Grimsay Boat Haven


raised of £25,000 target


3% 46 days left
This project is using Flexible funding and will receive all pledges made by April 5th 2019 at 9:17am

THE GRIMSAY BOAT HAVEN - an anchor for island tradition and a future for heritage skills on the Hebridean island of Grimsay

by Grimsay Community Association in Grimsay, Scotland, United Kingdom



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



- SHARE skills and knowledge

- LEARN from the past

- SUPPORT fishing communities

- REACH OUT to people today

You can:

- 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:

About Us

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

Create your own link with the islands, the boats, and the old ways!


This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£150 or more

0 of 20 claimed

£150 Reward

GRIMSAY: AN ISLAND AND ITS BOATS A set of 3 books and 2 DVDs on the Grimsay boats and their contribution to Hebridean communities, families and way of life. Original titles by the Grimsay Community Association; soft covers, in English with additional Gaelic; with photos and illustrations.

£20 or more

£20 Reward

Book - Never Broken in a Sea, a history of the Grimsay workboat

£50 or more

0 of 20 claimed

£50 Reward

DVD - Our Island / Tir Mo Ruin, a tour of Grimsay and its boatbuilding heritage

£80 or more

£80 Reward

Personal guided tour of the Grimsay Boat Haven (from Jan 2020 onwards)

£100 or more

£100 Reward

Permanent acknowledgement on our Sponsor-Ship panel at the entrance to the Grimsay Boat Haven