An Incredulous Eye On The Isles Through The Ages- Part One

8 03 2010

Many people will be familiar with the Outer Hebridean blog called ‘An Incredulous Eye On The Isles’. This blog has become essential reading for islanders and exiles over the last few years- a sort of ‘Private Eye’ for Hebridean happenings. It has drawn attention to a wide variety of local (and national) issues involving public authorities, politicians and men of the cloth.

Unbeknownst to most readers, this blog can trace its roots back several hundred years, to the time when the Hebrides were part of the Viking sphere of influence. The first recorded instance of AIEOTI was known as ‘An Incredulous Eye-socket On The Isles’ (remember, this was Viking times when things were of a more violent nature). Back then, as now, it was at the forefront of raising awareness of foul deeds, exposing alleged corruption & incompetence in high places and forthcoming orgies of destruction (although there’s not so much about orgies in it nowadays).

Of course, it appeared in a much different format back then, in the days before books.The first version of AIEOTI used the medium of Viking Runes, intricately carved on rock to tell the story of how the local Thingvellir (the local parliament) planned to fill in a large section of the Bayhead River with large ollacs to make a 24 hour ‘sail -through’ Viking Funeral Pyre. The runes telling the full scandalous story were carved on a large rock near the top of Gallows Hill. However, it took 2 years to complete the carving and by then the town had lost interest in the in-fill proposals.

Some years later, towards the end of the Viking influence on Lewis, AIEOTI was tried out in the format of the Norse Saga. These saga’s soon became as well known as the Icelandic Saga’s, with a particularly famous one relating to proposals for Viking raiding parties to leave Stornoway on Odin’s Day. The local tradition had long been in favour of no Odin’s Day activity of any kind. However, there was a growing support for long ship owner Carl Magnus (or Carl-Mag, as he was known) to introduce an Odin’s Day sailing to allow for mainland plundering.

“Those that follow Odin’s way, would never sail ‘pon Odin’s Day,

To cross the Minch for work or play, but on the Ljodahus (Leodhas) they’d rather stay.

But those liberal-minded warrior bands, who would rather follow Thor’s demands

Have long campaigned for a show of hands, to let them pillage far flung lands.

But the Thingvellir is split asunder, ‘tween days of rest ‘gainst days of plunder

Some say the long ship must surely founder, and all aboard get wet as a flounder

Odins Day Observance Society, strongly protests with great piety

That they surely tell no lie-ity, that Holy Day breakers must surely fry-ity

Carl Magnus is keen to sail, across the Minch (even midst gale)

Protestors at the pier dost wail, whilst supporters slake with strong ale”

The Odin’s Day sailings did eventually start and proved very popular (apart from the people getting plundered obviously) and didn’t result in Ragnarok.

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One response

23 03 2010
The Guireans

We would chust like to add “…yet” to your point about Odin’s day sailings not bringing on Ragnarok. The giants have started to come among us already. Only last week a porch was torn from the front of a house in Knock by one of the bleigeards who was looking for something to keep his sandwiches in.

Rev Thor Huvotisitgutforssen
Temple of Asgard (Continuing), Sandvik Rd, near Stjornavagr

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