Lost Inverlael Community Ceilidh

  • Phase one of our Lost Inverlael project is coming to an end and to celebrate we threw a Community Ceilidh night in November 2022 Braemore Hall, a stones thrown away from the settlements of Inverlael and Balblair. We launched this project in March 2020 with little idea of what the next few months or years would entail, but at the height of lock down our focus on this project kept our spirits up and helped us see a light at the end of the tunnel. As we were able to keep going through lock down, we were able to the be the first Historic Environment Scotland funded archaeology dig to break earth in 2021.

Since then our focus has been to gather as much evidenc as possible to start to understand the landscape and how the people that inhabited the glen lived, to compliment the archaeology. We have done this through extensive archive research headed up by Duncan MacKenzie and Siobhán Beatson, with help from our project manager Helen Avenell. We have been lucky enough to bring together the most renowned experts in Scottish history such as, Aonghas MacCoinnich (Glasgow University), Dr Elizabeth Ritchie (UHI), Dr Darroch Bratt, (UHI) and Prof. Sir Tom Devine, in various aspects to use their knowledge to build up our own picture of how this areas developed through the centuries.

At our ceilidh we brought together all the different aspects of our project:

  • Finds: We have an extensive range of archaeological find that we discovered during our excavations. These range from ceramic and glass through to leather shoe and neolithic thumbnail scrapper. These find will now go for expert analysis and we will have the results in the new year.
  • Faces of Inverlael: We showcased a selection of our Faces of Inverlael portraits on the big screen in the hall. Many of those who attended our Ceilidh were part of this project and have been open about their new found excitement of the project due to uncovering their own family ties.
  • Ghosts of Balblair: Ghosts of Balblair is a specially commissioned piece of music to accompany our project. Written by Ruairidh MacLean, who is a descendant of the glen in his own right, is a well known local accordion player, who has managed to capture the nuances of the glen in a stunningly haunting piece of music.
  • Wizard Keen: Although not entirely part of the Ceilidh several of our younger attendees were keen to discuss with our archaeologists the role they played in developing the Minecraft game. Children form the Gaelic Primary 4/5 class have recently been creating characters to be placed in the games. These characters range from the Blacksmith to an Inn Keeper, and will even be presented in Gaelic.
But ultimately our Community Ceilidh was a celebration for all the hard work, dedication and passion that our volunteers, archaeologists and team have put in to this over the last two years.