Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The hardy Scots

The Gordon and McKay families lived in Rogart parish near Dornoch in Scotland and in 1848 Neil Gordon married Margaret Mckay at Rogart. They had several children, including Christina, and then decided to migrate to Victoria. They settled in the Balmattum district and became successful farmers. Their daughter Christina was Grandpa Phelan's grandmother.

It was fun to contrast the Balmattum landscape with that of Rogart as we drove up from the river valley to the moors above, with small fields bordered by drystone walls and many old stone cottages still there. We visited St Callan's Church where Neil's father is buried. He had been a Gaelic teacher and moved around a bit in the district so Neil was born at Logie Easter or Lamimgton near Tain - we found mainly pine plantations there rather than a village. There is a radio station here that broadcasts in Gaelic and we've been listening to it occasionally to get a feel for the sound of the language, and many of the signs are in English and Gaelic.

We had our lunch in our car on a point overlooking a sandy beach at Dornoch - also a town the Gordon family had some association with - and watched as the hardy Scots played golf in their shirtsleeves and rugged up to play on the beach. It was about six degrees.

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