64526: The Footprint Stone of Mealaisbhal

Tradition in Uig tells of a "footprint stone", a regularly-shaped block about 18" square with a footprint depression.

The provenance and significance of the stone have long been lost to local knowledge, but it was high prized and fought over by the men of Uig and Harris. On one occasion a band of Uigeachs travelled over the hills to take it from Harris (perhaps Rodel) – whether to steal it or retrieve it is unknown. The Hearachs came in hot pursuit and caught up with the Uigeachs on the slopes of Mealaisbhal, not far from the Uig-Harris boundary. A battle ensued, in the course of which the stone tumbled away in the heather and was lost. The outcome of the battle is unknown but the frustration of whichever side was victorious, on being unable to claim their prize, can be imagined.

Many years later, Roderick Mackenzie (junior), gamekeeper at Uig Lodge, discovered the stone on the slopes of Mealaisbhal. He marked the spot and two men from Crowlista – Dr Duncan Maclennan, who was residing at the Crowlista schoolhouse, and Quentin Macleod, the schoolteacher – set out to retrieve it. They installed it at Uig Lodge, where it lay on top of a wall near the stables until sometime in the 1940s.

Murdo "Policy" Macaulay, an insurance man from Uig living in Stornoway, removed the stone to the town for the new Stornoway Museum.

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