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Calum MacLeod had lived on the northern point of Raasay since his birth in 1911. He tended the Rona lighthouse at the very tip of his little archipelago, until semi-automation in 1967 reduced his responsibilities. So what he decided to do, says his last neighbour, Donald MacLeod, was to build a road out of Arnish in his months off. With a road he hoped new generations of people would return to Arnish and all the north end of Raasay. And so, at the age of 56, Calum MacLeod, the last man left in northern Raasay, set about single-handedly constructing the impossible road. It would become a romantic, quixotic venture, a kind of sculpture; an obsessive work of art so perfect in every gradient, culvert and supporting wall that its creation occupied almost twenty years of his life. In Calum's Road, Roger Hutchinson recounts the extraordinary story of this remarkable man's devotion to his visionary project.
wives and families. In the subsequent words of their lawyer they ‘took possession of the lands from which their forefathers had been cleared, they removed [the sheep farm’s] stock very carefully and avoided any unnecessary loss. They offered fair rent for the lands.’ Even at this time of widespread Hebridean land skirmishes, the Raasay Raids attracted a great deal of national and local attention and sympathy. What happened in the months and years following the spring of 1921 was of special
my age at the time, I was wanting to go. That was the thought – let’s get out there and help the rest, and get it over and done with. It wasn’t just me, it was everybody of my age.’ They all came home. As the memorial at Suisnish in the south of the island reminds posterity, twenty-three Raasay men had fallen in the First World War, including two from Rona, two from Kyle Rona, two from Fladda and two from Arnish. Calum MacLeod himself had lost two of his uncles in the ‘Kaiser’s War’. Seven
geology of northern Raasay. When such an august body as the Botanical Society of the British Isles (BSBI) held a field meeting in Raasay in 1969 he was their obvious point of contact, and he did not disappoint them. ‘Arnish and Torran’, read the BSBI Journal report in the following year, ‘turned out to contain more woodland than anywhere apart from Raasay House – mainly birch and hazel, with Hymenophyllum wilsonii on the mossy boulders. With the assistance of Mr Malcolm MacLeod we located Lythrum
provoked an immediate and spirited response from Mrs Christina McFadden of the island of Barra. Mrs McFadden was a former member of Inverness County Council who, in the nature of most Hebridean representatives, stood some way to the political left of her mainland landowning colleagues. ‘It was not under a Socialist government that the first forced emigration of our people began,’ she chided Calum MacLeod. ‘It was not under a Socialist government that island children had to bring peats to school
(Highlands & Islands Arts Ltd) towards the publication of this ebook The publisher would like to dedicate this book to Joyce McLelland (1921–2006), an extraordinary person who was loved by all who knew her Do mhuinntir Ratharsair, na bh’ann, na th’ann ’s na tha ri teachd Contents Preface Maps The Island of Strong Men The Book of Hours A Few in the North Would Not be Catered For No Chance of Being Run Down by a Car A Kind of Historical Justification The Last Man Out of