Butt to Barra District News 18/4/13

Over recent months there have been a number of projects completed within the Aline Community Woodland in Lewis.'A new path has been developed on the West side and now allows more access.  An adventure playground is being developed just above the main car park and boardwalk area. Work is nearing completion for the new path on the East side of the Woodland for a track which will take visitors right down to the shore of Loch Seaforth.  As part of the Lottery funding a number of 'volunteer days' will be held to replant some native trees and ageneral tidy up.  If you can help with this please contact the group. Pictured above are some mini volunteers helping with the tree planting.
Over recent months there have been a number of projects completed within the Aline Community Woodland in Lewis.'A new path has been developed on the West side and now allows more access. An adventure playground is being developed just above the main car park and boardwalk area. Work is nearing completion for the new path on the East side of the Woodland for a track which will take visitors right down to the shore of Loch Seaforth. As part of the Lottery funding a number of 'volunteer days' will be held to replant some native trees and ageneral tidy up. If you can help with this please contact the group. Pictured above are some mini volunteers helping with the tree planting.

NESS

Sympathy from Ness – Relatives and friends in Ness were sad to learn of the passing away of Mary Hughes, nee Macleod (Mairi Iceal) formerly of 128 Cross Skigersta.

Mary, who was aged 87 years, passed away in a care home in Newtonmore, Perthshire, on Sunday, March 31.

She will be remembered with affection by the older generation in Ness and by all who knew her in Aviemore where, with her late husband Jimmy and family she had been resident through the years.

The funeral of Mary was on Tuesday, April 9. Mary was the last surviving member of the family who were at 128 Cross Skigersta, her sister Annabel having passed away in July last year.

From Ness we share and extend our thoughts in sympathy to her daughters Helen and Mairi, her son Angus, the grandchildren, and all close relatives and friends who mourn in this bereavement.

Comunn Eachdraidh – On the evening of Friday, April 12, a good attendance gathered at Comunn Eachraidh Nis, at an event to give thanks and remember a notable Niseach, the late Donald Thomson, OBE, of Oban, whose mother Kate was from 20 Lionel, and his father Murdo was from 2 Skigersta, and who was affectionately known to us as Dolaidh Kate.

After a welcome and introductory address by Annie Macsween, Chairwoman, followed by prayer by Donald Thomson, elder, Cross Skigersta Road, Annie introduced the guest speaker for the evening, Professor Boyd Robertson, Principal of Sabhail Mor Ostaig, who gave a most interesting account of the life and work of Donald, with emphasis on his dedicated contribution to all things related to our Gaelic language and culture.

After refreshments Mary Smith (Mairi Cheocaidh) gave a delightful rendering of song suited to the occasion. We are indebted and give thanks to Donald’s daughter, Catherine, for her kind thoughts in donating books from her father’s library to Comunn Eachdraidh.

We also thank all who took part and helped to arrange this pleasant evening in Comunn Eachdraidh

CARLOWAY

Engagement - Congratulations to Gordon Craigie, from Park Carloway, and Katie MacLeod, from Leurbost, who recently got engaged. Meal-do-naidheachd!

Carloway Football Club - The ‘way got off to a winning start in Tarbert last Friday, where they defeated Harris 4-0 in the opening league fixture of the season. Kevin “Gochan” MacLeod scored the opener for the blues in the first half, with Kenny “Dokus” MacDonald, Fraser MacLeod and Kevin “Barra” MacNeil all scoring in the second half to ensure all three points would be coming back to Carloway.

Fixtures - Carloway’s next fixture takes place on Friday 19th April (tomorrow) at Cnoc a’ Choilich, where they will face a difficult Ness side in the League.

Kick off for this match is at 6:30pm. Following this fixture, Carloway travel to Leurbost on Monday 22nd April where they’ll face Lochs in the Acres Boys Club Cup, before taking on League champions Stornoway Athletic at home on Wednesday 24th April in what will be a big League encounter.

Both of these matches kick off at 6:30pm. Come out and support your team as they aim to continue their winning run.

SHAWBOST

Light lunch - On Saturday, April 20th Clann an Latha an Dè will be hosting a light lunch on at Ionad na Seann Sgoil, Shawbost from 12am until 2.30pm.

There will be a choice of soups, delicious selection of puddings, tea and coffee and biscuits.

Raffle tickets will also be on sale for the usual varied selection of prizes. Please come along and enjoy lunch and a blether with friends.

Mainland trip - There are some seats still available if you are in the Clann an Latha an Dè area (Arnol/Bragar/Shawbost/Dalbeag) and would like to join the group on their annual mainland trip which takes place from Tuesday, June 11th to Saturday, June 15th.

The trip is based this year at the Beardmore Hotel, Clydebank there will be daily excursions to the surrounding countryside visiting various places of interest.

All over 60s within this area are eligible. Please phone Cathie on 710257 for further information or to book your place before 30th April, which is to be the final closing date.

LAXDALE

Big lunch - Following the huge success of last year’s inaugural Diamond Jubilee Big Lunch in Laxdale, the Laxdale Community Association is pleased to announce that there will be Big Lunch events on Monday, June 3rd again in Laxdale Hall.

This year, there will be a china tea party in the hall at 3pm, followed by a family barbeque and céilidh in the evening.

Donations of baking will be gratefully received at the hall from the morning onwards.

The historical exhibition of photos and artefacts that aroused so much interest last year will be on view again this year, with many additional new photographs.

If anyone has any other artefacts or photos that they would be happy to have copied for the exhibition, please contact Murdo Macleod at 700129.

With regard to transport matters, if anyone requires a lift to these events, please contact Chrissie Macdonald at 704450 or Cathie Mary Macmillan at 705104. The events in Laxdale will link in with the national Big Lunch events across Britain, as created by the visionary Tim Smit of the Eden Project.

By sharing food and swapping stories, we can forge a fraternity from individuals.

PAIRC

Get well - We send get well wishes for a speedy recovery to Harry Runge, Gravir who is at present in hospital.

Congratulations - We send congratulations to Donnie and Myra Macleod, Garyvard on the birth of their baby boy, Harris as he is to be called will be a welcomed wee brother for Craig.

Sympathy - We send sympathy to Torquil Macleod and family, Stornoway whose mother Chirsty Maggie recently passed away. Chirsty was originally from Stiomrabhagh, Lochs and spent most of her married life in Ranish, before moving to Kirk Care in Stornoway. We think of them at this sad time in their lives.

Condolences - We also send our sincere sympathy to the family of the late Roddy Mackay, Stornoway and ex Glen Gravir who recently passed away following a short illness.

Roddy was married in Stornoway and had spent many years working in Arnish fabrication yard and latterly with Third Sector Hebrides. Pre funeral services took place in Stornoway with interment to Gravir cemetery.

To his widow Lena and family, his sister and brother and the extended family we send our sincere sympathy in their loss.

LOCHS

Lochs Show - The Lochs show will be at the new showground in Laxay on Saturday 27th July. This is the time to plan your contribution for the vegetable, livestock and crafts section. Support your local show to ensure this event prospers in the future. It is a day for meeting old friends, relatives and islanders visiting from the cities. Help it happen.

Muirburns - The exceptionally dry weather for the last two months and the seasonal muirburning by crofters to encourage new heather growth, has led to several wildfires in the Lochs area recently.

With the rain last weekend and the 15th of April being the end of the official muirburn season, this slightly alarming period is now a memory. Well done to all the firefighters, both those in an official capacity and the members of the community who turned out to help when neighbours’ properties, were under threat because of a muirburn.

Conch shell - In the hustle and bustle of life we rarely have the time of reflect on things that surround us. One day soon, someone may ask “Why is there a conch shell in a glass display case at the Lochs Free Church in Crossbost”. Someone else trawling the Stornoway Gazette columns in forty years’ time may say “Ah, so that is what that shell represented” Inanimate objects have a life of their own too.

This particular queen conch shell Lobatus Gigus (conachag) was brought to Leurbost by a village sailor, probably from Trinidad or Tobago.

The sailor knew that his fellow villagers would be intrigued by such a shell, as they fished in Loch Leurbost to provide for their families and were very familiar with the kind of sea shells found in the Minch. 
In foreign climes this kind of conch shell, was used as a wind instrument, by boring a hole into the spire of the shell near the apex. In Leurbost the conchag shell became a thing to marvel at and blow into, in order to make a sound.

Several years passed and the conch shell then appears to have been used prior to 1840, by the Gaelic School in the village of Leurbost. The purpose it appears, was to summon the village children to lessons.

In 1849 Murdo Macleod An Ceistear (1811-1898) was appointed Catechist in the parish of Lochs. An Ceistear summoned the villagers to the religious gatherings, by blowing on the conch shell. In Leurbost if the families were working on the crops in the fields, all work would cease immediately and they would make their way to Seathar a’ Cheistear, at Cnoc an Stùirm, where croft 40 Leurbost is now.

Murdo Macleod, The Catechist served in Lochs for forty nine years and the conch shell was passed to his son Murdo.

Murdo’s family cherished the conch shell and in the last ten years the shell returned to the village of Leurbost. The Conch with the link to the past can now be seen in a glass display case in the Free Church Hall in Crossbost.