Scotland autumn 2016, Uig, an eviction and an abandoned radar station
The Uig area of Lewis has some historical sites.
Near Reef beach a memorial to the resistance made by crofters to the plans of the laird, Sir James Matheson, to turn the area into a sheep farm. The eviction notices were served in 1848-9, and by 1851 most of the crofters had gone and the population had fallen from 186 to nine.
In the late 19th century the Deer Forest Commission recommended that the farm be resettled with crofts, but nothing was done. So, in 1913, local landless people raided the stock and drove the sheep from Reef to Timsgarry Farm. They were arrested and imprisoned, but such was the outcry throughout Scotland that they were released after serving only 2 weeks of their sentence.
These same people then went off to serve in the Great War. On their return 11 of these men wrote to the Secretary of State for Scotland requesting that the farm they worked on be returned to crofts as promised. Finally in 1921 the sheep farm, which now could only sustain 170 sheep, was closed and the land reallocated into 15 crofts.
The monument is called 'Suileachan', or 'lesson'. There is a dramatic view from the the top.
North west of Reef is Gallan Head, the home of an abandoned RAF radar and surveillance post erected during the cold war and abandoned in the 1960's. It is a really interesting place, sitting as it does on top of dramatic cliffs with far reaching views over the ocean. The area has been taken over by a community trust with plans to make it into a walking and whale watching centre. Meanwhile the visitor centre has a rather unwelcoming look!