Calum Macaskill (Calum Iain ‘ic Asgaill) was a postman and lived at Luachair. Latterly he would walk into Morsgail every day, take a cup of tea there, collect the mails which had come in from Kinloch, and return to Luachair. John Macdonald of Ard Bheag would come to Luachair every other day to get the post for Hamnaway and Ard Bheag. Calum’s was one of the last blackhouses in the district with a peat fire in the middle of the floor, with no chimney. The picture shows Calum with Peigi Eiric Maciver, Cairistiona an t-Saighdear and Kate Chrola, at Luachair. In the background is a boat: one of the many collected by Iain Fhionnlaigh Ruaidh (John Macdonald) who lived at Luachair. From the Stornoway Gazette, 1 July 1949:
WALKED 42 MILES A WEEK FOR 47 YEARS
On 14th June, several people from the Luachair and Loch Hamnaway district met in Crola Cottage, Luachair, to pay tribute to Mr Malcolm Macaskill, who has just retired after 47 years as auxiliary postman at Luachair.
Tea was served by Miss Macdonald and, in spite of the inconveniences caused by rationing and living in the the ‘back of beyond’, the food on the table was very appetising. Tea over, Mr Macaskill’s health was pledged. Mr Macdonald, the Loch Hamnaway postman, called on Mr Macleod (gamekeeper at Luachair) as the oldest person in the district to present Mr Macaskill with a leather-bound writing case as a token of their appreciation of his services among them. This Mr Macleod did in a pleasing little speech.
Mr Macaskill thanked the people for their kindness and recalled his many happy days spent as a postman. He maintained that, even if the work was hard, it had its good points. Although for the last 19 years, Mr Macaskill was the Luachair postman only, he was for the first years the Loch Hamnaway postman as well. This entailed a visit thrice weekly to Kinloch, and once a week to Loch Hamnaway. Even when he stopped going to Loch Hamnaway his work became no lighter – probably heavier as he then went to Morsgail every day.
When one realises that Mr Macaskill’s work involved walking an average of about 42 miles across the moor every week for the past 47 years, it can be seen that his retirement is indeed well earned and we hope he will be granted many years of good health to enjoy it. We take this opportunity of wishing his successor, Mr Duncan Macdonald, Gisla, the best of luck in his new work.