BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

16 October 2014

Arnish Lighthouse

BBC Homepage
»Island Blogging
Western Isles

North Uist
South Uist

Argyll & Clyde Islands
Northern Isles

House Rules

From the BBC

Contact Us

Faclan - Hebridean Book Festival / 2 September

On Saturday, I went along to listen to David Craig, an excellent writer on the Highland Clearances. We start late, due to the very late finish to the previous session. Mr Craig tells some horror stories of the Clearances, the events in the 18th and 19th century in western and northern Scotland where thousands were forcibly evicted from home and land. They were shunted off somewhere else in Scotland or out to the Americas or Australia and New Zealand. The stories are heart rending. David's research took him right across Scotland, and it was very hard to pull the stories out of people. It's comparable to the trauma suffered through the Iolaire Disaster here in Lewis, which is not openly discussed.

A family from Kildonan, northwest of Helmsdale on the Sutherland coast, was kicked out and were ordered to march to the harbour at Portcawl. They brought their pet sheep with them. When they arrived at Portcawl, the landowner's agent (the factor) set his dog on the sheep, tearing it to pieces.

A family was expelled from Boreraig, Skye, and had to walk east along the shores of Loch Eishort, with their cattle in tow. At the end of the day, they camped out at Drumfearn, 5 miles away. Their tears were more prodigious than the milk, yielded by the cows, which were exhausted.

A family had been given notice to quit from their home at Sollas, North Uist. They had been deliberating whether to take the loom with them, or just to cut loose the tweed from it and take at least that along. When the factor turned up, he set fire to the roof thatch. This was so dry, that the sparks from the burning fell inside the loomshed and set fire to tweed and loom. Both were destroyed.
Posted on Arnish Lighthouse at 12:17


Iolaire Disaster - can you explain? A friend told me about her ancestors being evicted from their croft - I forget the details - the factor came along and wanted to get the woman to sign a document - she refused. He dropped his pen - and the poor woman picked it up for him. This was taken as an intention to sign - and she was evicted.

scallowawife from shetland

Scallowawife, follow the link to The Iolaire Disaster in the Links section to the right of the blog.

Arnish Lighthouse from Stornoway

This blog is now closed and we are no longer accepting new posts.

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy