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7 November 2014

Arnish Lighthouse

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Canoe tragedy

There has been extensive media coverage in the north of Scotland about the canoeing tragedy off Arnol and Bragar, on the West Side of Lewis. Image above shows the coastline near Bragar.

Sixty-year old Joe McTaggart and his 12-year old son Daniel set out in a canoe from their home village of Arnol yesterday (Monday) afternoon. It would appear that they got into difficulties fairly soon after setting forth. A woman out on the shore near the neighbouring village of Bragar noticed a canoe with two people on the water. When she found the canoe washed up on the beach at Bragar 15 minutes later, she raised the alarm with the Coastguard.

Yesterday evening, five coastguard teams from across Lewis combed 5 miles of coastline between Shawbost and Barvas, assisted by the coastguard helicopter and the Stornoway lifeboat. Joe McTaggart was found in the water, and was transported to Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway, where he was pronounced dead. His son was still missing, but the search continued until light started to fail at 10.30pm.

This morning at 3.30 am, at first light, the search was resumed, but after several sweeps of the coastline the lifeboat and helicopter were stood down. A shoreline search will continue through today and beyond. A large number of local people have assisted police and coastguard in looking for Daniel.

Mrs McTaggart, speaking on regional television this evening, said that although a slim chance remained for her son to be found alive, she was resigned to her loss, and was convinced that she would meet up with her loved ones in a better place.

I would like to express my sympathies to the family at this sad time.
Posted on Arnish Lighthouse at 18:37


I would have thought canoes and the seas off the west coast of Lewis were completely incompatible. The currents are so treacherous. If you go out a quarter mile from the Butt the current will take you one way, half a mile out the current is in the opposite direction. My sympathies also go out to the family concerned.

calumannabel from ness

My deepest sympathies go out to Susan and family. We used to live very close to the McTaggarts and visited many times to their house at Shenival in Perthshire, I have many fond memories of Joe, a true gentleman. Joe McTaggart will have touch many lives through his strong religous beliefs and also his family who I understand are spread far and wide. I did not have the good fortune to have met Dan, but I am sure I could judge his good character by that of his older brothers and sisters. They will be sadly missed. Our prayers are with you all. Eddie Arlene and kids.

Eddie Anderson from Kirriemuir

In September 1997,myself and my husband visited the Isle of Lewis following the death of our Lewis our baby. Joe McTaggart carved a beautiful wooden cross for us, at very short notice whilst we were there. He also prayed with us, as at the time we were devastated by our loss. We have never forgotten his kindness, (he answered the door to two complete strangers, gave us coffee and cake, and then asked us why we were there) or the hope he gave us for the future. We are sad beyond belief to hear of this tragedy. We also met Daniel, who was only three at the time, and can't bear to think of the pain the family are going through. Joe and Daniel are certainly together in Heaven. To Susan and all the McTaggart family; you are in our thoughts, and of course our prayers. God bless. Sharon and Terry Carr.

Sharon Carr from Cheshire, England

Our thoughts are with Susan and family in their time of great sadness. At the funeral, all that came to my mind over and over again was that their deaths were so unnecessary. People need to remember to wear life jackets (as Joe and Daniel should have done) and not to canoe in the sea. Such a dreadful waste of life!

Denise from Scotland

I knew Joe through his son Mungo with whom I studied at Edinburgh Art College. Such a good and kind man, even in the brief encounters I had with him. It is a sad and injust thing to happen to such a good hearted, caring and considerate family. My thoughts are with all the family at this time.

Scott Fleming from Linlithgow

Terribly sorry about Joe and dan but they are in a much better place now,

Joanna Moffat from scotland

May they both Rest In Peace until the day will come.

Mac from Arnol, Scotland

Joe McTaggart took my brother and me into his home as perfect strangers, as we were on foot exploring the Outer Islands in the mid nineties. The hospitality and true Christlike love shown to us in the week or so we stayed with the McTaggart family made me never want to leave Lewis, and has left an aching hole in my heart ever since. We shall meet again in the prescence of our Glorious Savior Jesus Christ. Amen

Laren McGuigan from Kamiah , Idaho, us

Thankz xxxx

Ruth Mctaggart from Barvas

God bless them

Eileen from scotland

It's almost a year now since they were both so suddenly taken from us. I remember spending the Saturday night before with Daniel and speaking to Joe as I went for a walk on the Sunday. They will always be a big part of my life and I will never forget the kindness they both had and the great times we often shared together. However, it's all good with them now. They are looking down on us all, smiling. Smiling with joy. They are in a much better place. Heaven. Rest In Peace until the break of day. God Bless. xxxxxxxxxx

Mac from Arnol, Scotland


Mac from Arnol, Scotland

a year has passed now and still cant believe they have been taken away. much loved and missed by many and will never be forgotten.

tarmod and daniel from arnol

a year has passed now and still cant believe they have been taken away. much loved and missed by many and will never be forgotten.

tarmod and daniel from arnol

daniel was a close freind to us he was a very smart boy new alot about cars and we had grate times in his car and on his mo ped very dealry missd by freinds he will never be forgotten ass he looks down on us this minute

daniel and shaun from stornoway arnol

i didnt realise there were so many comments from people of all walks. They were both very strong characters and so full of life.

anne mctaggart from arnol

I was very saddened to learn recently of the tragic accident which claimed the lives of Joe and Daniel in 2007. It is many, many years since I met Joe, once when he gave me, along with his mother, a lift by car from Kirrie to Edinburgh and later when I visited the McTaggarts when they lived at Aberfeldy. The passing of time has by no means erased my memory of Joe and his family and though I did not know Joe well he appeared to be of a calm and contemplative nature, a selfless and responsible family man very much involved with his children and their upbringing. He was also, clearly, a very talented artist, creating beautiful wood carvings. From comments I have read it is clear that Joe`s selfless nature extended also into the society around him. It is `the best` people - people such as Joe - who make the world a better place and many people will always remember him. Remembering Joe and thinking of Daniel.

Penny and husband from Yorkshire

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