Butt to Barra District News May 22nd

Open Day event - see Stornoway news.
Open Day event - see Stornoway news.


Death in Cross - On Thursday 15th May, the Ness community were sad to learn that after a lingering illness patiently borne for the past few years, Murdo John MacRitchie, 22 Cross, had passed away in the Western Isles Hospital, where he had been taken the day before the end.

Murdo, who was aged 67 years and affectionately known as ‘Churchill’, was in the building trade, and will be remembered and sadly missed by all who knew him. He was predeceased by his wife Catherine, who passed away suddenly in November 1994, aged 45.

Wake worship was held on the evening of Friday in Cross Free Church where the funeral service on Saturday 17th May was taken by Rev. Roderick John Campbell, North Tolsta, interim moderator of the congregation.

He was assisted in prayer by two former ministers of Cross congregation, Rev. Angus Smith, and Rev. Kenneth Ferguson. Singing of praise was led by Angus Graham, Elder, Barvas, and Donald Morrison, Elder, Cross. Rev. Campbell officiated at the graveside on Habost machair.

In their bereavement we share and extend our thoughts in sympathy with his daughter Anne Marie, his sons Donald, Allan and Iain Alasdair, the grandchildren, and we remember his brother Angus Norman, and all close relatives and friends who mourn at this time.

Sympathy from Ness - In common with many others in the island, his friends in Ness were sad to learn of the recent passing away of Alex Murdo Morrison (Alex Shandaidh Bharahais), of 21 Upper Barvas.

Alex, who was aged 91 years, will be remembered as our island librarian in earlier years. We condole with his wife Dolina, and close relatives who mourn at this time.

Reminder - Plot holders in Ness cemetery are reminded that the annual fee of £15 for this year is now due, and will be collected soon in the Ness villages.


Open Day - Trust Housing Association is holding an Open Day at their beautiful development in Stornoway.

The Open Day is on Tuesday June 3rd from 12 to 3pm at Matheson Road.

Anyone who is interested in attending should contact Stacey Williamson on 0131 444 4937 or email swilliamson@trustha.org.uk


Kinloch Historical - Have a series of events planned at their new premises at the Old School Building in Balallan. The Comann Eachdraidh AGM will be on Tuesday 27th May at 7pm, so come along and show your support for the organisation which opened the new charity shop last week and is setting up a summer season café service in the Old School, which is due to open the first week in June. The society are also taking names for a day trip to Valamus during June.

The permanent exhibition at the Old School include artefacts from a crofting way of life, which were gathered in Kinloch over the last thirty years. The centenary of the beginning of World War One will be commemorated in a special collection opening at the end of August.

The Kinloch Historical Society is now a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) with full Charitable status which allows them not only to do all the historical projects as they have done over the last thirty years, but also to develop other activities that will under pin the work of the Society.

As part of setting up this new legal structure the Historical Society urges all past and new members, to come forward with their £10 membership fee. If you can’t attend the AGM on Tuesday in person, fees can be sent to treasurer Sandra MacDonald, c/o Comann Eachdraidh Cheann a Loch, Old School, Balallan.

Ceilidh - The recent Balallan and District Recreation club event raised over £400. The committee would like to record their gratitude to those who attended the ceilidh in the Hall and to the entertainers: Shonaidh Beag MacMillan, Alice MacMillan, Iain Begg and family, Lochs Gaelic Choir and Ronnie Murray, Maggie Smith, Mairi MacLennan, Billy Campbell, Jim Sawyers, Molly, Ciorstaidh and Mairi (Highland Dancers), Ewan Ferguson, Sgoil nan Loch Folk group and John A MacIver.

Bingo- The Bingo Night on the 30th of May will be in the North Lochs Community Centre in Leurbost.


Gaelic course - Gaidhlig San Dachaigh of Breascleit has held its Annual General Meeting after another highly successful year with its three weekly classes continuing to thrive.

It is the only continuously operating Gaelic language course in the Western Isles and holds classes on Tuesday evenings (intermediate standard), Wednesday mornings (conversation) and Thursday evenings (for beginners). During the past year we have lost one member, our former Chairperson and Treasurer, Jane, who has returned to England, and gained new members for the Wednesday and Thursday classes.

We continue to enjoy the services of our two excellent tutors, Janice Ann Mackay and Dolina Monaghan.

Our aim is to learn Gaelic in a relaxed, informal environment so that our classes are enjoyable as well as educational. Accordingly we are keen to promote a social aspect to our classes. We have been organising fundraising events which also help us to become a more integral part of the community. These included successful stalls at the Lochs and Carloway Shows where we raised a substantial sum of money from the sale of home baking (donated by class members) and from face painting undertaken by Janice Ann and Andrew.

A number of members went on a Gaelic language trip to Skye organised by Janice Ann. We stayed at Raasay House and Sabhal Mor Ostaig, and visited the Skye Museum of Island Life and the Flora MacDonald monument at Kilmuir, travelled by boat to Loch Coruisk from Elgol, enjoyed archery and kayaking activities at Raasay House and visited Dunvegan Castle. Special thanks to Rod for driving the minibus.

We also held a hugely successful takeaway evening where we sold over 160 meals with special mention due to Andrew and Ashley. We have had several visits to the 10-pin bowling establishment at Lionel and are planning other social events for this summer. The annual Christmas dinner was a resounding success.

We not only want to learn Gaelic, but also to promote its use among the increasing numbers of non-Gaelic-speaking incomers to the islands.


Services - In the absence of the minister, who was assisting at the Gairloch communions, services in Scalpay Free Church last Sunday were conducted by Iain Morrison, Back.

Football - As another football season us underway, we are delighted to see Harris Football club still participating in the league. Although in the past there were several Scalpay players in the team, the only one at present is Philip Coghill and we wish him and the club all the best in the league and cups.

Long service - We congratulate Donald MacSween, 30 Scalpay, who recently completed 25 years with Marine Harvest. Long service with a company is a rarity nowadays, so well done to Donald on his excellent work record.

The late Christina Morrison - On Wednesday 7th May the whole island was saddened to hear that Christina Morrison, The Anchorage, had passed away peacefully in the Western Isles Hospital after a short illness at the age of 90.

Ciorstag, as she was fondly known, was brought up in Bayhead and was the last surviving member of a family of seven. After embarking on a nursing career, family commitments brought her back home.

And, after her marriage to her late husband Finlay, who wrote the well-known Gaelic song ‘Fàgail na Caradh’ for her, she settled down to married life at the Anchorage where there was always a warm welcome for those who visited.

Above all Ciorstag knew the Lord as her own personal Saviour. A professing communicant for many years, her warm Christian fellowship and prayerful witness in the work of the Gospel will be greatly missed.

On a personal note, as Deacons’ court clerk, I will never forget how willing Ciorstag and Finlay always were to look after the weekend’s supply during church vacancies in the late eighties and nineties.

Her practical support, encouragement and instruction strengthened all of us who had the privilege of knowing her and serving with her in the church on earth and we thank God for every memory of another who has heard these words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Her funeral service, on Saturday 10th, saw a large number gathering to pay their last respects to one held in high esteem.

It was conducted by Rev. Kenneth Macdonald, assisted by Rev. Calum Iain Macleod, Back, whose family home is at Camus Beag.

The praise was led by Donald John Morrison, Maarig, and the internment later was in Luskentyre cemetery.

At this time of great sadness we extend our prayerful sympathy to daughters Mary and Dolina Ann, son Iain, all their families and the wide circle of relatives and friends. May they be conscious in these days of God’s abiding presence and His comforting love.

In hospital - At the time of writing this, William Macleod, Fairhaven, is detained in the Western Isles Hospital and Morag Mackenzie, Outend, is in the Golden Jubilee Hospital, Clydebank.

On behalf of everyone we wish both of them quick returns to better health and hope they are soon able to return to their respective homes.

Work experience - This week S3 pupils from Sir E. Scott School are on work experience. Rebecca Finnegan is at the Tourist Information Office in Tarbert, Ewen Mackay is with Marine Harvest, Mairi Mackinnon is at Scalpay Shop, Finlay Morrison is with Spectral Lines at Tarbert and Rona Morrison is in Sir E. Scott Primary.

Retirement - Rev. Donald Macdonald, who was minister of Kinloch Free Church, has now retired.

Rev. Macdonald was a previous interim-moderator of Scalpay and, on behalf of the congregation, we thank him for his pastoral care over us and wish him a long and happy retirement.


The Latha na Mara – RNLI Fundraising Day – on Saturday, May 17th in Lochmaddy Hall proved a great success! The event made over £3,000 for the RNLI - including £800 plus on the Silent Auction, which consisted of a magnificent 17 Lots.

More than £700 worth of RNLI goods were also sold. Donald Ban and the Lionacleit School Pipe & Drum Band led a procession from Lochmaddy Pier to the Hall, accompanied by RNLI Mascot Stormy Stan, who soon became a firm favourite with children and adults alike! Proceedings in the Hall were conducted seamlessly by excellent ‘MC’ Roddy Shaw.

Stalls were run with efficiency and enthusiasm by Margaret B, Sheena, Helen, Chrissie, Anne, Sue, Christine, Jessie, Margaret J, Catriona, Isabel, Matilda, Peggy and Effie Ann.

The Sea Theme Children’s Fancy Dress proved very popular: all entrants were presented with a rosette, and winners Kyle and Cara received prizes from the crew of the Leverburgh Lifeboat Crew, ‘The Royal Thames’, which was at Lochmaddy Pier, where people were able to go on board.

Three delightful Shetland ponies, with their handlers from Uist Community Riding School, took part in races on the green.

In addition to the Lionacleit School Pipe Band, a varied and entertaining programme of music, song and dance was provided

Thanks go to all who helped to help make the event such a success.