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Memoirs of Rev Col AJ Mackenzie VII: First Trip to Stornoway

Memoirs of Rev Col AJ Mackenzie VII: First Trip to Stornoway

An extract from the memoirs of AJ Mackenzie, born Kinlochresort in 1887.

In those days there was only one way of getting to Stornoway. That was by John Gibb's mail gig which went three times a week as far as Garynahine to collect all the mails for Uig, and from Garynahine to take the returning mail cart to Stornoway. Nowadays no one has the least conception of how slow and tedious and tiring that method of travelling was.

Much of the time had to be spent walking up long hills so as to lighten the burden on the horse. Long before the end of the journey one felt tired out and bruised by the constant jolting on the rough road. It was certainly not the way for invalids to travel. We were fortunate in that we had a horse and dog cart at our disposal at that time, and so could accomplish the journey in easy relays.

One day we set off, It was a memorable day for me: for I was going to see myself something about which I had always been wondering. I was going down the glen to see what was at the other side of the hills. The first stage took us as far as the Calder's cottage at Kinlochroag. There we passed the night in comfort, the next day we made Garynahine Inn, where we were welcomed and made extraordinarily comfortable by Mrs Macintosh as she was then called. The third day we set off on the last lap of our journey.

So far my mother had borne up well. As for myself everything was a never ending revelation; but the greatest of all was still ahead of us.

About these days what was known as the New Carloway road was in the last stage of completion. We heard rumours that it had already been opened, but there was nothing definite about it. This road besides being beautifully smooth shortened the journey to Stornoway by a mile or two. When we came to the point where it joined the old Uig road we could see clearly two or three wheel tracks and deciding that it was open to traffic my father drove for Stornoway.

As we drew nearer to the town, I smelt coal smoke for the first time in my life.

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Title: Memoirs of Rev Col AJ Mackenzie VII: First Trip to Stornoway
Record Type: Stories, Reports and Traditions
Type: Reminiscences
Date: 1950
Record Maintained By: CEU
Subject Id: 51544