Strabhann – 50g Hebridean 2 Ply


Alice Starmore Hebridean 2 Ply Yarn is made from premium quality pure new British wool, dyed in the fleece and skillfully blended into unique shades. It is hand-washed and dried in the Hebridean air, and supplied in hand-made skeins which may vary in weight. It is priced per 50g at standard conditions. All yarn is weighed to order on balances that are checked daily to ensure that you receive the correct total amount.

Strabhann is part of the Summer Isle range, which is inspired by the tiny Summer Islands in the mouth of Loch Broom.



Alice Starmore 2 Ply Hebridean hand knitting yarn in Strabhann


When a clear, unpolluted sea comes in over such a pure, pale beach, then the intense turquoise blue that results is so startling that we could not fail to include it in our range. One of my favourite beaches where this effect occurs is near a glen called Strabhann, so that is what I have called this shade. Pronounce the word stra-van, with the stress on the last syllable.

There happens to be a beautiful Gaelic song about an attempted courtship in a glen called Strabhann, so for those who wish to do some more stravaigin, here are the words.

Latha dhomh ’s mi nam aonar anns an òg-mhadainn thràth
dol tro ghleanntannan uaine mar fhear-fuadain gun stàth,
nuair a chunnaic mi a' ghruagach an taobh shuas dhìom a bha
’s i ri nighe a cuid aodaich a-muigh air aodann Strabhann.

’S ann a smaoinich mi an uair sin dhol chun na gruagaich gun dàil
Is gu labhrainn-sa rithe gu sìobhalte blàth,
Tha còrr agus bliadhna on thòisich an gràdh,
saoil a ghaoil nam biodh tu deònach sinn gum pòsadh gun dàil.

Gu pòsadh, gu pòsadh ro òg tha mi an-dràst –
tha cainnt aig do sheòrsa gu fòirneartach ceàrr,
bhiodh m' athair 's mo mhàthair gam chàineadh gu bràth
a dhol a phòsadh do leithid, a fhleasgaich gun stàth.

Na bruidhinn mar sin rium a nighean an àigh
Chan eil fhios agad idir mar tha mise led gràdh
Ach tionndaidh ’s bi deònach ’s thoir dhomhsa do làmh
’s siubhlaidh sinn fad ar saoghal a-muigh air aodan Strabhann.

The following translation is true to the spirit of the song, rather than the detail.

As early one morning I wandered alone,
Through deep glens of green and tall hills of grey stone,
I saw a fair maiden on slopes high above,
A year and a day my heart's only true love.

I climbed up to greet her with words warm and kind,
Sincerely and freely I told her my mind,
Four seasons have passed since my love first began,
Please marry me now in the glen of Strabhann.

I cannot yet marry, my years are too few.
My father and mother would think ill of you,
Pour scorn on your kind and the whole of your clan,
And a shadow would fall on the face of Strabhann.

Don't speak of the hate of your kith and your kin,
Good fortune and fate are for free souls to win,
So trust in your heart and take hold of my hand,
And let our love shine on the face of Strabhann.

This version of the song ends here, leaving the conclusion open to the imagination. However, here is another version that ends very sadly.

Ach a nìonagan òga tha gun phòsadh ’s gach àit,
na diùltaibh fir òga le mòrchuis no tàir,
Nach muladach dhomhsa bhith gun phòsadh gu bràth –
’s fheudar fuireach nam aonar mach air aodann Strabhann.

So unmarried maidens where e'er you were born,
Refuse not your suitors with pride and with scorn,
As my love cruelly spurned both my heart and my hand,
And left me to grieve in the glen of Strabhann.