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Scottish Crofting Books

On The Crofters TrailOn the Crofter's Trail In the Clearances of the 19th century, crofts, once the mainstay of Highland life in Scotland, were swept away as the land was put over to sheep grazing. Many of the people of the Highlands and islands of Scotland were forced from their homes by landowners in the Clearances. Some fled to Nova Scotia and beyond. David Craig sets out to discover how many of their stories survive in the memories of their descendants. He travels through 21 islands in Scotland and Canada, many thousands of miles of moor and glen, and presents the words of men and women of both countries as they recount the suffering of their forbears.

Wigtownshire CrofterTorhousemuir: Memories of a Wigtownshire Crofter 1935-1945 Crofting has long been considered a purely Highland activity but in the southernmost reaches of Scotland a crofting community existed until the end of the Second World War. The small-scale subsistence farming that characterises crofting was in evidence on the lands of Torhousemuir, in the Machars of Wigtownshire, from the early nineteenth century onwards. Joe Whiteford lived on the croft of Mossend, Torhousemuir just before lowland crofting's demise. It is his superb memory for detail that makes this book more than just a collection of reminiscences, it is virtually a manual of bygone farming and poaching practices, nourished with a rich mix of anecdote and humour. The book is edited and has an excellent scene-setting introduction by local author Julia Muir Watt, and is beautifully illustrated with apposite drawings, diagrams and maps. Scottish Crofting.

Iona: The Living Memory of a Crofting Community The Hebridean island of Iona has been the focus of intense outside interest for over 1400 years, from the time of St Columba's monastery in the sixth century through to the transfer of its renowned monuments into the care of Historic Scotland in the year 2000. Yet the people who lived and worked alongside its sacred sites have been largely overshadowed until now. This book aims to redress the balance, taking an in-depth look at Iona's economic and social history during the 18th and 19th centuries, a period that saw profound change across the Highlands and Islands. It charts the agricultural reorganization that led to a crofting system, follows the islanders through the harsh decade of the potato famine and records their worship and education, their crafts and customs, and the ties of kinship that underpinned their community. A broad range of sources are woven together, documentary, material, topographical and photographic, along with oral testimony handed down the generations, to create a vivid picture of Iona's past.

The Crofting WayThe Crofting Way The Crofting Way by Katharine Stewart, author of Croft in the Hills, Garden in the Hills and The Post in the Hills collects together the best of the On the Croft and Country Diary columns she wrote for the Scotsman over many years. As her diary begins, she and her husband are working a croft high up in the hills by Loch Ness. From day to day she captures the actuality of life on the croft: the blizzards and thaws, the pair of sparrows nesting in the eaves of the byre, the first lambs born in the season, the turnip-singling, the neighbours working together at harvest-time and Charlie the horse carting the stooks. Threaded throughout the diary entries are more considered pieces on crofting and country life in the Highlands, dealing with subjects like the Summer Walkers, Halloween, the shielings, the cutting of the peats, the magical uses of the rowan tree and many more. Scottish Crofting.

The Little General and the Rousay Crofters: Crisis and Conflict on an Orkney Estate This is the story of Rousay during the dramatic years 1840 and 1890. The problem of the Clearances is often associated simply with the Highlands, but here on the small island of Rousay one of the most dramatic conflicts of all took place between tenant and landowner. Scottish Crofting.

The Twilight of a Crofting FamilyNight Falls on Ardnamurchan: The Twilight of a Crofting Family Night Falls in Ardnamurchan has become a classic account of the life and death of a Highland community. The author weaves his own humorous and perceptive account of crofting with extracts from his father's journal, a terse, factual and down to earth vision of the day-to-day tasks of crofting life. It is an unusual and memorable story that also illuminates the shifting, often tortuous relationships between children and their parents. Alasdair Maclean reveals his own struggle to come to terms with his background and the isolated community he left so often and to which he returned again and again. In this isolated community is seen a microcosm of something central to Scottish identity, the need to escape against the tug of home. Scottish Crofting.

The Furrow Behind MeThe Furrow Behind Me Angus MacLellan was regarded throughout his own lifetime as one of Scotland's finest traditional Gaelic storytellers. Reminiscences of his life were first recorded - on tape in Gaelic - in the early years of the 1960s and later transcribed and translated by John Lorne Campbell into this English-language biography. Born in 1869 into a poverty-stricken crofting community on South Uist, Angus MacLellan spent his childhood and his youth with his family before travelling from the island to find work first in the militia and then on the farms of the mainland. His travels came to an end when he returned to assist and eventually to succeed, his parents on their croft on South Uist in 1896. Angus MacLellan's memory for detail and his gift for telling should bring to the reader a vivid picture of a harsh lifestyle encompassing two centuries of dramatic change.

A Spade Among the RushesA Spade Among the Rushes This is an account of crofting life in Moidart in the north-west of Scotland, during World War II. The book describes the author's attempts to transform a deserted croft into a home. Although far from the Blitz, the effects of war were felt throughout the Highlands, and the rationing of food and vital materials, the battles with bureaucrats who had no understanding of a crofter's needs, and even the appearance of a Nazi mine off the coast, all frustrated Margaret Leigh's efforts. Before moving to Moidart, Leigh also published "Driftwood and Tangle" and "Harvest of the Moor". Scottish Crofting.

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