Loch Rog an Ear | East Loch Roag
Contact: Ann Smith
Callanish, Isle of Lewis
tel 01851 621200
or for Breasclete genealogy:
Malcolm John Macaulay, 1 Stonefield, Breasclete, 01851 621412
Eleven years ago, at a Community Association meeting, some of us realised that with the gradual loss of older folk we were rapidly losing a treasure, the community’s memory, and this was how ― much later than many others ― we began.
It took us a while to find a name to cover four such disparate villages: Breasclete, Callanish, Garynahine and Linshader, each with a very individual history: Breasclete and especially Callanish have been inhabited since time immemorial but were divided into separate crofts only in 1850. (Over half the crofts in Breasclete are still occupied by the families allotted them in 1850; far fewer in Callanish.) Linshader Farm was divided into crofts only in 1925, originally to accommodate families of workers on Grimersta Estate, while Garynahine came into being as a modern crofting village only in 1935.
Our first efforts were to catch as much oral, or “anecdotal” history as we could, which resulted in a number of booklets on topics as varied as Shops and Businesses, Travel and Transport, Customs and Traditions, The Black House, Boats and Fishing, Sporting Estates, and so on. (These are currently out of print but we hope to run off new copies before long). Cuimhnich (“Remember!”) is the title of our biggest communal effort, our annual magazine and we always welcome contributions to this great annual achievement, particularly if there are old photographs involved. Click here to read about the 2009 issue.
Like other Comainn Eachdraidh we are gradually building archives for reference: these include a large library of old photographs which we are anxious to add to all the time; a record of traditional place names in the area (now unknown to the younger generation as they no longer have to tell mother where they left the cow that morning); history of individual crofts; a large genealogical database (this, as yet, is more advanced for Breasclete than Callanish but is growing all the time) along with a record of outstanding personalities from our area. Currently we are collecting bardachd againn-fhìn ― songs and poems by local bards. None of these projects is yet complete, probably never will be, but we are constantly adding to them and welcome contributions at any time from anyone interested..