Grimsay - a touch of history

The island of Grimsay lies between North Uist and Benbecula. Until the North Ford Causeway was opened in 1960 by The Queen Mother, Grimsay was only accessible by tidal fords and small open boats.

Before the building of the North Ford Causeway there were 12 shops on the island.

A ferry boat took people between Carinish, Grimsay and Benbecula until the causeway opened.North Ford Causeway

There were 2 schools in Grimsay until 1988 when both were closed.

Grimsay is a fishing community and Kallin Harbour, built in the 1980's supports a major shellfish industry. This includes shellfish processing and live shellfish storage.

Prawn, scallops, crab (velvet and brown) and lobster in summertime. Most shellfish are exported to Europe.

Baymore was the original natural harbour and was a busy and lively place but due to it's narrow neck could only be used at high tide. There is a small museum to be found on the southern shore.

The Grimsay Boatshed (built approx..2005) a marine yard facility and a focus on traditional boat building skills passed down from the Stewart Boat Builders of Kenneray (Grimsay) restored

The Grimsay Boatshed also houses a small museum.

Keneray Boat Shed which is now a museum, was where boats were being built until the early 1990's.

Weaving on Grimsay.

In 1954 there were 16 men working at weaving. They were employed by James MacDonald of Oban. He sent the tweed already on the beam, and we would weave it.

Lachlan MacDonald, one of the weavers and last to stop weaving on the island used to go to sort out any problems that arose with the other looms – before he got a phone, anyone needing assistance would send a message with the postman.

Before the causeway opened in 1960, tweeds were ferried by boat to Gramsdale on Benbecula. After that someone from the Mill came onto the island to collect them.

A tweed was 120 yards long and when the weavers began they received £4 per tweed. This work lasted for 13 years until 1967 when James MacDonald lost the Orb and pulled out of Uist. Most weavers stopped working on the tweed, although some had stopped before this. Lachlan MacDonald bought his own loom and continued weaving, started his own business and opened up a knitwear and craft shop on Grimsay in 1968. He continued to weave his own tweeds until 1998 and finally closed the shop in 2005.

A Wool Shed is being built in Kenneray and will use local wool which otherwise would go to waste as the cost to send it to the mainland would not be cost effective.

The Free Church situated in Ceannairigh, an area of Scotvein (recently purchased by the Grimsay Community Association and now the centre for the Grimsay Market) was, when a church, renovated and made larger to hold the congregation that attended the Sunday Communion. Those people walked miles across moors and fords to attend services and most of the Church of Scotland's local congregation would also be present.

In the 1930's Open – Air Communions were held on the last Sunday in June. Preparations were made in the weeks leading up to the communion season. Houses were spring cleaned from top to bottom, blankets and other bed clothes washed at nearby lochs. The peat too would hopefully be ready stacked, but , if not there would be time in between the morning and afternoon services to put in some work there. The lobster fisherman moored their boats on the Wednesday prior to the communions and they stayed moored till they took off to the fishing grounds again the following Tuesday.

Wildflowers on North UistThe ground adjacent to the church was the choice spot for the open air services being held as it afforded shelter whichever way the wind was blowing.

The pulpit was constructed out of sections of wood. The Lord's Table was set out in front of the pulpit, covered with a white cloth, as was the custom, with benches on either side. The crowd had to make themselves comfortable on the ground on the incline of the hill. The sermons were delivered in Gaelic and also the Psalm singing and presenting which, borne by the wind, had an exceptional pathos and beauty.

History of An Taigh Fiodh

Found the perfect site for size and design of planned house with breathtaking views particularly of Eaval to the east.
With a Gneiss rock foundation the house was built in 2006 designed by Colin Smith of www.casarchitect.co.uk , my son - in - law.

Later in 2009 an extra piece of land was purchased to add a cattle-grid and a garage with a remote operated roller door to save getting soaked opening and closing gates during the winter weather.

The garden is left natural with many rocky outcrops and only strimmed in spring and autumn so that all the wildflowers can be enjoyed including many orchids.