• Intolerable Postal Facilities, 1920

    by  • 22 July 2008 • History, Transport • 0 Comments

    Stornoway Gazette
    Friday, 16 January 1920

    WEST UIG MAIL SERVICE

    At a meeting held in Crowlista Public School, Miavaig, Lewis, on Tuesday, 30th December 1919 presided over by Col. Lindsay, Morsgail Lodge,Lord Leverhulme’s representative here, and attended by representatives from all the townships of West Uig, it was resolved to lay before the Postmaster General, their grievances and complaints with regard to the very unsatisfactory state of the mail service to and from Miavaig and Callanish.

    This is a grievance of long standing, but during the war inconveniences were borne without complaint. Now that the war is over, postal facilities should be improving, but instead, they are actually getting worse, and becoming intolerable.

    In November last, the motor launch, that carried the mails between Callanish and Miavaig (being far too small and inequal to the difficulties and dangers of that passage) was disabled and cast upon a desert island, where fortunately, the men, at great risk and peril of life, were able to save themselves, but some of the mails were badly damaged. Since then the conveyance of the mails is dependant on the occasional passage which a sailing boat can effect across the dangerous sound. Owing to rough weather, with contrary winds, tides, etc. it is often unable to make the crossing, consequently great inconvenience, dissatisfaction, delays and losses are caused. 

    Between the 14th and 20th Nov. no mails arrived from Callanish, and between the 14th and 21st none were despatched from Miavaig. On that last mentioned date only a portion of the mails that had accumulated there from the various townships could be removed as it was a motor car that conveyed them round by Kinloch Roag.

    What mails were left behind them were not taken to Callanish till the 24th November.

    It frequently happens that the boat from Miavaig does not arrive in Callanish in time to catch the mail car to Stomoway. By the present arrangement that means another two days delay. When the connection is thus lost, and with the curtailed steamer service on the Minch, south going mails take a longer time covering the first 20 miles of their than it takes to cross the Atlantic to America. That is not as it should be.

    On several occasions lately, no mails passed between Callanish and Miavaig. Between the 24th and the 27th November between the 1st and 6th December, between the 15th and 19th, between the 19th and 24th and between the 24th and 27th December there were no deliveries or despatches between these offices. On all occasions, important and urgent letters and “perishables” were held up. Official letters, some of them immediately concerning the well-being of this parish were delayed until the advantages and opportunities offered were lost. Loud complaints and great discontent are envinced on every hand, especially by the young men recently demobilised, at the limited and irregular postal service in the district.

    The following resolution was passed unanimously:-

    “The people of West Uig, served by the Miavaig Post Office as centre, earnestly and respectfully ask the Postmaster General to consider seriously and sympathetically their grievances and complaints, with a view to remedying them; to grant a subsidy whereby a serviceable steamer or motor-boat (which can accomplish the journey in all weathers, excepting very tempestuous days) can be put on the ferry between Callanish and Miavaig; and that it be made a condition that the mail car should always wait at Callanish for the arrival of the Miavaig mails.”

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