The Wee Mad Road
by Jack and Barbara Maloney

 
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Life in Coigach

         

Traditional methods of crofting, fishing, and sheep raising were still in use then, though fading, and village life had not yet been dramatically changed by the outside world. Nor had prosperity reached this corner of the Highlands. Most homes were traditional white stone houses with slate roofs, damp and drafty and furnished with spare simplicity. Rusty old cars stood derelict behind croft houses, serving as shelters for the ubiquitous sheep dogs. Fields were defined by ancient drystone walls with makeshift gates, sometimes fashioned from discarded iron bedframes and hinged with marine rope scavenged from the sea. The old men still spoke Gaelic in the blue-smokey pub, and cut and burned peat for their winter comfort, and most of the houses had musical instruments left from the days before radio and television reached them from the Outer Hebrides.

Much of the delight in life there came with music. Folk musicians from other villages, other regions, passed through Coigach frequently. Some came searching for the roots of older songs and airs, some eagerly bringing new ones; all were welcome. With fiddle and guitar, accordion and concertina, pipes, pennywhistle and bodhran, they played and sang for pleasure and drink. And when "Last call" was announced in the pubs, and lights in the Village Hall went dark, the music spilled over into whitewashed homes along the coast, where it was heard through the twilight of midsummer night and on ‘til the dawn cuckoo called.

         

Illustrations copyright Barbara Maloney 2007

Why the Wee Mad Road?  •   About Us  •   Send A Comment  •   Coigach Website
A Story from Coigach  •   A Lost Story  •   WMR Blog  •   From Those Who Know  •   Coigach People  •   Buy the Book!