Harris and Lewis Pre-Parliament tour
by Kevin John Tolmie
Parliament 2018 was preceded by a tour of Lewis and Harris. This was last done in 2006, organised by Ruari and Anne Halford-MacLeod. This time it was my undertaking, assisted by Dorna Caskie and I was aware that 2006 was going to be difficult to match.
Around fifty Clansfolk from countries as diverse as Sweden and Dubai arrived at Tarbert on Wednesday 18 July and were taken by coach to Stornoway. That evening a splendid dinner was provided at the Caladh Inn, with Chief Donald of the Lewes as principal Guest of Honour, piped in behind his banner with all due ceremony. We were pleased to welcome as our guests members of Eaglais na h-Aodhe (Ui Church Trust (UCT)). Speeches were delivered including by Colin Scott Mackenzie (Chair of UCT) and toasts proposed by Regina Lochel, President of CMS Germany and Peter Macleod, Coordinator of CMS Australia. The following day the group toured Lewis stopping at Carloway Broch, Callanish Stones and Ui Church, the last being a particularly special visit with the importance of Ui Church to MacLeod history. Lunch was hosted nearby by UCT.
The next day (Friday), the group moved on to Harris. Highlights were visits to Tarbert Distillery, St Clement’s Church Rodel and the Seallam Genealogy Centre. Lunch was arranged in the village hall in liaison with Harris Voluntary Service. That evening after arrival at our hotels in Tarbert an informal dinner with convivial chat was enjoyed at the Harris Hotel where many Clansfolk stayed, with others being accommodated at the Hotel Hebrides.
Before departure on Saturday there was a visit to Isle of Harris Tweed to see a weaving demonstration and to browse and buy. Then it was onto the lunchtime ferry bound for Skye, Parliament and more Clanship.