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16 October 2014

Arnish Lighthouse

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Molinginish is one of many villages in Lewis and Harris that lie abandoned. This settlement, which had about 9 houses or homesteads in it, stands on the souther shores of Loch Trollamaraig, about 5 miles east of Tarbert in Harris. It can only be reached on foot or by boat. At the time of writing, late December 2005, there were 3 buildings still in use. One looked like a house, with beds, a stove and all the trimmings of relative civilisation. A second was full of tools, barrow and general junk. These two still had windows and a locked door in them. The third house was in use as a byre, and had neither doors nor windows. Molinginish can be reached by walking up from the Lacasdail Lochs on the road from Tarbert to Scalpay. A sign points to Reinigeadal / Rhenigidale. It is a rough path, slippery on stones in wet conditions. Just over a mile from the road, a large cairn is passed, which is positioned at the highest point of the trail. A small side track leads gently down to the site of Molinginish. A seat is provided above the village; the last stretch is a steep descent into the small valley.
Molinginish means the 'shingley beach by the heathery knoll', which is exactly what the place is. You cannot see any inhabited place from there; only the Shiant Isles on the eastern horizon. Reinigeadal is the nearest village, but this can only be reached by retracing your steps to the top of the hill, and turning east, down an extremely steep track.

From little Moliniginish, on the shores of Loch Seaforth - a tiny, roadless community - five lads went to fight Hitler. Two were lost at sea. Another spent most of the war as a prisoner of the Germans. This broke Moliniginish, and about 1950 the place and its memories were quit by its families. No-one has revived Moliniginish. Its lovely waterfall sings unheard; one house has been restored as a holiday cottage for the factor (with thanks for Dr James Lachlan Macleod and his Internet article on the effects of the two World Wars). The factor is currently a Stornoway solicitor (sic).

If anyone has further information on Molinginish and its residents, do feel free to leave a comment.
Posted on Arnish Lighthouse at 14:38


I note your comments about Molinginish. The village was finally abandoned in 1963/4 when the last of the two MacDiarmid brothers left, after one died. Incidentally the land is part of the North Harris Trust Estate which is in community ownership and is managed by staff in Tarbert who are presumably now the equivalent of factors. I am collating material on the history, genealogy, placenames, as well asd family anecdotes for future publishing on a website, but this will take a bit of time yet.

Murchadh from Molinginish

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