View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Friday, 28 January 2011

Friday 28 January

The day started fairly bright, but cloud increased and when the sun went down, just after 4.30pm, there was some rain. We'll get more of the wet stuff through the night. Did I mention we had the saltboat and the coalboat in at the same time on Wednesday? Well, the coalboat usually leaves the town painted black, with lumps of coal scattered along the streets.
I spent a few hours in the library, to look up the croft histories for South Uist. I am not very familiar with that island, and I had to check the Gaelic names of the townships there against the English ones I have on file. I shall now incorporate those on my Berneray to Vatersay tribute site.

Thursday 27 January

I have blogged about two things, Auschwitz Memorial Day and the ditching of an RAF Tornado jetfighter off Rubha Reidh lighthouse. I spent the day processing the information I gleaned from the Berneray and North Uist croft histories, and putting a tribute to Barra on the Net as well.

Croft histories show each and every person who has occupied a croft since about the middle of the 18th century, in some cases. A croft is a piece of land that is leased from a landowner. It is not by definition a farm. Neither does it automatically include buildings. Houses, sheds or whatever are regarded as improvements. Crofts in the 21st century may well have a ruin of a blackhouse on it, which was rendered uninhabitable in order for the crofter to be able to apply for a grant to built a modern house on it. To my knowledge, nobody lives in a blackhouse the way it was done up to the middle of the 20th century. Apart from the crofter, the leaseholder, there used to be cottars (a peasant farmer), who would work for the crofter, but did not hold land as such.