District news May 10th


Church topics – At an ordination service in the Ness Church of Scotland on Sunday April 29th we are glad to note that two office bearers were added to the Deacons Court of the Congregation.

Visitors in Port of Ness – A lot of local interest was aroused recently with the presences of an unusual boat in Port of Ness Harbour, where the sea going adventurer Chris Duff, with his 19foot semi closed rowing boat ‘Northern Reach’, was berthed in the inner end of the harbour.

Chris was waiting for favourable weather conditions which would enable to continue his 500 mile voyage in a rowing boat to Iceland. Our good wishes for safe and happy sailing follow Chris as he continues on his sea going adventures.


Sympathy: Donald Macdonald – Once again the community of Bernera and Tir Mor are saddened to hear of the passing of Donald Macdonald (Domhnull Dubh Mackenzie) on April 23rd, at the age of 85, in the Western Isles Hopsital.

Donald was the eldest son of Donald and Catriona Macdonald of 25 Kirkibost. Donald lived at Lundale with his wife Catherine, where they raised their family of Angus, David and Angela.

Donald had trained as a carpenter/builder in his youth and became a master builder. Many fine examples of his skills are to be found around Bernera. In 2006 Donald became ill and was forced to stop working, but bore his illness with great fortitude.

Donald needed 24 hour care and Catriona and Angela deserve great praise for lovingly attending to all his needs throughout his illness.

The community extend their sincere condolences to Donald’s widow Catriona, daughter Angela, son David and his wife Katherine, son Angus and his wife Andrea and their family of three girls Elizabeth, Rebecca and Sophie; his sister Mary Macdonald and brother James Macdonald, and all members of the Macdonald and Macaulay families.

The funeral service took place on April 26th in the Church of Scotland (Bernera), conducted by Rev Steven Macdonald. The praise was led by Kenneth MacKay (Uig).

Donald was a respected member of the community, an honest and honourable man whose calm presence will be greatly missed.


Congratulations - to Calum Iain MacDonald and Joanna Rae, following the birth of their baby boy, Ray Finlay. Calum Iain currently lives in Aberdeen and is the son of Donald and Margaret MacDonald, Knock Carloway. Meal-do-naidheachd!

Council Elections - Congratulations to Donald ‘Cuideag’ MacLeod (Callanish), Norman Alexander MacDonald (Ardroil) and Bill Houston (Lochs), after being elected as our councillors for the upcoming term at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. We would also like to congratulate other candidates for their efforts in campaigning ahead of the local election, which took place last Thursday. In addition, we would like to extend our best wishes to our former councillors, both Annie MacDonald and convenor Alex MacDonald, for their services within the Uig and North Lochs ward.

Coffee Morning - Carloway School will be holding a coffee morning in the school annexe, on Friday 11th May (tomorrow) at 10:30am. Everyone is very welcome to attend.

Còisir Ghàidhlig Chàrlabhaigh - A Special General Meeting of Còisir Ghàidhlig Chàrlabhaigh will take place at 7.30pm on Tuesday 29 May in Carloway Community Centre. The one item on the agenda is ‘Choir Constitution.’

First Aid Course - There will be a First Aid Course on Saturday 2nd June in the Carloway Community Centre. For more information and to book a place, contact Karen Macleod at Community Education on karen.macleod@cne-siar.gov.uk or 01851 822 714.

Carloway Community Centre - The new bilingual sign for the Carloway Community Centre and Playpark is now up next to the facility, replacing the old one that has been there for seven years.

Carloway Football Club - Carloway took on Lewis and Harris League champions Back at Cnoc a’ Choilich on Monday evening, a league encounter which Carloway won 5-1! Goals from Seumas MacLeod, Kevin ‘Gochan’ MacLeod, Scott MacAulay, Kenny ‘Dokus’ MacDonald and Gordon ‘Tago’ MacDonald sealed a historic, important victory for the ‘Way, which keeps them in the race for the ultimate prize in island football!

Fixtures - Carloway’s next fixture takes place on Monday 14th May at Goathill Park, Stornoway, where they take on Stornoway United in the League. Kick off for this match is at 7pm. Come out and support your team!

Super Eights - This week marks the end of the football club’s Super Eights, with the domestic football seasons of both England and Scotland coming to a close on Sunday.

The jackpot currently stands at £800 and should there be no winners this week, then the prize money is to be carried over to next season.

To acquire a coupon and be in with the chance of winning the jackpot, get in touch with one of the club’s committee members.


Presentation - The family of Angus Smith, of 7 Eneclete, now living in Gairloch and who recently celebrated his centenary, have presented a beautifully carved oak lectern to Uig Church of Scotland to commemorate the event (see the presentation above).

His daughter, Mairi and her husand, Finlay Macneill, Gairloch, his son Robert and his wife, Annabel, who live in Bathgate, West Lothian, along with a party of their Smith cousins, were present at the evening service in the church on Sunday, April 22nd for the dedication of the lectern for use in the church.

The service was conducted by the Rev Stephen Mathews, retired, Eneclete.

The congregation and the wider local community as well, are very appreciative of this unusually thoughtful and generous gift from the Smith family and thankful for the long and healthy life which has occasioned it.

We are all glad to hear that Angus is keeping well, his family tell us that his thoughts are now very often back in his native Uig, it’s not long, just last year, that he was on holiday in the family home at Eneclete.

Election results – now that the excitement is over and the results are known, we’re pleased here with the way things have turned out.

We congratulate our successful councillors, Norman A Macdonald, Ardroil; Bill Houston, Luerbost and Donald Macleod, Callanish and wish them well during their term of office.

We thank the candidates who weren’t elected for standing and would encourage them all to try again next time. We have to say that we’re pleased with ourselves too, the electorate of the Uig and North Lochs ward, for achieving the high turnout figure of 61%.

This undoubtedly reflects the awkwardly dispersed geography of the ward and our anxiety about having representation from our own area.

We’re also glad that the Community Council organised a hustings meeting a week before the actual election and grateful to Brian Wilson, Mangersta for chairing it.


Diamond Jubilee street party - As the Diamond Jubilee gives us a grand excuse to come together as neighbours and friends to celebrate Her Majesty’s sixty years on the throne, the Laxdale Hall Association and Laxdale School cordially invite the community of Laxdale and Newmarket to a Diamond Jubilee Street Party on Monday June 4th.

This will be held in Newpark (Gearraidh Sgòth), across the road from the School and in close proximity to the Laxdale Hall.

The Street Party will be one of the 4,000 Big Lunches taking place across the UK to mark the Diamond Jubilee , under the auspices of the Eden Project.

A Steering Committee for the event has already been set up, and we are encouraged so far by the goodwill and enthusiasm of many. Our local councillors have been most supportive.

It is envisaged that the Street Party will commence in the afternoon of Monday the 4th, about 2pm, with the schoolchildren and teachers coming down to sit and mingle at the trestle tables, surrounded by the bunting and balloons.

Participating in the Jubilee celebrations meets the childrens’ curriculum outcomes for citizenship and history, and the event is only part of a whole week of activities at the School centred around the Jubilee.

The pupils speaking to older Laxdale citizens at the event about their memories of village life in the community since 1952 will also foster inter-generational bonds and camaraderie.

After the children depart when the school day finishes, it is planned that the Street Party will continue until the evening, to give people who are working a chance to come down and speak to their neighbours.

There will be ample chairs to sit on, and a range of food to eat, hopefully with Diamond Jubilee napkins and plates!

As we cannot control the weather, should the heavens open there will be a contingency plan of shifting the celebration to the Laxdale Hall. The toilet facilities at the Hall will be open throughout.

It is hoped to have a number of different local musicians providing background music throughout the duration of the Street Party, including some of our very talented younger citizens and pupils. Discussions for this are ongoing.

To exploit the historical perspective that a Diamond Jubilee affords, it is planned to have an exhibition inside the Hall of photos taken in the Laxdale and Newmarket community since 1952, that Street Party attenders can go and have a look at.

To this end, the Steering Committee asks that anyone who wishes to send their old photos for inclusion in the exhibition sends copies of their photos if possible, not originals, to Murdo Macleod, Laxdale Hall Association Secretary, 101 Newmarket, Isle of Lewis HS2 0ED.

The Steering Committee asks that, as far as possible, the photos be dated and people in the photos identified, to enhance the interest.

If it is not possible for people to make copies, the Committee will endeavour to make copies of originals received, if they are sent along with an SAE. However, for logistical and other reasons, being sent copies is the most practical option.

To help meet with the costs of the event, it is anticipated that there will be a door-to-door street collection in the vicinity the week before. We would thank the community for their support for this.

It is hoped that the Street Party will be a most memorable event, and that it will become part of the collective memory of Laxdale itself to be talked about for many years to come.

If it promotes neighbourliness and increases thanks for the ties of service that bind us, in Scotland, the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, the Steering Committee will be glad indeed.


Table Top Sale - This week’s event in the North Lochs Community Centre has been postponed. The re-scheduled date will be available shortly.

Balallan School - Pictures of vintage class groups are urgently required for the end of the term exhibition. The collection will commemorate the provision of education in Balallan School 1879-2012.

Photgraphs of pupils from 1981-1999 have already been contributed to the collection. Class group pictures earlier than1981 would be of particular interest, to the Comann Eachdraidh.

Photographs can be left at the school or, for collection contact Joan from the Comann Eachdraidh on 830368 or send them to joan.macinnes@btinternet.com.

CE Kinloch AGM The Historical Society - AGM is on Tuesday 29th May at 7.30 at Taigh Eachdraidh Lacasaigh there will be a local history quiz, tea and cakes, and everybody is welcome

Congratulations - To Kenneth Nicolson Ranish and Keose on his appointment to the board of Bòrd na Gaidhlig, the language development organisation. After graduating from UHI (Lewis Campus) in Gaelic Language and Culture he went on to complete his PGDE in primary education at Strathclyde University and took up his current teaching post on the Isle of Tiree in 2009. 

From a young age, Kenneth has been singing at local music festivals and will ably represent the views of young people and their view of the culture in his new role. ‘S math a rinn thu a bhalaich.

The Spring - This week spring is truly here with sneachd na h-uain bheaga the showers of hail and the dusting of snow to welcome the lambs into the world.

The snow and hail quickly evaporated, with the ground having been warmed and dried during two sorching hot days earlier in the week.

Even the cuckoo was in fine voice on The Scriob, the track to Rhenigidale on the evening of the 5th of May.


Scottish Women’s Rural Institute – The Harris Institute had to cancel both planned meetings for March due to unforeseen circumstances.

The annual business meeting was held on April 17th in Leverburgh School. The new committee was elected with Mrs Elizabeth Struthers continuing as President. Mrs Chrissie Macleod and Mrs Morag Macdonald acted as tellers, and their involvement was greatly appreciated.

The waitresses for the evening were Mrs Linda Wood, Mrs Katie Margaret Morrison and Mrs Joyce Graham.

On Saturday April 28th the combined Institutes from Harris, Lochmaddy and Lewis met for their annual Rally in Leverburgh Village Hall. The guest speaker was Mr Angus Morrison, the Physics teacher from Sir E Scott School, who gave a fascinating and absorbing presentation of ‘The Night Sky’.

His talk also demonstrated how astronomy can be enjoyed and pursued by many people, using relatively simple equipment.

The Harris Institute was most grateful to Mrs Rebecca Passmore who judged the Baking competitions, and Mrs Caroline Chaffer who judged the Handicrafts competitions.

The results were that Mrs Alison MacVie of the Lochmaddy Institute was awarded the Silber Salver as Overall Winner, with Mrs Gillian Scott-Forrest of the Harris Institute being awarded the Shield as Runner-up.

The great day of weather eased all the travelling arrangements for everyone, and the Harris ladies provided a delicious luncheon. The verdict was that the event had been both enjoyable and successful.

The hope is that new people may feel encouraged to join their nearest Institute and share with us all next year.


The late Mary Kate Morrison – On Tuesday, April 24th, the whole community was saddened to hear that Mary Kate Morrison, 2 Parkview Terrace, had passed away peacefully at her home.

Although Mary Kate, who was aged 84, had been in indifferent health for some time, news of her final demise was keenly felt in the area as she was well known and well respected in our midst.

Mary Kate, in common with many of her generation, worked in the hospitality trade prior to her marriage. She then lived for some time in Dumbarton before moving back to Scalpay.

The sudden death of her husband Donald Angus when comparatively young over forty years ago left her to bring up her family alone and she faced further heartache with the loss of her son John Norman six years ago, adversities she bore with patience and Christian fortitude.

Of a friendly disposition Mary Kate spoke ill of no-one and was an excellent neighbour with a warm welcome for all who visited.

With her passing we are sadly conscious of another of the older generation taken whose life was built around the values of honesty, integrity and hard work.

Her funeral service on Thursday, April 26th, was conducted by Rev. Malcolm Macdonald, Callanish, assisted by Rev. Kenneth J Macleod, Carloway, whose family home is at Green Pastures and who was a former neighbour of the deceased.

The praise was led by Rev. Calum I Macleod, Back, whose family home is at Camus Beag, and the internment was in Luskentyre Cemetery.

At this time of great sadness we remember in our thoughts and prayers her sister Morag at Outend, daughter Chrissie who came home from Australia and was able to spend the last few weeks with her mother, sons Norman, John and Ewen, all their families and the wide circle of relatives and friends.

May all be conscious in these difficult days that the eternal God is their refuge.

Lifeboat Visit – On Wednesday, May 2nd, pupils from Scalpay School went to Leverburgh to welcome the new RNLI lifeboat into its home port.

A number of adults from Scalpay also attended and, as a fishing community, we are delighted to have this invaluable asset to maritime safety close at hand.