Am Bratach No. 331
May 2019

Final curtain falls on Am Bratach
Magazine to close following May edition

The board of North West Sutherland Council for Community Action, publishers of Am Bratach, regrets to announce that this will be the final issue of the magazine. Following a decision made in April, the publication will be wound up after the May edition. Thanks are due to the many readers, subscribers, advertisers and contributors who have supported the magazine over almost twenty-eight years of continuous publication. Am Bratach was first published in November 1991.

Pictured above [only in printed paper] are Morag and Donald MacLeod, Strathnaver, who were involved in the administration of the paper from the beginning. Donald MacLeod took on the editor’s role in December 1994. Together, they did much to establish the standard of the magazine and to ensure its timely distribution each month.

In his final “View from the croft gate”, long-term contributor John MacDonald sums up the essence of the Bratach experience for many readers (see page 21). He also acknowledges a debt to the former editor in encouraging his writing, which ultimately led to the preparation of a volume chronicling the history of the parish of Rogart.He writes: “I will no longer need to be searching the brain for a fresh idea, which I must confess has been becoming harder to come by of late, but it has been a satisfying experience and a venture into writing which I would never have contemplated without the prompting and encouragement of the editor of the time. Indeed, I must thank him for getting me started in using a computer and building up confidence.

“There were not that many computers on the go then, so the incentive to create an article every month was a big leap into the unknown, but it was what I needed. With this new confidence, I soon set about writing a book on our parish. It was thanks to Dave Hutchinson, then of Shinness, that we managed to get the project finished and the book has been a great help to people wanting to know about our parish. It is a project on which I can look back with a degree of satisfaction, especially the second print-out. It probably would not have happened were it not for the incentive to try my hand at the keyboard and write a magazine article.”

Over the years, Am Bratach attracted a varied and loyal readership, each of whom, as John MacDonald describes, had their “priority article” when opening the magazine. One subscriber, journalist Kirsty Gunn*, publicly praised the range and quality of writing on offer in Am Bratach in a column published by The Scotsman in March 2018. “It’s a full afternoon of engaged reading and, in its way, as absorbing as The New Yorker or Scottish Review of Books, other journals I take,” she wrote, a generous tribute.

A selection of archive material from past issues of Am Bratach is presented from pages 10 to 13.

*This corrects the name in the print version.

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