You are here

Inspection of the March, 1736

Inspection of the March, 1736

In July or August 1736 a large birlinn sailed from Skye to the Sound of Harris with Donald MacLeod the old Trojan, Norman 22nd Chief of Clan MacLeod (later known as the Red Man), William MacLeod of Waterstein (Chamberlain of MacLeod estates), Sir Alexander MacDonald of Sleat, Alexander MacDonald of Kingsburgh, (Chamberlain of MacDonald estates) and William MacDonald of Aird (Tutor of Sleat). The purpose of the voyage was to inspect the disputed March or boundary between North Uist and Harris.

The group spent a night on Hermetray before proceeding to the boundary at Grianam the next day. The Grianam Case provides the following account:

They found it so ridiculously small that Sir Alexander in vexation declared “It is not much worth!” William MacDonald. the Tutor, not to be outdone, jocularly asked the Red Man and Waterstein if they had swords with a view to settling the important issue in mortal combat!

The group spent several days on North Uist, then Berneray, then stayed on Ensay with John Campbell, the tacksman and onto Borve Mor, where they stayed with Reverend Kenneth MacAulay.

Everywhere they enjoyed “hearty glasses” and fed well. Finally they reached their goal, the home of William MacLeod of Luskintyre. Here Alexander MacDonald of Kingsburgh … was so drunk that he had to take to his bed early for he was well aware that more alcohol awaited him in the evening.

According to Donald MacLeod the old Trojan … the question was put to William of Luskintyre if it was his honest opinion that Grianam belonged to Berneray or not. He replied in the affirmative. Kingsburgh however was of the opinion that no decision was arrived at, but as he was notoriously drunk at the time, his opinion gathered no weight.

This inspection tour was later to provide evidence in the court case determining ownership of Grianam and the surrounding islands.


Title: Inspection of the March, 1736
Record Type: Historical Events
Date: Between 01-07-1736 and 31-08-1736
Record Maintained By: CEBH
Subject Id: 117480