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Miavaig, Lewis

Miavaig, Lewis

The name Miavaig is from the Norse mjo vagr for 'narrow bay', which accurately describes it. It is located at the head of Valtos Glen and at the short causeway to the Valtos peninsula in Uig.

The village was during the last century a hub for Uig, consisting of the pier to which supplies were brought, with a blacksmith, post office, shop (initially on a visiting boat), tearoom and the residence of the Registrar and Inspector of the Poor, who for several decades at the end of the 19th century was James Macrae. Mr Macrae had a large house very near the shore, with an attached storeroom for provisions for the relief of the destitute. The arable land was mostly given over to Mr Macrae as a farm, to supplement his income. Two tenants, Mackay and Gillies, once lived on high ground near the entrance to Glen Valtos, but they moved to Carishader.

The police station was built in 1908, complete with cell. The police constable who was there in 1913 when Reef Farm was raided was a Maciver from Lochganvich. Previously the constable used to come from Callanish by boat to Miavaig, summoned by James Macrae, Registrar. The last constable was Donald Macinnes, Drumfearn, Sleat, from 1920-1927.

The post office - the first in the district - was originally on the main road opposite the end of the pier road (near where Miavaig House is today) but later moved to the by then redundant police house bought by John Macdonald. His son Iain Norman continued the running of the post office and registry. The post office is no longer in operation.

History of the Postal Service - In 1857 a foot post from Stornoway to Miavaig was instituted, and eventually upgraded to a horse post and then a mail car service providing a thrice-weekly collection and delivery of mail. Miavaig was second only to Stornoway itself in the importance of its post office which had savings bank, money order and telegraph departments. Miavaig had more postmarks than any other Lewis office except Stornoway. A sub-postmaster was appointed at an annual salary of £3. 1872 Telegraph was established. There was a letter sent to Lochcroistean School from the Postmaster General warning children about throwing stones at telegraph wires and insulators. 1876 Islivig weekly foot post established and in 1892 the sub post office opened. 1931-1932 Enaclete sub post office opened with own stamp, followed later by Timsgarry and Valtos post offices.  During the First World War Miavaig Post Office was important as daily bulletins were posted in the window. On the 1 January 1919 a crowd gathered to meet men from the Iolaire.

At the Disruption the Free Church was built on reclaimed ground here, and a manse was built nearby in Uigen. A Free Presbyterian Church was constructed later, first as a corrugated iron building.

There is a fishfarm, a working pier with pontoons and moorings, boat trips to the surrounding area and St. Kilda.

Satellite image

Title: Miavaig, Lewis
Record Type: Locations
Gaelic Name: Miabhaig, Miabhig
Also Known As: Meavig
Type: Village/Township
Grid Ref Easting: 108547
Grid Ref Northing: 934537
Record Maintained By: CEU
Subject Id: 1987