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Original painting commissioned by Neil Dykes in memory of his grandmother, Chrissie Dolina Mackay, one of the last inhabitants of Eilean nan Ron.
Painting No. 113
Eilean nan Ron - 700 acres of cliff-girt heather and rock off the north Sutherland coast, where seals breed in the sea caves and geos - hence the name: Island of Seals. Three families settled here around 1800, and were soon joined by others as a result of the infamous Clearances, and a small but thriving community developed living close to God and the sea. It was a hard but good life: fishing, growing crops and rearing sheep. Oil lamps lit at night shone a welcome, especially in winter. Then the herring shoals declined and island life was no longer sustainable. The 4 last families left on December 6th, 1938, delayed until evening when the roosting hens could finally be caught. Looking back as they sailed to Skerray on the mainland, they saw only darkness behind - those welcoming lamps would not shine again.