Àirigh a' Bhealaich

Remember the day we went to Cuidhshadar? Well, when we'd finished our time at the beach, we went for a stroll down memory lane.

When the Builder and his siblings were young, they used to spend whole summers out here on the moor. Five weeks (going home at weekends) on the moor: no running water, but a crystal clear running stream; no electricity; no internet, consoles or gadgets.

Just mile after mile of empty moor - empty, but full in a child's imagination.

And each of the ruins of shielings here holds memories for them. Where, today, only one wall, or a chimney remains standing, a generation ago these were shielings which, over the summer, were teeming with life.

Today, they teem only with memories. And stories, forever engraved in the hearts of those who spent time out here.

The last few summers the Builder's family spent out on the moor was spent in this shieling. DR is standing at the chimney, but the following photo shows the inside of the àirigh, which was built into the side of the hill.

Here's where the fire was. Do you see a blue kettle still sitting in there? 

The feelings that rushed back into the Builder's mind and to his siblings' were so strong. For a long time, we just stood and allowed them their memories. There may even have been a tear or two.

None of those of whom they spoke, who spent time out there over summers are here. 

All the stories of 'Remember when....', were of people who were full of life then, but are now gone.

Although we now have a younger generation of people who are, once again, discovering the delights of spending time out on the moor in simple àirighean, we saw nobody that day.

I felt that each ruin, or even each àirigh seen from a distance, spoke like memorials to another time, another generation.

Almost like walking through a cemetery, and reading the writing on memorials. To me, they are just that: memorials to people whose names I recognise, and to a way of life of which I knew nothing.

But to the Builder and his family? Each 'memorial' spoke volumes. In fact, they did more than speak: they bellowed - albeit quietly. For out here, there are no loud noises.


  1. there is no simple enjoyment of life in the outdoors any more...down here, we hardly let our children out alone, just for fear of their safety. Sad. We did so much alone, as children. It's very beautiful there...and, is that blue sky? ;-)

  2. Thank you for sharing, Anne.....what a beautiful legacy in scenery and memories. Keep passing on the stories to your children.....so they can tell your children's children.

  3. You have such a way with words. This is such a beautiful way to speak of the memories of the family. I think a place with such beauty is forever etched in the hearts of those who spent time there.

  4. "For over it the wind doth pass
    And it away is gone
    And of the place where once it was
    It shall no more be known.

    But . . "

  5. So sweet, and sad. I feel such a sadness of things that have disappeared lately. Is an Airigh perhaps what we would call a cabin, or homestead?
    And what is the definition of Airighean? (sorry I left out the accents). Do you and your family ever camp there now? The tea kettle was a picturesque witness of days gone by wasn't it?

    Enjoyed coming along with you.
    Much Love,

  6. I love this post, and how you ended, sharing how quiet it is out there. It's wonderful to hear of loved ones memories, what a great day for your family to share in. Hugs to you friend!

  7. On looking at your photos of Airigh a'bhealaich i just want to tell you thatmy mum and her 2 sisters in law visited taigh An Fiosaich after which they walked up Airigh a'Bhealaich from Skigersta. Great memories for her, as she visited the very Airigh that held memories for you family over 30 years ago only to take the exact same photo as you have last week when she was there. They went there on wednesday last week and never saw a soul there! Great trip down memory lane for them :-)

  8. Amazing post. Loved it. And the photos are captivating. Fascinating place!

  9. Wonderful post!! The past can speak so loudly at times - and I can imagine a summer out there as a child. It would have been truly magical, and yet at the time there would have been no thought that it wouldn't last. You're so lucky to be able to go back to that place and share it together. And thank you so much for sharing it with us!


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