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Memoirs of Rev Col AJ Mackenzie III: Kinlochresort

Memoirs of Rev Col AJ Mackenzie III: Kinlochresort

An extract from the memoirs of AJ Mackenzie, born 1887 in Kinlochresort.

The place where I was born, Kinlochresort, is as remote a hamlet as can be found in the country. Including ourselves, it comprised five families. The river flowing into Loch Resort formed the boundary between Lewis and Harris. Three of the families were on the Harris side, and two ourselves and Crola, on the Lewis side. The land around was dark peaty moss land. Except for the cultivated patches the prevailing colour was dark brown. There was no metalled road anywhere only beaten moor tracks. The nearest road was at Morsgail four miles across the moor. It was along this road that all news of the outside world came to us and also most of the daily necessities of life.

Once or twice a week the older boys used to trudge across the moor to collect whatever some carrier or postman had left for us at the end of the road at Morsgail. More often it was my father who was the connecting link between the end of the road at Morsgail and our home at Kinlochresort. During the thirteen years the family lived there, he must have carried tons of every conceivable kind of household and family requirement, ranging from a Singer Sewing machine to the usual kitchen necessities.

As regards the more cumbersome goods such as oatmeal and flour and paraffin oil, the families used to combine and go by boat to Tarbert Harris where these commodities could be bought in bulk. In this way stores were laid in before the oncome of winter when there was always the danger of being cut off from the source of supply.

Yet in spite of all this domestic planning and foresight provisions sometimes ran short. Something had to be done, and my father would set out over the moor to do what he could to meet the situation. On these occasions the services of a man we used to know as the Balachan were enlisted. He would carry on his back a sack of oatmeal weighing a hundred and forty pounds that sodden moor and deposit it safely in our kitchen. In these days there was undoubtedly a remnant of the race of giants still in the land, and my worthy father had a good claim to be considered as one of them.

There was one notable landmark in Kinlochresort. It had been once been a shooting lodge, put up perhaps thirty or forty years before. Anyhow it had been in disuse long before our time. It was known as the "Iron House" and was situated just opposite our house, at the end of the stepping stones by which one crossed over to Harris ground. The erector had been Earl de Grey who leased shootings and fishings, the outer and remote parts of which, around Loch Resort, he could not work because of the complete absence of any kind of accommodation. Why the owner did not remove it when he ceased to use it, history does not record.

Anyhow it was the favourite play place of the boys and for many a long year, Gradually it fell into decay , first the windows went, then the door and finally the rain and hail storms tore great gaps in the rusted iron walls. Now there is not a vestige left of what to us boys was the glory of the Iron House.

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Title: Memoirs of Rev Col AJ Mackenzie III: Kinlochresort
Record Type: Stories, Reports and Traditions
Type: Reminiscences
Date: 1950
Record Maintained By: CEU
Subject Id: 38692