About the Book
These are the memoirs of a teacher from England who became headmaster of Garrynemonie School in South Uist in the 1890s. At that time, the Hebrides were as remote and forbidding to mainlanders as the Antarctic is in the late-1990s. In the 1890s this island was one of the poorest districts in the Outer Hebrides. Roads were no more than rough tracks. Gaelic was the majority language, although children had to learn their lessons in English and few allowances were made for bilingual teaching. Epidemics were frequent and the school had to close its doors because of outbreaks of smallpox, whooping-cough, scarlet fever, mumps and measels. Rea's memoirs show how he strove to meet these difficulties. His pupils recall him as a sincere, hard-working man and an excellent teacher. This work reveals his powers of observation and his interest in the unfamiliar scenes and events he witnessed and recorded.