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Iain Beag Macandra - Dalnahaitnach

For me, the spirit of the Highlands is a celebration of place, history and people. The communal memory of the land continues to play such a strong part in the heritage of the Highlands, every place has a story and tradition associated with it, many are hidden but this brings extra joy for those who are prepared to search for them.

My art for Spirit:360 is inspired by the tale of the 17th century archer, Iain Beag Macandra. He was the reputed hero of the battle Strathdearn and remains famous for helping to see off cattle raiders as part of the clan Grant’s watch in Strathspey. Much of what we know about Iain Beag Macandra is anecdotal; this is typical of many of the received histories of the Highlands.

I wanted to combine elements of archival history, oral history and folk tradition to retell the tale of the Iain Beag Macandra in both audio and written formats. I chose to create a site-specific audio walk so that people can get a real feel for story in locations where parts of the story might actually have taken place.


Credit: Charles Fletcher

Iain Beag Memory Stone

Strathspey: The Spirit of the Highlands

I am always surprised that seemingly banal or remote locations continue to reveal extraordinary stories. Nowhere is this truer than Strathspey. For this project I have chosen a reasonably well-known story; however, as lay leads on to way, one story leads to another and working on Iain Beag Macandra has led me to discover further new and exciting stories about my homeland. Long may it continue to be so.