Remembrance services – On the morning of Saturday 8th November, a large number of people assembled in favourable weather at the War Memorial in Cross, for the annual Remembrance Day service, conducted this year by Rev. Iain Murdo Macdonald, Ness Church of Scotland.
Singing of praise in Gaelic was led by Alex John Morrison, elder, South Dell, and in English by Chris Barrowman, deacon, Eorodale.
Twelve wreaths were laid at the memorial this year, including one to commemorate the beginning of the First World War in 1914.
There was also this year, under the auspices of Lionel schoolchildren, a display of the robust, large poppies, which had earlier been placed at the homes of all the men who were lost in the First World War.
On the morning of Sunday 9th November, again in favourable weather, the Remembrance service was held at the memorial in Borve, where a large number of people had assembled.
The service at Borve was conducted by the recently inducted minister of Barvas Free Church, Rev. Murdo Campbell, who was assisted by Rev. Paul Ahmed, Barvas Church of Scotland. Singing of praise was led by Iain Macarthur, Barvas.
The wreaths were laid at the memorial and children from the West side School arranged the display of the poppies at Borve.
Habost death – The morning of Monday 10th November brought sadness to all of us with the news that Donald John Murray (Domhnall Tharmoid Ruaidh), of 47 Habost, had, after a short illness, passed away in the Bethesda Hospice where he had latterly been attended to.
At the time of writing, when we do not know when the funeral of Donald will be held, we share our thoughts in sympathy with his wife Rachel, daughter Catherine Joan, his sisters Mina and Annie, and all the close relatives who mourn.
Sympathy - Again we have been saddened in the community following the news of the death of Kenneth Mackenzie (Kenny Domhuall Ruairidh), Marvig. Kenny who lived on his own since the death of his wife Ishbel, was a quiet, unassuming man and had spent most of his life in the motor trade as a mechanic and was known by many.
Pre funeral services were held in Park Free Church with interment taking place in the nearby Gravir Cemetery. To his nieces and nephews and the wider family we send our sincere condolences at this time.
Condolences - We were also saddened to hear of the passing of the late Angus Macmillan (Mac Shonnie Christie) in a hospital in London, following a long period of illness.
Angus had been away for many years but always returned for annual holidays to his native Lemreway. Pre funeral services took place in Lemreway Church of Scotland with the committal taking place in the Gravir cemetery.
To his widow Angusina, sons Iain and Kenneth, his brothers and the extended family we think of them at this sad time.
Volunteers required - The North Lochs Historical Society this week, will assess how to make the collection of Gaelic placenames, recorded in and around the villages in North Lochs, available to the general public.
The Comann Eachdraidh welcome suggestions on the best way to share the names of the hills, streams and hillocks.
Those landmarks were and still are, way markers, for generations of crofters to define village grazing and often used for locating sheep and cattle while herding.
The location of the natural wells on each croft, in each village and the name of the family who drew water from each well, have been recorded in previous years.
Young people with a pair of wellies and a GPS on their phone are urged to come forward to get location readings for each well. Contact Maggie 07554665549
Christmas Dinner - The North Lochs Historical Society Christmas Dinner will be on Friday 5th December. The menu choices will be circulated soon and bookings can then be made with the secretary Jean Macleod.
Dolina - The launch of Dolina MacLennan’s book was held at An Lanntair’s Faclan Book Festival recently. The publication begins with a detailed description of life in Marvig in the 1950s and 60s, when travel to and from the village was mostly by sea.
The hilarious stories by Dolina Maclennan relate to her life as a folk singer, actress and storyteller.
Dolina is a terrific Island Book Trust publication with local characters and scenarios which many native islanders can relate to. The book costs less than a tenner and is available in shops locally
Keose Laxay Wedding - The marriage of Lauren Mackenzie 2 Keose and Alasdair MacDonald 18 Laxay took place on Friday the 7th November in Kinloch Free Church and afterwards at the Cabarfeidh Hotel.
Congratulations to the newlyweds and best wishes for their future together.
Remembrance Service - A well attended Remembrance Service was held at the War Memorial, Timsgarry, at 2pm on Sunday, the 9th.
The service was conducted by the Rev Hugh Stewart, parish minister. Wreaths were laid by Iain Henri Morrison on behalf of the British Legion, John Maciver for the Community Council and Donald Maciver for the War Memorial Committee.
Due to a heavy and prolonged shower of rain, which left everyone soaked, the service had to be cut slightly short but not before those present had the opportunity of taking in the impressive state of the Memorial this year.
Both the stone and the surrounding pavement have recently been cleaned, the emblems at the top of the pillar have been re-painted so that they stand out clearly and a new Perspex box, designed and made by John Angus Macleod, has been fitted at the front to hold the wreaths and protect them from the wind.
Both railings and fence have been repaired, grass on the site has been regularly cut during the growing season and the lights have now been fitted with a new timer.
The refurbishment programme was completed just in time for this special Remembrance weekend and, at dusk on the Friday evening, when the lights came on and the lit memorial could be seen for miles around, the sight was a poignant reminder of the debt we owe to the fallen, who gave their lives in wars over the centuries to safeguard our freedom.
All this work has been made possible by the very generous response of the Uig community, both local and dispersed, to the fund raising appeal of last spring.
Bonfire Night – an architectural bonfire heap, shaped like a wigwam, has been growing during recent weeks across the road from the Community Centre/School and, on the evening of Friday the 7th, it went up in flames, accompanied by a spectacular show of fireworks, watched by a large crowd of adults and children and all safely in the hands of the local Firemen.
This was followed by a Bring & Buy Sale, in aid of Community Council funds, which raised well over £400. Earlier that evening, there had been a very acceptable takeaway in the Community Centre and the event concluded with tea, home baking and an opportunity to chat.
Condolences – the sad news of the passing of Mrs Peggy Ann Maciver, on 6th November, was heard with sadness by all who knew her and the sympathy of the community is extended to her brothers, John Buchanan at Islivig, Neil Angus, West Lothian and sister, Mrs Christina Macleod, in Harris House,Tarbert, her nieces and nephews and the wider family circle.
Peggy Ann, who was aged 95, was the older daughter of the Buchanan family of 11 Breanish and was married at Laxay, Lochs, to Donald Maciver, who predeceased her. Due to failing health, she had been lovingly cared for in Dun Berisay Home, Stornoway, over the years.
At the time of writing this column, it was expected that her funeral would be held mid-week.
Supper Ceilidh - There will be a supper ceilidh in the Lewis Retirement Centre in Bayhead, Stornoway this Friday 14th November.
The evening begins at 6pm with music from the Country Gaels, Tonkan and friends.
The event is in aid of the Retirement Centre refurbishment fund. Tickets are available from Maggie 07554665549.
Parliamentary work experience - Hugh MacKenzie, a former pupil of the Nicolson Institute, who recently moved from Stornoway to Edinburgh completed his work experience from Broughton High School working in the Parliamentary Office of SNP MSP for Na H-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan MSP.
Alasdair Allan commented: “It was great to have Hugh join me for a week at work, and I’m sure that this was probably one of the more unusual work placements anyone had at his school.
“Hugh spent a varied week learning about working in the office of a Government minister, as well as finding out about the constituency side of my work representing the people of the Western Isles in Parliament.”
New Group - All girls aged 5-18 years in Harris are being invited to become Rainbows, Brownies, Guides, Rangers and Young Leaders.
Girlguiding is the leading charity for girls and young women in the UK and new units are opening in Harris.
Meetings could be held as often as required and at times and places to suit. Transport assistance is also a possibility.
Girls who would like to join in the fun and adults who might be able to help out should contact Matilda by calling 07771 518 250.
Prehistoric find - Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has confirmed that an archaeological find which appears to be a prehistoric basket has been uncovered by the tide in North Uist.
Following its exposure, the deposit is suffering from ongoing erosion with sections being lifted off the underlying sand, therefore the priority is to safely excavate the find so that a complete assessment can be made. Comhairle nan Eilean Siar are currently working with the local community and Historic Scotland in order to carry this out.
More information will be circulated once this assessment has been carried out.
Burns Supper - A Traditional Burns Supper is planned for Friday 23rd January at 7 pm in Berneray Hall, with all monies raised going to the RNLI.
A three-course meal and cash bar will be provided by ‘Stepping Stone’ Restaurant (Bailivanich), and there will be music, poetry and songs from a variety of wonderful local entertainers.
The programme for the evening will include the Address to the Haggis, Selkirk Grace, Address to the Lassies and Suitable Response, together with a selection of the poems and songs of Robert Burns. There will also be a Grand Raffle.
Tickets will be available shortly: Adults £25; Children £15. Further information is available from Stella Evans (01876 500306) or Barbara Jameson (01876 500849).