1 EAGLETON NOTES: Rhenigidale, Isle of Harris



Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Rhenigidale, Isle of Harris

Rhenigidale is a township (village or hamlet) on the Isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. It had 7 houses plus an almost completed new one and not many more of a population. Not all the houses are occupied permanently. Until 1987 the township had no road and the only access was by footpath from Urgha 3.26 miles away near Tarbert or by sea. The landing place for boats was a rock face roughly turned into a crude wharf or jetty. It's still used today but mainly for servicing fish farms in the area. In 1987 a road was built connecting the township to the main Tarbert to Stornoway Road at Maaruig; a distance of about about 5 miles of which nearly 4 miles was completely new road over bogs and through solid Lewisian Gneiss some of the oldest rock on earth. The cost at that time was £750,000.

Anna and I took a trip there last week. The journey itself took about 10 minutes. Quite a few hours less than the first time I visited Rhenigidale on foot in a gale and pouring rain.

Looking down from the plateau to the main Stornoway to Tarbert road

Down from the plateau to Rhenigidale (which is just around the corner)

The old footpath from Rhenigidale to Urgha and Tarbert

Nestled into the hills

The jetty is to the left of the moored boat

The Gatliffe Trust Youth Hostel - basic but as I discovered many years ago when I stayed there before there was a road - very welcome after a long walk through driving wind and rain.

The school is on the left. By the time the road was made there was one pupil - that of the schoolteacher. The house is that of the principal campaigner for the road, Kenny Mackay, who was married to the schoolteacher.


  1. How lovely! You live in such a starkly beautiful place. I love your "open skies"!

  2. Wow. This needs to be in a movie. What a beautiful place away from "the beaten path"

  3. Thanks for the picture tour! The photos + TheLandofLynds' comment that "this needs to be in a movie" stirred my memory: There is a film! The Rocket Post. Did you see it?

    Short synopsis from film.com:

    Based on the true story of a remote Scottish community on the Hebridean island of Scarp that became enchanted by a dashing German rocket scientist, Gerhard Zucher, and his plans to link them to the outside world during the late 1930s. Their mission is to build a mail rocket to help revolutionize the postal service between the island and its neighbouring communities. The building of the rocket, even after an initial failed attempt, soon becomes a community effort and eventually creates a unique bond between Zucher and the island's inhabitants.

  4. This is such a magnificent place to reside. The pictures are so welcoming. It makes me want to travel there. Absolutely love it.

  5. GB,
    Once again you have captured photos which contain beauty, history, and a bit of mystery. I want to be there---walking along that ancient footpath!

  6. Wow, this is absolutely beautiful. I would love to visit, and walk the paths - take some photos...

    My poem...it probably isn't that good. It's about a miscommunication/understanding, that ended up with me driving from Kansas to Michigan alone. I tend to cling to those issues, trying to figure it out from all angles, and I don't like any kind of weirdness between me and others.

    Sadly, the other in this situation could not let go of her pride, and turned it into a huge "thing". So, that poem was written, about a year after the incident, and it is me forgiving myself for my part, and letting my mental grip go, so I could concentrate my energy elsewhere, thereby freeing me from the situation.


  7. I'm glad you like the Island. Sometimes the sun shines too!

    Thank you for the explanation. Yes I can see that it is good now that I understand it. I'm just not very good at working these things out from basics. I still think the phrase 'smoke of conversations from yesterday' is a brilliant one.

    Letting go is the key to so many ills in our lives. I'm glad that you succeeded.

  8. Thank you. :)

    I'm working on that lesson, letting things go...maybe one day.

    By the way - you are not a boring old fart. But - don't stop blogging!

  9. I would love to have seen a picture of the new house - what did you think of it?

  10. Kate. I apologise for not commenting more quickly. The truth is it escaped my mind. I didn't take a photo of the new house. It isn't occupied yet. I presume that you know that. It looks very traditional and comfortable and the views are right over the Bay. Next year when I go back I assume it will be occupied.

  11. Your photos brought back some lovely memories of time spent in Rhenigidale. We've spent many a holiday in the old School House still owned by Kenny and Moira Mackay. Beautiful place and the friendliest people you could hope to meet anywhere.


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