Open Story

Sea Skills vs. Land Skills

By Kenneth Campbell - Added 16/04/2014

Audio: Kenneth Campbell relates one man's summing up of the skills required for the very different ways of life on either side of the small island of Harris. Dur: 1.57

During his time working on some of Lord Leverhulme's projects in Harris, Kenneth Campbell was part of the gang building a lighthouse at Ard an t-Sruth in Obbe. They would take a rowing boat out to the lighthouse each morning. One day as they set out, an older man in the boat who had moved from the Bays over to Northton some years earlier, observed one of his Northton neighbour's lack of rowing skills. He said, "When Northton was settled, there were only three families who knew how to harness a horse to a cart. Today there aren't three families who can put an oar in a boat." From the time children could walk in the Bays they were used to messing about in boats but in Northton they were now picking up the skills required for looking after horses and carts. They had lost their inherent knowledge of the sea.