Testimony of: Robert Mackay

[Crest of clansfolk of Clan MacKay] Crest of Clansfolk of Clan MacKay
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The halls, where our ancestors first saw the light,
Now blackened in ruins they lie.
And the moss-covered cairns are all that remain
Of the once pleasant homes of MacKay.

Strathy, regarding Rhinnirie

I was about seven years of age when the township was burnt. When Sellar's men arrived, my father and mother happened to be in Caithness-shire, laying down the crops in Latheron, which was to be their future home. An old woman, my aunt, remained with me and my sister at Strathnaver.

We began early in the day to remove our effects to the hill-side, in anticipation of their visit; but, before we had finished, they were upon us, and set fire, first, to the byre which was attached to the dwelling-house.

This made us redouble our efforts, as the flames were making rapid progress. I remember we encountered serious difficulty when we came to remove the meal-chest. To ask the assistance of Sellar's men would be absurd; but we succeeded at last by removing the meal in small quantities to the hill-side on blankets.

We then made a ring of the furniture and took our station inside, from which we viewed the flames. Here we slept all night, wrapped in woolen blankets, of which we had plenty; and I remember very vividly the volumes of flames issuing from our dwelling-house, and the crackling sounds when the flames seized upon the fir couples and timber supporting the roof of turf. At the same time, also the three remaining houses in the township were fired.

I declare this statement of mine is true.

Robert Mackay
-- Adam Gunn, Student, Strathy
-- Robert Mackay, Strathy
20th August, 1883

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