- Life on a slope describes the history of this abandoned village
- Listen to Leitir Fura of the Branches - a poem kept alive through oral history
- Family Tree has details of a special oak.
Life on a slope
The remote settlement of Leitir Fura lies abandoned today, but in the past it would have been home to around twelve families. Many of them would have been the people of Clan MacInnes, the traditional keepers of the forest.
They would have made a living from farming, fishing, and from the passing trade of the drovers, who plodded by above the village on their way to Kylerhea.
Others resorted to riskier means; one 'fellow at Leterfure', Angus MacInnes, was accused in 1782 of smuggling "eight or nine hundred casks of Brandy and Rum...the money goes out the nation and never returns".
In the 19th century, people gradually drifted away from Leitir Fura, seeking better opportunities elsewhere.
Today you can wander among the ruins of the village - its homes, field enclosures and 'lazy beds': raised ridges for farming. And you can still make your way along a stretch of the ancient drovers’ road between Leitir Fura and Kinloch.
This poem from the 18th century was handed down through the MacInnes family, who traditionally lived at Leitir Fura. Sadly, the tune has not survived.
Leitir Fura of the Branches
Hò ìrean ò ro bha hò
We’d better rise
My brown haired girl
We’d better go home
We have been long together
Turning our backs to Mull
From Leitir Fura of the branches
You can listen to a gaelic version of the poem (MP3 560k).
The name Leitir Fura comes from the Gaelic words for slope – leitir – and the name of particular grand old oak tree.
There used to be two oaks growing here: Fura Mhòr (Great Fura) and Fura Bheag (Little Fura). In summer, Fura Mhòr was said to provide shade for 40 or 50 cattle.
One day some of the children of the village lit a fire close to Fura Mhòr. The tree caught fire and burned to the ground. As a result, two of the MacInnes brothers and their families were ‘scourged’ or evicted from the village. Although this sounds harsh, it shows what value was placed on woodlands as a precious resource.