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Donald (born 1886) was a son of John Maclennan and Ann Macdonald of 8 Kirkibost.
Donald was a man of great physical strength and stamina. It is said that one night during a bad storm Donald and a group of Bernera islanders, who had just returned from Stornoway, were waiting in Earshader to be ferried across to Bernera. They were informed that the sea was too rough to be crossed that night, so the party remained, until morning, in a house in Earshader; all except Donald - who swam across.
Donald was the owner and skipper of the Puffin fishing boat. The following article from The Scottish Daily Express Saturday 16th January 1965 gives further biographical details:
Old Donald's Ordeal
Isle Hermit Fights Blaze For 3 Hours In Blizzard
Express Staff reporter
A 78-year-old island hermit escaped death in a blaze yesterday. It happened when the fire destroyed his lonely dwelling on the Bernera Moor, in Lewis. The hermit, Donald Maclennan, managed to escape with a few belongings. He fought the blaze for three hours before giving up, exhausted. Then he sat in a snowstorm until daylight before making his way to the nearest village, three miles away.
Living in a cave
For 30 years Donald had been living in a cave in a rock-face overlooking the wild Atlantic. He built a shack from driftwood around the entrance.
He says he chose to live there after a family feud about his father's croft.
He has little contact with anyone except when he goes to the nearest township to collect his groceries.
Donald, who claims he was a dentist in England before returning to his native Bernera, said: "I suppose I'm really lucky to be alive. Early this morning I found myself choking with the smoke.
"I was exhausted"
"I noticed that the walls round the fire, which were made of peat, had caught alight. I managed to collect a few belongings and got outside.Then I started carrying pails of water from a well, but I had to give up after three hours because I was exhausted. There was a snow storm on and I just had to sit out on the moor until daylight before making my way to the post office at Breaclete." There was no chimney in the dwelling - only a hole in the roof- and the fire was seldom out. Donald said: "I had just brought in a big supply of peats to keep them dry."Last night he was warm and comfortable - in the old people's home in Stornoway.