THE MISSING LINK !
ONE FAMILY, 150 YEARS, 1,000 BOATS
Help create a unique Boat Haven by donating to THE MISSING LINK !
The proposed Grimsay Boat Haven and Skills Centre with the existing centre at Ceann na h-Àirigh to the left
AT THE GRIMSAY BOAT HAVEN
- SHARE skills and knowledge
- LEARN from the past
- SUPPORT fishing communities
- REACH OUT to people today
- HELP create a unique Boat Haven in the Outer Hebrides
- INTRODUCE young people to traditional skills
- STAY IN TOUCH with the islands, the boats and the old ways
All funds raised will go directly to constructing a new home for boatbuilding skills, linking the Boat Haven and the facilities at Ceann na h-Àirigh into an all-weather centre for community and visitors alike.
As the the only maritime heritage centre in the Western Isles, the Grimsay Boat Haven will be a unique asset to the Uists.
The Grimsay Boat Haven will be located at Scotvein, Grimsay, next to our existing community centre at Ceann na h-Àirigh. It will:
- feature a large shelter to protect and display five of the best remaining examples of the Stewart boats;
- link the boats to our local history archive which includes photographs, video, oral histories, technical and cultural information, historical and social context, and Gaelic terminology in boatbuilding and fishing;
- create a new workshop area for demonstrating the skills of traditional boatbuilding to school-children and visitors alike.
The Boat Haven will reach out to school and family groups, and be a place for people to drop in and enjoy memories of fishing and crofting, or to try their hand at boatbuilding skills.
The Boat Haven will benefit the Uists: it will be a year-round draw for visitors to the islands, and increase economic activity for all. As a unique and enjoyable attraction, the Grimsay Boat Haven will give an authentic view of Uists’ proud heritage.
Nb: a further campaign will be launched in summer 2019 including the opportunity to win a 17' traditional Grimsay boat.
Ronald John MacLean (far R), Craftsman Manager of the Grimsay Boatshed instructs young islanders in traditional Grimsay boat-building
The Stewart Boatbuilders
Four generations of the Stewart family built boats at Kenary in Scotvein since Charles Stewart came to the Uists (probably from Argyll) and moved to Grimsay in the 1840s. They developed a distinctive style that responded to Uist conditions: small enough to be beached in rocky inlets off the Minch, but fast, strong and stable for the lobster fishing in the Atlantic. The Stewarts were creative in their approach, surviving the transition from sail to power through flexibility and adaptation. They built both double-enders (eathar) and transom-stern (geola), in sizes from dinghy to 28′, responding to needs in beam and buoyancy from both crofters and fishermen. We estimate that up to 1,000 boats may have been built by the Stewarts between the 1840s and 2000; we have direct knowledge or records of some 200.
Boatbuilder Uilleam Thèarlaich passed the Stewart skills on to Ronald John MacLean, Craftsman Manager of the Grimsay Boatshed
You can learn more about the Stewart boatbuilders at: https://www.grimsay.org/heritage/boats/stewart-boatbuilding
Grimsay Boat Haven has received funding from the Outer Hebrides LEADER programme, the Robertson Trust, and Heritage Lottery Fund (pending), raising three quarters of the funds needed. The amount needed to complete The Missing Link is £75,000.
The Grimsay Boat Haven is a project of the Grimsay Community Association, a community-owned Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO), which already operates the centre at Ceann na h-Àirigh, including the café CIDSIN, the local Post Office, the Grimsay Archive, our local food programme Nourishing Grimsay, and a community space for events and ceilidhs.
Further information about Ceann na h-Àirigh and the Grimsay boats may be found on our website www.grimsay.org
Create your own link with the islands, the boats, and the old ways!