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16 October 2014

Arnish Lighthouse

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Debate on clearances

Heard the other day that Lewis was thought to be less affected by the 18th and 19th century clearances than other islands in the Hebrides. Fewer people were shunted off overseas, as those that were cleared from land were relocated elsewhere in the island.

I cannot agree with the sentiment behind that assertion. Clearances still took place in Lewis, right throughout the 19th century. The district of Eishken was cleared in the 1820s, with its villagers moved to Lemreway and other places in Lochs, if not elsewhere in the island. Being forced, at a moment's notice, to quit home and hearth is at best a distressing experience. Sometimes machinations would be put in place to make it impossible for tenants to hold on to their land, such as an extortionate rent increase. The torch to the thatch is a potent symbol too.

Those that so wish can debate the point at the annual Angus "Ease" MacLeod memorial lecture in Gravir School on October 24th. I'm not at all sure whether Angus would have liked to see the Clearances in Lewis belittled like this.
Posted on Arnish Lighthouse at 19:53


The clearances, Arnish Point, one would say beyond thinking of, that the landlords could perpetrate the banishing of fellow human beings under terrible conditions. If it was all done in a humane way, maybe such a sense of abhorroence would not have remained. Anyway, we have not forgotten the trials and triublations of the original emigrants though their descendants have gained benefits in varying degrees, possibly a legacy from their forebearers. But the sadness won't go away.

Island Wanderer from from Tiree

What's this 'I heard the other day...'They're not still talking about the clearances outside Woolworth's are they?

calumannabel from Matheson's Jardiniere Cross

Calumannabel, yes, they are still talking about "The highland clearances"; they can not just be compared with the store clearance sales, but with the Super Store itself.

Island Wanderer from from Tiree

When I was outsides boots (Stornoway) the other week I was told to clear off. Is this the sort of clearasil your looking for?

Mark from Midlands

People aren't encouraged to stand outside shops like Boots as people start to think there is a sale on and before long a hundred people are queueing for cheap sun tan oil that doesn't exist. Before you know it - civil unrest and cells full of people who'd just come to town to buy a book of stamps. Is this the sort of civil disobedience scenario you are looking for?

calumannabel from In the queue outside the Stag Bakery

Hullo Mark: was Boots full (Arnish giving a speech on Clearances? Maybe Stornoway folks heard the word "clearance" and thought they had a store-wide sale on their hands!)? Or do you merely look suspicious (or were you chatting, and sounding suspicious - a Midlands accent, perhaps?)?!

mjc from NM

Cheer up IW, think of all the nice New Islanders who are coming in to brighten your day and lessen the chances of dissogeny and encourage losts of jolly cheery xenogomical hoochmagandie. Look on the bright side.........

Flying Cat from Agony Cat Corner

Is somebody producing hooch on the islands? # I suspect the OED has given up any thought of tidying up after FC...

mjc from NM,USA

Praise the Bard and pass the HP, Hooch is safely on another island far from me.

Flying Cat from in Chambers

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