From Moriston Matters, Issue 10, December 1978.

Glen Memories


I suppose it must seem a far cry from the time when travelling from my early home in County Down to Invermoriston took the best part of three days: four tiring train journeys, a sea voyage, a slow bus trip, and the odd taxi thrown in to make connections - and add to that at least one sleepless night, and one was certainly in need of a holiday.

That is what brings back memories of my early childhood and the little cottage nestling in the shadow of Sron Na Muic, high up and overlooking the awesome Loch Ness, with the Stratherrick hills forming a picturesque and often sinister backcloth. I can well remember the neat and tidy home, devoid as it was of all the modern conveniences that we take so much for granted now, but warm and comfortable; for this was the home of my Great Uncle and Aunt. Yes, and the garden, sloping downwards from the house, so caringly tended by Uncle Dan; and the roses which twined around the arch over the gate.

I think the presence of television would have spoiled the scene, perhaps too, so would electric light, and the meals tasted just as good cooked over an open fire. In the summer I was taught to wash outside, in cold water, of course! An experience which did me no harm. One felt strangely far away from the busy world; that downhill walk by a winding and grassy path to the main road seemed to take an age; past the house of Danny the Pier (Pat's father), and beside the garage, where petro1 pumps appeared like Dr. Who characters before their time. The road was quieter then; foreign cars and tourists' caravans were then almost unheard of in the district.

The war was nearly over; the old order was changing and so too were the people. My last visit to Braefield was in 1950. The Mann's, old and unable to care for themselves moved up the Glen. Sadly the old cottage was destroyed by fire after their death in the mid-fifties.

I did make a sentimental pi1grimage back to the old site ten years ago, but it was like cutting a path through jungle; all was overgrown; only the shell of the house remained, and the eternal roses round the gate of what was once a garden, and of course the memories.

Iain J. McWlliams