Kinresort is a remote and now deserted village at the head of Loch Resort, on the Lewis/North Harris border. It comprises the small settlements at Crola and Luachair and has long been occupied, as evidenced by the many shielings and beehive huts in the area. It was also on the traditional route, by foot over the moor, between Uig and North Harris.
According to D Maciver’s Place-names of Lewis and Harris:
Kinrésord: This is a difficult name. What is Ré or Réas? We have Rudha Rénish, the most southerly part of Harris; Réabri, the high-water mark of the waves at Back and Bernera. We have Rudha Ré, the most southerly part of Skye. Réasort, in this case the most sourtherly part of Lewis, just in the division march with Harris […] The word implied here is Raedhr, sounded Rae. Rae-s-fhord, the division ford, applying to this long sea fjord.
Kin is from ceann, head, so “the head of the boundary fjord”.
When the island was owned by Sir James Matheson and the Victorian passion for stalking was growing, a shooting lodge known as the Iron House was built c1850, and substantial keepers’ cottages (whitehouses) were constructed at Crola and Luachair. Blackhouses were also built at Crola in 1861 by Macdonalds, and at Luachair in 1885 by Macdonalds and Macaskills, all from the island of Scarp. In the late nineteenth century there were five families living at Kinresort, including the two gamekeepers. The nearest road, and therefore the source of news and such supplies as could not be raised or collected locally, was Morsgail, some four miles across the moor to the north. In the 1920s, two postmen at Kinresort were appointed to make the connection to Morsgail and to Harris.
There was no cemetery and burials took place on Scarp.
Following the Education Act of 1872 which required that a primary education be given to all children, the first teacher was posted to Kinresort. Malcolm Macleod initially lodged with the families and eventually a school room and house was build for him. In 1883 there were 11 pupils, and in 1885, twenty five. The thatched school house was in use until after the First World War and continued thereafter as a mission house for church services. Missionaries would visit monthly from Amhuinnsuidhe in Harris.
Kinresort also produced a lay missionary of its own, John Macdonald who in the 1930s would push his motorbike over the moor to minister to populations in Harris.
The last child born was Murdo Macdonald in 1907, and last Kinresort wedding was that of Marion Macdonald in 1914, though it actually took place in Stornoway and the couple went to live in Bernera. By 1953 the population consisted of six people but no families, and the last inhabitant, Donald Buchanan, left in 1963.
An unpublished memoir by Col AJ Mackenzie gives a vivid account of a childhood spent at Kinresort at the end of the nineteenth century.
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- Also Known As:
- Kinlochresort; Kinloch Resort; Kinloch-resort; Kann reasort
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