District News 1952

Parent Category: Timeline
Category: 1950

Tolsta District News 1952 as reported in the Stornoway Gazette



We were relieved to hear that the crew of the "Elspeth Smith"were saved when during a southerly gale in Loch Claidh her cable parted and she piled on to the rocks before they could get the engine going.The men managed to jump ashore before she heeled over and sank in nine fathoms of water.

They remained on the cliff without any shelter from 3a.m.till daybreak.

They then trecked through difficult country until they came to a gamekeeper's house also uninhabited.They found peats and started a fire while the skipper signalled for to the village of Maaruig.The signal was noticed by a woman who raised the alarm.A boat was launched and the crew were ferried across Loch Seaforth where they were treated with the customary wholehearted hospitality of the Harris folk.

Tolsta members of the crew were-Alex.Macdonald,Skipper,38,John Angus and Donald Murray,37,and Donald Smith,75,Hill Street.



Though much damage was done to property it is surprising that things were not worse.

Many windows were broken and slates ripped off houses placing crofters in a difficult position as these asbestos slates are unobtainable now

A considerable quantity of unthreshed grain fodder and hay has been lost.


At a public meeting,John Macritchie was appointed shepherd for this township.


John Murdo Macmillan,son of Mrs.Macmillan and the late John Macmillan, East View North Tolsta,a second year student at the Scottish Hotel School Glasgow,was among seven students picked to represent the College at the recent Hotel Olympia Exhibition in London.

They brought back one gold medal,two silver and one bronze medal,and three awards of merit.John Murdo was the only competitor to receive a professional award.Congratulations John Murdo.


Angus,the son of Mr.and Mrs.Murdo Maciver,16,New Tolsta,has emigrated to New Zealand.He was a train driver on the Inverness-Kyle route.


The planting of potatoes and the sowing of oats goes on at full speed. The tractors are working late and using their headlights.



The Tolsta Primary Choir were runners-up to the Nicolson Institute at the recent Musical Festival.


Much loss is caused by ravens in this area so our bouquet for the week goes to Christina Macdonald,a 14 year old schoolgirl who surprised one attacking a lamb.With a stout walking stick she knocked it on the head and a neighbour coming on the scene soon despatched it. It measured 3 ft.7 ins between the wingtips.



Secret naval trials are being carried out off North Tolsta.

The Navy has closed an area of five square miles to all shipping.

Scores of sailors come ashore every weekend in Stornoway for leave but the main ship in the trials,(H.M.S.Ben Lomond,a heavy tank-landing ship)never enters harbour.It anchors out of sight of the town.

A foreign fishing vessel has been seen working close to the forbidden area.

It is thought to be a Norwegian shark-hunting boat of which there are a number in Hebridean waters at present.



Two New Tolsta seamen are on board the "Port Jackson" reported on fire for nine days before it was brought under control. They are Murdo Maciver,16,and Murdo Mackay,18,New Tolsta.



The congregation of the Free Presbyterian Church, North Tolsta, inducted the first minister they have had since 1893.From that year the church has been served by a missionary.

There was a large concourse of visitors from all parts of the island to welcome the new minister,the Rev.Fraser Macdonald,who hails from Oban.

The congregation raised more than £3,000 to build a manse for their new minister who is an Edinburgh graduate.



William and Annie Macdonald,51,North Tolsta,who were on the staff of the Royal Hotel,Nairn,recently damaged by fire, have returned home.

Miss Macdonald lost all her personal belongings.


A mass meeting was held in the school to protest against the cut in the Tolsta bus Service.The bus owner,Mr.Mitchell,who was invited to attend,did not appear.

A representative committee was appointed to confer with the operator and to contact the M.P.and the Traffic Commisioners.


On the bus front workers' single concession fares at 1/10 came into operation as from September 1st,The old rate was 3/3 return and as the new return is 3/8 it is difficult to see where the "concession"comes in.


"We have more or less to buy our dead" was the striking phrase used by Councillor Allan Cameron when he criticised the high freight charges on remains brought home to Lewis for burial,when seamen die in mainland ports.

To take the body of a seaman home from London to Stornoway costs £87.3.5d.

"We are a seafaring race,and we send our youth to the Merchant Navy .When any of them die we want them brought home," said Councillor Cameron.

Inverness Chamber of Commerce is conducting an enquiry into the effect of transport costs on the life of the Highlands.They agreed to include Councillor Cameron's comments in their report.