Naidheachdan (tasglann) News (archive)

From 16 February 2024

History of Gress River

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An illustrated talk about Gress River will be given tonight (Friday 16 Feb) by Alasdair Murray (Mac Niall Alec).

This will be in the Hut at 7:30pm, and there will be some tea, coffee and home baking served afterwards.

From 14 December 2023

Christmas Shopping?

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Vatisker Diaries is currently out-of-stock in our online shop—thanks to all who have bought a copy and made it such a success. (The video of the book launch can be viewed on our youtube channel

But if you're looking for last-minute Christmas (and New Year) gifts our online shop still has copies of Iain Murray's Back in Time magazine available, full of interesting historical (and not-so-historical) nuggets.

You can also still get our A3 wall calendar, with scenes from–and historical information about–the Gress River.

From 21 November 2023

Vatisker Diaries

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The launch of Ian Quigley's detailed and fascinating history of a village, Vatisker Diaries, will take place this Friday at 7:30pm in the Back Free Church hall.

A discussion with Ian will be followed by tea, coffee and a selection of baking.

We look forward to seeing you there!

From 08 November 2023

Gaisgich Sgìre a’ Bhac

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We commemorate Armistice Day with the accompanying slideshow first shown at the book launch for Gaisgich Sgìre a' Bhac in November 2019.

The evocative soundtrack Angels from the Ashes is courtesy of Blair Douglas.

youtube.com/watch?v=N1-QzHVbntk

From 21 October 2023

Community Consultation Drop-in

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Join us for a drop-in session and hear the proposals for the old school site. Read more…

Community Consultation Drop-in

Join us for a drop-in session and hear the proposals for the old school site.

Ruairidh Moir (BARD) will be available in the Comann Cabin between 11am and 4pm with updates on recent site masterplanning. Both Ruairidh and the comann are keen to hear your views and ideas on the proposal.

From 21 October 2023

Film Screening + Interview

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As a preview to the Summer School Art Exhibition (Back Community Hut, 26-28 Oct) the comann is delighted to host the first public screening of a short film—An t-Seada— by Ishbel Murray, featuring interviews with local people about their creative pursuits.

The screening of the film will be followed by a conversation between Iain Murray (Iain a’ Bhrùinnich) and Coinneach MacÌomhair.

The event will be in Gaelic, with simultaneous translation available on request (this is via LiveVoice and requires you to have access to a smartphone with a data connection).

Refreshments and home baking will be provided.

From 10 September 2023

Second community survey

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Please complete our new survey about the plans for the old school site! Go to cebac.org/survey for details. Read more…

Second community survey

Please complete our new survey about the plans for the old school site! Go to cebac.org/survey for details.

From 21 August 2023

EGM

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An EGM will be held by the comann on 5 Sep 2023 in the Heritage Hub (Old School site) at 7pm. Read more…

EGM

An EGM will be held by the comann on 5 Sep 2023 in the Heritage Hub (Old School site) at 7pm.

The only item on the agenda is the approval of some changes to the comann's constitution. See cebac.org/egm for details.

From 25 July 2023

We are hiring!

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Development Officer (1-Year Contract) Do you want to make your community a better place? Would you like to see Back district get a heritage centre (like so many other Western Isles communities? Then join us and help build a thriving community hub for social, educational, and cultural activities, on the site of the old school.

About us: Comann Eachdraidh Sgìre a’ Bhac SCIO is a charity committed to preserving, maintaining and communicating the heritage and history of the Back area. Position Overview: Develop a site masterplan for the old school site. Lead our fundraising efforts for the community hub project. Connect with donors, architects, planners, engineers, secure sponsorships, and drive financial support. Responsibilities: Identify funding opportunities and create compelling grant proposals Liaise with the comann board and technical partners Develop a site-wide business plan and liase with potential stakeholders Liase with the community and organise community outreach initiatives Organise fundraising events Track progress and provide regular reports Qualifications: • Proven fundraising, grant writing, or business development skills • Excellent communication and organisational skills • Self-motivated Fluency in Gaelic is an advantage, but not essential. Contract Details: • Part-time, 21 hours per week (0.6 FTE) • 1 year fixed contract • Salary of £25,000 pro rata Application: Submit your CV, cover letter, and supporting documents to info@cebac.org with "Development Officer Application" in the subject line. Applications accepted until 31/08/23. Comann Eachdraidh Sgìre a’ Bhac values diversity and is an equal opportunity employer. Join us and make a lasting impact on our community! Note: Only selected candidates will be contacted for an interview. Thank you for your interest in joining our team.

From 28 April 2023

AGM

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The Annual General Meeting of Comann Eachdraidh Sgìre a’ Bhac SCIO is to take place on 16 May 2023 in the Hut at 8pm. Read more…

AGM

The Annual General Meeting of Comann Eachdraidh Sgìre a’ Bhac SCIO is to take place on 16 May 2023 in the Hut at 8pm.

All are welcome, and all full members have voting rights.

From 21 April 2023

Metagama Diaspora

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Come and meet our Detroit friends next Tuesday (25th April) in the Back Free Church Hall at 7:30pm.

Coinneach MacÌomhair will be in conversation with Peggy, Catherine, John and Angus John. A slideshow will play throughout the evening with historical and modern photos.

Tea and baking will be provided. As usual, admission is free but donations are always welcome.

From 05 January 2023

Back in Time Annual

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Have you got your copy of our first "Annual" in 30 years yet? Packed with interesting stories, articles, photos and titbits it is the ideal reading material for dark January evenings!

The editor, Iain Murray (mac Niall Alec) has skilfully blended old items from the Comann archives with new articles. There is a particular focus on the emigration events of 100 years ago, with information on those who left Back on ships like the Metagama.

Now available for just £4 from our shop

From 05 December 2022

Autumn Talk

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Normally Coinneach MacÌomhair asks the questions, but on Friday (9th December) he’ll be on the other side of the mic, and fellow broadcaster Coinneach Mac a’ Ghobhainn will be asking about a long career in broadcasting.

Join us in the Back Community Hut at 7:30pm for what should be a lively discussion. As usual, tea and coffee will be served afterwards.

The event will be in Gaelic, but simultaneous translation will be available if required. (NB This requires you to have a smartphone with an active data connection.)

From 14 November 2022

Autumn Talk

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Our next Autumn Lecture features Catriona Murray, a lecturer at UHI Innse Gall. Join us to hear about ghosts and second sight in the oral traditions of the area.

The talk takes place at 7:30pm this Friday (18th) in the Back Community Hut, and will be in English.

As usual, tea, coffee and a selection of home baking will follow Catriona's talk.

From 20 September 2022

Autumn Talk

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We hope you can come to the Hut this Friday (23rd Sept) at 7:30pm to see an illustrated lecture on the buses that served the Back area over the years (and those that ran them).

Colin Tucker, the author of the well-received book on Mitchell's Garage (Acair, 2018) is the tour guide for this interesting journey through the history of transport to Back in the last century.

Tea, coffee and a baking selection will be available after the talk, which is free (although donations are welcome).

From 07 July 2022

Community Consultation

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We hope you can join us in the Back Community Hut -- either at 7pm on 22 July, or at 2pm on 23 July -- where we will outline a proposal to build a Heritage Centre for Sgìre a’ Bhac on the site of the old school.

Award-winning architect Ruaridh Moir (BARD) will give a presentation on the building's design. A 3-d model and large photo-realistic mock-ups will also be displayed.

Although the architect’s presentation will be at 2pm on Saturday, the Hut will be open from 12noon for people to drop in and examine the model.

From 07 July 2022

Complete our survey!

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As part of the proposal for a new Heritage Centre, we have created an anonymous survey that we hope as many people as possible will complete. Read more…

Complete our survey!

As part of the proposal for a new Heritage Centre, we have created an anonymous survey that we hope as many people as possible will complete.

If the Centre is to go ahead, it is vital there is evidence of community support for it. This is also your chance to have your say on how it could or should be used.

The deadline for completing the survey is 30 July 2022.

From 27 April 2022

Book Launch

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We are launching another new book - The Gress and Upper Coll Land Raids - this Friday (29 April)!

Come to the Back Free Church hall at 7:30pm.

There will be readings by local children, a photo slideshow and tea/coffee/baking.

The books will be available to buy (£10 - but cash only please).

From 18 April 2022

New book!

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Nine Archaeological Walks in Sgìre a’ Bhac is a new spiral-bound book from the comann now available in our online shop and at Gordon Diesels. Read more…

New book!

Nine Archaeological Walks in Sgìre a’ Bhac is a new spiral-bound book from the comann now available in our online shop and at Gordon Diesels.

It is a compilation of nine reports written by local archaeologist Ian Mchardy. As part of his survey of Sgìre a’ Bhac he led groups of volunteers on walks into the moor, from Gress to Upper Coll. You can read about what they found, and perhaps be inspired to mount expeditions of your own. (The project was made possible by funding from Comhairle nan Eilean’s Crown Estate fund.)

From 12 April 2022

AGM

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Our third Annual General Meeting will be held on Tuesday the 26th of April at 7:45 in the Back Community Hut.

Please do attend if you can, all are most welcome, and we would appreciate your support!

From 10 March 2022

Spring lecture - Cancelled!

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Apologies for the late notice, but the talk due to be given by Ian Mchardy on the 11th of March is now cancelled.

This is due to COVID-19.

We hope to reschedule the talk before the end of March -- watch this space.

Again, we are sorry for any inconvenience caused, this due to circumstances outwith our control.

From 06 March 2022

Spring lecture

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On 9 Saturdays last summer, volunteers explored the archaeology of Sgìre a’ Bhac.

Come along to hear our resident archaeologist, Ian Mchardy, describe and interpret some of what we saw.

The event will take place in the Back Community Hut at 7:30pm.

All are welcome! Please note that face coverings should be worn.

From 01 November 2021

Winter lectures

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We hope -- COVID permitting -- to resume holding public lectures.

All being well our first will take place on the 3rd of December, in the Back Free Church hall, and will be given by Ian Mackinnon.

The topic will be a continuation of his previous lecture on the religious history of Back.

It will be great to see you there!

From 14 April 2021

Arch Walks!

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We're planning 9 walks in the Back moor, led by local archaeologist Ian McHardy, with the goal of finding and recording sites of archaeological interest.

Details of the planned routes are now available on our site at cebac.org/arch. Walks will take place on Saturdays, starting in May.

This series of walks is on challenging terrain, and not suitable for young children or those with mobility issues. (We hope to organise a more accessible walk or walks later in the project.)

Don't miss this chance to explore the fascinating area in which we live - who knows what we might discover!

From 10 March 2021

AGM 2021

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Comann Eachdraidh Sgìre a’ Bhac hereby give formal notice of their Annual General Meeting.

In line with COVID-19 restrictions this meeting will be held virtually using Google Meet.

Full details on how to join, along with the agenda for the meeting, and the minute of the last AGM are available here:

cebac.org/agm

From 24 September 2020

Bacach Abroad

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Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation we are not holding our usual autumn/winter lectures this year. Instead we're hoping to have a series of interviews carried out over the internet and premiered on our Youtube channel.

The first of these interviews will go live on the 29th of September at 7:30pm and features Iain "Tohan" Macleod, speaking from his home in New Zealand.

The interview, largely in Gaelic, is conducted by Comann trustee (and broadcaster) Kenny Maciver, and features stories from Iain's young days growing up in Coll and Gress, as well as from his time working in mills all over the country.

From 02 September 2020

AGM

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We are holding our Annual General Meeting (originally scheduled for April) on the 22nd of September at 7:30pm.

Due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions this meeting will be held online only using Google Meet.

Full instructions on how to join, as well as the agenda for the meeting, are available on the dedicated page on our site - cebac.org/agm

Please read all the instructions on that page as they contain important notes on how the meeting will work and how you can contribute.

All welcome.

From 27 April 2020

Corona-comann

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During the current lockdown children are unable to go to school and the elderly in our community are more isolated from friends and relations than at any time in the past.

We wanted to do something to help (in our own small way) so have launched a new section of our website with resources and instructions for children to conduct online or telephone interviews with relations or neighbours.

If you think this is something you would like to get involved in, full information on what to do is available at cebac.org/cluas.

From 27 April 2020

Call for old video film

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Do you have any old 8mm video "cine" film of Back? Thanks to a kind volunteer we are now able to digitise your film (and make it available on our Youtube channel if we can). Read more…

Call for old video film

Do you have any old 8mm video "cine" film of Back? Thanks to a kind volunteer we are now able to digitise your film (and make it available on our Youtube channel if we can).

For full details on how to get your film to us, contact the comann via the usual channels at the bottom of the page.

From 06 March 2020

Community Drama: Bac and Beyond!

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Our March lecture is to be given by Tom Maciver, in the Hut, on Friday the 6th of March. The subject is community drama -- something Tom was very involved in the 70s.

Calum Iain Maciver (universally known as Tom) regularly gives his time to various good causes as an MC, where his wit and good humour make every event just that bit better. He has a regular (and regularly entertaining) column in Fios Nis and will be familiar to many island motorists for dealing out helpful advice and parts from the Autoparts store, where he worked for many years before retirement.

As usual, tea and coffee will be served after the talk.

From 02 March 2020

Sealladh bhon a’ Bheing

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Our February lecture is to be given by Eilidh Mackenzie. Eilidh is one of the “Mackenzie Sisters” of Gress, and her father Rodney was responsible for no less than three Gaelic choirs from the Back district. When he passed away in 2017 the family erected a commemorative bench that looks out to sea from the Gress sands.

A talented singer and musician in her own right, Eilidh is the ideal speaker to talk about choirs, communities and the Gaelic singing tradition. The lecture will be in Gaelic, with simultaneous translation available, and will take place on Friday the 7th of February in the Back Community Hut.

As usual, tea and coffee will be served after the talk.

From 07 February 2020

Sealladh bhon a’ Bheing

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Our February lecture is to be given by Eilidh Mackenzie. Eilidh is one of the “Mackenzie Sisters” of Gress, and her father Rodney was responsible for no less than three Gaelic choirs from the Back district. When he passed away in 2017 the family erected a commemorative bench that looks out to sea from the Gress sands.

A talented singer and musician in her own right, Eilidh is the ideal speaker to talk about choirs, communities and the Gaelic singing tradition. The lecture will be in Gaelic, with simultaneous translation available, and will take place on Friday the 7th of February in the Back Community Hut.

As usual, tea and coffee will be served after the talk.

From 18 January 2020

Religious history of Back

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The first comann lecture of the 20s is to be given by Ian Mackinnon. Ian is a retired teacher, an active crofter, and the Session Clerk of Back Free Church. He lives in Gress.

The lecture will be held in the Back Free Church hall on the 18th of January 2020, at 7:30pm. It will be in Gaelic, but we will have simultaneous translation available for those that require it.

As usual, tea and coffee will be served after the talk.

From 22 November 2019

Gaisgich book launch

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The first book published by the Comann Eachdraidh was launched at an event held in the Back Free Church hall on 22/11/19.

Authored by Comann Eachdraidh committee member Iain Murray, Gaisgich Sgìre a’ Bhac is a handsome, A4-sized paperback which details those from the district of Back who were lost in the two world wars.

The evening, meticulously planned by Iain, was a great success, with everyone commenting on how much they had enjoyed the moving combination of song, poetry, Gaelic psalm singing and slideshow. (Missed it? Don't worry, it's on our Youtube channel.)

The book is available to buy from local outlets, and online via our comann shop (while stocks last).

From 08 November 2019

Vatisker Diaries: Our Story

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The comann held their second lecture of the 2019/20 "season" on the 8th November, 2019, in the Hut.

Comann Eachdraidh committee member Ian Quigley gave a detailed and exhaustively-researched account, based on his work in the National Archives. He successfully translated census returns into a picture of a village changing in different ways over the course of the 19th century.

We were pleased that Vatisker resident Mrs Alexina Graham gave the vote of thanks at the end of the evening. The lecture is available on our YouTube channel.

From 13 September 2019

The Iolaire Disaster

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The Comann's first winter lecture of the 2019/20 season was held on Friday the 13th September, 2019, in the Hut.

Despite a windy night, a good crowd turned out to hear a fascinating, if sombre, lecture about some of the events relating to the loss of the Iolaire.

The lecture was delivered by Mr Malcolm Macdonald, who co-authored the definitive work on the Iolaire, The Darkest Dawn (Acair 2018). Mr Macdonald is also chairman of the Stornoway Historical Society.

All those who attended found the lecture gripping and moving in equal measure, and the audience included several people who had relatives aboard the ship. The lecture is available on our YouTube channel.

From 24 August 2019

Gress Centenary

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Gress village held an event on the machair, in the shadow of the monument to the raiders, to commemorate 100 years since the village was founded.

Young and old gathered for a short ceremony in the open air before walking up the road behind pipers to marquees where food and drink was waiting.

Coinneach Mac a' Ghobhainn, a Gress-born comann member, used one of the marquee tents to display and talk about old images of Gress, and the comann filmed the event on the machair for the archives.

From 29 July 2019

Summer Opening Hours

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The Comann are opening their office, next to Serenity Salon (at Gordon's Shop) in July and August.

The office will be staffed on Fridays (2pm-4pm) and Saturdays (11am-1pm).

Come and meet us, tell us a story or bring us a picture to scan (we can handle slides or negatives too).

We are also trying to capture or correct place-names, and we have a giant map of the area on the wall that you can write on.

Whatever your reason for visiting, we will be glad to see you!

From 12 April 2019

April lecture

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The Comann held their last public lecture before the summer break on Friday the 5th of April at 7:30pm in the Hut.

Dr Aonghas MacCoinnich, University of Glasgow, spoke on the subject The Fife Adventurers. His talk wove together eyewitness accounts and documentary evidence into a compelling account of the failed attempt at planting a colony in Lewis at the end of the 16th century.

The lecture is available on our Youtube channel.

From 08 March 2019

March lecture

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The Comann held their latest public lecture on Friday the 8th of March at 7:30pm in the Hut.

Dr Joni Buchanan, author of The Lewis Land Struggle, spoke on the subject The Last Raiders (commemorating 100 years since the land raids in this area).

Despite a wild and wet night there was a good turnout, but if you couldn't be there catch it on Youtube.

From 25 February 2019

Inaugural lecture

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The Comann held their inaugural lecture on the 18th of January 2019 at 7:30pm.

A crowd of about 40 people came to hear Dr Dòmhnall Uilleam Stiùbhart, senior lecturer at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, as he gave a talk both engaging and thought-provoking.

The topic of the lecture was “Sùil air ais agus sùil air adhart: eachdraidh Sgìre a’ Bhac anns an àm ri teachd” (“Looking back and looking forward: the future of Back history”). Tea and coffee was served, and the simultaneous translation facilities performed well (ceud taing a Choinnich!). A video of the evening is now available on our Youtube channel.

From 29 January 2019

Cheque presentation

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CEBac presented with cheque from The Stornoway Trust & Point and Sandwick Trust Interim Joint Committee Read more…

Cheque presentation

Comann Eachdraidh Sgìre a’ Bhac were delighted to receive a grant cheque from The Stornoway Trust & Point and Sandwick Trust Interim Joint Committee on the 29th January 2019.

Shown in the picture are CEBac Chair Anna Tucker and Secretary Anne MacArthur, with Stornoway Trust Chairman Norman Maciver.

The money will provide a great boost to the Comann, helping to get it established, and will allow us to purchase IT and office equipment, as well as contributing to various project costs.