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Alexander, known as Alick, was born in 1881, the eldest son of fisherman Neil MacAskill and Kate Effie MacCuish of Taigh an t-Saighdeir, Pol an Oir. Alick became a herdboy, working for Roderick Campbell of Borve Farm. Later he worked as a fisherman and for a time served in the navy on HMS Golden Eagle.
Taigh an t-Saighdeir was passed to Alick following his mother’s death and, following his own death, to his niece Kate Goodwin.