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Loch Etive and The Sons of Uisnach
Pictures and information from Robert Allan


My wife's name is Evelyn McGregor and father was Gregor McGregor who was born in Glen Etive in 1908.  The house was called "Glenceitlein"  (unsure of spelling). Gregor's father, also Gregor, was a shepherd and in this wee house, he raised 9 children, all of whom lived long and healthy lives.

Evelyn's  dad told us that when he was a boy, all supplies (groceries, mail, oil for the lamps, etc., etc.) came by boat to the head of Loch Etive, regularly, every  3  months !!!!!!!!!. At new year, they considered themselves very fortunate if they got a "first foot" before the end of March !!!!  Gregor (Evelyn's dad) did not learn English until well into his teens.

Here then are 3 pics of the area taken when we went there in 1997. Gregor died in 1988

1. Old Pier

Evelyn is sitting on all that is left of the pier where Gregor McGregor's supplies were delivered by a "Puffer" from Glasgow. Even in 1997, road access to this spot was by a very narrow single track road leading down from the main Glencoe road near The Kings House Hotel. Take note of the cleft in the hill behind.  You will see it again in the next photograph.

2.  Glenceitlein House

The wee house with the slate roof is the house itself.  The two others with red roofs are outbuildings.  This is where 11 people once lived. The only heat was a peat fire, also used for cooking. The only light was an oil lamp and the only reading was the newspapers that may have been delivered 3 months ago along with the mail !! Plus of course the school books.  The river is the River Etive.  We were told that no-one remembered the river being so low. We were also told that it should easily have covered all the rocks seen here and should have been flowing fast.  Not so sluggish as was when we were there.

Behind the house is the same hill which can be seen in the photograph of the old pier, which gives some idea of the location of the house.  That cleft in the hill was a sore point with Gregor and his dad. Sheep  were constantly getting trapped in there and had to physically lifted out.  Apparently, no easy task.

3.  Old Schoolhose

The schoolhouse is directly across the river from Glenceitlein.  Gregor and his siblings had to cross the river by a bucket suspended on a rope.  We were surprised to find it still there and in good order as well.  It was also securely padlocked!!!

When Evelyn's dad attended this school, there was only one other pupil besides himself and that was his brother Angus !!!!!!!!!!  Talk about getting a good education.  Along with their books and their lunch, they were also expected to bring a couple of blocks of peat each for the fire !!

It should also be noted that for the two weeks we were in Scotland, we got one half day of light rain. The rest of the time was like these photographs and the temperature was always above 80F.


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