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,
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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