Checking messages whilst I sat in the lounge drinking tea I spotted a message that's a great shock. It was to change the end of my road trip.
In my journey so far I have mentioned about Assynt, where Rev Norman MacLeod and his followers left there and settled in Canada in the 1800's. I had visited his memorial at the Gaelic College at St. Ann's Bay, so often Assynt had come up in conversations in that last week.
It was often in these discussions about the settlers in Nova Scotia, that I had related my connections with Assynt in relation to the first ever buyout of an estate by the Assynt Crofters. I had covered it for TV news for more than a year, then when they got the land filmed a documentary of their first year. Little did I realise back home on this very day those pictures were again making the news.
Allan MacRae, leader of the Assynt Crofters Trust had been found dead on his croft. This picture is a frame from my film of the moment he announced their success in the purchase of their land.
"Well ladies & gentlemen it seems we have won the land … it's certainly a moment to savour, no doubt about that. Certainly my immediate thoughts are to wish that some of our forebears could be here to share this moment with us".
Whilst I have a copy of the documentary, I'm only able to share with you this clip of that moment...
"...wish that some of our forebears could be here to share this moment with us".
That phrase had already been in my mind during this trip when Assynt had been discussed. Perhaps had land ownership been different not so many people would have left Scotland? It could be that people I had spoken too in my travels especially in the last few days were related to some that had left Assynt?
Gaining possession of the land in Assynt was the first ever community in Scotland. For me it was the first documentary I had done all the filming and sound on location, nobody else was involved. It was only the producer, editor and commentary that was completed by others back at the studio, every single bit of footage was mine.
The Head of News & Current Affairs at Grampian TV sent me a broadcast quality BetaSP tape of the programme, it was a North Tonight Special 'Great Day at Split Rock', I still have it twenty years on ...
Split Rock is a well know feature of Assynt where it is pounded by the sea, the title used that as its background
With the time I spent covering it for Grampian TV news before the decision, then the year long documentary afterwards, it meant it was by far the longest period I had spent covering one remote community.
It was at that point I decided I should consider changing the end of my road trip and try to arrange to return to the Gaelic College at St. Ann's, Cape Breton, to see the premiere of the play 'Out of Black Cove'. I had been told by Ian Green at Colourtura Art Gallery about the play, and that it related to the folks who left Assynt and ended up in Cape Breton.
That's on my post 'Heading North' for the more information (click on link)
After thinking about it overnight I thought making the trek back to see the play was the right thing to do if I could make it happen. It so happened that I had only booked ahead accommodation for the next two nights, both at the same motel. All my accommodation to date had been booked from home in advance, upon reflection I would have been better not doing one night stops for a full week at a stretch. When I got to the motel I would work out the rest of my road trip, as the rest of the trip hadn't been booked.
After a wonderful overnight stay at 'Sea Kindly' , they were superb hosts, it's time to leave ...
Just as well the house is on top of a hill because next stop is where they have the highest tides in the world ! More on those next post …