Michael Grey of Ontario, Canada (pictured, right) is the winner of the composing contest held to mark the 170th anniversary of the Battle of Sollas. The contest carried a cash prize of £250.
The battle (‘Blar Shollash’ in Gaelic) took place in August 1849 in the Sollas district of North Uist, Outer Hebrides and was fought between the local people and employees of their landlord, Lord MacDonald. All the houses were burned except one. The women were then beaten by the police.
In the years prior to, and following, the battle, hundreds of people left the area, many against their will. Today, approximately 160 people live in the Sollas district where once there were 700. The battle is featured in Mhairead MacLeod’s novel, The False Men (ThunderPoint Publishing, 2017).
Michael’s winning tune, a four-parted 2/4 march, will be played at this year’s commemoration next Friday (August 2) and then again at the unveiling of a permanent memorial.
A good number of entries were received. The competition was organised by Taigh Sgire Sholais in association with The National Piping Centre.