Scots Roots

The Forecasting Stone
November 17, 2014, 10:34 am
Filed under: Photographs | Tags: ,

High tech weather forecasting at the Blue Shed, Torrin, Isle of Skye:

Forecasting stone

The Blackhouse
November 7, 2014, 11:42 am
Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History | Tags: , ,


Black House 1Blackhouses were traditionally built with thick dry stone walls, usually thatched with turf or reed and with floors of flagstones or packed earth.

They were generally to be found in the Scottish Highlands, the Hebrides and Ireland.

Part of the house was used as living accommodation and part was used to keep livestock.

The house had no chimney and was heated by a fire in the middle of the floor, the smoke permeating out through the thatch.

Peat stack

The peat stack


Additional warmth was provided by the body heat of the animals living at the end of the house.

People continued to live in blackhouses into the twentieth century until the demand for more modern houses with better heating and plumbing caused them to fall out of favour.

Many have now been restored for use as holiday accommodation.

Black House 3

October 31, 2014, 5:54 pm
Filed under: Photographs, Wildlife | Tags: , , ,

Machair 2Machair, a Gaelic word which means fertile low lying grassy plain, is one of the rarest habitats in Europe occurring only on the western coasts of Scotland and Ireland.

In the Outer Hebrides, Machair habitats run along the western shores of Uist, Harris and Lewis.

It is formed by sand being regularly blown ashore by Atlantic gales.

Machair 1Over time the calcium rich sand and traditional crofting land practices have led to the development of fertile grassland habitats renowned for wildflowers, birds and insect life.

Machair habitats are threatened by changes to the way the land is managed – a reduction in the number of crofters means a reduction in the amount of grazing taking place – and by increased erosion due to rising sea levels.

Machair 3

Commonwealth War Graves – Ashaig Cemetery, Isle of Skye

Ashaig CemeteryThe Cunard White Star liner RMS Queen Mary left New York in September 1942 carrying 10,000 troops bound for the Firth of Clyde in Scotland.

On 2 October 1942, near the north west coast of Ireland she was joined by the escort ship HMS Curacoa, a 4,000 ton British light cruiser, for the final part of the journey to the Clyde. To make themselves less of a target for torpedoes from U-boats, both ships zig-zagged through the water. However, this course of action brought the two ships perilously close to each other.

Each captain thought the other was bound to take evasive action. Neither did.Ashaig Cemetery

The Queen Mary was huge compared to the Curacoa and ploughed straight through the middle of the smaller vessel, cutting it in two. The Curacoa sank within minutes along with most of its crew. The Queen Mary carried on to Gourock with some damage to its bow. Wartime regulations meant that she was not permitted to stop to help any survivors from the Curacoa because she would then have been vulnerable to U-boat attack.

Of the 440 crew of the Curacoa, 100 men survived . Most of the rest went down with the ship but in the following weeks bodies were washed up on various shores around the west coast of Scotland and the Hebrides. Around 20 of these seamen were washed up on Elgol and Sleat on the Isle of Skye and were buried at Ashaig Cemetery near Broadford.

The wreck of the Curacoa, lying off the north west coast of Ireland, remains a war grave to this day.

Ashaig Cemetery


September 25, 2014, 4:56 pm
Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History | Tags: ,

In 1843 the villages of Lemreway and Orinsay were cleared to make room for sheep at Park Farm in the district of South Lochs on the Isle of Lewis. The nearby village of Steimreway was not cleared at the time, but became isolated inside the boundaries of the farm.

In 1857 the farm expanded to Steimreway with a further wave of sheep, the crofters being moved to nearby Lemreway. The clearance of the crofters of Steimreway to Lemreway in 1857 was the last forced clearance from the Park Peninsula.

Steimreway was quite a large village. It stands on the shores of Loch Shell, on the east side of Tob Stiomrabhaigh, in a beautiful setting and the remains of many of the houses can still be seen today.

Steimreway 1


Steimreway 2


More photos are available on Flickr – see Clearance Villages.

Jousting at Linlithgow Palace
July 25, 2014, 3:47 pm
Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History | Tags: , ,

Here’s a short film of jousting at Linlithgow Palace. Linlithgow was a royal palace used mainly by the Stewart kings and queens. Mary, Queen of Scots, was born here in December 1542.

Copyright © Scots Roots Research 2014

Gardening Scotland 2014
June 12, 2014, 4:07 pm
Filed under: Photographs | Tags:

Here’s a few photos taken at the recent Gardening Scotland show in Edinburgh.

Gardening Scotland 1

Gardening Scotland 2

Gardening Scotland 3

Gardening Scotland 4

Gardening Scotland 5





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