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Euphemia, Eureka and Anna Dhubh

By Kenneth Campbell - Added 16/04/2014

Audio of Kenneth Campbell talking about some of the earlier sea-going vessels in Scadabay and the occasional setbacks they suffered. Dur: 4.20


The Euphemia was the first sailing ship owned by the Campbells in Scadabay. Kenneth tells of an occasion when they were in Lochmaddy on their way to Liverpool with a cargo of Uist potatoes on board. Lachlann Campbell’s brother-in-law Ewen was getting married in Lochmaddy and all the crew were invited. One sailor stayed on board on watch while the rest of the crew joined in the festivities. A storm blew up while everyone was ashore and although the Euphemia was in danger she survived the night. However, with the crew back on board and heading out of Lochmaddy, the following morning she hit a reef and stuck fast. The ship had to be abandoned. A young crew member rowed out to collect some clothes and while he was there he had a look at how the ship was trapped on the reef. He took an oar from his rowing boat and levered the Euphemia off the reef with it. When he returned to the pier the owner of the potato cargo congratulated him and promised to buy him a suit in Liverpool which according to Kenneth’s account he duly received.

Ewen Campbell, Eòghann Ruadh, was the captain of the Eureka, which was purchased in Liverpool for £1,100. She was larger than the Euphemia, square rigged with three masts and sailed as far as Archangel in Russia. Kenneth tells how she was eventually lost there when she was grounded during a heavy snow-storm. Eòghann "Ruadh" Campbell was drowned crossing the bar into the harbour at Danzig but Kenneth doesn’t mention this or whether it happened before or after the loss of the Eureka.

Anna Dhubh was another boat belonging to the Campbell family. One time she was transporting barrels, presumably for Donald Campbell’s fish-curing station, from Portnaguran to Scadabay with Roderick Campbell skippering her. Kenneth’s father Alasdair was on board, as an 18 year old, on one of his first trips after leaving school. They were met in the narrows of the bay by someone telling Roderick to come ashore immediately as his wife was ill in childbirth. Roderick went ashore and when the boat arrived on the next full tide they got the news that a healthy boy had been born. This was Iain Campbell who had the island of Taransay from 1901 until it was sold to John MacKay of Horgabost.