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Strathnaver Museum Ode

In celebration of the refurbishment of Strathnaver Museum, bard Irene Ross compossed the following which was read out at the launch of the refurbished museum on 13 May 2023.

Strathnaver Museum Ode

13 May 2023

We see this ancient building which looked a bit decrepit

Has had a great make-over our praise it isn’t tepid

So thanks to all the funders who had to foot the bill

To make this old Museum the pride of Bettyhill


O’Briens got the contract and really pulled their weight

They always went the extra mile their input was so great

With Cathel at the helm there, he would not give an inch

(We’ll have to get a bust of him sitting on a plinth)


Now long ago some ‘bodachs’ they gathered one or two

To talk about Columba’s Church and see what they could do

Robert, Joseph, Heccy, J K along from Crask

And Belzie who suggested Mrs Tot they had to ask


And Dr Ian Grimble a very learned gent

Was happy to assist them and many hours they spent

Discussing all the ways and means, they talked of this and that

And finally they had the help of Elliot and Pat


Pat who did the admin had such a lot to do

With a really ancient typewriter which lost a key or two

The office then was not equipped she hadn’t got a printer

She felt it cold in summer and was frozen in the winter


Elliot knew a lot about the ancient brochs and cairns

And many stories (some are tall) delighted all the bairns

He liked to tell the visitors of deserted habitation

And Achanlochy, Skelpick was a favourite location


Of all the items we amassed the favourite we know

Was the story of the clearances which happened long ago

Emily and her pupils made a mural for the wall

And for many years it hung there, all the punters to enthrall


James Allen stepped into the breach when Pat had things to do

For many years he took the lead his duties were not few

He was a real gentleman and was cautious and canny

And if he had a problem he would sort it out with Nannie


Many people came to help we really couldn’t fail

Marlyn did a lot of work to boost Strathnaver Trail

Rachel, Ronnie, ‘Will the film’, Mike Roper all of these

And Robbie Strathy we all know will do your Family Trees


Tommy is the Chairman now I know he will remember

When we were left to run the place and one day in September

We got a bill £500 pounds for books we got in error

The threat was clear send money here – we really were in terror


So T got on the phone that day and gave his explanation

Sorry we made a mistake – it was a great oration

He spoke so slow as is his wont, a long long time it took

They lost the plot or fell asleep and let us off the hook


And Frances who one day went wild, let out a fearful volley

And we all stared in wonder she’s usually so jolly

So Jeannie made a swear box with a bonny tartan trim

And before the week was over Frances filled it to the brim


We went to every Gala float where Turkey was our queen

With silken wig of golden hue and gown of emerald green

He got a great big welcome, like a vision he appeared

But he caused consternation when they saw his silver beard


We also had some open days because the Clan Mackay

Are as numerous as midges and they aren’t very shy

And on Mackays Go Global Day we really had a ball

They gathered from around the world ‘twas tartan wall to wall


When you look upon the pulpit you can see in your mind’s eye

A very ancient reverend with hands upraised on high

Exhorting congregations to repent and change their ways

Or they will end up down below in the middle of the blaze


But now it’s time to look around and see the changes wrought

And thank the many willing hands who have done such a lot

I cannot think of any more my head is in a spin

Thinking of Cathel on his plinth with a very evil grin!


Irene Ross

Bard of Strathnaver Museum


Remembering the original Trustees and Phyllis, Margaret Crask and Meg Macdonald, who did so much and are not forgotten.