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

Thursday, 17 March 2011


ALEXANDER N M'CLEOD, Esq, of Harris, being desirous of establishing a CATTLE MARKET on his Estate, notice is hereby given to Drovers and Cattle Dealers, that this Market or Tryst will be held at the head of the Ford of Luskintyre, in Harris, on the 20th of July, being the Tuesday following the Stornoway Cattle Market. Lochstocknish, which is well known to be a good harbour, is within two miles of the Marketplace. Every accommodation will be given to Dealers; they may depend upon getting Vessels and boats to ferry the Cattle either to the Isle of Skye or the mainland, on very moderate terms, and a good shew of cattle may be expected.
Harris, 7th June, 1813

This notice appeared in the Inverness Journal of Friday, 2 July 1813 and I obtained a copy of the image via the service provided by Am Baile and Inverness Reference Library.

Alexander Norman Macleod had inherited Harris from his father, Alexander Hume Macleod, in 1811 and by the time of this notice some 34 years had passed since his grandfather, Captain Macleod, had purchased the Estate. It is quite surprising to learn that, as late as 1813, there wasn't an established Cattle Market on the isle. i presume, therefore, that we can say with a fair degree of confidence that the first such Cattle Tryst was this one on the 20th of July.
I don't know for how long it remained 'at the head of the Ford of Luskintyre' nor whether Loch Stocinis became the principle place of departure for the cattle heading elsewhere, but my understanding is that cattle were taken from near Tarbert to either Uig on Skye or to Poolewe on the Mainland whilst others were taken from Rodel to either Uig or Dunvegan on Skye.
More questions to answer, as usual, but it's pleasing to be able to say that we have Alexander N M'leod to thank for starting the annual cattle fair and the resultant droves from Harris.

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