Colin MacLeod, who died on November 2 aged 39, was a dreadlocked anti-motorway protestor who led a kilted clan of eco-warriors from their tree-top protest houses into establishing a Gaelic-based movement for cultural renewal in inner-city Glasgow.
In 1997, following the dismantling of this village, which he had called "The Pollok Free State", MacLeod adroitly re-invented his group of clansmen as a registered charity and made a local radio request that all trees blown down in a winter hurricane be brought to waste ground in Govan. There he set about having them carved into the first full-sized Hebridean war galley built in Scotland for 400 years.
This ambitious project, coming from a man whose entire working capital might be carried in one pocket of loose change (and often was), caught the imagination of the press and the public, and soon a number of exquisite small wooden rowing skiffs were being enthusiastically built in a (notionally sacred) timber- framed barn which had been thrown up on waste ground in a travellers' yard.
Within months bemused teams of the long-term unemployed were learning to sing Gaelic rowing songs as MacLeod dragooned them into weekends on deserted Hebridean islands, where they would sit around camp fires telling stories or reciting poetry, before sleeping out under the stars. In the following years MacLeod's "clan", named the Gal-Gael, became established in a former garage in Glasgow.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Another fascinating obituary...
From The Telegraph: