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Unforgotten Highland Women – Megan Boyd and Caroline Ross, Brora
23 June, 2022 @ 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Megan Boyd – salmon fly dresser (1915-2001)
Though she never fished herself, she is regarded as the finest maker of salmon fishing flies in the world. She took to the craft of salmon fly dressing under the supervision of a Sutherland gamekeeper. She won her first award in 1938 at the Empire Exhibition in Glasgow and received the British Empire Medal in 1971. Discussions are taking place about commissioning an art installation in her memory and erecting it at one of the gateways to the village of Brora. The move came after a Norwegian angler and Megan Boyd devotee made a pilgrimage to Brora to pay homage to her, but was shocked to find nothing about her there, although her life story is told at the Brora Heritage Centre.
Caroline Ross (1904-1985)
Caroline Ross was a 25-year-old, single schoolteacher who concealed her pregnancy and delivered her ‘illegitimate’ child alone in her room in her lodgings in a rural community in the Highlands of Scotland in 1930. The child was discovered dead the same day.
She was put in custody and charged with Child Murder and appeared in court three months later. The case was widely reported in the papers at the time. Writer and historian Nick Lindsay writes that – ninety years on and the sense of the stress and tension of the terrifying court case in which she spoke not a single word of evidence, is tangible. The medical evidence appeared damning; the cause of the infant’s death was throttling, but the jury delivered a verdict of ‘Not Proven’. An absolute cliff-hanger to the end! It’s an extremely sad story with a tragic outcome but, it illustrates a lot about attitudes and lack of support for young woman who found themselves pregnant at the time. The court case was a media sensation at the time. How can stories like this be remembered and reflect on changing attitudes?
Pauline Moore, BBC producer and reporter and experienced podcaster, will interview Dr Nick Lindsay, author and chair of Clyne Heritage Society. Pauline and Nick will be joined by Mary Warrior for Megan’s story and by Wattie and Angela MacBeath for Caroline’s story. There will be an opportunity to look at objects related to the stories and enjoy a cup of tea.
This event has been supported by the Year of Stories 2022 Community Stories Fund. This fund is being delivered in partnership between VisitScotland and Museums Galleries Scotland with support from National Lottery Heritage Fund thanks to National Lottery players.