District News 1935

Tolsta District News 1935 as reported in the Stornoway Gazette



For the past few weeks the North Tolsta School has been closed, because of an epidemic of scarlet fever in the district. It is understood that occasional cases are still being reported.



On 3rd January, we had a very pretty and interesting Wedding in North Tolsta, when Miss Ishbel MacLeod,
53 Hill Street, became the bride of Mr. Murdo MacIver, New Street. Rev. Mr. Gillies, Stornoway, officiated. All Weddings are interesting, but this one more so, because the bride broke "new ground" by driving to and getting married in Church, a welcome innovation from the usual custom of getting married in the house, or going to Stornoway. Not only special friends, but the whole F. P. congregation had a good view of the bride, who looked really charming in her white dress and bridal veil. The bridal party had a great reception on their way from church and if the number of congratulatory telegrams and costly presents received are any indication of the newly-weds' popularity then they must be popular indeed. They received very many of both and they start their married life with the hearty congratulations and sincere good wishes of the whole community.


We have the football "fever" here as well as scarlet and on Saturday we had a well contested game, between the North and South-end teams on the former's football pitch. It's surprising the number of spectators who turned out to encourage their respective teams. Not only have we interested the oldest North-end "bodach", who is now quite familiar with what and who is centre-forward, but the ladies were there as well. "Good old whistle", "Get it away Syme," could be heard from the South-end boys, but both sides played well. The North-end won by 4 goals to 1.



The Stornoway Secretary of the local Committee of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution begs to acknowledge with thanks the receipt of the sum of £10 1s, per Mr. Allan Cameron, being house to house Collection in the village of North Tolsta, in appreciation of the prompt and effective action taken by the Lifeboat when called upon on the 15th inst., to go to the aid of the two fishing craft which were in distress.

It is often said that we are living in an ungrateful age, where services of every description are taken as a matter of course, without reference to how, or who, provides them. But that cannot be said of the people of North Tolsta, who have not been slow to appreciate that Lifeboats cannot be maintained in a high state of efficiency without expense. Although, perhaps, what prompted the spontaneous gratitude of the people of North Tolsta, was their intimate knowledge of the perils connected with the calling of "those who go down to the sea in ships" and their admiration for that fine spirit which provides the Lifeboats with voluntary crews to go to the aid of their fellow seamen in distress, in fair or foul weather.


We regret to inform the correspondent in North Tolsta, signing himself "Grazings Committee", that his letter cannot be considered, unless he supplies his name and address (not necessarily for publication) and in any event, we cannot publish the letter over the nome-de-plume "Grazings Committee", because it might lead to misunderstanding, unless the letter has actually been written on behalf of the Grazings Committee, or on their instructions.



Quick thinking and prompt action, averted a very probable drowning tragedy here last week. While playing on the rocks of "Homhraid" a nine-year-old boy, John MacDonald, 6 New Tolsta, slipped into deep water and from the nature of the place and the fact that he could not swim, was in imminent danger of drowning. It was at this point that the frantic cries of his small companion, attracted the attention of another boy, Malcolm MacLeod, who had left them previously, MacLeod, sized up the situation immediately. He could not swim, but by stretching out his leg enabled MacDonald to grasp it, as the wave swept him in. The rescued boy, though semi-dazed at first, was later able to walk home, after getting rid of sea-water he had swallowed. MacLeod, the rescuer, is a son of Mr. Louis MacLeod, 59 Bayhead Street, Stornoway, at present on holiday here. His presence of mind for a twelve-year-old boy, is very much to be commended.



We are pleased to learn that Dr. Donald Cameron, a native of North Tolsta, has received an important appointment under the London County Council. Dr. Cameron, has been selected out of a large number of applicants, to take charge of the Council's Child Welfare and Maternity Clinic, in Greenwich. Dr. Cameron, who took his medical training at Glasgow University, was in General Practice in Leicester, previous to this appointment.



The Free Presbyterian Church of North Tolsta, held their half-yearly Communion last weekend. Rev. Mr. Gillies, Stornoway, was assisted by Rev. R. MacKenzie, St. Jude's, Glasgow. A fair sprinkling of visitors attended and as always on such occasions, quite a number of Free Church people were present.


An interesting Wedding was solemnized recently in North Tolsta. The contracting parties were Mr. Norman MacKay, popularly known as "the Bachelor", second son of the late Roderick MacKay and Mrs. MacKay, 66 New Street and Chrissie, daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Donald MacLeod. Rev. Kenneth MacRae, M.A., Free Church, Stornoway, officiated (in the absence from home of the Rev. Mr. MacKenzie, Back). Mr. and Mrs. MacKay, are highly respected and popular in the district,as the large number of congratulatory telegrams and very valuable presents from their friends far and near testify. What is unique about this ceremony is that though Mr. MacKay is now happily married, he is still a "Bachelor". We extend sincere congratulations to bride and bridegroom and can only reiterate what a lady friend wired to Mrs. MacKay - "May you long live the Bachelor's wife".



1. Norena MacKay
2. Isabella MacIver
3. Kenina Campbell
4. Johanna MacLeod
5. John MacLeod

REGULAR ATTENDANCE - Kenina Campbell, Angus Norman MacKay, John MacLeod.


18/10/35 PRIZE GIVING (Contd.)


1. Johanna Murray
2. Catherine A. Morrison
3. Lily A. MacMillan
4. Johanna MacLeod
5. John Murdo MacDonald

REGULAR ATTENDANCE - Alexander Murray, Kenneth Murray, Johanna MacLeod.


1. Catherine Murray
2. Isabella MacIver
3. Margaret Campbell
4. Mary Murray
5. Christina MacIver


REGULAR ATTENDANCE - John MacDonald, Johanna Nicolson



1. Christina MacMillan
2. Catherine MacIver
3. Alex Graham
4. Isabella Smith

REGULAR ATTENDANCE - Margaret MacKay, Evander MacKay.



1. Donald Graham
2. Christina I. MacLeod
3. Catherine A. Murray
4. Dolina Nicolson
5. Jessie MacDonald

PERFECT ATTENDANCE - Jessie MacDonald, Murdina MacIver, Johanna MacIver.

REGULAR ATTENDANCE - Angus Murray, Catherine A. Murray.


18/10/35 PRIZE DAY (Contd.)


1. Mary MacDonald
2. Johanna Graham
3. Annie MacIver
4. Katie Ann Nicolson
5. John MacMillan




1. Jane Murray
2. Alick J. Smith
3. Alick M. Nicolson




The first week of November, 1875, John MacDonald and Marion MacKay, were united in marriage. Today after sixty years of matrimonial joys and sorrows, they are both hale and hearty, surrounded by their children, numerous grandchildren and even great-grandchildren. They were the last couple to be joined in wedlock, by the late Rev. D. MacMaster at Back. "MacCeoch Mor", who is 88, 78 and 72 years. Mrs. MacDonald is a sister of the late Mr. Angus MacKay, Missionary and the last surviving member of that family. This community heartily congratulate them onthis occasion, unique in the history of the village and wish them every happiness in the evening of their days.

1. Well, many moons have waxed and waned
Since John MacDonald's hand
Was clasped by Marion, his bride
With "yes" for good or bad.

2. Now ninety-one and eighty-eight
They celebrate with tea
What we have seldom to record
Their diamond jubilee

3. In earthern wall and thatched roof
Our kinsman first saw light
And there a cruisies yellow flare
Did help to chase the night.

4. When three years old he had to flit
Displaced by woolly stock
The history of clearances
Will ever be a blot.

5. On lover, cod, ling, herring roe
Our warrior grew muscle
And to the looker-on today
His staying power's a puzzle.

6. Each day he works upon the croft
But Marion is blind
If I may mention it they are
The Darby-Joan kind.

7. A razor never cut the hairs
From all his sturdy chin
And that is why he scorns this age
Of sickly powdered skin.

8. "Place fishermen upon the sea
And workers on the land
But what (says he) has been the use
Of the Whig nor Tory band?"

9. Admits McEwan is alright
And Wilson Ramsay grand
But that we go one better with
"MacMillan for this land."

10. Marion pokes him in the side
"Another cup of tea"
"My wife's acquired a modern taste
Suth eisg," John says, "for me."

11. Now as much tempest strikes their barque
And strains each block and spar
Their one desire is this, that they
Together cross the bar.

North Tolsta



Canadian ladies had no charm for one of "our ain folk" who came all the way from British Columbia, to marry the lady of his choice here, on 5th December. A tall, lanky, handsome (like myself) lad, he arrived in the Old Country a few weeks ago and being a hustler by nature, he immediately set forth on this new and ever interesting venture to the acclamations and congratulations of the mixed multitude. His many friends at Bralorne Mines, Bridge River, B.C., will raise a mighty shout, when they learn that "Tiger" has resigned from membership of their "Bachelor Society". The bride, Peggy, is the youngest daughter of the late, Mr. Murdo MacInnes, while the groom, John MacLeod, is the eldest son of the late John MacLeod, who perished when the "Invincible" went down at Jutland with the loss of all on board, except six survivors.



After a year of unprecedented scarcity of white fish in these parts, it is gratifying to report that haddocks of prime quality have appeared in Broad Bay. During this week quite good catches have been landed. Herring shoals have also been located north and south of Tolsta Head. One small boat landed a small shot of 8 crans of mixed quality on Friday night. Promising appearances between Tolsta Head and Cellar Head, betoken a good Winter fishing ahead.



An empty cocoa tin containing a message on a scrap of paper, thrown in the sea off Peterhead, on August 16th, by one of the crew of the Peterhead herring drifter, "Fairy Knowe", drifted across the North Sea and was picked up two miles of Hague Sound, Norway, on November 18th. The fisherman who sent the message, John Morrison, North Tolsta, Stornoway, asked the finder to communicate with him and he has now received a letter from a Norwegian Sailor.


Men must make a living somehow, but it would appear shabby for a farmer having a 20-acre field of turnips to covet and sneak away a few "neeps" a fellow has in a quarter acre plot. Yet, that is exactly what the ungentlemanly few trawler skippers do.

Last week we reported that haddocks were plentiful in Broad Bay and now the trawlers are here. Two of these were close inshore on Thursday morning, 16th December and as soon as they noticed the lanterns of the fishermen on the Tolsta shore, they steamed into the night. The local "catch" that morning was a poor one.

When the powers that be take eleven months in wrangling over the design of a new Fishery Cruiser, we expect a few nails to rust ere we see these waters patrolled as they should be. Until a local man is in command of the "Q" boat, the three-mile limit will be "a scrap of paper." Prevention is better than cure. "Mac-a-Bhogie", our foremost Skipper, whose raven locks were white with scales last weekend, caught nothing this week, not even a cold. The fishermen were forced to remain ashore on three days, owing to the heavy swell and the danger of launching boats in such.

Yet successive Governments have given a deaf ear to our pressing and vital needs and no doubt the price of a one-inch naval gun would enable us to add a handsome extension to the white elephant (pier), in it's unfinished state, we consider an eyesore.