Restoring the Rose

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This article was written by Elly Welch and first appeared in Events.  Thanks to Elly for permission to reprint and for the photo of John Macaulay with the Rose.  More pictures of the boat (before and during) can be found in the gallery.

Wandering along Valtos harbour a year ago you would hardly have noticed an old relic called Rose. Engulfed in undergrowth, all sun-bleached larch and broken thwarts, she was just another old boat rotting on the shore.

Walk there today and it is a different story. Thanks to Comann Eachdraidh Uig – Uig Historical Society – the pretty ‘double-ender’, one of the few surviving original Western Isles boats, has been restored to something of her former glory. She is unlikely to ply Loch Roag’s tides again but, for now at least, she will be preserved in situ, for posterity.

Rose, a rare example of the dipping lug open-boats once common locally, was built in Uig around ninety years ago. She was gifted to the Comann Eachdraidh last year by Valtos residents who had inherited her, but had no use for her. Previously, she was owned by consortium of local crofters and used for general inshore duties, from shifting sheep to fetching peats and seaweed. Modern boats finally made her redundant around twenty years ago. Since then she has lain where she was last dragged ashore, next to the tumbled walls of an old salthouse and herring store.