Iain Beag Macandra of Dalnahaitnach (Little John Macandrew)
As his Gaelic name implied, Iain Beag Macandra was a small man of Tom Thumb size. But a great archer. Mid 17th century, he joined Rose of Kilravoch* who was pursuing Mackintoshes who had plundered Rose's cattle. In the ensuing battle in Strathdearn, Macandrew killed the Chief of the reivers with an arrow. Macandrew knew that the reivers would want their revenge and follow him home. Later, when John saw strangers in the woods near Dalnahaitnach he guessed they had come to avenge their Chief's death.
The strangers, thinking John was just a young lad, offered him a bribe to take them to Ian Beag Macandra's house (his own). John took the bribe. When they reached his house, John's wife was in and with great presence of mind, carried on the deception and told the strangers that her husband was out . She gave the strangers food and drink and sent John out to look for the master.
John climbed to the top of a tree near the door of his house. In the tree he kept a bow and a supply of arrows. He cried out that the master was coming. The strangers hurried out one by one and as they did, John shot each one with an arrow.
A Monument to Iain Beag Macandra was erected in memory of his great skill and cunning with the bow. It stands on the North side of the river Dulnain at Dalnahaitnach.
* Kilravoch Castle (pronounced "killrock") has been the family seat of the Clan Rose since 1460. The present Chief of Clan Rose is Miss Elizabeth Rose, 25th Baroness. The gardens are renowned for a variety of trees, some centuries old. Kilravoch Castle is near Cawdor, Darnaway and Brodie Castles.
Professor Henry Calderwood Of Ardnacoille, Station Road.
Born Peebles, 10th May 1830. Died 19th November 1897
Henry Calderwood was ordained as pastor of Greyfriars Church, Glasgow in 1856. From 1861-1864 he was an examiner in Mental Philosophy at Glasgow University.
From 1866-1868 he was Lecturer in Moral Philosophy at Glasgow University.
In 1868 he was appointed Professor of Moral Philosophy at Edinburgh University.
Calderwood first visited Carr Bridge in 1887 and stayed at the then 'little Inn'. 'A more breezy, bracing resort could scarcely have been found.' From then on, the family spent four months of each succeeding year at Carr Bridge. The keen bracing air, the varied drives and walks, the fishing and the solitude all combined to make Carr Bridge a resort to be increasingly liked: and after the first visit, 'no other Summer quarter were ever thought of.'
After two seasons spent at the Inn, Calderwood bought a cottage under construction - 'ARDNACOILLE' which he enlarged again and again and it grew to be the place where the Professor was to be found from early June to early October of each year.
At this time, Carr Bridge was the home for Constitutional Free Churches so that the comparatively advanced views of the Edinburgh professor were not likely to be in his favour with the local population. But the spontaneous kindliness and genuine Christianity of the man endeared him to the villagers.
At this time the minister of the village church, a Free Church, was a former student of Calderwood's. The Professor asked to be allowed to act as the minister's 'curate' and each Summer, Calderwood conducted an evening service in addition to the regular mid-day Gaelic service which was immediately followed by an English service.
One of the many note books found in Calderwood's study after his death was headed 'Subjects for Carr Bridge - 1898'. They were never delivered.
Many friends and colleagues were guests at 'Ardnacoille'. Rev. Dr Black, Glasgow, Dr Martini and Dr McAllen, Manchester, Professors from Aberdeen, St. Andrews and Oxford Universities; men from American and Australian Universities would turn up unexpectedly at Carr Bridge.
J S Blake, a frequent visitor to the area, wrote on one of his visits:
"I tramped the wood in meditative mood,
And lost my way, so called on Calderwood
. And sat upon his chair, and wondered not
He wrote so wisely in so fair a spot."
- JS Blake 6th September 1891
Calderwood noticed over the years that the local youngsters did not seem to identify with the religious or social life of the district. He believed that this 'induced some fall into loose habits or to seek their natural enjoyment by more or less clandestine methods.' (19th century parlance for vandalism perhaps?)
He therefore proposed establishing a library and reading room or having a hall where concerts could be held. Thus, a Committee was formed; Lady Seafield gave a site in the village (in the Main Street) and in 1893 the Carr Bridge Institute was opened. In the Summer of 1897. Professor Calderwood's last summer, he was presented with an illuminated address in honour of his services to the community. The marble tablet is still on the wall of the 'Institute' now known as the village hall, although alas, it is now almost unreadable.
Ref. "The Life of Henry Calderwood" LL., F.A.S. published Hotter & Stoughton, London, 1900 p. 374, Chapter XV 'Life in Carr Bridge'.
Alexander Grant (who was known as Battan)
Born at Battangorm, Carrbridge in 1856. He was the inventor of "The Grant Vibration Rod". A patent for this fishing rod was applied for in 1894 and was granted. The Application described the invention as "a non-slipping splice for fishing rods, golf club handles and other like articles."
In 1896, Grant demonstrated his invention to the angling press of the day at Kingston-Upon-Thames.
The rod design was unique. It was in 2, 3 and 4 sections. usually made of greenheart wood. Each section was joined to the other by overlapping splices, held in place by leather thonging.
The invention took the angling world by storm. The constant vibrations of the wood throughout the rod made it possible to cast enormous distances with little effort..
The Rondello Fiddle above can be Seen at Inverness Museum.
In an angling Competition, Grant achieved a world record cast of almost 55 yards.
In 1900, Grant, who was making his rods single-handed, could no longer cope with the demand and he sold the patent to Messrs Playfair of Aberdeen.
From this time, he centred his efforts on his other passion, fiddle-making. He invented the "Rondello". This instrument had a distinctive disc shape, and was hollow throughout.
Alex began playing the violin at the age of 10. It is said that after his first violin lesson he refused to go back because the tone of the teacher's violin was so bad. Allowing for some exaggeration, this story accurately reflects Grant's interest in the sound quality of the instrument. After leaving school at the age of 8, he had a varied career as a ploughman, shepherd, draper, forester, grocer, butcher, gamekeeper, fisherman, hairdresser and Fishing Tackle Merchant.
He learned the drapery trade in Wales but returned to Scotland when his health broke down. And it was while he was employed in forestry work at Cullen that he got interested in different qualities of wood.
He had a passionate interest in what he called, "the rhythmic or vibratory qualities of wood". and he was pre-occupied with sound quality.
These obsessions, passions and hobbies were to result in the invention of The Vibrating Rod for anglers and an instrument which he named the Rondello.
Grant, who was a close friend of Scott Skinner, composer and exponent of Strathspey playing, was leader for almost 40 years of The Highland Strathspey & Reel Society which was founded in 1903. In fact, "Battan" Grant was known as the Scott Skinner of the Highlands.
The earliest Grant fiddle known dates from 1896 Several of Grant's fiddles and the Rondello are in the collection of Inverness Museum and Art Gallery.