72289: Drowning at Opisay, Sound of Harris 25th October 1906

On Thursday 25th October 1906, several women from Berneray travelled by boat to Lochmaddy for a business meeting with the Highland Home Industries Association. The weather was increasingly stormy, so the women decided to travel home by road rather than sea.

However, the Daisy still had to make the return journey, leaving at about 4pm. One of the four man crew was not happy with the conditions, but he reluctantly agreed to go. Soon after the boat had left Lochmaddy and was in the Minch, the gale began in earnest. The women were concerned about the safety of the crew, particularly when it was realised later that night that the boat hadn’t reached Berneray. The gale continued until the following afternoon, and it was hoped that the men had found shelter on one of the islands in the Sound of Harris. 

Following a search, the Daisy was found on the isle of Opisay, ‘a complete wreck, and the skipper Adam MacKay, dead and clinging to the mast.’ It was supposed that the boat was overwhelmed between the headland and the isle of Hermetray, and ended up drifting towards Opisay. The other three crew members were all drowned: Donald MacKillop, Angus MacDonald and Roderick McLennan.

In 1970, Flora MacCuish recounted the events in a sound recording available on the Tobar an Dualchais website. Another recording of the events was made by Donald MacKillop’s son, Angus.

Record Type:
Story, Report or Tradition
25 Oct 1906
Record Maintained by: