Pairc Cairn

Pairc Cairn


The Islands BoPairc Cairn Bookok Trust publish a new book this month. Recovering from the Clearances features my photo of the Pairc Cairn on the front cover.

The memorial was commissioned in 1994 and erected in memory of the Pairc Deer Raiders, a group of local crofters who in 1887 killed some of the local laird’s deer in an effort to draw attention to their own poverty and deprivation. The so-called ‘deer raiders’ were put on trial, but acquitted of rioting, and their case served to raise world-wide awareness of social injustice in the Highlands. The cairn sits above the A859, Tarbert to Stornoway road, at the southern end of Balallan.

A more detailed description of the raid and its aftermath can be found on the Lochs Community website.

The photo was taken on a very blustery day in June 2010. The wind direction and angle of the sun worked in my favour. Using a 10 stop neutral density filter I was able to dial in a shutter speed of 60 seconds, during which time I had to force the tripod into the ground for fear of it blowing over! The cloud movement seems appropriate for the drama associated with the cairn and what it represents.
More than 100 years on from the Pairc deer raid, some might say there are links between the events of  1887 and the current situation surrounding the issues of estate ownership in the highlands and islands.

A qoute from the Community Land Scotland website: [quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]We believe that you can’t create a more socially just Scotland without tackling land ownership. Half of the entire country is held by just 432 owners and a mere 16 owners hold 10% of Scotland – we want to see more of Scotland’s land in the hands of Scotland’s people and communities.[/quote]

Pairc itself is presently involved in a long running battle to take on ownership from the present landlord, while many other estates have have either purchased their land or are in the process of trying to do so. Interesting times!

One thought on “Pairc Cairn”

  1. Speaking as a visitor to the the Outer Hebrides I think the effects of the clearances are all too evident even today. The fact that many of the smaller islands now stand deserted bears testament to the scale and enduring nature of the injustice perpetrated. “The Clearances” were really ethnic cleansing of our own people carried out on an epic scale and probably, worst of all, purely for the sake of financial greed. On a brighter note, great image John. The extended clouds centered over the memorial give the picture a really uplifting feel.

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