North Uist, 30 May 1883 - Alexander Mackinnon

ALEXANDER MACKINNON, Crofter, Cladach Carinish (70)—examined.

12979. The Chairman.—What statement have you to make to the Commission on behalf of the people of Cladach Carinish ?—Our cases are different. There are the Cladach Carinish people and the Carinish people. We were on Boreray estate. Our place belonged to the laird of Boreray until it was bought by the present proprietor. The people are crowded. It was a very rough, mossy, wild place—peat haggs. Before it was lotted out into crofts it was occupied by four tenants. This was made into nine crofts, and eight crofters occupy it just now. We have also to complain that during the time of the laird of Boreray a piece of outlying pasture belonging to us was taken from us, and other crofters were placed on it. These crofters had it for seven yeare, that outlying place that belonged to us. They paid nothing for it, only it was taken from us. When they were removed the rent they were paying was laid upon us as additional rent, and our stock was taken from us in order to pay this additional rent. We were also paying school rates, and we have no school of our own. It was a wild place, cut off here and there with lochs in the moor; and when the crofts were lotted out fences were made as best could be made by taking short cuts here and there between the various lochs, and now we wish that these marches should be made upon a better fashion. These march fences were put up not in places where they should be put up, but in places where they were easiest to bo set, the place being so rough and difficult of access.

12980. Have you anything else to say?

12981. Then your principal complaint is that you want to have more land?
—Yes. There are eight cottars along with us—nine crofters and eight cottars. There are three crofts upon which there are two of these each.

12982. Sheriff Nicolson.—Have you always been in Cladach Carinish ?
—Yes; I was born on the adjacent township.

12983. Where was your father?
—He had a croft there; half of that township.

12984. What rent was he paying?
—£13 or £14 a year.

12985. Were you the eldest son?
—I was the youngest.

12986. How many cows have you?
—I may say I have none at alL They belong to the merchants who keep us alive. If we paid the merchants that keep us alive from the beginning of summer, we would not have much stock just now. When prices are good we may have a little to our credit; when they are not good, we have nothing at all.

12987. How many cows have you nominally?
—I have two cows, two two-year-old queys, and three stirks.

12988. A horse?

12989. And sheep?
—Two sheep.

12990. What rent do you pay?
—£6, 5s.

12991. The horse must eat a great deal of your grass?
—Yes; he needs that. They have not grass to eat this year.

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