A very highland wedding

This is a photograph from a very highland wedding that took place in September 1933 with connections throughout the north, but basically Strathpeffer. The wedding took place in Strathpeffer Church of Scotland – Mr J Nicolson was the officiating minister. His manse was at Blairninich, reflecting the fact that the original church of Scotland was at Kilvannie; the church building is still in use but is now accommodation. As you will know the village of Strathpeffer came late in the development of the area between Dingwall and what was just three farms, Ardival, Park and Kinettas in the area which has become Strathpeffer.

Part of the interest is that the reception was held at the upmarket ivy clad Spa Hotel which looks very attractive and I remember the terrible fire which destroyed it, at that time in wartime use as a hospital. The bride is Miss Effie MacCallum – she came to Strathpeffer in the late 1920s to run the Pavilion with her mother Mrs Marjorie MacCallum, a Mull lady, who came from the Commercial Hotel in Inverness (later to be the Cummings Hotel) in Church Street. The Pavilion had been run by Effie’s brother John MacCallum and he had decided to take advantage of the end of prohibition in the Western Isles and move to Stornoway to open a bar in that town. The seated best man is Alasdair MacCallum who may be remembered by some as mine host at Aultguish Inn after the dam at Glascarnoch was completed and later at Rodel Hotel. Beside him is Effie’s nephew Ian MacPherson from Inverness, son of ex Cameron Highlander Duncan MacPherson who represented Walker Timber suppliers of Leith and Inverness throughout the north of Scotland. The bridegroom is ex WW1 Seaforth Highlander Donald Grant, partner with his brother Ewen in William Grant and Sons of Tulloch Street in Dingwall. He was the son of William Grant who established the business, having been involved in building Craigellachie, New York Villa, Seafield House, Salisbury House and numerous other houses in Strathpeffer. The business was the principal contractor in 1936 in building Dingwall Academy amongst many other notable highland buildings. The principal bridesmaid is Miss Eva Grant, Donald Grant’s sister who at that time was living in the family home ‘The Beeches’ in what is now Old River Road in Dingwall, still in the ownership of her son Robert Moore. The younger (standing) bridesmaid is Effie MacCallum’s niece Miss Marjory Fraser from the Railway Hotel in Tain and the and the boy beside her is her brother also James. Her parents Mrs Mary Fraser (Miss MacCallum) and mason father James Fraser had returned from Canada, where Marjory was born, to take over the hotel in Tain. Jim Fraser died in a car accident at the railway bridge just outside Dingwall on the road north to Evanton a short time after the wedding.

So I have used the photograph to look at all the connections – from Mull to Stornoway to Canada to Inverness to Dingwall and the hydro schemes. In my opinion typical of highland families that I knew in growing up. Effie and Donald are as you will have surmised my parents.

John Grant

If you have any old photographs of the Strath that may contain a story from the past that others may find interesting please let me know.

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