logo
Gordon Tartan

WAIFS & STRAYS

Stories From The Olden Days

Colin's mother, Jeannie Maclean, was born in Carrbridge, Invernesshire, in the heart of the area known as the Highlands of Scotland. Carrbridge is a small village between Aviemore and Granton-on-Spey. It lies on the side of the River Dulnain, a small river that in the "old" days was crossed only by an old humpback stone footbridge. Now, of course, there is a modern road bridge.

Maclean
Waifs 2

The old MacLean family house, called Glencharnoch (meaning, in Gaelic, "glen of the heroes") stands on the main road. The stone-built house incorporates what used to be the village inn in the early 19th century. Colin confirmed this early history many years ago when, in the course of renovation work, he uncovered the remains of antique beer bottles and wine glasses under the kitchen floor.

It was then that they discovered that they had forgotten the coffin! My, was the family annoyed!

Another Carrbridge story has to do with the church. Strangely there are two churches in this wee village: one, where Colin's father was minister when he met and married Colin's mother, belongs to the Presbyterian Church of Scotland; the other, operated by the United Free Church of Scotland. The latter is even more puritanical than the former. Only the Psalms are sung, one stands for the endless prayers, and the interminable sermons are full of "fire and brimstone."

One dark Sunday evening, a parishioner took umbrage at the content of the minister's sermon. Following the service, he laid in wait for the minister, hiding behind a tree. When the poor man passed on his way home to the manse, the parishioner jumped on his back and tried to strangle him. Fortunately, he was unsuccessful. His only punishment was that the village policeman spoke sternly with him the next morning. He continued to live in the village, but with a bit of a "black cloud" over his head!

Waifs 3

Waifs 4

Celtic circle