Local History

The Society has been researching a number of historical projects which are of interest both locally and further afield. A number of specific areas have been researched to date such as crofting, fisheries, cemetery, bàrdachd, genealogy, sport, and education. Efforts are on-going to create a comprehensive catalogue of work across many fields and preserve local knowledge for posterity.


Key projects completed, under development or planned are:-

  • A book of local bàrdachd.  This has been done in the form of Clachan Crìche.

  • The development of a genealogy database which includes croft histories, stories and photographs is well underway as part of our work with Hebridean Connections

  • Croft history books have been published through Bill Lawson. Bill worked with the Comann Eachdraidh

  • At some time in the future we will look at the possibility of re-publishing The Tolsta Townships by Donald MacDonald, the noted scholar who also wrote The History of Lewis.

The North Tolsta Community Association has the rights to the manuscript and there is demand for this book to be reprinted. There is also scope for further research to update the history from the period covered in the book.  
  • We are also involved with the Tolsta Cemetery Trust in the process of mapping the Tolsta cemetery.

The Environment 

The society intends to establish a number of walks in and around Tolsta, which would be of interest to locals and visitors from a historical, environmental and wildlife perspective.

Many will be aware that there is an existing walk from Garry Bridge to Skigersta in Ness which is one of the Western Isles Walks, but a new series of component walks from Glen Tolsta to Giordail, Giordail Beach, Tolsta Head, and the Tràigh Mhòr (Tealair to Abhainn Lìdh) would effectively establish a walk from Glen Tolsta to Ness.

These walks have stunning coastal scenery with high cliffs and stacks, caves and natural arches, a blowhole, numerous small beaches and potential picnic areas. Tolsta Head in particular has a varied plant and wildlife with many species of birds. A unique geological site in Tolsta Head has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest by Scottish Natural Heritage.

The markers for the walk round Tolsta Head are now in place and the Historical Society recently published a pamphlet to accompany this walk.