100 years old by Murdina is still going strong

Murdina says taking in the bins is 'good exercise'.
Murdina says taking in the bins is 'good exercise'.

She still goes to the Post Office for her pension and then heads off to the Tesco to get her shopping.

And for a spot of gentle exercise, she regularly manhandles her rubbish bins back up the path to the tidy wee cottage which she keeps spick and span.

Her name is Murdina Macleod and she celebrated her 100th birthday last week.

Friends and relations of the sprightly pensioner have been amazed for decades at how fit Mrs Macleod has been keeping and despite her big birthday she shows little sign of slowing down.

A celebration was arranged for the mother-of-four at Carloway, the sprawling township on the west of the Isle of Lewis where she has lived for much of her life, with her children and grandchildren arriving from near and far. A telegram from London was also expected.

Born in Carloway, her parents moved to nearby Breasclete when she was just two.

However, when she met and married her late husband Roddy, it was then a move back again as he lived in her old village. Roddy passed away 20 years ago.

She said: “I’ve been very healthy and never had a serious illness and I’ve never needed a doctor for much ever. And I can still look after my house by myself.”

Locals told of their shock when they have seen Mrs Macleod taking her bins up the steep path to her cottage in Upper Carloway.

One said: “I just thought that can’t be Murdag because I knew she was nearly 100. But it was her - and she does it all the time.”

Pleased she caused a local stir, Mrs Macleod explained: “The reason people see me hauling the bins is that it is good exercise for me. I have arthritis in my hands and I don’t have much feeling in them. So it is good to keep them moving.”

She also used to love working in the garden but is sad that she has had to give up that exercise and the patch now untended: “That’s why moving the bins is good exercise for me now. Ach, it’s no bother,” she said.

“I also go to Stornoway to do shopping at Tesco or to the hairdresser as long as someone takes me in a car, of course.”

After school she went off to work in Dalmally in Argyll and then was a servant girl in Bridge of Allan and in Glasgow.

During the War she joined the Women’s Royal Air Force (known as the Waafs) and was stationed at various bases around the UK.

She recalls that after returning home to Lewis after the War, she met her husband Roddy when he chatted her up in Woolworths in Stornoway. It turned out he was from her former home village of Carloway and she also remembers being very impressed that he cycled three times a week in all weathers to Breasclete to date her.

Mrs Macleod claims to have no great secret to explain her fitness and long life. She giggled: “Breakfast is always either porridge oats or a boiled egg and, of course, I have absolutely no bad habits.”