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

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

"The shore on the west coast of Harries...

...affords a variety of curious shells, Telling, Turbines, Pafella, PiRines, Molucca beans, and great quantities of the Os Sepia. This last the natives take in powder with boiled milk, as an effectual remedy for the diarrhæa and dysentery ; they likewise use it externally, to remove films from the eyes of sheep ; the Molucca beans are worn as amulets against witchcraft. Ambergris is also found on the shore among these islands. A weaver of Berrera found a lump of this substance, which he burned by night as a lamp, until the strong scent produced a severe head-ach, and discovered its true nature.

What has been said of the inhabitants of Lewis, their language, religion, and customs, may be applied to those of Harries, with this difference, that they distil no spirit of their own, in lieu of which they purchase brandy: they use the seeds of the wild carrot for hops in brewing. they swallow a decoction of the alliutn latifolium, or wild garlick, as a powerful lithontriptic in the stone and gravel: they cure deafness by blowing powder of tobacco into the ear through a quill, and adopt some other medical- experiments, which are peculiar to their own island."

From 'The Present State of all Nations' by Tobias George Smollett, 1768 p474

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