"By the term second sight, seems to be meant a mode of seeing, superadded to that which Nature generally bestows. In the Erse it is called taisch" (taibhse), "which signifies likewise a spectre or a vision."

Johnson from 'A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland'

I start by asking Donald about the Gaelic College where he works in the Computer area - we talk about the idea behind the College, how they use computers and then more generally about Gaelic...

Nina: OK. And as I warned you beforehand, we're asking everybody the same question as we go round, and that's if you have any experience of second sight?

Donald: No, not me, I'm afraid.

Nina: And ...

Donald: Plenty of folk do, I've heard right enough.

Nina: Yeah.

Nina: My wife's side of the family, she's from the west side of Lewis, you know, she's got this - stories that came from there, you know, her family and stuff like that -

Nina: Is it - do you think - what do you think about their idea that Highlanders have more of a sense of second sight than other people?

Donald: Well, em, they used to anyway. I don't know if they do nowadays. But, em - och yes, they were'nt re - you wouldn't call the Highlands, well the Islands anyway, sort of really advanced, you know. You're talking about a 100 years ago or whatever. Em, you know, well, they were just crofters. They were really close to the ground, you know, and they used to see things. Well, I actually do believe in it, although I haven't had any experience of it myself. Nowadays folk go around, you know, nobody ever, walks about at night anymore, you know.


Nina: Yeah.

Donald: Not too many anyway. You've got your cars, and you've got your streetlights and stuff like that, you know

Nina: Did you see the eclipse last night?

Donald: Yes, but I was away up to the - I live in Broadford , you've got heaps of streetlights there, you know. So I took the car out away up the top of the hill behind Broadford and sat there watching it, you know.

Nina: It's pretty amazing actually. I've never seen one before.

Donald: Have you not? No. I saw one, em, a good couple of years ago. Maybe about five years ago or something like that, em, but it was a more respectable time, it was about eight o'clock at night or something like that. I only watched it - I watched, em, til about just before halfway or something like that. Then I went home because it was about getting on for one o'clock in the morning then.

Nina: It was amazing down here because there's hardly any light comes from any buildings. When we walked back from eating out the other night, I couldn't believe how light the moon makes it here, it' s incredible.

Donald: Och aye, yeah.

Nina: I live in London, so

Donald: D'you see the moon down there often?

Nina: Not very much

Donald: I suppose so. I was even looking at, em - I had a look and you could actually - even Broadford not a big place I couldn't actually see the streetlights from where I was. There was a hill in between but still you could see the glare. You couldn't actually see the stars above-

Nina: - above it.

Donald: Yeah. I think they did a - did they not do a light pollution experiment last week or something like that?

Nina: Oh did they?

Donald: Over the whole of the UK.

Nina: Right.

Donald: You know, part of science week.

Nina: Right.

Donald: And there was some pretty strange conclusions, you know. A lot of the areas you couldn't -

Nina: - see a thing.

Donald: Aye. Bad light conditions.

Nina: Is there anything else you want to tell us, either about the college or, anything else you want to talk about.

Donald: No.

Nina: Ok That's great.

"Dr Johnson told Mr McQueen that he had found the belief of the second sight universal in Skye, except among the clergy. "

Boswell from 'The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides'