Comann Eachdraichd Uig

The Viking Princess and the Seeing Stone

Gradhag's Pool

Lewis tradition maintains that the Brahan Seer was born in Uig, in the vicinity of Baile na Cille, and that his powers of second sight came from a seeing stone he found there.  Dolly Doctor gives the following account in Tales and Traditions, based on the version told in the Uig ceilidh-houses:

Kenneth’s mother was watching the flocks by night, and as she sat on Cnoc Eothail, which looks down on the ancient mound [the cemetery at Baile na Cille] and commands a wide view of sea and moorland and mountain, she occupied her time by spinning with her distaff and spindle.  As she watched her flock, looking over the graveyard, she saw the graves open and the ancient mound became thronged with a great concourse of spirits.  Then one and all sallied into the stilly night in all directions.  Before cock-crow the spirits returned, fluttering into their own places, and then she noticed one grave was still open.  The old lady decided to watch for the late-comer and put her distaff across the open grave, and at last she saw the spirit approaching from the ocean regions to the north.  In a moment a vision of beauty stood before her, and a young woman, graceful as a fawn, ‘golden-haired and fair as the young morn’, entreated the old lady to allow her entrance.  She refused to do so unless the spirit would tell her who she was and where she had been.

Long an Iaruinn: the Ship of Iron

Sgeir an Iaruinn

Dolly Doctor, in Tales and Traditions, tells of the wreck of a ship at Carnish in 1775. In the picture Sgeir an Iaruinn is the small island in the middle of the picture, with Shielibhig in the distance on the far left.

All night the people round Uig Bay had listened to the cries of woe and frightful screaming from the crew of the ship gone aground, as piece after piece broke away from the ship and the crew were being washed overboard; but they could do nothing to help them, for no boat could live in those awful waves and the night was inky black. She was a big ship, and had come into Camas Uig the evening before, seeking shelter in the lea of Sgeir Sheilibhig, putting out two anchors for futher safety. The wind began to get stronger as night came on, and by midnight it was blowing a howling gale right into Uig Bay. She began to drag the two anchors until she scudded before it, gaining momentum all the time, until she struck on a sunken bogha with such for that she gave off a loud clang as of metal being struck, so that all the houses in Carnish and Crowlista heard the noise. This was a mortal blow for it ripped part of her timbers off, then she scurried with renewed force onto the sharp fangs of the skerry at Carnish Point, where the mighty billows kept on tearing her asunder, but she was well out from the land and no human being could get to her on such a night of doom.

Letter from Rev Alexander Macleod to his Benefactress

A rather long letter from Rev Alexander Macleod, Baile na Cille, to his “benefactress” Lady Hood, Mrs Stewart Mackenzie, written some six months after his arrival in Uig.

 Manse of Uig

 

30th November 1824

 

Honourable and Dear Madam,

 

It is time that I should acknowledge your very friendly letter from Brighton dated on the 18th July which I duly received a Cromarty.  As I do not apprehend that you have for once supposed that my long silence arose from ingratitude to so generous a benefactress and a valuable friend it would be doing us both a degree of injustice to offer any apology for my long silence on that score.  My being so closely engaged in the exercise of my Parochial and Sacramental duties since I came to the country have necessarily taken up so much of my time that I was obliged to limit the extent of my correspondence to pressing duties and urgent necessity.