District News: Butt to Barra 17.7.14

Carlone Briggs from Somerset was on holiday in the Western Isles at the beginning of July, this was one of her favourite holiday photos
Carlone Briggs from Somerset was on holiday in the Western Isles at the beginning of July, this was one of her favourite holiday photos


Sympathy from Ness - Friends in Ness and former school children in Lionel were sad to learn of the recent passing away of Annie Macleod of Tolsta Chaolais, who in earlier years was on the teaching staff of Lionel Junior Secondary School.

From Ness we condole and extend our sympathies to the close family circle who mourn in this bereavement.

Skigersta related death - On Sunday, July 13th we were all saddened with the news that Murdo Mackay, Murchadh an Taillear, of 1 Skigersta had passed away suddenly as his home in Aberdeen, where he had latterly been resident. Murdo was aged 74 years.

In their time of grief we extend our sympathy to his sisters, Margaret in Inverness, Catherine in Glasgow and we remember his sister in law Helen-Ann in the old family home at 1 Skigersta, and all family and friends who mourn in the passing of Murdo.

Morrison gathering - Descendants and relatives of Bernera Morrisons gathered recently (4th July )at Bragar School. For this gathering of Morrisons some had travelled long distances - Canada, USA and Australia.

Rose Morrison came from British Columbia and her Canadian born daughter Ruth who is now based in Ireland. From Australia Joan and Rob Willis from Melbourne, and Joan’s daughter Tanya and her husband Shane and two young sons from Brisbane. Bill Bucknall – another Morrison relative and his wife Elke Petrow travelled from Texas. Brent and Carole Ann Cole came from St. Louis together with their son and daughter.

One of the ancestral Morrisons – Murdo Morrison was, like many others of his generation, engaged in fishing for Lobsters. Sending Lobsters to Market required a storage facility where they could be kept alive as soon as they were landed.

The answer was a Lobster Pond and in the days when travelling to Australia would take as many weeks as it does hours nowadays Murdo Morrison went on a mission to earn money to get the Lobster Pond created. He achieved his objectives and returned with the funding necessary to make a start.

On the Friday evening the former Bragar School was made available through the kindness and co-operation of the recently created Bragar and Arnol Community Trust. A welcoming cup of tea was available and an opportunity to meet and greet the relatives.

Saturday dawned with a mixture of weather with summer showers and bright sunshine giving alternative scenarios. A luxury coach from Galson Motors was provided and the assembled Morrisons began their day long event.

First port of call was actually a Port – Bragar Bay and various places and points of interest were indicated including the ruin which is the remaining evidence of the Temple of St John the Baptist.

On the way once more towards Shawbost and passing the Bragar Dun which is now reduced to a heap of stones. The building of new houses in the area caused many of the stones to be removed and recycled in a way that the rules and regulations of today would forbid.

The next stop was the Callanish Stones – an intriguing mystery in itself and an opportunity to view the site..

Then onwards to the large Bernera Hall and Community centre. The core of the history of the Morrisons is exhibited in the Museum and countless artefacts and explanatory panels abound.

Next stop for a picnic lunch was Bosta Beach which was experiencing a busy time with the ongoings of a wedding on the beach, a works outing with barbecue nearby and the Morrisons sitting in the sunshine watching the ongoings.

Then back on the bus and to the Carloway broch, well preserved in comparison to the Bragar one and the skilled builders who created it built it to last.

The final stop of the tour was in South Shawbost where with the consent of the owner the Morrisons were delighted to see the Model T Ford Bus carefully and expertly restored by Calum Macleod of 20 South Shawbost. The connection with the Morrisons is that the original purchaser who was a Shawbost Merchant – Calum Mackay was married to Annie Morrison of Bragar.

Back to Bragar School and nearby there was a weaving demonstration by another cousin – Murdo Maclean and there was a fascination about this part of the production of Harris Tweed.

A lovely buffet had been delivered and another highlight of the occasion was to follow. Lorna Macaulay Chief Executive of the Harris Tweed Authority explained the role of the HTA in promoting and protecting the tweed and gave an excellent insight to this important industry.

Completing the day was an informal ceilidh which got off to a brilliant start with the dancing expertise of Isabella Mackay Dalgetty great grand-daughter of the late Calum Maciver, Head Teacher at one time of Bragar School, performing the Highland Fling

The audience were delighted to welcome Dena-Anne Macleod from Arnol who is a captivating Gaelic singer and the quality of her performances is reflected in the awards she has gained.

Carole Ann Cole listened intently and all others present did likewise as Dena-Anne sang in flawless faultless manner the song composed by Donald Macdonald Morrison Carole Ann’s great grandfather “Eilean Beag Donn a’ Chuain”.

A double act was to follow with Joan Willis - ably assisted by her niece Joanne Macaulay. -reading out the story about Donald Macdonald Morrison’s last visit to Lewis in 1937. His ticket had been left for safe keeping in Bragar with his brother Murdo – Sub-Postmaster. The ticket was safe but Donald was waiting to embark on his ship without it. The Anchor Line lawyer prepared a document for him to sign and in legal terms and historical if not hysterical fashion guaranteeing that he would not default on paying them £20 for his return ticket. This very long single sentence covering every conceivable eventuality was read by Joanne Flynn.

Norma Macleod another Morrison sang and along with Murdo Morrison played some tunes on the “box”. One tune was dedicated to the Morrison’s oldest living relative – Jean Maciver of Shawbost who had had her 102nd birthday.

Donald Angus Smith also another Morrison brought the evening’s proceedings to a close with his singing of another of Donald Morrison’s songs “Balaich an Iasgaich”, and in conclusion a hearty vote of thanks was given to Murdo Morrison, formerly of Lakefield, Bragar for organising such a memorable occasion.


Storytelling - On Friday 1st August there will a story ceilidh by Alex Patience and music by Donald MacNeill at the Old School Cafe Balallan beginning at 7.30pm. Both entertainers are from Caithness.

The theme of the stories will be Journey’s-Long and Short. The evening offers the chance for audience members to share a story or to bring along their musical instrument and add to the ceilidh.


Pairc Hall – hopefully by now you should have received your newsletter update from Pairc Hall. Committee members will be coming round next week to pick up your responses to the proposed new site for the Hall at the Resource Centre, Kershader, so please have the form ready for them.

Playschemes – around 12 children from South Lochs have been having a great time at the Playschemes being held every Tuesday and Thursday at Pairc School throughout July. All ages welcome, there is loads to do – arts and crafts and sports activities. For more information please contact 880296.


Serivces - On Sunday, July 6th services in Scalpay Free Church were conducted by Mr Iain M. Macleod, Tong Presbytery Evangelical co-ordinator.

The preacher that day in the Free Church (Continuing) was Rev. William Macleod, Glasgow.

In Hospital - Mairi Macleod, Torman, spent some days in hospital in Glasgow recently, but we are glad to report she is now home again and we send her our best wishes for a speedy and full recovery.

New baby - Congratulations to Kyle and Fiona Macleod, Stornoway on the birth of a baby son, Joseph. Kyle and Fiona have their family homes at Scott Road and Burnbrae Tarbert, respectively and Fiona worked in Scalpay School for some time.

On behalf of everyone we send best wishes to the proud parents and grandparents at this happy time.

New staff - Alexander Macleod and Katie Ersser have joined the existing staff of Lindsey O’Hara and line manager Jayne Green in the Scalpay Community Shop and we wish them all every success in the future.

Condolences - Our sincere condolences are extended to the sons, sisters, relatives and friends of Mary Fullerton, Pitlochry, who passed away at the age of 91.

Mary, whose family home was at Iag na Sidhe, was a daughter of the late Norman and Mary Maclean and, although many years away from her native island, she visited often and kept in regular touch with home.

As we are sadly conscious of another of the older generation taken our prayer is that God would uphold all who mourn as he alone can.

Uig -

Sympathy - Sadly, during the past fortnight here in Uig, our attention has been drawn too often to Ardroil Cemetery, where there have been several funerals, close together

On Sat, June 28th, the interment of Angus Morrison, of Stewartfield, Stornoway, who had family links with Carnish, took place here, following a well-attended service at Stornoway High Church.

Angus was a very well-known person throughout the island, everyone who knew him was grieved to hear of his illness and deteriorating health and he will now be sorely missed by a wide circle of relatives and friends.

Deep sympathy is extended to his wife, Mary Ann, formerly Macleod, with her family links with Eneclete and Mangersta, to their daughters and their own families, to his brothers and their families and to all close relatives.

The following Monday, June 30th, the interment of Rev Macaulay Macleod, Coulregrein Stornoway, retired Free Church minister, took place following his funeral service in Stornoway. Rev Macleod was the husband of the late Margaret Macleod of Stornoway, who had family ties with Aird, Uig, and who passed away over two years ago.

Over many years, the Macleods were well-known here as they visited relatives and friends at holiday times. Sympathy is extended to all the relatives who are affected by this bereavement.

The funeral service of the late Nan Miller, better known here as Nan Matheson, of 8 Eneclete was held at Uigean Church on Tuesday 1st July, followed by interment at Ardroil Cemetery. Her very sudden death, at the age of 56, at her home in Glasgow, shocked and saddened the local community here as she had been at home in Eneclete recently, in her usual health and spirits with no sign of anything wrong with her.

The service was conducted by Rev Hugh M Stewart, assisted by Rev Roddy Morrison. The sympathy of the community is extended to her daughters and son, her sisters and brother and their families and all the close relatives.

On Monday, 7th July, the funeral took place of Hildegard Rowe, of 9 Ardroil, who passed away at Ospadal nan Eilean, Stornoway, after a short illness. The service was in Stornoway, at the Church of the Holy Redeemer, Scotland Street, and was conducted by Father Roddy Johnston, who also officiated at the cemetery. We are all saddened by the loss of Hildegard, our kind and hospitable Swiss lady, very talented with fabric and craft work, who, with her husband, Bill, made her home here years ago and made many friends in the islands who now mourn her passing and will miss her. The deep sympathy of the community is extended to Bill, and to her sisters and relatives in Switzerland.