wisdom, wit, and common sense

Portree used to be called Kiltaraglen, named after an old chapel dedicated to Talorgan or Talarican, a Culdee monk of distinction. The Loch was called Saint Columba’s Loch. This all changed when King James V landed here in 1540. The place and the loch were now port-an-righ, the King’s landing place.  

About two hundred years later a man of fame and distinction lived in Portree. His name was Eugene Macqueen, or Aodh Mòr in Gaelic, he was a man full of wisdom, wit and common sense. The people of Portree knew that and they would ask his advice in any matter they could not sort themselves. And just how sound his advice was becomes clear from the story of the lost eye.

One day two men were sitting on a rock near Portree fishing even though it was stormy and rather unwise to do so. Still they did and came what must, a large wave washed over the rock and drew the man down into the turmoil. The other managed to cling to the rock and now tried to rescue his friend but all he had to reach him with was his fishing rod. He used it and the hook caught the unfortunate friend’s eye.

The rescued but now visually impaired fisherman wanted to drag his friend to court, he wanted recompensation for the lost eye, but was given the advice to consult Aodh Mòr first. When consulted, Aodh thought for a while and then gave his verdict.

As soon as the next severe storm would wash over Portree, the one-eyed fisherman should jump off the rock where they had been fishing. If he could make it back safe and sound, the other fisherman would have to recompensate him for his lost eye.

Apparently the fisherman never tried. Very likely he was interred in Portree graveyard.

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source and further reading:

Alexander Cameron: The History and Traditions of the Isle of Skye. Inverness, Forsythe; 1871

Liked the read? There’s more here...

Scotland is a country full of history, stories and secrets. Often, the three cannot be separated. That is what makes this country so wonderful and unique. The stories of this book have been discovered and gathered for Erkenbach’s blog, Graveyards of Scotland, over many years. 

Scotland for Quiet Moments is available as ebook and paperback on Amazon.

Her main sources were historical travel guides from the 18th and 19th centuries, where the finds were scary, beautiful, funny, and sometimes, cruel.This unusual approach to a country’s history has produced amazing results. You don’t have to share the author’s passion for cemeteries to enjoy this book; only a small number of the stories in this collection take place in graveyards, though they do all end in them, so perhaps it helps.

The fairy hill in Inverness, a nitrate murder on Shetland, a family of left-handers, wolves, Robert the Bruce and William Wallace shown in a new light, the secret bay of the writer Gavin Maxwell, a murdering poet and so many things you didn’t know about Scotland, its clans and its history.

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