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Three women and two men are forced by conditions to abandon their Black Houses in 1887, a year after the Crofters' Act. One of them marries the owner of the schooner which transports them to Lewis in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. The others take up two crofts in a small township in the vicinity of Garenin on the west coast of Lewis and have insufficient resources to seeThree women and two men are forced by conditions to abandon their Black Houses in 1887, a year after the Crofters' Act. One of them marries the owner of the schooner which transports them to Lewis in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. The others take up two crofts in a small township in the vicinity of Garenin on the west coast of Lewis and have insufficient resources to see them through until their first harvest. The harbours are filled with hundreds of fishing vessels. Paddle steamers take cargo and tourists throughout the islands as the propeller has only recently been invented. Throughout there is the hint of another dimension of spirits, healing and prediction of the future by those of the second sight. The characters are honest, would never dream of lying and take pride in what they do, but they brush with the law, and just manage to stay on the right side of it. They operate as a community. They have to, as it takes all of them to make fishing viable and to help one another when needed. An elderly retired sea captain guides the newcomers through their early difficulties and advises them on how to fish offshore. Cattle droving, and coastal trading by the schooner, take the reader around the Hebrides and mainland Scotland. The drovers cross tidal fords at Benbecula and swim cattle from Skye to the mainland at Kyle of Lochalsh rather than the normal cattle crossing at Kyle Rhea. The schooner lifts cattle from inaccessible areas, sometimes secretively to avoid the Factors. Two young sailors find romance when assisting with a cattle drove. The music of the pipes plays its part in the drama as the vessel explores areas once filled with Bonnie Prince Charlie's Highlanders and with Redcoats searching for them. The Corrievrechan whirlpool almost wrecks the schooner, and its shattered casting is taken to the old abandoned iron works at Taynuilt, after the wall of water at Connel subsides. Cape Wrath lives up to its name. A visit to Ballachulish reveals why the schooner is named 'The Red Fox'. The crofters meet Lady Mathieson when visiting the factor. They also meet a man who many years later will return as Lord Leverhulme. The Forth Rail Bridge is half way through construction. The railway has reached Oban and Strome, the latter line soon to be extended to Kyle of Lochalsh. The Herring Girls dominate the fishing industry and are the highest paid workers, gutting one herring every second. They become closely involved with the schooner as cattle and fish are its main cargoes, and the schooner's cook marries one of them. Weaving has become a necessary extra income, requiring the women to spend much of their time spinning the wool to keep up with the demands of the loom. The men must fish and Tarbert lives up to the meaning of its name when fishing boats have to be dragged across the land to catch fish on the other side of the island - but not on the Sabbath. At the Highland Games in Carloway, celebrating the Queen's Jubilee, the Islanders participate in tossing the caber and in a game of shinty. A successful healing takes place from one who 'had' the gift - but it scares the children out of their wits. The characters are not heroes, but ordinary people making a living at a time when starvation and destitution were never far away. The only character deserving of such credit is a heroine, still at school, and like the other children there, having to learn in a language not natural to her, from a teacher who has not one word of the Gaelic. If the children or friends of the crofters emigrate, then they would never be seen again. The novel ends with the return of the descendants on bicycles, guided by journals handed down to them....

Title : The Scottish Islanders
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 21313424
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 317 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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