Memory Boxes final launch tomorrow in Tarbert

Memory Boxes Poster

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The final launch of the Memory boxes will be at Tarbert Library Weds 31st January 18 at 2.30pm.

We have held launch events in Barra, South Uist, North Uist, Benbecula, Stornoway and now Tarbert. These events have been opportunities to contribute to and/or rummage through the contents of the boxes.

The boxes are free to borrow from the Mobile Library service and are currently on the following themes:

Crofting – started in Benbecula
Fishing – started at Harris House
Sensory support – started with people living with high sensory support needs

Boxes in collation at the moment and coming soon are:

Exhibition box – Harris Mountain Festival to start
Transport box – Started on Barra
Harvest (seasonal box) started in North Uist.

If you have something to contribute, please contact your library service and if you would like to book a box, again, please contact the library service.

Crofting Memories

The low winter sun revealed the lazy beds /run rigs on the way to a Harris care home today.

Today the theme was crofting and what an exchange of knowledge and Harris v Lewis words and phrases for crofting utensils and processes.

A bucket is a cuinneag not a peile. A table cover searbhadair buird not tubhailte buird. The were mastradh not misreadh whilst making butter.

An afternoon of rich crofting terminology exchange from the cream barr/uachdar of rich Hearach dialect.

Seriously I just turned up with props and they did all the talking.

Anybody else want to come to their next seminar?

Trad Music and Gaelic Songs

Guitar ClassLots of colour and joy today

The Me Time guitar workshop had a blue guitar and a pink ukulele, golden sunlight,  lots of red chairs and five participants.

Meantime at Deep’s Cultural Movement workshops, we had multi colours scarves whirring around, shaky-eggs as enthusiastic accompaniment to the Danns an Rathaid tunes.

When it all got too hot the oriental fans helped to cool us down. The singing ..well.. it was so good we are going to have a regular sing-a-long once a week.

Brightening January with dance

I’m sure Maggie will be along with a beautifully thoughtful post about the gorgeous Gaelic singing and cultural movement/dance session today in Stornoway but in the meantime, here are some warming images of bright colours, playful interaction and some full on dancing with Louise Davidson and Maggie Smith.

Much of the singing came from Maggie but there were a couple of people in the room who knew all of the words to traditional songs and entertained everyone with their wonderful singing.

Western Isles Voices at the Scottish Parliament

Paul Thomas from DEEP presented this list of priorities at Scottish Parliament last night.

It is a project we have been involved with for some time – we are DEEP members for the Western Isles.

People living with dementia from the Western Isles are attending DEEP gatherings with support from this project and from family  – we went to the Inverness and Edinburgh gatherings and we are going to the one in Belfast in February.

‘I enjoy our away days’ says C – a lady who loves to attend and has made so many friends.

The issues that were most important to everyone gathering were listed and discussed and taken to Scottish Parliament last night, so people living with dementia in the Western Isles are really influencing policymaking.

We are going to Belfast for the 7th February DEEP gathering, if anyone would like to come along, please let Paula know

DEEP Gatherings Report link here 
You will se our involvement in the report – plenty of pictures 🙂

Academic Poster call out for Cuimhne at An Lanntair

poster call out Cuimhne
Posters are invited from academics, creative practitioners, organisations, institutions and particularly people living with dementia and/or caring on topics related to the following themes:
Oral tradition and memory
Hand memory and Haptic stimulation
Making as a therapeutic activity
The role of bi/multilingualism in retaining memory skills
Intangible culture and archiving
Design and dementia
The role of culture and heritage in creative care practice
The role of cultural inclusivity in care home design
Cultural and linguistic rights within the care home environment
The role of heritage collections and archives in reminiscence
Making as a way of understanding
Memory and Intergenerational learning
The role of memory in community cohesion
Restoring the value of elders in the community
Museum artefacts and intangible culture
The role of assistive technologies in health care and wellbeing
Cultural identity and food traditions
Personal experience

All selected posters will be on display in the upstairs walkway in An Lanntair throughout the Cuimhne symposium so that attendees can absorb them in their own time and way.
The Cuimhne symposium agenda will also include time for you to discuss your poster with colleagues, answer questions and exchange ideas. There will be poster viewing sessions at four specified times throughout the symposium and authors are encouraged to be available for discussion by their poster at these times.
Application process

To apply, please send an email to by 1/3/18 with the following information:

A short title for your poster.
Your name, job title, organisation, email address and phone number.
The same contact details for anyone else who will attend the symposium and present the poster with you.
A summary of no more than 500 words, which gives a clear idea of the topics and content that your poster will feature.
You don’t need to create the poster itself at this stage.

We will contact you by 15/3/18 to inform you whether your application has been successful.
Successful applicants should submit their final poster design for approval by emailing a pdf of your poster to by Mon 26 March.

Authors attending should bring their poster to An Lanntair by 10am on Mon 23rd April. Authors not attending should mail their poster to An Lanntair by Thurs 19th April. Posters should be A1 in size.

Working the land in Breasclete

Aonghas Ruadh a man who was there, maintains “That the Breasclete Re-seeding turned out better than any other re-seeding on the island” The very first re-seeding scheme created in the Isle of Lewis in the 1950s. No tractors or spreaders were used on the area, with the work of spreading lime and grass-seed all done by hand. All the men lined up with buckets and moved forward together in a straight line “Mar a bhiodh iad a’ cur a’ chorc uaireigin, làn do dhùirn do shìol air a fhrasadh fad do làimh”.

A representative from each croft in Breasclete turned to and they are pictured below with Angus Macleod from the Board of Agriculture.

Angus Macarthur treasurers this picture as a momento of how the village men worked together and it has pride of place in his room in the care home. After naming everyone in the picture, Angus spoke in his native language about his memories of life on the croft and his first job working in the Harris Tweed Mill in Stornoway in 1952.


Air a lot :Bhiodh sinn a falbh leis a bhò a h-uile madainn a-mach ga na cnuic air cùl Bhreascleit. D’fheumadh gach duine a dol a-mach leis a’ bhò aca fhein, neo bhiodh iad a sabaist. Bhiodh crodh Ceann a Muigh Bhreascleit a sabaist ri crodh Cheann a Staigh Bhreascleit, mar gum biodh iad ag radh “Seo an area againn”. Thigeadh an crodh leotha fhein aig àm bleòghainn.

Nuair a bhiodh Faing Beinn Chrionaig ann, bhiodh làraidh An Charaich a falbh làn dhuine, a-mach am Pentland mu ochd uairean. Thòisicheadh an trusadh agus bhiodh sinn air ais anns an fhaing am Breascleit ma aon uair deug neo da-reug. ’S a toirt an latha a rùsgadh mas e àm an rusgadh a bh’ann. Cha robh creag nach robh ainm orrra. Bha aon àite ann air an robh An Anail. Aite air Rathad a Phentland far a faigheadh tu air stad le claibh, do chùl a chur ri aghaidh na creig’ agus bha sloc anns a’ chreag a gabhadh cuideam a’chliabh.

Bha Rathad a Phentland gu math feumail do mhuinntir Bhreascleit ’s e Cailleach Perrins a fhuair an teàrr air an rathad. Cha robh air a bhith ann roimhne sin, ach rathad morgain làn chlachan. Bha i na Councillor aig Ross and Cromarty County Council. Bha i air ceann na daoine a choisich air a’ mharch le piobaire, saoilidh mi gur e Calum Piper a bh’ann. Bha i a’ deanamh ructions mu dheidhinn an rathad agus choisich i fhein agus crowd eile à Breascleit a Steòrnabhagh. Sin man a fhuair sinn an teàrr.

Tha cuimhne agam na bodaich a cruinneachadh an taigh mo sheanair, a tighinn a d’èisteachd ri naidheachdan a’ chogaidh aig naoi uairean air an Home Service. Bha an accumulator agus battery a dol a Steòrnabagh air làraidh An Charaich airson a’ chargeadh. Bha an taigh, dubh le ceò nam pìob, leis a Bhogey Roll. Bhiodh na bodaich ann a suid a toirt am beachdan air cuisean gu meadhan oidhche.

Bha rations ann aig àm a’ chogaidh bha coupons ann. Bha Niall Alasdair an ceannaich à Ciribost a tighinn air an eathar, bàta sùil, a d’ iarraidh na rations gu Cidhe Bhreascleit. Bhiodh sinn a faighinn sail anns an eathar uaireannan nam biodh tìde aige. Bha Shed An Charaich a’ faighinn tòrr ga na coupons. Bhiodh iad a tighinn à Tolsta Chaolais dhan an t-seada aige.Bha na leabraichean coupons a tighinn bhon a Mhinistry of Food ann an Steòrnabhagh.

Ag obair anns a’ mhuillin

Chaidh mi a d’ obair dhan a’ mhuilinn an uair a dh’ fhag mise an sgoil ann an 1952. Bha tòrr mhuillin ann an Steòrnabhagh an uairsin Newall,Tod, Muillean Smith, Stickie agus Stephen Burns .Bha grùnn bhusaichean a tighinn às an Rudha agus bhon a’ Bhac le na bha ag obair anns na muillean.

Bha sinn a toiseachadh aig ochd a h-uile madainn gu sià uairean ach gun robh sinn a sguir aig meadhan latha Dihaoine. Bha hooter ann a Muillean Smith a chluinneadh tu air feadh Steòrnabhagh agus bha sin a’ seirm gach lath agus sinn a faighinn uair a thìde aig tràth diathad. ’S ann aig na spinning flats a bha mise.

Thall againn fhìn ann am Breascleit bha small producers ann. Daoine man Dòmhnall Iain a’ Chidhe agus bhiodh e deanamh clòithtean agus a’ cumail spares nam beart. . Nuair a thòisich mise a’ fithe, bha ma 60 breabadair anns a’ bhaile. ’S e boireannaich bu mhotha bha fithe. Bha dhà neo trì bheartan anns a h-uile seada beart an uair ud. Bha na teaglaichean cho mòr agus air a sguireadh aon daoine, leumadh cuideigin eile air a’ bheart. Bha thu ag ionnsachadh man a bha thu a fàs an àrda, bha a’ bheart man pìos den fhurnadair.

Aonghas MacAmhlaigh Breascleit



Winter Newsletter

November News

We started our fishing memory box at Harris House this month, please contribute!

We were featured in Luminate’s publication Late Opening

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Textiles at the ward ceilidhs

A session at Erisort Ward Ceilidh developed our worry doll kits from Chris Hammacott into worry mermaids! Chris created some lovely mermaids for us as part of our set of kits. These started as kits for carers but we have identified several uses for them since, for work in care centres, for joint projects with families and as post hospital recuperation projects. We have seen a fair few Christmas gifts being made through the kits, too.


Our print making naturally strayed into Christmas card creation this month! We held several sessions with Gill Thompson in care centres, day centres, An Lanntair and some kits are in progress through Margaret Joan MacIsaac in North Uist.

Textiles at Harris House We held some sessions at Harris House with Chris Hammacott for making textiles in silk painting, quilting, patch working and worry doll making.

Mhairi Law led our Photography Walks and our Cyanotype print making sessions in November.

We held some dance sessions with Louise Davidson and Maggie Smith.

And a Me Time session with duff and flower arranging with Chris Hammacott in Ness.

December News

Textiles at Harris House We returned to Harris House with Chris Hammacott to deliver completed projects and to start some new ones during December. We also started to talk about what the new wall hangings will look like and how we might make them interactive.

We attended the Life Changes Trust gathering in Perth and Paula gave a very well received talk on hand memory (incorporating muscle memory and art as a language). The journey home was through a winter wonderland with a lovely opportunity to see Beauly Priory in the snow.

Our Duff Day at Stornoway Library Cafe filled our crofting memory box with lots of stories, techniques, joke recipes, sayings and recipe tips.

And finally, before our Christmas break, the ward ceilidh at Erisort Ward featured a festive Arora Film Club film,  lots of dressing up and Christmassy bakes.

Paula went along to the Alzheimer Scotland Christmas lunch and met a jolly beardy man in a red suit.

And finally, we attended the Museum Gaelic singing session on Friday 22nd December with Euan, who learned some new songs from Cathy, while in return, she learned how to play a traditional drum.

January News

Happy New Year, everyone!

Our lovely Chris Hammacott is out of action for a while, as she has unfortunately broken herself on some ice in the New Year. Get well soon, Chris!

Guitar lessons via Me Time began at the Retirement Centre at Bayhead, Stornoway this month and are on a Wednesday 1-3pm on 10th, 17th, 24th and 31st January. Please contact All welcome.

31st January, which is a Wednesday, 2.30pm-4pm, we will be offering a rummage opportunity to get up close and involved with some of our memory boxes at Tarbert Library. refreshments will be served and you can have a look at our crofting box, sensory box and fishing memory box. Please feel welcome to bring along any images, stories, artefacts, notes, anything at all which might add to any of these collections to share with your local community.

Have a look at our facebook page for specific events.

Looking ahead to Spring

Early in February, we will be going to Ireland with DEEP, for a gathering. If you are living with dementia and would like to attend, free of charge, please let us know.

Photography walks continue, reminiscence sessions, film screenings, ward ceilidhs, dance and cultural movement, Me Time sessions, Art Ceilidhs, sessions in care centres, day centres and community centres  please see our facebook page for details.

Our Cuimhne Symposium is in April 2018, more news early in February as the programme and speakers are fixed.
Expect a celebration of the past three years filled with ceilidhs, workshops, keynote speakers, project work, work between islands, baskets, inspiration, performance and exhibition art works, and gathering of inspirational people.
The main An Lanntair events are 23rd – 27th April, with a Gallery opening on Friday 20th April. There will be events in several locations and opportunities to enjoy films, performances, art, academic inspiration and each other.

Scalpay Community Centre is going to be the focus of some community arts events during February and March, based largely around textiles but also incorporating some techniques which will support textile art such as printmaking and cyanotype photography, photography itself, and later in the season creating textile art works in different forms. These sessions will be free. Poster to follow with details of Artists and dates/times. Please contact