a real sense of the heartbreak. Alex & Lena’s maternal great, great, great grandfather and all the other settlers were moved on from Eishken when the estate owners wanted to set up a Hunting Lodge. GGGgrandfather settled at Leumrabahgh (Lemreway) then the family was forced to move on so the Landowner could keep more sheep. They moved to Crosbost (Crossbost). The common feature about all the places is their beauty with stunning lochs, hills and glens so the family certainly had an eye for beautiful “Real Estate” even if it was in an extremely tough environment.

The privileged, powerful Landholders and poor powerless “common people” is the real Feudal system in action. I think possibly the use of convict labour and Ticket of Leave convicts in the early years of Australian colonisation is the closest thing to it there but here there are still signs of it now. At least the “Land Raiders” brought about the Crofters Commission which recognised the “little man’s” rights to land. (Similar to Native Title in Australia)

I’ve been looking out for deer but even today with all the moors and country crossed I didn’t see one. Canada Geese, black and grey rabbits, some Herons and introduced ponies, sheep and cattle were all the animal life I saw. Maybe the people who come up to hunt for the season have scared them all away. At Eisigen Estate we could see the big block of kennels for the hunting dogs and the ponies on the moors are used to carry game off the hills after the hunters have had their thrills.

Unfortunately Mark has had some breathing problems and gone into hospital for the night. Naturally, the nurse on duty this afternoon was a cousin of Lena and Alex!