Lèirsinn shoilleir an Eilean a’ Cheò

Read in English

Tha am Maoin Dualchais Nàdarra is Chultarail againn a’ toirt taic do chothroman a bhios a’ glèidheadh, a’ dìon is ag adhartachadh nàdar is cultar na Gàidhealtachd is nan Eilean. Anns a’ bhloga an-diugh, bruidhnidh sinn ri Dougie Baird mu Phròiseact Làraichean Iongantach anns an Eilean Sgitheanach.

Thathar ag ràdh gu bheil an t-ainm ‘Sgitheanach’ a’ riochdachadh seann cheanglaichean Lochlannach is e stèidhichte air facal a bha a’ ciallachadh ‘sgòth’ agus ’s ann mar Eilean a’ Cheò a dh’aithnicheas cuid e. Tha an t-eilean soirbh gu leòr a ruigsinn agus tha turasachd air a dhol am meud gu mòr o chionn beagan bhliadhnaichean.

Ach tha cosgais an cois na fèille. Is gann gun tèid aig a’ bhun-structar cumail ris an àrdachadh seo. Ach chan eil cobhair fad às. Tha Skye’s Iconic Natural Heritage Sites Project air a’ Mhaoin Dualchais Nàdarra is Chultarail a chur gu feum airson aire air seallaidhean, fiadh-bheatha is cultar na sgìre a thoirt am feabhas.

Tha Outdoor Access Trust, a bhios a’ stiùireadh a’ phròiseict, air aon de na com-pàirtichean agus thèid bun-structar is dòighean mìneachaidh a leasachadh air trì làraichean ainmeil – Bodach an Stòir, a’ Chuith-raing agus Glumagan nan Sìthichean. Thèid gach làrach a thoirt am feabhas tro chothroman cleachdaidh is àiteachan seallaidh nas fheàrr agus fiosrachadh nas co-òrdanaichte airson sàr thursan do luchd-turais a thoirt gu buil.

’S e Dougie Baird, Àrd-oifigear Outdoor Access Trust an Alba is manaidsear a’ phròiseict. Dh’innis e dhuinn dè tha fa-near don phròiseact agus ciamar a bhios e a’ lìbhrigeadh nan leasachaidhean seo.

Dougie, an urrainn dhut blasad den phròiseact a thoirt dhuinn?

Bidh Skye’s Iconic Natural Heritage Sites Project a’ freagairt ri cion bun-structar turasachd is dhòighean mìneachaidh anns an Eilean Sgitheanach. Thèid tursan an luchd-tadhail a thoirt am feabhas do bharrachd dhaoine air trì de na làraichean as ainmeile agus as trainge – ’s iad sin Bodach an Stòir, a’ Chuith-rang agus Glumagan nan Sìthichean.

Thèid seo a choileanadh tro leasachadh a’ bhun-structair choiseachd – ceuman, drochaidean, àiteachan seallaidh; càradh cheuman is àrainnean; agus prògram mìneachaidh co-òrdanaichte tro bhùird fhiosrachaidh is soidhnichean, cuide ri sanasachd, margaideachd is iomairtean ceangailte an lùib co-theacsa nas fharsainge mun Eilean Sgitheanach mar àite turasachd.

Le bhith ag ullachadh nan trì làraichean don àm ri teachd, bu chòir gum bi luchd-turais air am brosnachadh gu fuireach nas fhaide agus tadhal air ceàrnaidhean eile den eilean agus mar sin a’ cosg barrachd airgid san eilean; bhiodh cliù an eilein air a ghleidheadh is air a neartachadh mar àite turais air am bu chòir don a h-uile duine tadhal.

Dè dh’adhbharaich stèidheachadh a’ phròiseict seo?

O chionn beagan bhliadhnaichean, tha pìosan naidheachd mhì-fhàbharach air nochdadh a tha air innse gu bheil an t-Eilean Sgitheanach làn no nach eil fàilte ro luchd-turais. Ann an 2018, chuir CNN an cèill gun robh an t-Eilean Sgitheanach aig àireamh a h-aon air liosta de dh’àiteachan a bu chòir do luchd-turais seachnadh air sàillibh ’s gun robh cuid den bheachd gun robh cus dhaoine ann a rèir bun-structar an eilein.

Thàinig an suidheachadh seo gu buil mar thoradh air àrdachadh mòr an àireamh an luchd-tadhail don eilean is na làraichean ainmeil thar grunn bhliadhnaichean. Chaidh 80,000 luchd-tadhail a chlàradh aig Glumagan nan Sìthichean ann an 2016/17, àireamh a bha neo-sheasmhach an uair ud ach chaidh còrr is 180,000 a chlàradh ann an 2019; agus anns an aon bhliadhna, chaidh 340,000 daoine a chlàradh aig Bodach an Stòir.

B’ urrainn don eilean barrachd luchd-turais a ghabhail. Ach air sgàth cion bun-structar bunaiteach is ghoireasan luchd-turais, tha barrachd chàraichean air rathaidean beaga ionadail is ceuman monaidh agus na bha a’ fàs ri an taobh a’ crìonadh is a’ fulang gu mòr.

’S ann air an dearbh adhbhar seo a chaidh an iomairt The Skye Iconic Sites Project (SISP) a stèidheachadh ann an 2018 agus anns a bheil na leanas an sàs: Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland (com-pàirtiche lìbhrigidh a’ phròiseict) agus Skye Connect (buidheann stiùireadh àiteachan turais an Eilein), dà bhuidhinn choimhearsnachd ionadail – Urras Stafainn agus Minginish Community Hall Association (MCHA), Comhairle na Gàidhealtachd agus Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate (am prìomh uachdaran).

Tha an com-pàirteachadh neo-fhoirmeil seo a’ tuigsinn an luach an cois liubhairt fhuasglaidhean seasmhach is maireannach airson àiteachan turais nàdarra a leasachadh gus am faigh a h-uile duine tlachd asta fad iomadh bliadhna ri teachd.

Tha SISP air a dhol an sàs san trioblaid is e fa-near don phròiseact tursan an luchd-turais a thoirt am feabhas agus stiùireadh seasmhach a thoirt gu buil air na làraichean seo a tha an dà chuid iomallach ach air leth tarraingeach do luchd-turais.

An ann san Eilean Sgitheanach a-mhàin a tha an cion maoineachaidh ann am bun-structar inntrigidh ri fhaicinn?

Chan eil an t-Eilean Sgitheanach na aonar ged a tha na cùisean turasachd an sin air a bhith fo phrosbaig nam meadhanan san Rìoghachd Aonaichte agus air feadh an t-saoghail. Tha na sluaghan a thill do thuath na h-Alba an dèidh lasachadh bhacaidhean siubhail Covid-19 air trioblaidean pàircidh a thoirt am miosad, air salachar fhàgail ri taobh rathaidean agus slighean air feadh na dùthcha a mhilleadh. Tha a’ chùis air cion maoineachaidh ann am bun-structar inntrigidh a thoirt am follais air an robh feum fad iomadh bliadhna. Tha e coltach gum bi fàs sa bhliadhna seo ag adhbharachadh fàs buan agus ginealach ùr a’ cur eòlas air na th’ air a stairsnich fhèin. Bidh seo na bhuannachd airson sunnd is slàinte dhaoine ach thig buaidh mhòr air an tuath na chois. 

Bidh Skye’s Iconic Natural Heritage Sites Project a’ toirt teamplaid gu buil a ghabhas cleachdadh an àiteachan eile gus an soirbhich le leasachadh turasachd sheasmhach ann an àiteachan iomallach air feadh na h-Alba agus nas fhaide air falbh.

Nach innis thu dhuinn beagan a bharrachd mun phròiseact fhèin?

Thèid am bun-structar inntrigidh a leasachadh airson leigeil le farsaingeachd nas motha de dhaoine na trì làraichean a chleachdadh. Thèid prìomh eileamaidean na h-obrach a choileanadh thairis air dà bhliadhna agus togail ceum do gach comas aig a’ Chuith-raing na measg, a leigeas le daoine ann an cathraichean-cuibhle sàr àite seallaidh a ruigsinn far am faicear a’ Chuith-raing agus a’ mhuir. Leigidh na drochaidean ùra aig Glumagan nan Sìthichean le daoine aig nach eil de mhisneachd no de chomasan a dhol tarsainn air na h-uillt gu sàbhailte. Thèid àiteachan seallaidh ùra air na trì làraichean a chur air dòigh a leigeas le daoine tlachd fhaighinn asta.

Tha stèidheachadh prògram slàn de dh’obair ath-bheothachadh àrainnean riatanach airson stad a chur air crìonadh àrainneachail mar a tha e agus na h-àrainnean a neartachadh air na trì làraichean – tha an cron cho leathann ri 40 meatair ann an cuid a dh’àiteachan!

Tha e fa-near don phròiseact luachan dualchais a ghleidheadh aig ìre sheasmhach gus am faigh na ginealaichean a th’ ann is ri teachd cothrom eòlas a chur air agus tlachd fhaighinn às na làraichean ann an staid a tha fada nas fheàrr.

Thèid luchd-turais a chuideachadh gus am faigh iad nas urrainn às an turas tro fhiosrachadh nas fheàrr air na trì làraichean air sgàth plana co-òrdanaichte agus dhòighean mìneachaidh. Thèid a dhealbhadh a rèir feuman sheòrsachan ùra is nas measgaichte de luchd-tadhail agus e a’ toirt fa-near do an cuid chànanan. Tha e riatanach gun tèid a’ Ghàidhlig is cultar nan Gàidheal ùisneachadh le fradharc Gàidhealach seach eadar-theangachadh facal air an fhacal air ainmean-àite is lusan is ainmhidhean na sgìre. Thèid cuid mhòr den fhiosrachadh is mìneachadh a thoirt seachad anns na raointean-chàraichean a ghabhas cleachdadh leis a h-uile duine a dh’aindeoin comas agus a chuireas ri goireasan pàircidh is nan taighean-beaga.

Tha muinntir an eilein san fharsaingeachd a’ cumail taic ri amasan Skye’s Iconic Natural Heritage Sites Project agus obair a’ dol no air a coileanadh air raointean-chàraichean is taighean-beaga ùra air na trì làraichean tro iomairtean co-òrdanaichte eile. Thig buannachd a bharrachd an cois nan raointean-chàraichean. Thig sruthan airgid ùra gu dìreach bho chìsean pàiricidh air na làraichean a chuirear ri seasmhachd a’ bhun-structair inntrigidh, ath-bheothachadh àrainnean agus uidheam mìneachaidh air gach làrach.

Ciamar a thathar a’ maoineachadh a’ phròiseict?

Tha buidseat iomlan de bheagan fo £1 millean aig Skye’s Iconic Natural Heritage Sites Project. Thig £650,516 bhon Mhaoin Dualchais Nàdarra is Chultarail (NCHF), air a stiùireadh le NatureScot agus air a mhaoineachadh ann am pàirt tron Mhaoin Leasachaidh Eòrpach (ERDF); agus maoineachadh a bharrachd bho Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland – £98,793, Scottish Government Rural Payments Inspections Division (SGRPID) – £150,000, Minginish Community Hall Association – £20,000, Comhairle na Gàidhealtachd – £10,000.

Tha A’ Mhaoin Dualchais Nàdarra is Chultarail air a mhaoineachadh ann am pàirt tro phrògram na Maoin Leasachaidh Eòrpaich (ERDF) aig Riaghaltas na h-Alba, a bhios a’ dol gu 2023. ’S e seo fear de na dhà Eadar-theachdan Ro-innleachdail ERDF a bhios NatureScot a’ stiùireadh – ’s e Maoin na Bun-structair Uaine am fear eile.

Leanaibh blog nam Maoinean Structarail Eòrpaich airson an tuilleadh fios is naidheachd às ùr.  Rachaibh gu @scotgovESIF air Twitter no cleachdaibh #ERDF is #europeanstructuralfunds

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Misty Isle with a clear vision

Read in Gaelic

Our Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund supports opportunities to conserve, protect and promote the nature and culture of the Highlands & Islands. In today’s blog, we speak to Dougie Baird about the exciting Iconic Sites Project on the Isle of Skye.

Storr on the Isle of Skye. © Robert Carchrie

Popularity has come at a price. Groaning infrastructure struggling to cope with the influx of visitors is the most obvious sign. But help is at hand. Skye’s Iconic Sites Project has tapped into the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund to better promote, and protect the outstanding scenery, wildlife and culture of the areas.

The Outdoor Access Trust, which will lead on the project, is one of a number of partners and will oversee significant improvements to infrastructure and interpretation at three iconic sites – the Old Man of Storr, the Quiraing, and the Fairy Pools. Each site will have improved and more inclusive access, viewpoints, and better coordinated information to give high-quality visitor experiences.

Dougie Baird, Chief Executive Officer of the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland, and Manager of Skye’s Iconic Sites Project, gave us a detailed insight into what the project aims to do and how it will deliver a range of welcome improvements.

Dougie, can you give us a flavour of the project?

Skye’s Iconic Sites Project will help to address the chronic lack of tourist infrastructure and co-ordinated interpretation on the Isle of Skye, making improvements to the quality of the visitor experience for a wider and more inclusive range of people at three of its most iconic and busiest sites – the Old Man of Storr, the Quiraing, and the Fairy Pools.

This will be achieved by constructing access infrastructure such as paths, bridges, and viewpoints; restoring and rehabilitating habitats; installing co-ordinated interpretation through information points and signage; and developing joined-up promotion, marketing within the wider context of Skye as a visitor destination.

Future proofing all three sites should not only encourage tourists to stay longer and explore other areas of the island, thus increasing the levels of spend, but it should also ensure that the reputation of the island is maintained or improved as a ‘bucket list’ visitor destination. 

The Fairy Pools on the Isle of Skye. ©Vicki Mowat

How did this project come about?

In recent years, Skye has attracted numerous pieces of unwelcome publicity regarding it being ‘full’ and ‘closed to tourists’.   In 2018 CNN Travel famously listed Skye at number one on the list of tourist places to avoid, entirely due to the sense that it was beyond carrying capacity.

This comes as a direct result of the exponential rise in visitor numbers to the island and its most iconic sites for a number of years.   The Fairy Pools recorded an already unsustainable 80,000 visitors in 2016/17, to more than 180,000 in 2019, while in the same year a massive 220,000 people flocked to the Old Man of Storr (up from 36,000 in 2012).

The island can readily absorb more tourists.  However, there is a lack of the most basic infrastructure and tourist facilities to enable the most popular attractions to thrive under the increased pressure, with access roads struggling to cope, and mountain paths and the surrounding vegetation overwhelmed and badly damaged.  

It was for this reason that the Skye Iconic Sites Project initiative (SISP), comprising the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland (the project’s delivery partner), Skye Connect (Skye’s destination management organisation), two local community organisations – the Staffin Trust and Minginish Community Hall Association (MCHA), Highland Council, Nature Scot and Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate (the principal landowner), was formed in 2018.

This informal collaborative alliance fully appreciates the real value in providing sustainable and long-term solutions to develop natural heritage attractions that can be enjoyed in the coming decades by all. 

SISP is tackling the challenges head-on and aims to improve visitor experience and achieve sustainable management of these remote but hugely popular locations.

View looking south from Quiraing viewpoint. ©NatureScot

Is this lack of investment in access infrastructure specific to the Isle of Skye? 

Despite their tourism issues being subjected to scrutiny by the UK and international media, Skye is definitely not alone.  The sheer weight of people rushing to Scotland’s countryside as Covid-19 travel restrictions are eased has exacerbated the problems with parking at trailheads, fouling and the erosion of popular trails throughout the country.  It has also highlighted the lack of investment in access infrastructure that has been so clearly needed for many years.  This year’s growth is likely to bring a permanent rise in countryside use, as a new generation realise what is on their doorstep.  This is fantastic for health and wellbeing but means increased pressure on the countryside.

Skye’s Iconic Sites Project will provide a ‘template’ that can be learned from and used elsewhere, so that sustainable tourism development can be achieved in remote and fragile locations throughout Scotland and further afield.

Tell us more about the details of the project?

The access infrastructure will be developed to help a wider and more diverse range of people access all three sites. The main elements of the work, phased over two years, includes the construction of a short all-abilities path at the Quaraing, which will allow less able people, including those in wheelchairs, to get to a key viewpoint.  New bridges at the Fairy Pools will allow less confident and able people to cross the burns without fear of falling in.  The addition of viewpoints at all three sites will allow people to access key areas to best experience them.

The Quiraing on the Isle of Skye. ©Vicki Mowat

The implementation of a comprehensive programme of habitat restoration work is key in arresting and reversing the current rate of environmental degradation experienced at the three locations – erosion scars are as much as 40 metres wide in some places! 

The project will also ensure that heritage values are maintained at a sustainable level in order that current and future generations can experience and enjoy all the sites in a much-improved condition. 

With a coordinated and iterative interpretive plan, the project will help people get the most out of their visits through improved information, interpretation and promotion at all three sites. It will be tailored to the needs of newer, and more diverse types of visitors, and take cognisance of their languages.  An essential element of this will be the authentic and sympathetic use of the Gaelic language and Gaelic culture, rather than just a literal translation of local place names and flora and fauna. Much of the physical information and interpretation will be delivered at the car parks, making it accessible to all, augmenting the basic facilities of parking and toilets.

The aims and objectives of Skye’s Iconic Sites Project are widely supported on the island with new car parks and toilet facilities at all three sites, either in progress or recently completed, via other coordinated initiatives.  The car parks will also deliver an added bonus.  Sustainability of the access infrastructure, habitat rehabilitation, and interpretation at all three sites will be provided via new income streams generated direct from car parking at each of the sites.

Some access roads have been overwhelmed by visitor parking. ©NatureScot

How is the project being funded?

The project has a total budget of just under £1 million.  It will benefit hugely from receiving £650,516 from the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund (NCHF), led by NatureScot and is part-funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). There is also additional partnership funding from the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland – £98,793; Scottish Government Rural Payments Inspections Division (SGRPID) – £150,000; the Minginish Community Hall Association – £20,000; and Highland Council – £10,000.

The Natural & Cultural Heritage Fund is part of the Scottish Government’s current European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programme, which runs through to 2023.  This is one of two ERDF Strategic Interventions led by NatureScot – the other is the Green Infrastructure Fund.

You can follow the European Structural Funds blog for ESF activities, news and updates. For twitter updates go to @scotgovESIF or use the hashtags #ERDF and #europeanstructuralfunds

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Carragheen

Carragheen is a common and widely foraged seaweed in Gaelic Scotland, with a name that tells the forager where it can be found.

Leugh ann an Gàidhlig

Cairgein (also given as Carraigean) is a special seaweed in a Scottish Gaelic context as it is still foraged in a traditional manner, being generally used to make a pudding or jelly. The name derives from carraig ‘rock’ – the very substrate on which the small marine alga grows – although the modern Scottish Gaelic name might have been influenced by the English form carragheen which derives ultimately from the Irish Gaelic carraigín ‘small rock’ (it is also referred to in English as ‘Irish Moss’). Despite its popularity as a foraged food, the current author has not located a reference to it in the Gaelic landscape. Sgeir a’ Charraigein on the west coast of Mull, opposite the island of Ulva, at first appearance looks like ‘the skerry of the carragheen’ (and it is likely the species grows there) but an early Ordnance Survey map shows that the skerry is in fact named for a nearby sea-pinnacle called An Carraigean. It is ‘the skerry of the small rock’!

Sgeir a’ Charraigein off the west coast of Mull, despite initial appearance, is not named for the seaweed species but for an adjacent isolated sea-rock ‘An Carraigean’. The author has so far failed to locate a ‘carragheen’ place-name in Scotland but he is still looking!
Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

It is only at the lowest tides that enough carragheen is revealed to allow its collection in quantity. It is an attractive, diminutive weed, reaching around 15cm in length but usually smaller. It is dichotomously branched with squarish tips to the fronds, it bears no air bladders, and it varies in colour from bright green to dark purplish-brown, depending on depth and habitat. Sometimes found growing on relatively bare rock, it can also be somewhat hidden within beds of larger alga such as kelps. As with other fixed marine algae, it is most sustainably harvested by being cut with scissors rather than by detaching the entire plant from its substrate. Be gentle with seaweeds!

Carragheen as it appears (at low tide) growing on a rock © Roddy Maclean

The Gaelic name cairgein actually includes two species – carragheen (Chondrus crispus) and false carragheen (Mastocarpus stellatus), the latter having pointed ends to its fronds and a slightly warty texture, but this need not bother the forager, as both species can be used in the same way.

Carragheen (Chondrus crispus). © Roddy Maclean

The traditional way of dealing with carragheen in Gaelic Scotland is to lay the freshly-cut plants out in the sun and allow it to bleach (the species is best collected in the spring or early summer when its Vitamin A content is at its maximum). It is recommended that it be rained upon three times (the Scottish weather usually obliges!) and it is said that the best surface to dry it on is a clover lawn, as the plant will absorb sweetness from the clover flowers, although it is not clear if this has ever been scientifically validated!

Semi-bleached carragheen. Exposure to sunlight dries, bleaches and preserves the seaweed © Roddy Maclean

The bleached, dried carragheen is then stored in a dry, dark place in a hessian sack and can be used in the winter months. Some people even store it for a couple of years before using it. The dried seaweed is boiled and sieved to produce a relatively flavourless, white or light grey gelatinous pudding, rather like a blancmange, which is easily digested and was traditionally used in the Gàidhealtachd (and beyond) as a recuperative food for people suffering from stomach complaints. The flavour comes from the additives which are only restricted by the cook’s imagination – cinnamon and nutmeg are commonly used ingredients – and various sweet sauces are often drizzled over the pudding, topped with fresh fruit (raspberries are favoured if they are in season). What emerges is a foodstuff with no noticeable maritime flavour.

Get the recipe for this Hebridean carrageen pudding with rose water and cardamom from the Food and Forage Hebrides blog.

Perhaps surprisingly for such a seemingly innocuous and cryptic alga, carragheen has not been without its controversy. The extract, known as carrageenan, which is used as a thickener and gelling agent in products such as ice cream, cottage cheese and various desserts – as well as in infant formula – has been promoted as a vegan-friendly alternative to gelatin, which originates in animals. However, some scientists have suggested that carrageenan is inflammatory and even toxic within the digestive tract, although their findings have been rejected by other scientists and by regulatory agencies in a number of countries.

Cairgein has an alternative and rather poetic Gaelic name – màthair an duilisg ‘the mother of the dulse’ as it was seen as being the precursor to a slightly larger red seaweed which grows in similar locations and is still widely used in Scotland – dulse. In fact, this is the only name recorded for the species in the Gairloch area of Wester Ross by Roy Wentworth who compiled a comprehensive dictionary of the local dialect in the modern era. While Eriskay priest Father Allan McDonald (Maighstir Ailein) recorded only carraigean as a Gaelic form, he described the species as ‘a short sea-weed like dilse growing on same rocks as dilse’.

Dulse (or ‘dilse’ if you prefer) is another delicious seaweed beloved of the Gaels. But, for this blogger – as with the dried, bleached carragheen sitting in its hessian sack – the delicious dulse will have to wait for another occasion to be revealed!

This blog was written by Inverness-based writer, broadcaster and storyteller Roddy (Ruairidh) Maclean, whose work highlights the connections between the Gaelic language and Scotland’s environment.

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An Cairgein – sàr-fheamainn

ʼS iomadh duine a bhios a’ cruinneachadh a’ chairgein air cladaichean creagach mar a bhiodh ar sinnsearan o shean.

Read in English

ʼS e an cairgein (no carraigean) feamainn shònraichte do na Gàidheil. Bidh feadhainn fhathast ga chruinneachadh airson silidh no slaman a dhèanamh. Tha ainm a’ tighinn bho na carraigean air a bheil e a’ fàs, ged a tha dùil gur dòcha gun tug an t-ainm Beurla (a thàinig bhon Ghaeilge carraigín) buaidh air an riochd Ghàidhlig. Ann am Beurla, bithear cuideachd a’ gabhail ‘Irish Moss’ air. Ged a tha Gàidheil na h-Alba air a bhith ga chleachdadh o chian nan cian, chan eil e a’ nochdadh ann an ainmean-àite. Bha dùil aig an ùghdar gun robh Sgeir a’ Charraigein far cladach an iar Mhuile mu choinneimh Eilein Ulbha ga ainmeachadh, ach tha sgrùdadh de sheann mhapa a’ sealltainn dhuinn gu bheil an sgeir ainmichte airson carraig bheag ‘An Carraigean’ a tha ri a taobh.

Tha seann mhapa a’  sealltainn dhuinn nach eil Sgeir a’ Charraigein air taobh an iar Mhuile ag ainmeachadh a’ chairgein ach clach air a bheil ‘An Carraigean’. Chan eil an t-ùghdar eòlach air àite sam bith far a bheil an cairgein ainmichte air clàran na h-Alba. A bheil sibhse?
Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

ʼS ann dìreach nuair a tha tràigh mhòr ann a tha cairgein gu leòr ri fhaicinn air a’ chladach airson a rùrachd. ʼS e feamainn bheag, tarraingeach a th’ innte a’ bhios a’ ruigsinn 15cm ann am fad, ged a tha e mar as trice nas lugha na sin. Tha na meuran gobhlach le cinn car sgueathar orra, chan eil builgeanan èadhair air na frondaichean agus bidh caochladh dhathan air an lus, eadar uaine agus donn-phurpaidh dorch, a rèir àrainn agus doimhneachd. Uaireannan, bidh e a’ fàs gu fosgailte air carraigean ach faodaidh e a bhith am falach am measg feamainn nas motha, leithid stamh (liadhag). Mar a tha leis na feamainn eile a tha ceangailte ris a’ ghrunnd, tha e nas glice a bhith gan gearradh le siosar seach a bhith air an tarraing buileach glan bhon creig. Air ur socair le feamainn!

An Cairgein mar a chithear e a’ fàs air carraig © Ruairidh MacIlleathain

Tha ‘an cairgein’ a’ gabhail a-staigh dà ghnè – an cairgein fhèin (Chondrus crispus) agus an cairgein brèige (Mastocarpus stellatus). Air a’ chairgein bhrèige tha cinn nam frondaichean car stobach agus tha rùsg rudeigin foinneach orra. Chan eil sin a’ dèanamh diofar don neach-rùrachd, ge-tà, oir faodar an dà ghnè a chur gu feum anns an dearbh dhòigh.

An cairgein © Ruairidh MacIlleathain

ʼS e an dòigh nòsach a th’ aig na Gàidheil airson an cairgein ullachadh na lusan a chur a-mach airson tiormachadh agus blianadh sa ghrèin. ʼS e toiseach an t-samhraidh an t-àm as fheàrr airson a chruinneachadh, nuair a tha an ìre de Bheothamain A aig a h-àirde ann. Thathar a’ moladh gum bi an lus air a fhliuchadh trì tursan le frasan (a bhios mar as trice furasta gu leòr ann an samhradh Albannach!) agus thathar ag ràdh cuideachd gur ann air rèidhlean seamraig as fheàrr a thachras sin oir gheibh an fheamainn milseachd bho fhlùraichean na seamraig (ged nach eil e soilleir a bheil luchd-saidheans air a leithid a dhearbhadh fhathast!)

An cairgein, agus e leth-ghealaichte an dèidh a bhith fo sholas na grèine airson grunn làithean no seachdainean, © Ruairidh MacIlleathain

Bithear a’ gleidheadh a’ chairgein ghealaichte ann an àite tioram, dorch ann am poca heisein agus faodar a chleachdadh thar mìosan a’ gheamhraidh. Bidh cuid ga stòradh airson suas ri dà bliadhna mus cleachd iad e. Bithear a’ goil a’ chairgein agus ga chriathadh, agus gheibhear slaman bàn no liath a ghabhas ithe gu furasta agus a bh’ air a chleachdadh gu traidiseanta mar bhiadh dhaibhsan a bha a’ fulang le droch stamag. Chan eil blas mòr sam bith air a’ chairgein – bidh am blas a’ tighinn bhon stuth a chuireas an còcaire ris. Gu tric, bithear a’ cleachdadh caineal no cnò-mheannt agus bithear a’ dòrtadh sabhs milis thairis air a’ mhìlsean, agus measan air a mhuin (sùbhaichean craoibhe ma tha iad rin lorg). Gu h-annasach, chan eil blas na mara air a’ bhiadh, ged as ann don t-sàl a bhuineas an fheamainn.

Tha an reasabaidh airson mìlsean cairgein le uisge-ròis is càrdamon air bloga Food and Forage Hebrides.

ʼS dòcha gum bi e na iongnadh airson lus-mara cho beag agus falaichte, ach tha connspaid air èirigh mun stuth a thig às a’ chairgein – carrageenan – a th’ air a chleachdadh airson biadh a dhèanamh nas tighe – leithid uachdar-reòite, gruth, mìlsean agus biadh do leanaban. Tha cuid a tha measail air biadh bho lusan air a roghnachadh thairis air gelatin – a th’ air a dhèanamh de stuth bho ainmhidhean. Ge-tà, tha cuid de luchd-saidheans a’ cumail a-mach gun toir carrageenan droch bhuaidh air a’ chaolan ann an daoine, agus eadhon gu bheil e puinnseanta, ged a tha luchd-saidheans eile a’ dol às àicheadh sin, agus tha buidhnean-dìon bìdh ann an grunn dùthchannan ag ràdh gu bheil e sàbhailte.

Tha ainm Gàidhlig eile air a’ chairgein – màthair an duilisg – oir bha na seann daoine dhen bheachd gum biodh an duileasg – feamainn dearg eile a tha ri lorg air an aon phàirt dhen chladach – a’ fàs às. Gu dearbh, ʼs e sin an t-aon ainm a chlàr Roy Wentworth airson an fhaclair aige de dhualchainnt sgìre Gheàrrloch ann an Taobh Siar Rois. Chlàr Maighstir Ailean, Sagart Èirisgeigh, e mar carraigean ach sgrìobh e gu bheil e ‘coltach ris an duileasg agus a’ fàs air na dearbh chreagan air am bi an duileasg a’ fàs’.

ʼS e an duileasg feamainn bhlasta eile air a bheil na Gàidheil cianail measail. Ach, airson a’ bhlogair seo – cleas a’ chairgein thiormaichte a tha na phoca heisein – feumaidh iomradh air an duileasg a bhith air a ghleidheadh gu latha eile!

Bha am blog seo air a sgrìobhadh le Ruairidh MacIlleathain, a tha na sgrìobhadair, craoladair, eòlaiche-nàdair is sgeulaiche, stèidhichte ann an Inbhir Nis.

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Art on the Bog: Flanders Moss and Forth Valley Art Beat

Today’s blog is written by our Flanders Moss National Nature Reserve (NNR) manager, David Pickett. He describes a fantastic art event taking place on the reserve, as part of the Forth Valley Art Beat, Central Scotland’s Open Studios and Art Event.

Artist Fiona Clasen’s artwork at Flanders Moss, as part of Forth Valley Artbeat

“How about spending the afternoon visiting a bog?”. For many people this would not represent an entertaining afternoon – but the chance to go to an art gallery for the afternoon might be much more appealing.

And so in this way, the Flanders Moss bog gallery was born. With the lure of fine art, many people who might never normally have set foot on a bog have now visited the Moss and enjoyed the art on the reserve’s boardwalk and viewing tower.

This month, the NNR team have just hung their fourth exhibition as part of the Forth Valley Artbeat  – the Forth valley open studio and art event. The previous two exhibitions have showcased the results of projects with local schools, with one focusing on curlews and the other on botanical illustrations of bog plants.

But the art this year is a bit different. Last autumn and spring, working within lockdown restrictions, the NNR team took five intrepid local artists for a hike far out onto Flanders Moss – to places that very few people manage to get to due to the difficult terrain.

Graham Tristram’s Crossing Flanders VI, part of the art exhibition at Flanders Moss until 16 August.

The idea was for the artists to experience and bring the inaccessible middle of the moss to visitors with their resulting artwork. Despite the challenges of hard walking, long days, not many dry places to sit and a landscape with less structure than most, the artists rose to the challenge and produced some fantastic works, each illustrating the extreme landscape of Flanders with their own take on the colours, setting and feel of this special place.

Once the art works were completed, the pictures were copied, laminated to take the weather, framed and placed on the boardwalk or in the viewing tower. Showing the artwork close to its origins and in the open air enables each piece to have a a wonderful effect – quite different from if you viewed the artwork indoors.

The viewing tower at Flanders Moss, where some of the artwork is displayed – as well as a stunning view!

The bog gallery will be open for all to see until Monday, 16 August. If you visit to view the art work, don’t forget to look out for some of the bog inhabitants at the same time. Sundews, lizards and dragonflies can all be seen while walking on the boardwalk. But if you take friends, perhaps just tell them they are visiting an art gallery!

To follow the happenings at Flanders Moss NNR and other NatureScot Central Scotland NNRs, read the Stirling NNRs blog at https://2bogsaswampandsomeislands.wordpress.com/ 

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On a hide to nothing…how to remove a bird hide from the middle of a wetland.

Our NatureScot student placement scheme provides great opportunities for recent graduates to get invaluable work experience that puts their new skills into practice.

Countryside Management graduate Fraser Wilson continues his series of posts about his work as a National Nature Reserve Assistant, helping to maintain and improve these special locations for the many thousands of visitors they receive each year…

We recently made use the dry weather to remove two old bird hides from Caerlaverock NNR, ready for the new ones being built.

This is “Holland’s hide”, a fairly square edged bird hide with glass windows and flat roof. Built in sections, this was the easier of the two hides to dismantle. Getting it off the reserve however was another story!

The hide dismantled in to six large walled sections, a stack of decking wood floor and trim, along with a whole lot of corrugated asphalt roofing sheets and windows. The weight of each section was too much to lift safely between two people across 600+ metres of boardwalk to the trailer, and travelling back and forth with just a handful of timber at a time was not practical. We needed a better solution.

Thought of by the reserve team, and built with repurposed castors, we managed to create a sort of heavy duty trolley, helping save us so much time and effort in getting the various parts of the hide off the reserve. 

The frame of the trolly consists of two sleepers from the base of the hide bolted to boards which have the castors fitted underneath. Two castors spin freely to help give us steering as some of the boardwalk sections have tight turning. You can see from the picture above just a small section of the boardwalk we needed to get the hide out ascross. A long way to lift such a large amount of heavy timber!

We loaded up the trolly with three large sections at a time then rathched strapped them down to prevent them coming loose. We then took turns pushing and pulling the trolly across the length of the boardwalk to the trailer. We did around five of six loads like this before we managed to clear the site of all the various parts. 

During one of our runs we spotted this common toad (Bufo bufo) at the edge of the boardwalk. Although a common species around most of Scotland, It’s always nice to see wildlife about when out on the reserves.

After a tidy up of all the tools and loose rubbish, we were done. We decided to keep the original foundation posts in place in case the new hide can be built atop of them. If not, we will come in and chainsaw them away to tidy them up.

I slept well after this, thats for sure, and I went home aching from muscles I never knew I had but it was another great job to get done and be part of. Well worth the effort. 

I am looking forward to what the new hides bring. This one is being replaced by a hide a whole metre higher than the current base, helping elevate the position from which visitors can see some of the many species around the reserve. As a team, we actually frequently use this area to carry out or WeBS (Wetland Bird Surveying) surveys. A new, more practical hide for our own use too could be very handy, especially in such an exposed location where winds and rain during surveys can be……interesting.

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Learning how to build a boardwalk at Caerlaverock

Our NatureScot student placement scheme provides great opportunities for recent graduates to get invaluable work experience that puts their new skills into practice.

Countryside Management graduate Fraser Wilson continues his series of posts about his work as a National Nature Reserve Assistant, helping to maintain and improve these special locations for the many thousands of visitors they receive each year…

Improving the initial piece of boardwalk that leads visitors from the merse path to the boardwalk loop at Caerlaverock NNR was a job we’d been meaning to do for a while. The issue with the existing piece was that visitors tended to come off the grass bank onto the board where there is no anti-slip mesh or gripper strips. We could have just re gripped this area but there would still have been a large gap between the bank and the boards that we felt needed fixing to avoid anyone slipping or tripping.

The photo above shows the board walk in situ before we did anything to it. The first step was to remove the existing wire mesh, top boards, and anti-weed membrane below. We then removed all existing posts as they were rotten.

This exposed a big muddy ditch, highlighting the importance of having a suitable board walk here for people to safely cross.

Next, we placed the stingers roughly where we wanted them to go. Once happy with the levelling and placement, we knocked in six posts, cut them to the correct height, and then bolted the stringers to them to make a nice solid frame. 

We then placed all the board walk boards and screwed them in place before laying down a length of weld mesh that we pinned down with galvanised u-nails. This helps create a rough footing for people to walk across, without which the boardwalk would become extremely slippery.

The photos above show the finished job 🙂 It is a job that I am really happy to have been a part of. I’ve helped relocate old pieces of boardwalk to new areas on other reserves, but I’d never actually helped build one from scratch. It was a great learning experience.

To top the job off, the weather was incredible and the amount of bird life that was one the reserve was amazing. It was probably the warmest day of the year at the time, and a nice hint to what summer might bring!

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Stones of Inverness

Stones with special names and stories – in and around the Highland capital – are among the treasures highlighted in a new book published by NatureScot.

Leugh ann an Gàidhlig

As the author of the recently published ‘Place-Names of Inverness and Surrounding Area’, I admit to finding it difficult to identify the most interesting or remarkable toponyms (out of more than 570 in the book) in this part of Scotland – my own home for many years. Nevertheless, I have chosen to highlight a handful of place-names that include the Gaelic element clach ‘stone’. A bodach once famously said – ‘if only the stones could speak, what stories they would tell’. Well, sometimes they do speak to us through their names and the traditions connected to them. Mere lumps of rock they might be, but they have borne witness to the comings and goings of people over many centuries and they can remind us of who our ancestors were and, to some extent, who we are today.

The area covered in the book consists of a rectangle of country centred on Inverness, ranging from Kirkhill in the west to Ardersier in the east, and running south from the Moray Firth to beyond Abriachan and including most of Loch Duntelchaig. In terms of toponymy, the whole area, including Inverness, is dominated by Gaelic. In terms of history, one pivotal event stands out, and I encountered it repeatedly in my researches – the Battle of Culloden in April 1746.

Clach an Airm

Of course, there are many stones on the battlefield of Culloden, some of which mark clan graves – and there is the famous roadside Cumberland Stone upon which the eponymous duke is reputed to have stood while observing the mayhem and slaughter. However, it is a shoulder-height stone in Strathnairn – unmarked, untracked and now surrounded by coniferous forest – that for me (finding it on an atmospherically quiet, misty day) provided the most powerful memento of that awful battle. It is Clach an Airm, locally translated as ‘the stone of the arms’, which reputedly received its name from being visited by members of Clan Chattan in order to sharpen their swords before joining the Jacobite army at Culloden. 

Clach Cailleach nam Muc

There are two other remarkable stones in Strathnairn, both of which have notable stories attached to them. The first is Clach Cailleach nam Muc ‘the stone of the old woman of the pigs’ near Achvaneran which is reputed to be the site of the death of a woman who was famous for travelling with her pigs and for being eaten by them (although a charitable interpretation is that she became pig-food only after dying of natural causes). It is likely that the cailleach was a native of Stratherrick who lived in the 19th century, and who would walk her pigs to market in Inverness, taking nightly shelter under the stone which sits above the local farms in a birchwood on a rocky hill.

The third Strathnairn stone in the book has a much older heritage, if oral tradition is to be believed. It is Clach na Brataich ‘the stone of the flag or banner’ and, unlike the other examples, it is not natural but has been heavily worked by human hand. Roundish and flat with a hole in the middle and appearing like an oversized and unfinished millstone, it sits near the southern end of Loch Ashie – a location which is pertinent to its name, for in oral tradition it is regarded as the anchor point for a flagpole which carried the banner of the forces of the Fianna during their bloody battle against the Scandinavian prince, Ashie. The history, of course, is highly suspect (the legendary heroes known as the Fianna roamed the Gaelic lands of Scotland and Ireland centuries before the Vikings appeared on these shores), but the oral tradition persists, and there are reports of ghostly soldiers belonging to opposing armies being seen in the vicinity of Loch Ashie even in modern times.

Clach na Brataich

Beyond Strathnairn, to the north, another fascinating stone is Clach an Àbain ‘the stone of the backwater or silted-up channel’, which sits in glorious isolation in the middle of Petty Bay. Its claim to fame rests on it being moved more than 200 metres by an unseen hand on the 20th of February 1799 (its original and subsequent positions being marked on old Ordnance Survey maps). Not only that, but the occurrence had been reputedly predicted years before by the minister at Petty, the Rev. John Morrison, who had the dà-shealladh ‘second sight’. Was the translocation an act of God or was the unseen hand a sheet of ice in bitterly cold weather that picked up the stone and moved it seawards with the ebbing tide and a roaring southerly ‘hurricane’?!

To the west of the Ness, there are also stones which are famous in the history of the town of Inverness. One is Clachnahagaig, originally east of the river and removed during the building of the Caledonian Canal, which involved diverting the river eastwards. While the original stone no longer exists, its ‘replacement’ – a carved stone marker – still referred to by anglers as the ‘Clachnahagaig Stone’ – lies between the river and the Caledonian Canal close to Torvean and marks the southern extent of the town’s (public) fishings on the Ness. The salmon fishing rights of the townsfolk were confirmed by royal charter in 1591, a document in which Clachnahagaig is named. The original Gaelic is unclear – it might be Clach na h-Eagaig ‘the stone of the small notch’ but other recorded forms challenge that option. 

Clach an Àbain

The old village of Clachnaharry, now at the northern extremity of the Caledonian Canal, is also named for a stone, but its meaning is likewise contested. Some favour Clach na h-Aire ‘the watch stone’ – as it was a location to keep watch for incursions into Inverness from the north, but the earliest record is that of the Rev. James Fraser in the 17th century Wardlaw Manuscript who claimed it to be Clach na h-Aithrigh ‘the repentance stone’, a place for sinners’ pennance when Catholicism still held sway.

But perhaps it is fitting that the last mention of the clach names in the book is of an ancient stone in the very heart of Inverness itself. Sitting outside the Town House, once the nerve-centre of local government in the Highland Capital, is Clach na Cùdainn ‘the stone of the tub’, at one time considered to be the single most important artefact which claimed the affections, and represented the identity, of Invernessians. To some it was Inverness’s version of the palladium of Troy that kept the Greek city safe. Originally situated closer to the river, the flat, smooth stone was a location where the women of the town ‘were wont in ancient days to rest their water pails in passing to and from the river’ and was thus a focal point for socialising and exchanging news and gossip. Its name (in the original Gaelic form rather than the anglicised ‘Clachnacuddin’) is chiselled into the base in which it is protected but it seems to me that few Invernessians are aware of the stone today, and that most people who walk past the front door of the Town House are oblivious to its existence. If ‘Place-Names of Inverness and Surrounding Area’ helps to make more people aware of the stones – with names and stories that link us to our past – that pepper the landscape of the Highland capital and its environs – then the current author will consider his labours to have been worthwhile!

Clach na Cùdainn

This blog was written by Inverness-based writer, broadcaster and storyteller Roddy (Ruairidh) Maclean, whose work highlights the connections between the Gaelic language and Scotland’s environment.

The publication can be downloaded from NatureScot’s website and a limited number of printed copies are available via the Gaelic Books Council’s website. We are grateful to Bòrd na Gàidhlig for funding this project. 

A virtual lecture of the research findings is scheduled for September and will be publicised in due course.

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Clachan Inbhir Nis

Tha clachan le ainmean agus dualchas sònraichte – ann an agus timcheall prìomh bhaile na Gàidhealtachd – am measg nan neamhnaidhean ann an leabhar ùr a chaidh fhoillseachadh le NatureScot.

Read in English

Mar ùghdar an leabhair ‘Place-Names of Inverness and Surrounding Area’ – a th’ air ùr-nochdadh – aidichidh mi gu bheil e doirbh mo chorrag a chur air na h-ainmean-àite as inntinniche anns an sgìre oir tha uibhir dhiubh ann (còrr is 570 anns an leabhar). Aig a’ cheann thall, thagh mi sùil a thoirt air na h-ainmean anns a bheil an eileamaid clach. Tha dùthaich nan Gàidheal làn eisimpleirean de chlachan iongantach le stòiridhean ceangailte riutha agus tha sgìre Inbhir Nis coltach ris a’ chòrr dhen Ghàidhealtachd (ann an seaghan eile cuideachd a bharrachd air na clachan).

Tha an leabhar a’ gabhail a-steach ceart-cheàrnach de dhùthaich eadar Cnoc Moire agus Àird nan Saor, a’ ruith o Linne Mhoireibh gu deas air Obar Itheachan anns an taobh an iar agus gu faisg air ceann a deas Loch Dùn Seilcheig anns an taobh an ear. ʼS i a’ Ghàidhlig an cànan as motha a nochdas air an tìr agus ʼs e an tachartas eachdraidheil as trice a nochdas ann an cunntasan mu ainmean-àite – Blàr Chùil Lodair anns a’ Ghiblean 1746.

Clach an Airm

ʼS iomadh clach a chithear air làrach a’ bhlàir, agus feadhainn dhiubh a’ comharrachadh uaighean nam fineachan. Faisg air làimh, ri taobh an rathaid mhòir, tha Clach Chumberland air an robh an Diùc na sheasamh, agus e a’ cumail sùil air a’ chath, co-dhiù a rèir aithris. Ach feumaidh mi aideachadh gur e clach eile co-cheangailte ris an droch latha sin as motha a thug m’ aire. ʼS e sin Clach an Airm ann an Srath Narann, a fhuair a h-ainm on a gheuraich saighdearan Seumasach an claidheamhan oirre nuair a bha iad a’ dèanamh air Cùil Lodair. Tha i an-diugh ann am meadhan coille, gun sanas oirre no eadhon ceum ga h-ionnsaigh agus lorg mi i air latha balbh, ceòthach.

Clach Cailleach nam Muc

Tha dà chloich iongantaich eile ann an Srath Narann, agus sgeulan co-cheangailte riutha. Tha Clach Cailleach nam Muc faisg air Ach’ a’ Mhainnirein air mullach creag gharbh ann am meadhan coille-bheithe. A rèir beul-aithris, bhiodh a’ chailleach a tha ainmichte a’ falbh le treud de mhucan timcheall sgìre Loch Nis, agus fhuair i bàs fon chloich far an do dh’ith a cuid mhucan i (ged a tha beachd ann gun do thachair sin às dèidh dhi bàsachadh gu nàdarrach). Tha e coltach gum buineadh i do Shrath Fharagaig agus gun coisicheadh i (anns an 19mh linn) le a mucan gu ruige Inbhir Nis airson feadhainn a reic aig margaidh. Bhiodh i a’ briseadh a turais gach rathad aig a’ chloich far am faigheadh i fasgadh airson na h-oidhche. 

Tha dualchas fada nas sine aig a’ chloich eile, co-dhiù ma chuirear sùim ann am beul-aithris. Tha Clach na Brataich eadar-dhealaichte bho na h-eisimpleirean eile oir chan eil i ann an riochd nàdarrach. ʼS e clach a th’ innte a chaidh a chruthachadh le mac an duine. Tha i cruinn agus rèidh le toll anns a’ mheadhan agus tha i car coltach ri clach-bhrà mhòr is trom a tha neo-chrìochnaichte. Tha i na suidhe air an talamh faisg air ceann a deas Loch Athaisidh agus thathar a’ dèanamh dheth gun robh crann air a stobadh dhan toll às an robh bratach nam Fianna air a taisbeanadh aig àm catha eadar na gaisgich Ghàidhealach sin agus feachd Lochlannach fo chomannd prionnsa air an robh ‘Athaisidh’ mar ainm. Chan eil cus fìrinn anns an eachdraidh oir bha na Fianna ann am bith fada mus do nochd na Lochlannaich air cladaichean na h-Alba, ach tha am beul-aithris a’ seasamh chun an latha an-diugh, agus tha cunntasan iongantach aig daoine a tha a’ cumail a-mach gum fac’ iad taibhsean de sheann saighdearan timcheall Loch Athaisidh.

Clach na Brataich

Gu tuath air Srath Narann, lorgar Clach an Àbain na suidhe leatha fhèin air cladach rèidh Bàgh Pheitidh. Tha an tè seo ainmeil oir chaidh a gluasad 260 slat a dh’ionnsaigh na mara agus gu dìomhair air an oidhche dhen 20mh Gearran 1799 (tha a suidheachadh tùsail clàraichte air seann mhapaichean na Suirbhidh Òrdanais). Chan e sin a-mhàin, ach bliadhnaichean ro-làimh thuirt an t-Urr. Iain Moireasdan, Ministear Pheitidh, aig an robh an dà-shealladh, gun tachradh a leithid air sàillibh pheacaidhean a choitheanail. Ge-tà, an e làmh Dhè a ghluais a’ chlach no an robh i air a togail le deigh agus air a ghluasad a-mach le tràghadh na mara agus gailleann bhon cheann a deas?!

Gu siar air Abhainn Nis tha cuideachd clachan ainmeil. ʼS e tè dhiubh ‘Clachnahagaig’ a bha o thùs gu sear air an abhainn ach a chaidh a ghluasad nuair a bhathar a’ togail a’ Chanàil Chailleannaich. Ged nach eil a’ chlach thùsail ann am bith a-nise, tha tè bheag shnàighte ann na h-àite air a bheil ‘Clachnahagaig Stone’ ann am Beurla Inbhir Nis. Tha a’ chlach ainmichte ann an cairt rìoghail a chaidh fhoillseachadh ann an 1591 oir b’ e sin a’ chrìoch a deas aig còraichean muinntir Nis air cleachdadh na h-aibhne airson iasgach a’ bhradain is eile. Agus tha i fhathast a’ comharrachadh ceann a-mach an iasgaich phoblaich air Abhainn Nis. Tha dùil gur e Clach na h-Eagaig a bh’ air a’ chloich bho thùs, ged a tha sgoilearan air riochdan eile a chur air adhart cuideachd.

Clach an Àbain

Tha seann bhaile ‘Clachnaharry’ na sheasamh an-diugh air iomall Inbhir Nis aig ceann a tuath a’ Chanàil Chailleannaich agus chaidh ainmeachadh cuideachd airson clach, ged a tha diofar bheachdan air tùs an ainm. Tha cuid a’ dèanamh dheth gur e Clach na h-Aire a th’ ann (airson Clach na Faire) oir bhite a’ cumail sùil air daoine a thigeadh le droch rùn on cheann a tuath an sin. Ge-tà, tha an t-Urr. Seumas Friseal ag innse dhuinn ann an Làmh-sgrìobhainn Chnoc Moire (bhon 17mh linn) gur e Clach na h-Aithrigh a bh’ oirre. Bhiodh peacaich a’ foillseachadh an cuid aithrighe – no aithreachais – airson am peacaidhean an sin nuair a bha an sluagh nan Caitligich.

Saoilidh mi gu bheil e iomchaidh gur e an t-ainm-àite mu dheireadh le ‘clach’ tè a bha uaireigin fìor ainmeil ann am meadhan baile Inbhir Nis fhèin. Tha Clach na Cùdainn an-diugh na seasamh fo Chrois na Margaidh taobh a-muigh Taigh a’ Bhaile. Bha i uaireigin na b’ fhaisge air an abhainn agus bhiodh boireannaich Inbhir Nis a’ cur an cuid chùdainnean oirre fhad ʼs a bhiodh iad a’ gabhail naidheachdan bho chàch a chèile (agus iad air an rathad don abhainn). Bha i cho cudromach do mhuinntir Inbhir Nis ʼs gum biodh gu leòr a’ gabhail ‘Clachnacuddin lad’ no ‘Clachnacuddin lass’ orra fhèin nuair a bha iad ann an sgìrean eile, agus iad moiteil às a’ cheangal eadar iad fhèin is a’ chlach. Tha e duilich dhomh, anns an latha an-diugh, nach eil a’ chlach ainmeil seo air aire muinntir a’ bhaile mar a bha. Ma bheir an leabhar ùr Clach na Cùdainn – agus na clachan eile mun chuairt a’ bhaile – gu aire an t-sluaigh, bidh an t-ùghdar seo riaraichte dha-rìridh.

Clach na Cùdainn

Bha am blog seo air a sgrìobhadh le Ruairidh MacIlleathain, a tha na sgrìobhadair, craoladair, eòlaiche-nàdair is sgeulaiche, stèidhichte ann an Inbhir Nis.

Tha an leabhar-iùil ri fhaighinn air-loidhne air làrach-lìn NatureScot agus tha àireamh bheag de lethbhreacan clò-bhuailte ri faighinn air làrach-lìn Comhairle nan Leabhraichean. Tha sinn an comain Bòrd na Gàidhlig airson am pròiseact seo a mhaoineachadh.

Bidh òraid air-loidhne san t-Sultain agus thèid an tuilleadh fiosrachaidh a sgaoileadh san àm ri teachd.

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Caerlaverock litter-clearing

Our NatureScot student placement scheme provides great opportunities for recent graduates to get invaluable work experience that puts their new skills into practice.

In his second post about the work of a National Nature Reserve assistant, Countryside Management graduate Fraser Wilson reports on what is, very sadly, an increasingly necessary task on our reserves – clearing litter…

As much as Caerlaverock is a beautiful National Nature Reserve, a downside to being a coastal reserve is that some of the larger tides from the Solway Firth can wash up all sorts of rubbish on to the merse. A job that is always on the to-do list is to regularly keep on top of this rubbish and get it off the reserve.

As we recently had a skip dropped off at our nearby workshop we got to work, walking miles up and down the reserve finding and collecting bundles of rubbish before getting it all to one area to load on to the trailer and off the reserve. Unfortunately with the sensitivity of the reserve, and with breeding birds due to nest any day now, we couldn’t make use of any machinery which would disturb the site and so all of what we found would have to be removed manually.

The photos show just a very small sample of what we’ve collected over the last few weeks. The most common items seem to be large plastic drums and plastic tubs.

As much as it is time consuming, and sometimes difficult to get out to some areas of the reserve to access this rubbish, it is one of those jobs I like to do as it has an immediate impact, helping remove items which look unsightly and which serve no positive purpose by being there.

All of the items have been sent off for recycling and hopefully don’t find their way back to the reserve. Going forward, we plan to keep doing litter picks of smaller items as much as we can, and then will remove larger items as and when they appear.

Posted in beaches, coastal, graduate placement, marine pollution, National Nature Reserves, Uncategorized, Young people | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment