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Behold the Hebrides
by Alasdair Alpin MacGregor


See a video of Tom Weir sailing around the Hebrides

FOREWORD

I willingly comply with the wish of the youthful author that I should write a Foreword to his sketches. I have read them with keen interest and with high appreciation of their worth. His subject is a fascinating one. The glamour, the mystery, the romance of the Hebrides have been the theme of many a song and many a story. Mr MacGregor has treated his text with a freshness and understanding which must compel attention and excite admiration. His youthful and vivid imagination: his love of Nature in all her manifestations: the distinction of his phrasing: the intimacy with which he bids his readers wander hand in hand with him by the hills and lochs and seas which he loves so well, must make a strong appeal, at any rate to Highlanders, whether they dwell at home or across the seas. To the exile in particular this little volume cannot fail to recall early and sacred memories of the homeland, and will make them live again. It is well that, in a prosaic age, an author should be found who combines the fire and enthusiasm of youth with the maturity begotten by war service and all it stands for, whose eye for romance is not dimmed by the materialism of to-day, and who devotes his talents to visualising those simple and primitive joys which are to many of us a cherished and a holy possession. I wish Mr MacGregor well in his literary adventure. I hope that his evangel may reach a wide and widening congregation. If I may vary the metaphor, the listeners-in will not begrudge the time and attention which they expend on their task; nay, they cannot fail to be grateful to the youthful broadcaster.

Robert Munro.

EDINBURGH, July 1925.

PREFACE

During the long and bitter persecutions of Clan Alpin, which, after the unhappy incident in Gleann Bhraoin, the Glen of Sorrow, culminated in the suppression, under pain of death, of all who bore the name of MacGregor, a certain lain MacGregor of Glengyle, rather than abandon his royal name and surrender those claims, which from time immemorial his ancestors in unbroken succession had maintained by the ancient right of the sword, fled to the lsland of Lewis, and sought refuge there among the wild, inaccessible creeks of Loch Carloway, where the Islesfolk, though they knew little of his history and of the desperate circumstances that had driven him thitherward, at all events spoke his language and understood his tradition.

As a descendant of this refugee, it is my peculiar privilege to have inherited through him something of the wildness and mysticism of a race, whose skill and valour by land and sea are as a tale that is told.

Incidentally, I acknowledge my indebtedness to the Editors of the Scotsman, Weekly Scotsman, Glasgow Herald, Glasgow Weekly Herald, Edinburgh Evening News, Edinburgh Evening Dispatch, Scottish Country Life, Oban Times and Chambers’s Journal for permission to republish these sketches; and I express my gratitude to A. D. Y., I. I., the Rev. Canon R. C. MacLeod of MacLeod, Dr. A. B. Flett, Percy Donald, B.Sc., and W. Wilson for having assisted me so admirably with the illustrations.

Further, I am obliged to Mr William Grant, Editor of the Stornoway Gazette, and to William Cook MacKenzie, Esq., for the courtesy and consideration that they have shown me at all times, and for the kind advice they have given me on innumerable occasions.

Alasdair Alpin MacGregor,

EDINBURGH, July 1925.

Callinish Standing Stones at Lewis (Outer Hebrides)

Hebrides: Islands on the Edge - Episode 3 BBC full documentary 2013

See also: History of the Western Isles


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