Past & Present

Life in Hùisinis – Katie and Chirsty

Hùisinis John Walsh.jpgHùisinis     (Photo: John Walsh)

Katie Maclennan and Chirsty Mackinnon, residents of Hùisinis, take up the story of the resettlement of Hùisinis and life in the township since:

‘There was no road to Hùisinis then – just as far as Abhainnsuidhe. The road to here was built in 1925 and came as far as Ceann a’Gharaidh. There were lots of people working on the road from all over - quite a lot of them came from Uig.

We went to school at Grianan and Domhnall a’Phuist (Donald the Post) drove us there in his car. It was a grey Ford V8 and we thought that it was very posh…We took pieces with us to school and the teacher made tea or sometimes cocoa. When I (Katie) went to school the teacher was Flora Munro and she had her sister Effie with her. She used to let Mary Ann and I out of school a little earlier than the rest and Effie would give us a sandwich every day…We got no Gaelic in school.

People didn’t go to Tarbert often – they went at Communion time. You had to go to Abhainnsuidhe if anyone needed a doctor as it was the only place with a phone. The doctor was only sent for if a person was really ill.

When we left school we just did croft work – it was customary for a family member to remain at home to help their parents. We were always busy milking cows, planting potatoes and corn, haymaking, peats etc.

There was a shop over at the village gate and it belonged to Calum Beag (Macaulay), Caolas na Sgeirean*. It had most of the necessities such as butter, cheese, paraffin, candles, treacle, syrup and tar for the boats. My uncle Donald John looked after it for him during the week. My grandfather used to give Flora and I a silver 3d piece and we would buy a MacGowan’s toffee bar and other sweets which were yellow on the outside and red inside when you licked them. We would share both things between us.

We walked to church in the evening every Sunday – 5 miles to Abhainnsuidhe. On the way we’d meet up with the folk from Bedersaig and Gòbhig and we’d walk together. Everyone went to church unless they were ill. I can’t remember the weather ever being bad enough to cause us to stay at home from church.

We had a missionary from Kinloch Resort. He’d come over every Saturday with his motor bike and stayed in Amhuinnsuidhe over the weekend in John Angus’ house.

The men here mostly worked for the estate and would spend the week in Abhainnsuidhe living in Tigh nan Gillean . Your auntie Morag was the housekeeper and cooked for them. They came home on a Saturday and went back on Sunday immediately after church.

*Caolas na Sgeirean is between Aird Asaig and Tarbert.

Katie Maclennan and Chirsty Mackinnon, 2013

Next Section