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Lovely paperback edition lists under $20

The paperback is here! A single author's copy anyway, with countless others flowing into bookstores next week. Hats off to the folks at HarperCollins Canada! What a lovely package! This edition is slightly smaller than the hardcover . . . the perfect size!And it contains new and improved maps! And here on the back cover, a reviewer says, "This book is a masterpiece. . . . " And what is not to love about a list price under $20? OK, one cent under . . . but still! My day, no my week, is made.

Ken McGoogan
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Voyage around Scotland inspires Celtic Life spread on the Highland Clearances

The October issue of Celtic Life International features a gorgeous 3-page spread on the 1853 Highland Clearances at Knoydart. The writer -- that would be moi -- turned up in the vicinity by great good fortune while sailing with Adventure Canada earlier this year. A version of the article, which begins roughly as below, will turn up in a 2019 book to be published by Patrick Crean / HarperCollins Canada. Working title: SPIRIT OF THE HIGHLANDERS: How the Scottish Clearances / Created Canada's First Refugees.

On day four out of the resort town of Oban, we awoke to find our expeditionary ship anchored in Isleornsay harbour off the Isle of Skye. This was not a planned stop. Overnight, faced with southwesterly winds gusting to 60 and 65 knots, the captain had taken the Ocean Endeavour north into the Sound of Sleat that runs between Skye and the mainland. Here he had found shelter in one of the most protected harbours on the east coast of Skye.
June 2018. We were circumnavigating Scotland, my wife, Sheena, and I, with Adventure Canada. We had stopped in Islay and would soon visit Iona, St. Kilda, Lewis, Shetland, Orkney.  We were among roughly 200 passengers and I was one of several resource people available to hold forth on matters of historical interest. This surprise anchorage drove me to my maps.
For the past few years, I had been researching Scottish Highlanders who emigrated to Canada in the 18th and 19th centuries. Some made the move of their own volition, but most were refugee victims of the Highland Clearances. During one of those Clearances, I recalled, a ship called the Sillery had anchored here at Isleornsay harbour. It had arrived late in July 1853 to carry off farmers who lived along the north shore of Loch Hourn, a broad inlet that enters the mainland six or eight kilometres due east of Isleornsay. That area was part of Knoydart in Glengarry.
I remembered wondering why the Sillery had not entered that inlet to reduce transport time. Now, onboard experts suggested that strong westerly winds – not unusual in these parts – would have made it difficult for any 19th-century sailing vessel to emerge out of that inlet. That explained why the Sillery had anchored in this sheltered harbour and the captain had set his crewmen to rowing across the sound.
Almost 100 years before that, in 1746, farmers from Knoydart had been among the 600 Highlanders who followed Macdonell of Glengarry into the catastrophe known as the Battle of Culloden. In the decades that followed, some had emigrated to Upper Canada and others to Nova Scotia. Still, by 1847, more than 600 people remained in the coastal settlements, though their numbers were then reduced by the Great Famine. But activist-journalist Donald Ross, who collected first-hand accounts of several Clearances, wrote that these crofters needed only a little encouragement to resume thriving as farmers.
In 1852, however, the newly widowed Josephine Macdonell gained control of the Knoydart estate. A Lowland industrialist named James Baird – a Tory member of Parliament -- had expressed interest in acquiring her lands, but only if they were unencumbered by paupers for whom he would become legally responsible. Ignoring the people’s offers to pay arrears caused by the potato famine, the widow Macdonell issued warnings of removal. “Those who imagine they will be allowed to remain after this,” she wrote, “are indulging in a vain hope as the most strident measures will be taken to effect their removal.”
In April 1853, she informed her tenants that they would be going to Australia, sailing courtesy of the landlord-sponsored Highland and Islands Emigration Society. In June, she amended that: they would travel instead to Canada, their passage paid as far as Montreal. On debarkation, they would each be given ten pounds of oatmeal. After that, they were on their own.
On August 2, 1853, with the Sillery anchored at Isleornsay, men with axes, crowbars, and hammers rowed across the inlet and landed. They joined a gang of mainlanders and began clearing farmers from their homes. The factor in charge ordered that after removing the tenants, his men were immediately to destroy “not only the houses of those who had left,” Donald Ross wrote, “but also of those who had refused to go.”
Burly men ripped off thatched roofs, slammed picks into walls and foundations, and chopped down any supporting trees or timbers. Eventually, Ross wrote, “roof, rafters, and walls fell with a crash. Clouds of dust rose to the skies, while men, women and children stood at a distance, completely dismayed.” According to Ross, "The wail of the poor women and children as they were torn away from their homes would have melted a heart of stone."
(To read the rest, check out the October issue of Celtic Life International.)
Ken McGoogan
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Grounding of expeditionary ship in the Arctic evokes memories but no worries

Sorry to hear that the Akademik Ioffe ran aground in the Arctic.
But the expeditionary cruise ship, on which I have sailed, has already been refloated.
The last time something like this happened, with the Clipper Adventurer back in 2010, we were on the ship, Sheena and I. It wasn't fun, obviously, but we were never in any real danger.
From what I have read, I don't believe the 160 or so people on the Ioffe are threatened in any way.
In 2010, our ship stayed grounded and we had to be rescued by the Canadian Coast Guard.
Given that the Ioffe has been refloated, and is reporting no hull breach, the ship will probably head to the nearest major port -- possibly Resolute.
A sister ship, the Akademik Sergey Vavilov, has been making its way to Kugaaruk, near where the ship slid onto a submerged shelf. It may already be there and taking on passengers from Ioffe.
Keep in mind that the Canadian Arctic is NOT like the Antarctic.
First, it is an archipelago of islands, which means land is never very far away.
The worst case scenario in 2010 would have found us bundled up in our cold-weather gear and zooming ashore in zodiacs to await the arrival on land of the coast guard. As it happened, the sun was shining and we waited, most of us, lounging on the top deck.
Second consideration: as in this case, other vessels are always within rescue distance.
The other concern is environmental damage. But given that the ship is floating again -- probably after discharging fresh drinking water to reduce weight -- the chances of that appear to be minimal.
Adventure tourism involving expeditionary vessels of this modest size brings important benefits to people who live in the Arctic.

Ken McGoogan
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Before turning mainly to books about arctic exploration and Canadian history, Ken McGoogan worked for two decades as a journalist at major dailies in Toronto, Calgary, and Montreal. He teaches creative nonfiction writing through the University of Toronto and in the MFA program at King’s College in Halifax. Ken served as chair of the Public Lending Right Commission, has written recently for Canada’s History, Canadian Geographic, and Maclean’s, and sails with Adventure Canada as a resource historian. Based in Toronto, he has given talks and presentations across Canada, from Dawson City to Dartmouth, and in places as different as Edinburgh, Melbourne, and Hobart.