Dornoch Historylinks Image Library

New Embo Lifeboat September 1886
New Embo Lifeboat September 1886

Three page hand-written account of the new lifeboat launching ceremony 29 September 1886
Picture added on 24 April 2008
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Hidden Gems
Embo Folklore has it that the village was founded by a Mackay clansman wounded in a battle in the Little Ferry area of Loch Fleet during the Jocobite Rebellion of the 1700s. After the battle he was cared for by a widow and her daughter from the Skelbo area who found him when they were gathering firewood. Initially they set up home in the “Yards” area (Phort Bheag?) between Embo and Dornoch but later moved to the present village site as the Yards area was too exposed to the prevailing weather. In time they had six sons who in turn had families. The offspring of the oldest son were known as the Moraichs, the second son had red hair and his offspring were known as the Ruadhaichs (Anglicised/shortened to Roys), the offspring of the middle son were known as the Meadhonaichs (Anglicised/shortened to Mains), the fourth son was a tailor by trade and his offspring were known as the Taillearaichs, the fifth son was fair haired and his offspring were known as the Banaichs (Perhaps shortened to Eban) and the youngest son’s offspring were known as the Oganaichs (Shortened to Ogs). (Source: Sandy Mackay of Embo when speaking in a taped Gaelic interview conducted by the well known Gaelic researcher Nancy Dorian in 1970. Sandy was the last ferryman of the Meikle Ferry)
Later Frasers, Rosses, Cummings and Grants married into these Embo families and they mostly came from Gaelic speaking fishing villages in Sutherland, Ross and Invernesshire.
My paternal grandfather James Mackay (Roy) was the youngest brother of the Alexander Mackay (Roy) (Born 1844) and the John Mackay (Roy)(born 1841) mentioned. My paternal grandmother Isabella Mackay was the daughter of the Kenneth Mackay (Main) (born 1830) mentioned. He was always known as Kenny Main and she as "Bella aigh Kenny Main". The Alexander (Mackay) Main (born 1851) mentioned was the eldest son of Kenny Main (Mackay).
Even as late as the 1950s there was competition between these different Mackay family groups and all of the Mackays knew which group they belonged to. There was also a bit of sniping between the groups with some groups claiming that members of other groups were known to be lazy, work shy etc while their own group were hard working, thrifty etc. However things were a bit complicated for someone like me who was the offspring of two of the competing family groups!

Added by Kenneth Mackay on 27 July 2010
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Hidden Gems

Group photograph Embo School c 1946Newspaper extract of Naval Reservists departing from Embo StationDornoch HotelChambered cairn at EmboClubhouse and Old 18th Green, Royal Dornoch Golf Course