Miss C.A. MacDonald, Village Dominie

From Moriston Matters, Issue 19, June 1980.



Many of the readers of this magazine will remember Miss. C.A. Macdonald the school teacher in Invermoriston, or 'Old Benbecula’ as she was more commonly known to parents and pupils alike.

She was, obviously, from Benbecula, but had been so long in the village that she was one of the locals. She took a great interest in her pupils, past and present, although when I think of the tricks we played on her, I wonder sometimes why she didn’t expel us all.

"Putting on the clock" was a favourite pastime. The said clock used to stand on the window-sill and had no glass covering the face, so it took no more than a second to move the minute hand on a little. The trouble was that almost everyone moved it, with the result that no one knew just how fast the clock was. Event­ually we went beyond the score and were found out, but not before we had time to hide under the bridge between the School and the Post Office and watch "Old Ben" chase after us on her bike.

Another favourite ploy was to hide the Library Books when the time came to check them. Naturally we helped look for the missing ones - this usually took until the Library Van arrived at the gate.

I am quite sure she breathed a sigh of relief when we finally reached Primary 7 and moved on to Senior School, but not before we were given a half-crown which she gave to every child at both Christmas and summer holidays, and there were usually about thirty of us.

Of course, we didn't spend all our time getting up to mischief - we did work at times as is obvious from the careers follow­ed by several of her pupils. One teacher to seven different classes must have been very frustrating - most of our mischief was carried out when she was engrossed in teaching younger classes and we had finished, the work she had set out for us.

She was one of the kindest people you could hope to meet. On cold winter mornings we were taken round the fire for a heat, and many a bus home was missed (the Editor should remember this) so that we could have a cup of hot cocoa and a cream bun in the school-house.

I often think if I for one could go back to those days I would not be a party to all the tricks that were played on her - or would I?

Muir of Ord.


Miss C.A. Macdonald took up her appointment as Headmistress at Invermoriston Primary in 1945. Before this during her forty-five years service in Inverness-shire, she had been teaching in various schools in Benbecula and on the mainland. She retired in 1962 when she was presented with an inscribed gold watch from the people of the Glen and returned to her native Aird in Benbecula to keep house for her brother, on the family croft.

She died in hospital in Glasgow in 1972, where sadly in terminal illness, but nonetheless courageous throughout and expressing real appreciation, she was visited by the former pupils from Glenmoriston who lived then in the Glasgow area.