Wednesday, 18 August 2010


The Arnish Fabrication Yard has received an order for a tidal energy generator device, which will be trialled in the sea narrows between the islands of Islay and Jura. This is good news, as they are presently completing their last order on the books. Over the past few weeks, two barges with attendant tugs have been moored at the quayside in Glumag Harbour, presumably being loaded with products from the yard. The below photo shows the arrival of the first barge, towed by the Pegasus.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Tug Pegasus and barge, 28 July 2010"]Tug Pegasus and barge, 28 July 2010[/caption]

A major news item in the Outer Hebrides generally has been the breakdown of the ferry MV Clansman during July. It suffered a failure in its engine, which required the thing to be taken apart and put back in again. It took them so long - and I'm being cheeky here - because upon reassembly of the engine, they had a screw left over. It was not funny for the people in Barra and Uist, who suffered a 30% downturn in tourism trade. The Uisteachs are now clamouring for the link between Lochboisdale and Mallaig to be implemented. It would nearly halve their seaborne travel times, and even the longer road journey (145 miles from Mallaig to Glasgow, as opposed to 95 from Oban) would still leave them with a shorter journeytime overall.

It was brought to my attention that the occupant of the Keeper's Cottage at the Arnish Lighthouse recently died. Who will take over is as yet not clear. I am indebted to the person concerned for giving me a little of the history of the peninsula, including an image of the old Kildun Cottage, which stood on a hill where now the main building of the Fabrication Yard sits. Should it be possible to restore the cottage to its former location, you'd find it floating up in the air. The cottage was burned in the 1970s, prior to the construction of the yard.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Kildun House, pre-1970s"]Kildun House, pre-1970s[/caption]

I have spent the past two weeks on several forays around Lewis and Harris, in spite of the weather. Summer here has been virtually non-existent, apart from the fact that the temperatures were in the mid 60s (upper teens C) most of the time. I'll post pics of those trips in separate posts. Other activities have included the completion of the transcriptions of the minutes of the Napier Commission, sitting in the Outer Hebrides in the spring of 1883. I am presently compiling an index of the whole report, a mammoth task by any standard. The first instalment can be viewed on this link.

My activities on war history have continued as well, with the compilation of a website, which lists the names of men from Lewis, known to have served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in the First World War. Trawling through the attestation papers throws up some intriguing gems. Why was one man (from Lewis) deemed to be 'undesirable'? What happened to the little man from Lewis (4 ft 11) who tried to join up twice, in two different towns 20 miles apart? What was the story behind the trapper from the Northwest Territories who died in hospital in Edmonton, after being apprehended for not answering the compulsory call-up for war service in 1917?

I would like to close this post by congratulating our Man at the Helm (Les) on his successful transfer from deepest Staffordshire to the wilds of Newmarket, Stornoway. By all accounts, he is enjoying himself. Hope all goes well with the new place in Suardail, Les.

1 comment:

  1. Belated thanks Arnish for your good wishes. Busy time now as we got the keys to the new house last week and we have been busy ripping walls down and putting walls up! Trips out are curtailed for a while now but we did make it a couple of weeks ago up the rather bumpy track to the Arnish Lighthouse followed by a walk up to the Bonnie Prince Charlie monument for a great view of the Mona Lisa which was anchored in the bay at the time. There's a grand view of Arnish from our kitchen window at Swordale.