The Lord of the Isles Galley, Aileach, Designed by Colin Mudie. Built in 1991 by James McDonald & Sons
Length 40 ft
Beam 10 ft
Draught 2 ft
Weight 3.5 Tonnes
There is a dispute between historians about the origins of the West Highland birlinn. Some say they are descended from the Viking longships, while others have found archeological evidence that the Celtic birlinn existed from BC times and was developed long before Viking invasions of Scotland. In fact, some say the Viking longships originally had no sail but they later added one based on the Celtic birlinn design.
Two or three men manned each oar of a small galley and they could transport three or four dozen warriors quickly to battle. A larger galley could transport a hundred or more men.
Gaelic seafarers sang rowing songs as they rowed. The "mouth music" or puirt-a-beul created a strong beat and a rhythm for the men rowing in unison. The people also sang this type of music when doing other rhythmic group tasks such as using hand mill stones to grind grain and while waulking wool. Listen to one of the songs here.
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My Notorious Highlander: Chief Torrin MacLeod vows to possess and wed the spirited lady who stole his heart the previous winter. But Lady Jessie MacKay wants naught to do with the dangerous warrior, no matter how devilishly handsome and charming he is. When Torrin arrives unexpectedly at Jessie's home, along with Gregor MacBain, a man Jessie was formerly handfasted to, she is thrown off-kilter. She never wanted to see either man again, but now they are vying for her hand. Torrin promises to protect her from the devious MacBain, but how can she trust Torrin when she has witnessed how lethal he is?
The more time Torrin spends with the strong and independent Jessie, the more determined he is to win her heart. Once she allows him a kiss, he feels her passion flame as hot as his own. After she knows Torrin better, Jessie finds herself falling for the fearsome Highlander. But the odds are stacked against them. The sinister MacBain is bent on kidnapping Jessie, making her his bride and killing Torrin, while Jessie's conniving younger brother, Haldane, is determined to use Jessie to take over the castle in his older brother's absence. Jessie fears she can never be with the man she loves, while Torrin will do everything in his power to ensure they are together forever. In his heart, she is the only lady for him.