Fàilte! (Welcome!)

Fàilte! (Welcome!)
This blog is the result of my ongoing research into the people, places and events that have shaped the Western Isles of Scotland and, in particular, the 'Siamese-twins' of Harris and Lewis.
My interest stems from the fact that my Grandfather was a Stornowegian and, until about four years ago, that was the sum total of my knowledge, both of him and of the land of his birth.
I cannot guarantee the accuracy of everything that I have written (not least because parts are, perhaps, pioneering) but I have done my best to check for any errors.
My family mainly lived along the shore of the Sound of Harris, from An-t-Ob and Srannda to Roghadal, but one family 'moved' to Direcleit in the Baighs...

©Copyright 2011 Peter Kerr All rights reserved

Saturday, 8 May 2010

'...almost bewildered in the view...'

A Description of the Sound of Harris from 1794

I think that this is a wonderful description and will let it speak for itself:

From an eminence near the Sound may be had a very curious view of the odd intermixture of land, rock, and water, which fills the space betwixt the mainland of Uist and the mainland of Harris.

Standing on this eminence, at lowest ebb in spring tides, and in calm weather, one contemplates with amazement the vast variety of islands, rocks, banks, shoals, and straights, before him, compares them to the stars in the galaxy, and is almost bewildered in the view.

' Credas innare revulsai Cycladas'

Here the tide rises to a great height; the current runs with, amazing rapidity ; the surge, when the wind blows against the tide, swells prodigiously ; and the roar of the breakers, foaming over the banks and shoals to an immense distance, seems to threaten the islanders with a general deluge.

In winter storms, the view is tremendous and grand beyond the power of description. One would hardly expect to find a safe course of navigation through such a Sound; yet the writer hereof recollects to have counted in one day upwards of sixty sail of herring busses, which found their way through it without an accident, bound northward to the Loch-Rogue fishing.

He has even seen some ships of burden, which were driven in by stormy weather from the Western Ocean, piloted in safety, by the people of the islands, through this seemingly impervious course.


The Latin quote is from Virgil's Aeneid and refers to a fleet of ships appearing like an armada of islands, the Cyclades, torn from their anchors.

Loch Rogue is Loch Roag on West coast of Lewis in Uig.

Ref: The Statistical Account of Scotland, Volume 10, p345-6

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