Ochòin, a chiallain, gur mi tha cianail
’S mi ’n seo gam riasladh am beul na Cròice;
An todhar fiadhaich ’s e doirbh a lìonadh,
’S chan eil sa Chrìosdachd na spìonadh ròin’ às.
(Dòmhnall Iain Dhonnchaidh, Òran an Fheamnaidh)
The bounty of the foreshore to the people of Uist has long been recognised through song, story, economy and livelihood. This heritage, as well as the future economic potential for the community, will be the subject of Ceòlas’ 2018 community symposium, from 22-24 July in Ìochdar, South Uist.
Philip Kerrison, Scottish Association for Marine Science UHI, will give two lectures in Sgoil an Ìochdair on Monday 23 July: ‘History of Scottish Seaweed’ (2pm) and ‘The Modern Seaweed Industry and Its Future’ (6pm). This will be followed by the annual piping recital at 8pm in Talla an Ìochdair.
On Tuesday 24 July, Dr Kevin Grant, Historic Environment Scotland, will explore the archaeology of the seaweed industry in Taobh a Tuath Loch Aoineart, both in a talk at Sgoil an Ìochdar (1:30pm) and by guided walk to sites at the lochside. Between events, a special service at Eaglais Thobh’ Mòir will be held at 3pm, featuring Gaelic psalm precenting from John Angus MacKillop of Beàrnaraigh na Hearadh.
Guided walks along the foreshore, both east and west, will start both Monday and Tuesday at 10:30am, and the usual family cèilidh will close the symposium on the 24th in Talla an Ìochdair, with Mòrag MacDonald, BBC Radio presentor, as bean-an-taighe.
The symposium will start on Sunday, the 22nd of July, with a mass in Eaglais Àird Choinnich in Ìochdar and a family fun day from 4pm-6pm. Martin MacIntyre, Gaelic author and storyteller, will launch his new novel, Samhradh ’78 (Luath Press), with an evening of readings, discussion and archival recordings he made in Uist over several decades. Amongst the voices captured on the tapes held in Museum nan Eilean’s archives are Alasdair Mòr, Eilidh Wilson, Seònaid MacAuley and others.
The symposium will aim to provide members of the local community a more holistic view of the seaweeding, with which many islanders have been involved for generations. As Seonaidh Caimbeul of Taobh a Tuath Ghleann Dàil sang:
’S fhuair sinn mar fhasan or seanair ’s or seanmhair,
Nuair thig an t-earrach bhith teannadh ri feamnadh.
(Seonaidh Caimbeul, Am Feamnadh)
Full details on the Ceòlas website or from the Ceòlas office, 01878700154. It is being generously funded by Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Creative Scotland, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and HIE.