Township: Balemartine

Map Reference: Balemartine o

Name Type: building

Meaning: Kirsty, the daughter of 'Brady' s (a nickname) shop

The house of John the son of Lachlan the son Calum

Other Forms:

Related Places:

Information:In Balemartine (where Alasdair Straker lives today, Brady’s house) there lived a man called Iain Lachainn Chaluim, John MacDonald, the brother of the cobbler, Lachainn Beag Lachainn Chaluim. He was married to Chrissie/Ciorstaidh Bhràididh (MC). He had a dog called ‘Toss’ (MC) who was very intelligent and was said understand every word of Gaelic. Lachainn Chaluim, a cobbler living in Glasgow, had been one of the organisers of the ‘Penny Readings’ opposite McSorley’s pub in Jamaica Street in Glasgow, and this ‘education’ in the household was said to be the reason the dog was so wise.

‘Toss’ would go to collect Iain's Oban Times when Lachie MacNeill, the postman would come to the township on Fridays. He would wait to hear the postman’s whistle and run off, bringing the newspaper home. He would also sometimes go and lie down at the back of the classroom in Balemartine School. When a pupil couldn't answer a question the teacher would say, "That dog knows the answer better than you!" The teacher would give the dog letters to post when the postman came to Balemartine.

One Friday ‘Toss’ went for the paper as usual but didn’t return. Iain went looking for him all over the township – “he wore his shoe leather out!” Eventually he heard a commotion behind the school wall and he looked over to see half the township’s dogs and ‘Toss’ with the Oban Times opened in front of them reading about the Cruft’s Dog Show. "He can read English now, too!" said the triumphant Iain to Miss Wilson. John Fletcher [see AC with Maggie Campbell], Alasdair Sinclair, Balinoe and Mairi Campbell 1-3/2013.

Cù Iain Lachainn was well known. People would remark “Dè thuirt cù Iain Lachainn an-diugh?” He would go into the shop to collect a newspaper. He saw the dog himself. He was watching Iain Lachainn shooting ducks from the carraig in front of his house. The dog was in the house, but when he heard the noise of the shotgun, he ran out, dived into the sea and retrieved the duck a hundred yards offshore. Neil Tais MacDonald, Balevullin, 3/2013.

Her father sub-let a field in Crossapol from Iain and went to Hynish (the flat below Maureen McMullen) to pay his rent. Iain MacDonald (Iain Lachainn Chaluim) was trying to catch a rat in the flat and was lying in bed with a fish hook to a string baited with a piece of ham. Unfortunately the cat swallowed the ham instead and George Paterson had to get a blanket to wrap the cat up in before removing the hook from the cat's tongue! Mairi Campbell, Cornaigbeg, 1/2013

Iain moved to Hynish where he had a croft on Cnoc Lingal. When he got home to the Barracks he realised he had left his pipe behind and he sent Toss back up to the croft to get it, which he did, returning it safely to its owner. Toss liked to swim and Iain would take it to the end of Hynish pier, where he tied a string to Toss' tail. The dog plunged into the water and was pulled back up by Iain - he had a fish in his mouth! Allan MacFadyen, Balemartine, 1/2013 via Mairi Campbell.

On his croft in Lingal his cows were bothered by ‘Toss’ so Iain Lachainn decided to mend the fences. He came home and realised that ‘Toss’ had not come home with him. When he went back up the hill, ‘Toss’ was trapped inside the field and the cows were outside! John Fletcher, Balemartine, 3/2013

Where Alasdair Straker lives today.

Local Form:

Languages : Gaelic

Informants: Katie Ann MacDougall, Crossapol, 3/1995