At first they said, ‘No way!’
I thought I would ‘join the dots’ of various walks I had on Harris last year.
The first column is through the Bays of Harris but not along the ‘Golden Road’ which I travelled several times by bus instead. The list ends about 5 miles away from Roghadal.
Next is a short, but photogenic, stroll along the shore of Loch Stocinis.
The final column traverses the island from the East coast to that of the West via the ‘Coffin road’ and then heads Southwards to the town of An-t-Ob and its neighbours. I should explain that I walked from An-t-Ob to Roghadal following a ‘circular’ route and reiterate that these lists are merely a compilation of several separate excursions.
Aird Mhighe Aird Mhighe Liceasto
Liceasto Leac a Li ‘Coffin road’
Geocrab Caolas Stocinis Traigh Losgaintir
Aird Mhighe Na Buirgh
This light started work in 1900 so here we see recorded two of the first Light Keepers.
In time, it had six Light Keepers, three (as is the case in these two examples) living next to the light with their families, plus a local assistant and two part-timers from nearby Portnaguran.
Further information on this Light, and all the others of The Northern Lighthouse Board, can be found here:
James J Macdonald Matheson, 31, Light Keeper, Tiumpan Head Light House Dwelling House, b. Lochmaddy, North Uist
Annie Bain Matheson, 26, b. Waternish, Skye
Effie, 1(?), b. Fair Isle, Shetland
Neil, 2, b. Waternish, Skye
John Napier Milne, 50, Lightkeeper, Tiumpan Head Light House Dwelling House, b. Arbroath
Jessie, 45, b. Musselburgh, Midlothian
David Reid Milne, 23, Seaman, b. Arbroath
Jessie Ann Milne, 18, b. Scalpay, Inverness
John Milne, 10, b. Scalpay
It is good to see someone from the Western Isles in this role, as was the case with James Matheson and his family’s birthplaces indicates that he served in Skye and Fair Isle before arriving in Lewis.
Similarly, John Milne appears to have been in Musselburgh and Scalpay, as well as back in his home town of Arbroath, prior to his arrival.
His Seaman Son, David, reminds us of the purpose of the Light Keeper; to ensure a safer passage for those whose lives took them away from the safety of the shore and into the arms of that sometimes gloriously beautiful , sometimes treacherously betraying, mysterious mistress of the deep.