Dornoch Historylinks Image Library

Chambered cairn at Embo
Chambered cairn at Embo

Black & white press photo of excavated chambered cairn at Embo. Note in Jimmy Bell's handwriting states that there are 2 Bronze Age beaker graves on the site but not visible in the photo.
Picture added on 29 September 2008
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Hidden Gems
Of the two houses in the front the one on the left is Springwell Cottage, Embo (2 Hall Street) which my parents William Mackay (known in Embo as Willie M) and Maryann Mackay (nee Cumming and known in Embo as Maryann aigh Dannagh)owned from about 1944 to 1949 before settling in Glasgow with their six children. The stone wall of Embo school can be seen to the left of the house so we six children had an easy hop and a jump to school!

Previously the house was owned by my mother's uncle John Ross and aunt Maryann (nee Cumming)(Married Dornoch 19/11/1889) and was home to their 8 children who later all, except their son John, settled in the New England States of the USA. John Ross was killed in WW1 hostilities as a merchant seaman out from Glasgow bound for the USA.

These ancient graves were discovered by my older brother James William (Hamish) Mackay in August 1956 when we as a family holidayed from Glasgow at Boston House (Grannies Heilan Hame) which was then owned by my father's first cousin Kate (or Cate) Mackay (Kate aigh Adam). Kate was an older sister of Maggie Jessie Cumming who was the wife of Sandy (Tom) MacFarlane the writer of the song that changed the name of the house. The back of Boston House looks onto these graves from the South and is immediately adjacent to them. Kate and Maggie Jessie's parents were Adam Cumming and Anne Mackay who were married in Dornoch on the 17/10/1876 and later had nine children, of whom seven survived to adulthood. All of these seven siblings, except Kate, settled in the Boston Area of the USA and even Kate in the late 1950s and in the later years of her life moved to Boston as a widow. Anne Cumming (nee Mackay) is the grannie in the song already mentioned.

The story of the finding of the graves is given in the Northern Times of 27 August 1956.
Added by Kenneth Mackay of Empangeni South Africa on 25 September 2009
Prior to being owned by the Mackay's, Springwell Cottage was owned by my Grandfather, John Ross, and his wife, Maryann Cumming, who raised 8 children there. As noted, the eldest son, John, was killed in action as a merchant sailor in WWI. Six of the remaining seven children, including my father -- Hugh Alexander Ross -- emigrated to the Northeastern United States where they settled in the Boston area. The youngest son, William Ross, married and remained in the Embo/Dornoch area, but spent most of his life travelling the world as a merchant seaman.
Added by Kenneth Harvey Ross, New Jersey, USA on 14 December 2009
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Hidden Gems

Group photograph Embo School c 1946Newspaper extract of Naval Reservists departing from Embo StationDornoch HotelClubhouse and Old 18th Green, Royal Dornoch Golf CourseNew Embo Lifeboat September 1886