Books of Colonsay Interest

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There has been an amazing flowering of literary talent in the recent past, and it would be too much to list everything.  Some works are by people with strong local connections, such as “Allan Ramsay: Portaits of the Enlightenment” by Mungo Campbell, Deputy Director of the Hunterian; “Dr. Lachlan Grant of Ballachulish: His life and Times” by Dr. Roderick Macleod and Dilly Emslie; “Cry at Midnight: Witchbane Trilogy Book 1” by Mavis Gulliver, former headmistress at Kilchattan – a thrilling novel for children and set in the Hebrides (also “Slate Voices: Cwmorthin and the Islands of Netherlorn”); and coming soon there will be “Whispering Oats: Island Voices of Colonsay and Oronsay” by Mary C. Carmichael (whose earlier work is “The Land Where I Belong”, celebrating photographer Duncan Macpherson 1882-1966).

Quite extraordinary, and doubtless there will be omissions in this brief list.  In addition, there have been publications which deal specifically with Colonsay, such as:

“Growing Wild” is by John Clarke, the naturalist who (with Pamela) did so much in Colonsay during the 1990s and who has left us a lasting legacy in the detailed records of his observations. Copies of his book are available in Colonsay bookshop.

“Changing Times” by Nigel Grant was published earlier this year, and is also available locally.  It is to be the first in a trilogy, and covers the period up until he moved into Colonsay as Farm Manager from 1979.

“Dileab Cholbhasach” (A Colonsay Legacy) is a wonderful collection of the writings of Barbara Satchel, edited and accompanied by the inspired translations of her daughter, Morag Law. This splendid work had a very successful local launch in the springtime, and is available in Colonsay bookshop.  This is crucial to any Colonsay library, since very little authentic Colonsay Gaelic remains in print.

“The 1806 Voyage of The Spencer” by Hector John Munn  (Ex Libris 9781493151387) is a concise and very useful account of the background and results of this pioneer clearance to Prince Edward Island.  It includes a detailed passenger list and it marks the first “successful” mass movement – earlier clearances had been ill-conceived and essentially disastrous, but this one was arranged by John McNeill as one of his first initiatives in his own right.  He had been responsible for the earlier ones, but only on behalf of Archibald McNeill, so it is hard to ascribe blame for them.  The author gives generous acknowledgement to numerous local sources.  It should be in stock at Colonsay Bookshop quite soon.

“The Baptist Church in Colonsay 1812 – 2012” by John McNeill and Eleanor McNeill was published in an edition of 200 copies (for obvious reasons), sponsored by advance subscriptions.  It will be of interest to anybody whose forefathers of that faith emigrated in the 19th century and some copies are still available.

“Atomic Gold” by Cameron Jacks is published under a nom de plume; if his name appeared here it would be discovered by Search Engines so think Tigh Uirisg. It is a thrilling full-length fast-action contemporary adventure story involving deserts, minerals and high drama. Available locally.

“Colonsay’s Fallen” by Alan Davis was published in a limited edition some years ago, supported by advance subscribers; it gives an account of everyone listed on the Colonsay War Memorial, and also of those whose mortal remains came to rest on Colonsay’s shores.  It is mentioned now because of the 1914 centenary – not many copies remain, so anyone with a relation memorialised in Colonsay may wish to secure a copy whilst they can.

RSPB Nature Notes
Colonsay Community Council

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