2011 Show Brochure: Foreword

Over the last winter I turned towards some historical detective work in our own village, Swordale, where the cliffs, the crofts and even the fence posts surrendered songs and stories that were almost forgotten.

My companion in these adventures has been an old, large scale map entitled Eye Peninsula, though I prefer to call it "centre of the universe and environs".
The map reveals the wealth of Point. You can see on the chart that from this showground we're within striking distance of an ancient chambered cairn, Caisteal Mhic Cearcail, in Flesherin. Behind us there is a fort on Loch an Duin and a little to the south west is a possible Viking stronghold, an Dun Dubh at Sheshadar.
Track towards Bayble and Garrabost and you'll find more cairns, standing stones and springs blessed by saints. Up in Swordale there is a temple on the cliff edge and on the shoreline at Aignish one of the most important burial sites on the Long Island, Eaglais na h-Aoidhe.

Historians seem to have done little to interpret the archaeological wealth of Point. That is to say nothing of the history we have left behind in modern times - the slipway at Portnaguran, the mill at Garrabost, the churches, the council houses - stories spilling out of them all.

As I write Knock School is preparing for a final show of it's own history and then the door will close on 132 years of village schooling. The same is happening at Aird School.

People say "if walls could talk", well I think they should. These school buildings ought to have a new role as centres that tell us our place in the flow of all the history that surrounds us.

The Point Show itself is part of that ongoing story, the fulcrum of a summer, around which our crofting inheritance and our common future revolve.
Globally, it has been a year of political revolution, of natural catastrophe and economic uncertainty. In such times it is good to have a constant like the Point Show, that brings us together, in competition and in community and bathes us each year in that stream of our own making, our history.

Eat the cakes, smell the shampoo from the sheep and enjoy the day.

Torcuil Crichton.
May 2011

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